Saturday, March 21, 2020
Out and About
It's interesting walking around town and seeing how people are adapting to this coronavirus situation. Or NOT adapting. Yesterday morning Olga and I took a walk along the high street and a lot of people seemed to be going to work as usual (some wearing masks). I saw a couple of guys sitting in a cafe eating, a couple more at the counter in the kebab shop, several at the sidewalk tables outside Cafe Nero. There were workmen doing construction, and a man and woman sharing a cigarette.
I tried to maintain distance but it was hard with so many out. The official government advice to stay home hasn't sunk in, I guess. (Of course the same could be said of me walking the dog -- we probably do need to stay off the high street at busy times.)
Then we walked down Billy Fury Way and I saw no one except a lone Asian woman wearing a face mask.
Later in the day, Boris declared that all bars, restaurants, pubs and other entertainment venues would close as of yesterday evening. So I guess those people sitting in cafes won't be doing it any longer.
I went to Homebase, our local home improvement store, in the afternoon to pick up some supplies. I want to do a couple of projects -- I'm going to refinish our garden bench and our patio chairs, and I'm going to make mosaic stepping stones for the garden using all the pottery chips I've collected on my walks. Homebase was pretty dead, but again I was very aware of the handful of people at the checkout, and the distance between us. I kept trying to back away from the woman in front of me, and every time I backed up, she did too. It was like she had sensors in the back of her head telling her, "You have more room behind you!" I wanted to poke her and ask her to give me some space.
The garden center at Homebase was stocked to the rafters with plants. I hope someone's buying them. When I was there, I was the only one -- I picked up this polyanthus just to give it a home. I worry that in the event of a complete lockdown they'll all be left to wither, which would be just another sad aspect of a lockdown, a veritable sea of sadness.
When I got back I called my mom, who I haven't talked to since all this began. We had a very short conversation -- I'm not sure she's even fully aware of this virus situation -- and I simply explained to her that rather than visiting in April I'm going to come in June. (Insha'allah!) She just laughed, which is my mom's response to most things these days.
Oh, and I've suspended my Newbery Challenge. There's really no point if I can't display the books and talk about them with the kids. Time to catch up on my own reading!