Back in the heady days of summer 2020, when for a brief few weeks we could visit the city centre again… God, I miss London. So near, and yet so far. Would it be wrong to steal a couple of vials of the vaccine? Worth more than gold.
We all had such high hopes for 2021. Right now, I could forego a holiday; I don’t need exotic climes. I’d take the opportunity to meet with those I love…in a noisy pub…to hug and laugh and breathe each other’s air. Without fear.
We bought a car. We went on a tivvy through the Kent countryside to Margate. We bought ice-creams. We strolled through barley fields. We sat on deckchairs on the beach. We ogled at oast houses. We ate fish & chips on the pier.
It got hotter and hotter, sunnier and sunnier. And then, randomly, there was a day of hailstones. Some thunder and lightening. A week of thick grey cloud. It started to feel as though the weather was as confused as the nation. Lockdown continued interminably… but with some relaxations, allowing friends living close enough to meet in the park. We even managed a couple of picnics. Amazing how such simple pleasures could feel so exciting; illicit, even, and to be treasured, never again taken for granted.
But whilst things started to turn a corner on Covid, a much more insidious and enduring pandemic raised its head. The season ended with a series of marches and protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter, following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. 2020 certainly won’t be forgotten easily. Whether it turns out to be a pivotal year for equality and sets the world on a brighter, fairer path, only time will tell. But we can hope, and listen, and learn, and be hungry for change.
Just as we can hope and agitate for positive outcomes across a range of other topics following this period of enforced reflection: whether that be on environmental matters, world politics, or our own working practices and life priorities. Good things need to emerge from the ashes.
But back to prosaic matters. We’re now able to drive – or Paul is (the DVLA is likely to object if I try!) – so can finally get beyond Brixton’s borders. Roll on summer…
Black Lives Matter Plaza (Credit: Washington Post)
And so the weeks and months rolled on… Happily, April and May brought lots of sunny days. And Paul and I got very competitive with our ‘Lockdown Food League’, so very many nice meals were consumed. We got a delivery of wine; I finally learned how to keep a sourdough starter alive (and produced several pleasingly well-risen loaves); my running times improved; the nation carried on clapping weekly for NHS staff and key workers; and stunning flowers bloomed everywhere.
Less positively, the £30 yoga mat has only had two outings in 10 weeks. But you can only have so many lockdown projects at once, right?!
Having spent the whole of Spring in lockdown, I thought I would create and save a few photo blogs for posterity. Over the last 13 weeks, I’ve pretty much explored every inch of the three-mile radius around my house, deepening my love of and appreciation for this pocket of south-east London. Whether it’s jogging in Brockwell Park, admiring the architecture in Dulwich Village, stalking the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace, counting the bluebells in Sydenham Woods, picnicking in Dulwich Park, or finding new murals and street art throughout…there’s been plenty to occupy the time. Yes, I’m dying to get further afield (I really wish we had a car!) and yes, I can’t wait for pubs, restaurants, theatres and galleries to reopen. But if I’m gonna be locked-down anywhere, I’m glad it’s here.
I’ve also loved seeing other people’s photos of their springtime activities in lockdown. Most of the pictures here (and in Parts 2 & 3) are my own, but I’ve credited where others have contributed. Including special appearances from friends in Greenwich, Leeds, Elephant, Cumbria…looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!