If it weren’t for the latest Covid lockdown we’d be at Sandals in St Lucia right now. Golden sandy beaches, warm azure blue seas, tasty fresh cuisine, unlimited cocktails and the baking sun of the Caribbean.
It’s a winter getaway we’ve been doing for a few years at this time of year. Experiencing the alternative here back in blighty I’m reminded why we go when we go. Is there any worse time in the UK than mid-November?
With lockdown 2 now in full grip there is little else to do on a weekend than visit DIY stores or garden centres. Not exactly essential shopping, I know, but why are these places open if you’re not supposed to go to them?
Yesterday was particularly bleak – the gloomiest November day imaginable – with an apocalyptic dark grey blanket of cloud, from sky to ground as far as the eye could see.
It felt as if daylight had taken the day off as my grey-haired self drove my grey car to the grey out of town retail park with my grey facemask to look at bathroom wall tiles, most of which were a shade of grey.
It rained mercilessly and the squally gale shook away all that was left of the Autumn leaves. Mrs Jones braved the elements and dashed into the still open for take-aways Costa Coffee for a couple of lattes. A little treat for us, there were few other options.
While she was gone I scrolled through the postings on my local ‘Spotted’ Facebook page. These sites are full of warnings of local criminal activity, curtain-twitchers wanting to know what’s going on or banal requests for recommendations – anything from plumbers to Chinese takeaways.
Sometimes the most innocent of postings – often on topics such as cycling, dogs and now Covid – can lead to the most extraordinary abuse.
This time the anonymous poster had seen a young woman in apparent distress loitering on the wrong side of the rails atop a motorway bridge and wanted to know if all was ok. On this, the bleakest of November days, I was overtaken with a profound sense of sadness.
I imagined her being on her own with no work, no human contact, no future. I could fleetingly feel how she might feel, how thousands of others must be feeling right now in the midst of this god-awful lockdown.
Supportive, caring, concerned posts appeared in response and it seems, thankfully, help was at hand for this desperate young woman.
On this eerily, unsettling day I imagined her being a similar age to my own daughters and how all of us ‘there for the grace of God go I’ could so easily find ourselves in that sorry place.