68 Days Later

If you’re not an essential worker, you will have spent the last 8 to 10 weeks locked down in one form or another. Everyone is saying what an odd experience this has been, with time slowing to a crawl in March, then April vanishing in a flash. May is dragging as we get the tantalizing glimpse of freedom ahead. It’s not over until it’s over and the story of the virus may have many cruel twists ahead, but lockdown has been an experience never to be forgotten.

Blue skies. Many days in April were almost cloudless, with no contrails. I acquired a tan…in Yorkshire in April!

Where did all the traffic go? The A631 was quiet as a country lane and I couldn’t hear the M1 and M18 anymore.

The daily walk. I live in a hilltop village not so far from the urban fringe and a challenge has been to find different places to enjoy exercise without bumping into crowds of people with the same idea.

Losing track of time. I stopped wearing my watch on March 16th. I work from home, I don’t watch live TV, I don’t take a daily newspaper. I re-calibrated my life on Sundays when I collected the Sunday Times and made sure I cooked a proper dinner.

Which brings me to cooking, something we all occupied our minds with. It had to be planned well in advance so all the ingredients were in place, as I only shopped every 10 days or so. A real morale booster…

…as was the ‘briefing beer’. I religiously sat down just before 5pm and listened to the government briefings (and the latest grimness) treating myself to a gluten free beer or a cider or one of my daily ration of two cans of Pepsi Max. As time went on I tended to sit down about 5.15 and watch it on catch up so I could hear the latest science but fast-forward through the political waffle.

Chocolate without guilt. Ok, not without calories. I bought multipacks, disposed of the outer wrappings immediately then stashed the 10-day supply in the fridge. It seldom lasted 10 days…

Telly without guilt, although I watched far less than I expected. I managed the whole Lord of the Rings/Hobbit series, the entire Harry Potter cycle but no more telly than normal. My new Playstation went almost unplayed.

Walking down the centre of the road. I took cheerful pleasure in doing this in later March and April before people rediscovered their cars. It was useful for avoiding dog-walkers too.

Gardening. I’m not much of a gardener but in the last pre-lockdown days I stocked up on plants, compost and gravel and re-engineered my front garden. The fact we’ve had about 2 days of rain since lockdown began did not make my job easier, and nor did my aged hose springing a leak with all the shops shut.

Wildlife. I’ve watched birds enjoying my new birdbath. I’ve waged a war of wits against fat pigeons who were raiding the seed feeders meant for garden birds. In the early morning and around sunset I’ve enjoyed birdsong in the woods.

The lockdown locks. As the curls multiply, the style clock ticks back to 1980. Maybe I’ll keep the look.

Freedom! I finally get to stretch my wheels, my legs and my lungs. Hoping this will soon be over, something to look back on and laugh about. Yes we laugh at adversity, and we downplay our fears because we have hope for tomorrow. We will survive, and we will prosper and we will meet our friends again.

2 thoughts on “68 Days Later

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  1. Not to mention shopping for your Mum, which I know you’ve done..♥ I’ve lived on Woodlaithes 8 years now & have also found new places to walk.. Welcome back to Wickersley Jason.. 😊

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