5th November, 2020
Out on my bike in perfect autumnal weather that gives life to full red spectrum of colour. The road slick, heavy flat leaves falling at random, wobbling down, making a quiet smack like kissing lips parting, as they hit the ground.
The traffic is lighter and there is a sense of space not felt out here over the past few days. The last minute “non-essential” shops are all closed, but there are a remarkable number of people about. Some are obviously walking in pairs for exercise. They have no interest in shop windows. They stride briskly with purpose. There are runners in ones and twos. There are others who are ambling through the cobbled streets and pedestrian areas, simply taking the air.
There is a group of street-homeless gathered on the corner of Castle Street and Old Post Office Court. A mobile coffee stand is open for takeaway, the proprietor chatting with a customer. Gentleman’s Walk, a broad paved street edging the market, is quite busy. The sunshine has encouraged people to stand and talk, or sit at benches for a while. It has the feel of a winter Sunday morning in France. The sound of conversation and the odd caw of a crow is all there is to be heard in the lanes.
There is no limit on exercise time during this lockdown, not yet. Fresh air is free and sharp, cold fresh air healthy. Does this coronavirus diminish in frost-filled air? I fear the circulation of central heating, the gloom of confinement most.
I pedal through the old city centre and up behind the market. I have to take even more care than usual of pedestrians who just step out when crossing the street, as they have immediately adjusted to the reduced frequency of cars. There is a quietness and gentleness about this day I find attractive.
After a class held al fresco at a closed café’s tables and benches in the chill air, I cycle home, noting that there is a little more traffic as the school day concludes. Back in the city centre older school children are ambling around in small groups and gathering at bus stops. There are few adults about.
At home, the imposition of the regulations has not prevented the ghastly rituals of 5th November, with fireworks being fired off immediately night falls until after 10pm. I cook, I eat and drink just too much cider. It lowers my mood.
I speak on the phone to a friend and we find plenty to laugh about, although he bemoans missing Bonfire Night again. He calculates that he has missed around twenty of them. He is drawn to the childhood magic of it. I say nothing about this. It is interesting to hear his perspective.
I go to bed early. Read. Sleep.
CLP 6th November 2020