Not many of us thought we would ever have to live through such a time: the police stopping people at various places in SW Devon asking: “the purpose of your journey”. One of the historic definitions of English freedom is the ability to get on a train at Victoria station and go wherever you want. No longer.
The science is clear: if we do not reduce and delay the peak of the virus, and the numbers of the seriously ill exceed the capacity of our amazing NHS to treat them, many thousands will die. The only way to really achieve that delay and reduction is to prevent the spread of the virus by social distancing. So we are now in lockdown. We have started this period in splendid sunshine, but it is going to be tough to see this through. These restrictions will be with us for many weeks yet.
Quite understandably, my office has been overwhelmed with requests for advice and assistance which we are trying desperately to meet. We are tackling this tsunami of concern at the same time as introducing remote working, so please bear with us if you don’t get a response immediately. Urgent requests are prioritised.
This crisis is bringing out the best and the worst of us. The unnecessary emptying of supermarket shelves and the ignoring of government restrictions and advice are just two signs of selfishness. But what about all of the people looking out for their neighbours and volunteering to collect and deliver food? Amazing public spiritedness.
For many of us this prolonged and unexpected period of staying at home does not have to be a negative. It can be a positive. Home schooling can be fun. (can’t it?) It might be the time to throw yourself into that project you had always dreamed of, but never had the time. I have bought an electric bike so I can go out with Jan (she will be on her horse) which I have long wanted to do. Permitted exercise! We can no longer eat out, so I expect to be slimmer and fitter by the time we get back to normal.
As I have said before, I don’t think we will get back to normal. We will have found a new normality: better use of technology, whatever our age group, more efficient ways of working, fewer journeys and perhaps an appreciation for what really matters. There is hope.