When this is over, let’s throw a massive knees-up!

A glorious sunrise over Lyme this morning
Boris Johnson in full Churchillian mode in last night’s broadcast to the nation

Philip Evans: My Isolation Diary – Day 8 (Tuesday, March 24th 2020)

7.10am. That’s my government-permitted exercise for today done and dusted.

Along with millions of others, I did not sleep too well last night after Boris Johnson’s cataclysmic announcement ordering us all to stay in but allowing one exercise routine a day.

Like millions of others, I laid awake most of the night wondering if my business would survive. More about that later.

So I ventured out just after 6am and caught the remnants of a wonderful sunrise over Golden Cap (see photo which I am hoping might be chosen as Photo of the Day on LymeOnline’s social media pages).

Being so early in the morning,  I would expect there to be fewer dog walkers, joggers and lady swimmers around than normal. I only came across half a dozen or so. No head-nodders today. But there was one brave swimmer.

There was an interesting piece in The Daily Mail by columnist Dominic Lawson about whether we should be describing the current crisis as “a war”. Without questioning the seriousness of the situation, what we are going through is not exactly on a par with the “blitz” or the terrible slaughter of millions.

I do get it, however, that from the government’s point of view they are very much on a war-footing with daily COBRA meetings, similar to the war cabinet, which were held several times during the early stages of World War Two, chaired by Winston Churchill.

We all know that Churchill is Boris Johnson’s hero and there was a certain Churchillian flavour to Boris’s broadcast to the nation last evening. Boris will certainly think this is “his war” for he will not face a more testing challenge in his prime ministerial career, no matter how long that lasts.

If he gets it hopelessly wrong, it may well see his life-long ambition to be PM crash and die. There will be many wishing this to happen, but I must admit I think he’s doing a decent enough job and I’m particularly impressed with the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock. Just imagine living with the pressure that these people are dealing with 24/7.

What will Boris’ instructions mean for Lyme Regis?

Enough of politics. So what will Boris’ latest instructions mean for Lyme Regis? Nearly all the shops are now closed as well as the pubs, restaurants and cafes. The number of hospitality outlets offering take-aways and delivery will, I believe, soon fade away with the provision outstripping demand.

Some of these businesses, of course, may not reopen if the restrictions go on longer than a few months. But the people will return. Whilst we don’t really want them flooding to the town every time the sun comes out whiles the virus prevails, Lyme will be putting out the welcoming mat as soon as coronavirus is beaten. And back the hordes will come.

To try and cheer myself up, I’ve been giving thought to how best we might celebrate that day. For sure there will be a massive party at the football club. We never need a reason for a celebration at the Davey Fort – ergo happy hour every time all three teams win on a Saturday afternoon (not that that has happened too many times this season!). Happy hours could go for weeks if we come through this without too many casualties.

I was more thinking of a town celebration in which we could all come together to celebrate ‘CV Day’, a bit like the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee we staged back in 2012.

One of the positives to come out of these terrible days is the manner in which Lyme has come together in a bid to keep everyone safe, especially the elderly and lonely. I had no doubt this would happen and I would hope we can find some way of paying tribute to those who fall into this category when the sun shines again.

And we should not forget those working on the front line in the NHS and essential services, risking their lives doing so.

At LymeOnline we’ve been thinking about staging the Pride In Lyme Awards and I hope we can pursue this when life returns to normal.

With most of the shops now closed, one distressing factor of this worrying time will hopefully disappear – the abuse that some shop workers have experienced from a few selfish morons. When things return to normal, I hope this can be eradicated for all time and those guilty of such behaviour may look back with shame.

Any finally, as I get down from my soapbox, a word or too about how all this will affect LymeOnline. After last night’s announcement from the government, I am sorry to report that it will not be possible to continue with our printed version until all restrictions are lifted.

As well as losing 90 per cent of our advertising revenue, and much of our sponsorship, it will not be possible for us to deliver the paper to the various outlets, etc. But we will continue to produce a paper in digital format which can be accessed on our website, as indeed we have done with all our past issues.

Many people, particularly those former residents who now live elsewhere, read the paper online, as do a legion of visitors who like to keep up with their favourite holiday resort. So LymeOnline lives on.

Time to go now as the Green Goddess is about to start her armchair fitness exercises on TV which is compulsive viewing for we old wrinklies.

Keep safe – and positive!

Woodmead Halls
About Philip Evans 648 Articles
Veteran journalist and newspaper manager Philip Evans has worked in the publishing industry for more than half a century. He started out as a reporter for Pulman’s Weekly News as a young man and went on to work for an international publishing company in the UK, South Africa and Australia before returning to Lyme Regis where he is still reporting on local events as he has done for more than 53 years.

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