Coronavirus Chronicles 5

6 April – Day 21

The working day is starting earlier for those in essential services. Possibly the policy is to get the job done before the streets are occupied and there is danger of contamination. Often the mail has been delivered and the dust bin emptied, before I’m out of bed. Rubbish and waste food collections continue, but recycling of paper and bottles has been abandoned to cut down on the personnel exposed to infection.

Today the postman delivered my monthly writing magazine. I was surprised on reading the editorial to find that it will be the last edition until the coronavirus outbreak is over. The decision was necessary because the newsagents are closed, so sales will be affected and also, the advertisers are not buying space. It is not economical to publish without these two revenue streams. Later, at my local station, I collected a copy of the ‘Metro’. It’s surprising that this free newspaper is being published when so many readers are not travelling to work in London.

I fixed the two remaining trellis panels to the wall, quite a straightforward job. Then the more pleasant task of tying the emerging rose branches to them in a fan shape, at a low angle to maximise the number of blooms. A job that may have been put off under normal circumstances is now completed.

A well-deserved walk took me past the recreation ground where a group of teenagers larked around a park bench. Their social distancing was verging on social closeness, but there was space between the ones playing frisbee.

Along the way families cycled together, Mother and father leading and the young children strung out behind. Sometimes with a dog in tow galloping to keep up. Others jogged together, clearly a new venture for some, who snorted like steeple chasers on the final furlong. A lone young man occupied a corner of a field. He’d brought his weights along to train in the fresh air.

My peace was disturbed by the squawking of a duck, nothing to do with nature, but my ringtone. I’m getting more calls and less texts now, as if folk want to hear the sound of voices beyond their own households. It was a friend who is living a similar life of walking and shopping and staying home, like everyone else. Interestingly he mentioned a mutual friend who sells ‘white goods,’ and recently sold one hundred freezers in a day. This cleared out the stock. So, there must be a lot of garages humming with extra freezers packed with panic purchases.

Passing the recreation ground again, the teenage crowd had reduced to a boy and a girl. Sitting on the bench in the sun and joined at the lips. Surely sixteen year olds can estimate two metres apart better than that!

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