The Coronavirus Diaries, 21st February 2021

Oh my what a weekend of lovely weather. Spring pushing away the cold of winter, filling longer days with light and promise, and filling the parks with flowers and buds, and filling our heads with giddy thoughts of post lockdown socialising.

There have been hints that we may soon be allowed to meet up with friends. Hints that have been taken by some as permission to jump the gun. I really don’t want another lockdown when this one ends so I am torn. The feeling of excitement and anticipation that the rule of six might be restored is making my heart leap. Today I sat in the garden with Hartley on my knee and thought how much he’ll love it if our drinks and nibbles routine starts up again.

But I am moving too fast. Millions have had the vaccine but I haven’t. I don’t think it will be long now, but seeing groups of twenty somethings sitting in a circle on the grass yesterday, older people going maskless into shops, some people strolling in groups of three or four down the centre of the pavement worried me. Don’t get me wrong, in the same hours that I saw these things I also saw people standing patiently in socially distanced queues, people wearing masks o the street, assiduous application of hand gel inside shops. I should hate to have got this far Covid free only to succumb the virus in the next few weeks or months.

Celia and I met up for a walk this afternoon. We decided on a street walk through to the Old Kent Road and to return via Burgess Park. The Old Kent Road is the eastern boundary of Sunny Walworth and only a short distance away, but the vibe is totally different to the Walworth Road which is more sedate. It’s also more ethnically and culturally diverse. On a Sunday afternoon the independent food shops were buzzing. We spotted an Ethiopian Vegan café to which I definitely want to return and a café selling two freshly made naans, lots of varieties to choose from, for £1.50. I wished I were hungry. There was a 168 bus, destination Hampstead Heath: a different world.

Make your choice from outside

An old car rusted on top of an equally derelict container. Celia says I have noticed it before, but I still took a photograph.

Car on container

There are plans to regenerate the Old Kent Road which probably means the death of many of the independent shops that make up the vast majority of businesses. I can see it is scruffy and run down, but it has a joy and vivacity lacking from more couth areas. I’ll be sorry to see it laundered, smartened, rendered polite and bland.

Independent plumber
Independent Food Stores

The park was predictably full, and the fishermen were out in force. Swans and geese snaffled up bread thrown by families despite posters where they were thanked not to. The warmth and promise of yet longer days and more flowers made everyone smile. Some cyclists were rather gungho on the shared paths, speeding along between the families.

Bread? yes please
No bread thank-you

At home this evening I heard voices from, I thought, the garden, then realised it was from a neighbouring property shared by young professionals who were setting up a barbecue and preparing to eat their evening meal outside. Fingers crossed Octavia and I may be able to resume our Sunday night meals soon too.

Stay safe. Keep well.

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