We continue with a weekly summary of life two years ago from the perspective of my beloved’s journal. This week we begin to adapt to lockdown life. Looking back from today, with Johnson’s allies assuring us that nobody ever took it all that seriously, it’s difficult to believe just how seriously we really did take it.

Good Friday 10 April 2020

Another week in lockdown, making it almost 4 weeks since I last went to a café. Still have coffee (in front of me now) and I’m adapting,

Last weekend Tom finally blew and declared he couldn’t stay in the house any longer. He doesn’t enjoy walks (with the Corona two-step around people), so how about a skate or a bike ride? After a lot of discussion about cycling in Richmond Park we discovered it was closed to bicycles.

So we went skating. On Sunday morning we retrieved skate, pads and helmets and set off North under Twickenham Bridge. In no time we were in Syon Park, with its wide smooth road, gorgeous in the sun.

“You know, we have never been up the Brentford Canal”, I said. “Maybe this is our chance”. Nice at first, but then the tow path narrowed – crap surface – impossible to give people 2 metres of space without falling in the Grand Union Canal. So we turned off at Boston Manor Park and went under the motorway, where TV produces film body burials and scenes of urban degradation. Looked empty and clean, with a lone teenager practising basketball. Clearly TV producers add graffiti for the occasion.

Afterwards we felt great, having covered 11 miles in two and a half hours. A lot of empty roads, where you could skate in the middle, away from people. We had explored places we had never been before and had real, normal exercise.  I was so tired, and my muscles ached so much, that I didn’t leave the house for the whole of Monday.

Had we stuck by the rules? We had been out for more than an hour, over 6 miles from home. But no-one worried or objected.  We got some quite cheery comments. One guy remarked, “I haven’t seen that since the 1990s”.

We were so encouraged that we went skating again on Tuesday afternoon. Another brilliant blue Spring day. We ended up in Mortlake. Right now, narrow paths are a bit tricky. The best bits are empty suburban roads, full of cherry blossom and garden flowers. Had great fun on a straight road alongside the railway line. Again – 11 miles. I was so tired I didn’t go out at all on Wednesday.

Tom reckoned that with skating and dancing in the back room and plentiful supplies of home-cooked food life was pretty sweet.

Yep – food. Need to buy some. On Thursday, Waitrose was a surreal experience. The queue stretched round the block and when you eventually got in there were messages to keep moving. Don’t hang around looking at stuff or comparing prices. And once you put something in your basket you are committed. No doubling back and changing your mind. More empty shelves that I had expected: the few packets scattered over the ground coffee shelf were scary. They didn’t have a lot of cheap stuff so bought the expensive cheese. Just wave and pay.

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