Walking down the street today to my hair appointment (excitement overload!), made me realise how much I’d missed the hustle and bustle of London. Supermarkets have obviously been open as have coffee shops for takeout. But there’s something indescribable about the feel and vibrancy now things seem more normal; the hairdressers, pubs and cafes are open for business. Rather than a few people queueing for the food shop or pharmacy. Or more likely sitting in the sun or park all day – We have been blessed with gorgeous weather during lockdown! There is a sense of normality that I hadn’t realised how much I was missing. And a sense of excitement in the air!
Famed for the iconic Big Ben clock tower and Westminster Abbey. Across the River Thames the iconic London Eye, usually offering panoramic views of the city.
The capital of England and the UK. A vibrant city full of hustle and bustle with a history stretching back to Roman times. Empty and quiet. No tourists. No office workers. It was amazing to see London this way. Though I hope I never have the opportunity to see it like this again!
Everyone will have there own memories of lockdown but there are a few common things that will bind us all together. The zoom call: ‘Can you hear me?’. Tik Tok. Someone video calling you when you’ve just got out of the shower. More seriously the fear that you or that vulnerable family member might be affected by the terrible illness affecting the whole world. Our shared frustrations with The Government and certain politicians. The infinite memes that enabled the great British sense of humour to help me keep my sanity at the start!
For me it’s the fact I have a bike that helped to keep my sanity during lockdown. I struggled to start with, I’ve always liked living on my own. Then suddenly every single social contact is removed all at once. I had taken for granted how sociable working in an office is. I couldn’t meet friends or family. I couldn’t pop to a local cafe or go to the pub for a drink. I couldn’t even pop to a friends house. I hadn’t realised that work, no matter how busy my day was enabled me to chat to friends and colleagues. Even if it was a minute here or there before a meeting started. Or passing in the toilets, or while waiting for your water bottle to fill up. All of my social touch points were removed instantaneously.
My home that I used to like coming back to became my office, as well as my gym, and where I would eat every single meal. There was no differentiation between work and post work. The environment didn’t change. There was no change of scene. I didn’t realise that my commute home used to give me time to unwind. I said the words: ‘I miss commuting’. Never did I think I’d utter those words. And now I can’t imagine commuting 5 days a week, even though I’ve done it all my adult life. I also can’t believe how frequently the flat needs cleaning now I’m spending so much more time in it!
Time. Something that was always precious. I was always busy. I was always tired. Suddenly I had more time than I knew what to do with. As one of my friends who was on furlough told me ‘I’ve completed Netflix.’
Thankfully I have been working. Didn’t stop me being jealous at times of the people on furlough sitting in the park all day in the sun. Or going to the beach. But I think I’d have struggled more without some routine and security. As me and my team got used to a new way of working, having regular video calls.
I also lived through the brutality of 4000 colleagues in my company being made redundant. In my role the team reduced by 90%. My friends and team suddenly no longer expected back from furlough. Never coming back. Final. Im grateful to have a job but suffered survivors guilt. I’m not sure how long I have a job for but thankful to be earning money for now. I still feel bad for my friends. It’s getting easier as I start to see some people have jobs now and hopefully will go on to be successful.
My mums been shielding this whole time. In early April I decided to get my bike out of the shed and try cycling to hers. I loved the empty roads that made cycling so much more enjoyable. She was pleased to see me, being quite down at the prospect of staying indoors for so long.
Since then I cycle round to hers every weekend. Sometimes delivering paracetamol, chocolate, chewing gum. Things to cheer her up or keep her sane! I think the company and routine kept us both sane as we both live on our own. Though I think the traffic now is busier than pre lockdown as people avoid public transport.
I struggled a lot at the beginning. Then I found out that someone I used to work with lost her sister, a nurse with diabetes, to covid. A few days later, her mum who was in a care home passed away. No matter how hard I was finding things, there was always someone worse off than me.
My brother and his family had covid but thankfully they are all ok.
Cycling became something that could get me out and about. Further than just going for a walk round the park. The change of scene I’d been craving.
Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.Lawrence Block
I didn’t realise how much time I’d spend in the garden. The hammock below – my best lockdown purchase! Also a photo of my feet with no toenail polish on! I can’t remember the last time this happened. But when you live in jogging bottoms, sportswear and pyjamas, and have no plans, it somehow didn’t seem important!
There’s a selection of photos on this blog from eerily quiet visits into central London. I always take photos and write blogs from places I’ve travelled to. Here’s some views from closer to home. That said, I can’t wait to get abroad and travel again. Though that will have to wait a bit longer. For now, I’ll be content with an appointment at the hairdressers and dinner out in a restaurant this evening!
And of course, enjoying some of the lovely weather with friends in the park once we were allowed to. Even better, pubs started to do takeaway drinks that you could enjoy in the park weather permitting!