Philip Evans: My Isolation Diary – Day 6 (Monday, March 22 2020)
IT’S a glorious crisp and sunny spring morning in Lyme, a gentle breeze but still an angry looking sea.
As I walk onto the seafront I think how lucky we are to be able to take in such glorious views whilst exercising and wonder whether this too will be taken from us soon if Boris Johnson imposes a complete lockdown on movement later this week.
With such glorious weather, it was always on the cards that the government instruction to avoid social contact would be abused over the weekend, but seeing dozens of bikers descend on West Dorset was totally unacceptable and it was obvious from Boris’ body language in his Sunday press conference that stiffer restrictions are on the way.
Some disturbing stories also circulating the town about shoppers being abusive to those working in our food stores and other shops because they can’t get what they want. In difficult times, a little kindness goes a long way.
I try to get in at least 5,000 steps a day so yesterday I measured how many times I would have to walk up and down my garden to reach that total. It would take me 125 lengths.
Fewer walkers and runners on the seafront early this morning but that was to be expected, it being a working day. But there is definitely a change in attitude with everyone seemingly trying to distance themselves.
I came across a group of three acquaintances, men of a certain age who gather most mornings for a coffee and chat. Nowhere to get a coffee with all the cafés shut, but they were certainly obeying the two-metres apart instruction. An incongruous site as they spread out across the parade. I reminded them they would not be able to do this in Germany where gatherings of two or more have been outlawed.
There is definitely the emergence of a cabal of early walkers and runners building. In true British style, we nod to each other which no doubt will build into a polite “good morning” as we begin to recognise each other.
Walking back through the old town I felt a sense of real sadness reading all the notices on the various shop and café windows saying they are now closed. They’ve put so much into making their shops attractive but their livelihoods have been snatched away in a manner we could never have imagined. The fear is that some may never reopen.
There’s much concern in the West Country about the number of visitors decamping to their favourite get-away resorts and there was certainly much evidence this is happening in Lyme by the number of empty alcohol bottles placed outside the holiday cottages for collection. What is it that they don’t understand about being told to stay at home?
The forecast says the sun will be shining tomorrow – but with the news of Dorset’s first death, the weather will be the last thing on our minds tomorrow.
Stay safe and be kind to others – particularly those who are keeping the wheels of this great nation in motion.