Half unlocked

A green, yellow morning, a bit of autumnal nip contesting with sunshine that still shines with more of a touch of oven that it has any business doing in September.

In our local park, where this year’s meadowing is somehow stragglier than last, some are gently working out on the public gym, while – in the middle of a sweep of grass and some way from others – a dozen or so men sit on a circle of chairs they have carried there to hold council on the issues of the day. An informal echo of Saxon times, when the Moot of the Hundred of Gore met nearby just south of Kingsbury Circle.

Nearer, a Yoga class of 30 – the maximum legal size for a public gathering – is laying on the ground in a rough socially distanced circle. The instructor – rather nervy and intense for a Yoga teacher – tries to get them to rise on their forearms and adopt the Cobra pose. Most seem to have fallen asleep and don’t.

An aging bloke in a white captain’s cap leans jauntily on a tree chugging Skol, though it is a little early in the day and the sun definitely hasn’t passed the yardarm yet. A scattering of discarded cans around him shows how much he cares.

On the main drag and a family is packing shopping in the boot of their car. Mum and children have no mask. The paterfamilias – as a sign of standing presumably – has one of those plastic face guards that make him look like a lightweight welder on a break.

The Library has reopened. It is quiet – too quiet. There are possibly three of us in there. There is no table for newspapers any more, so the elderly can no longer recharge their prejudices by leafing through the Mail and the Telegraph. Hashtag “ill wind”. There is a hand sanitiser worked by a foot pump so you don’t have to touch anything with your hands – clever. And when you go in you have to leave your name and contact details with the librarian just in case. This is the first time I have ever had to do that anywhere. Which might be one reason – alongside the lack of a functioning App – that track and trace is not working as well as it should.

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