3 February 2021
Mr Adrian Ross, valley resident and Head of Theology
With half term now little more than a week away, I am sure that, like me, those of you living in the UK will have noticed that the hours of daylight are increasing. Whilst it has been a wetter week in the valley, we must remember this kind of weather is good for the plants which are beginning to emerge from the ground. Here at Woldingham, it’s wonderful to see, between the Millennium Centre and the swimming pool, drifts of snowdrops once again in bloom, and these lovely little white flowers have also popped up along Pergola Walk. They call to my mind part of a poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825):
‘Now the glad earth her frozen zone unbinds,
And o’er her bosom breathe the western winds;
Already the Snowdrop dares appear
The first pale blossom of th’ unripen’d year;
As Flora’s breath, by some transforming power,
Had chang’d an icicle into a flower,
Its name and hue the scentless plant retains,
And winter lingers in its icy veins.’
Bringing a rainbow of colour to the valley this week is the pride flag which has been raised to mark LGBT+ History Month. The pride flag is an important part of the history of the championing of, and fight for, LGBTQ+ rights. The first pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1977, having been given the job by Harvey Milk to create a flag for the queer community. Baker took his inspiration from the song ‘Over the Rainbow’ from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
The most well known and well used flag is the 1979 six colour pride flag. The flag includes the colours red (symbolising life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), indigo (serenity) and violet (the spirit of the LGBTQ+ people). What is perhaps less well known is that there are also many other flags that represent members of the LGBTQ+ community. The most modern incarnation of the pride flag integrates many of the various flags into one and includes stripes to represent the experiences of people of colour, as well as stripes representing people who identify as transgender and/or gender nonconforming.
LGBT+ History Month will be marked in various ways in our #VirtualValley, for example it’s on the agenda of the Women of Woldingham feminist club, and it’s good to see the flag flying in our actual valley as well.