I remember my last “normal” pre-Lockdown day because that was the last meeting of our WEA Literature class. I had to leave the meeting briefly to take a phone call from the hospital to say that my shoulder operation scheduled for the following morning had had to be postponed due to the surgeon needing to self-isolate. That was on 16 March 2020.
Gradually as each item on the calendar was cancelled, the reality of Lockdown set in. News came through of empty shelves in the stores. Schools closed. Public transport was to be used only for essential travel. “Stay at home” and “Wash your hands” became the daily mantra. There were spin-off benefits. Neighbours looked out for each other. We felt a real community spirit as we joined in the Thursday clapping tribute to the NHS and other key workers. With no meetings or visits in the diary, time seemed limitless; time to tackle all those jobs in the house and garden that had been waiting for our attention. Nor was there any need to think about what to wear; comfort became the order of the day. For some of us, queuing for the chemist or supermarket became social occasions, helped by the amazing weather we enjoyed. Others learned new skills such as internet shopping and how to join a zoom meeting. Wonderful programmes became available on the BBC and I Player, catering for all ages and preferences. Less traffic meant that when out taking our daily exercise, we were better able to appreciate the birdsong.
Many people, however, will be mourning the loss of loved ones whose lives were taken by the Covid 19 virus. Others will be saddened by not being able to be with those who are bereaved and suffering. Others with limited mobility, or facilities, may be lonely or depressed. And we should remember all the children who have been missing out on their education, academic and social, while schools have been closed. Not to mention their parents and carers who may be tearing their hair out looking after them at home.
While some of us have been able to enjoy a furlough, paid for by the Government, or a reasonable retirement pension, many others, being unable to work normally, will be experiencing grave anxiety about the loss of businesses, jobs and income. The future is very uncertain for them.
One certainty is that the legacy of the Lockdown will be with us for many years to come.