Lockdown 2 (Day 4): Norwich

Sunday, 8th November, 2020

I set out at 10:00 hrs with a friend and we make the most of the sunshine by taking a brisk walk around Carrow, along the Wensum, up past the Rosary Cemetary to Mousehold Heath, before returning down Dragoon Way and back along the river past the pump house and back up to the market where we go our separate ways.  With a detour to drop a borrowed book off at a friend’s house, the whole circuit was around six miles. I have seen a single bold jay in the brush wood while on the walk through Mousehold Heath. Other than that properties near the river have rat traps positioned along the base of walls, gulls wheel between the old warehouses and the swans glide back and forth on the river.

Again, many people are out and about, mostly walking in pairs. A couple of runners too self-absorbed to drop into a single file pass by, forcing us and an elderly couple to step back from their path. These two blokes showed no interest in adjusting their stride for anyone.

At the war memorial opposite the doors of the city hall, the mayor in her official robes with ceremonial chain is inspecting the Remembrance Sunday wreaths of poppies that have been laid on the steps of the monument. Some passers-by stop and ask for photographs of her. I sit and watch, take in the air for a while. At the top of the market, people are sitting, or standing at distance from each other catching up on personal news, or exchanging opinions, as one would expect in a Continental town centre on a Sunday morning. The only evidence that this is a Sunday is the freshly laid Armistice Day poppies.

I go to Chapelfield Gardens and order a take-away soup from the café there. I sit on a bench and spoon it down, before taking a circuitous route back to my apartment. I have been out for over three hours and on the move for most that time. This has been good use of time.

There were a number of street-homeless people stretched out under covers in shop doorways, one outside a charity shop, close to small supermarket that has a cashpoint machine. This strikes me as a good place to be bedded down, so those without cash and with the inclination to help can either buy food, or access and donate cash.

Are the local authorities effectively reaching the street homeless, or do some of the street-homeless people feel safer looking after themselves outside any formalised system? The nights have been very cold for a few days. This will take its toll.

I passed the young man who I had given some cash to the other day as I was cycling. He was not selling The Big Issue magazine today, but rushing along a street, balaclava askew, talking loudly on a mobile phone. I did not interrupt him. He seemed very much in control of his circumstances. I wonder what his story is, but understand that is none of my business anymore than anybody’s story is my business.


CLP  9th November, 2020