Lockdown. Don’t go near anyone and definitely no hugs! Except those in your own household. That was the message. And if you live alone? Tough.
So, for me, that was the worst aspect of The Lockdown. And with all cafes shut, most shops too, just mingling with other people, well even that, became impossible for quite a while.
But in the midst of all this there was a glimmer of light, starting with the clapping. Could I be bothered clapping for the NHS every Thursday evening at 8pm? Well not really. But thought I’d better—crowd pressure. And of course when I peered along the road there were quite a few people whom I knew, just about, by sight, but had never really spoken to. Still they waved to me, and I waved back. Of course, I have lived here for twenty years now, but this is a sedate part of London, not really given to big outpourings of neighbourliness, or so I thought.
And yet, a couple of weeks ago as I walked through the local Green (which now looks like a sea-side holiday resort with everyone sunning themselves on the grass as they sensibly avoid driving to Bournemouth), I was approached by a lady of around my age and asked if I would like to join a small group of similar ladies for a chat on the Green – seats promised —on the following Thursday morning. Well, sure enough, four of us met that day at 11am. The next week there were six of us, and it looks like growing. Helped of course by the social distancing now being a more tolerable one metre (what’s that in feet anyhow?).
So yes, perhaps there’s a silver lining to this thing after all.