They reckon that all this being locked indoors is going to be the spark that lights millions of creative fires across the world and that our inner artists will be unleashed for all to behold. That might be the case, but so far all I can see are some lame rainbows stuck in front windows with Blu Tack that say things like “thanks for everything postman” or “Felix, stay home” or, rather pointlessly, “Rainbow”. It is this warm spirit of national community that has really buoyed my soul as I trot out on a run or pop to the Co-Op to get a paper for my elderly neighbours. As for my creative spark, well don’t expect much more than the usual drivel you find on onstupidity.com; it is unlikely that I am suddenly going to evolve into Geoffrey Chaucer overnight.
Speaking of those runs, well, I’m getting there. The weather has helped a huge amount because once I turned about 30 and started to settle down I decided that running in the rain and the cold and the dark was just for people who have literally nothing left to be at home for. Running in the light and warmth makes you feel a bit more alive. Running on a cold, wet evening makes you feel cold and wet, then hot and wet and then that’s about it. I can’t run every day, my knees would resign, but today is a running day and off I went past all those rainbows and messages and closed shop shutters with more pointless posters explaining why they are closed and that they will re-open as soon as possible. Just like every other shop.
From the house it is a five minute run to the M25 so it’s easy to see and hear that there is suspiciously more traffic on the roads than one would imagine. That said I miss the days of getting home from work and then running over the bridges that cross the M25 and looking at the long queues of rush hour traffic that I had just managed to avoid. But an empty motorway is much better than a full one and one of these evenings I will make another effort to take a look at the stars and thank the lucky ones that I am still alive. There is very little dodging to do on the pavements and crossing most roads takes exactly as long as it takes to run from one side to the other. It is a beautiful time to be outside and I hope that it stays that way.
Running around the edges of empty farm fields feels nice and I will like seeing nature and pesticides work hand in hand and the crops begin to take shape and breathe in sharper, cleaner air than their ancestors have had in a long, long time. Birds bustle in the hedgerows and wonder why they don’t have to choke on so much shit anymore. There are still casualties though. Out on a walk yesterday Wifey and I came across a dead badger by the side of a road. We both made our respective stupid noises of surprise and then walked on swiftly. Wifey suggested we might go back and check if it was definitely dead and wondered what we could do for it if it were still alive. I suggested that it is frowned upon in the badger community to lie completely still while flies feed on your rotting skull when you could be busy burrowing or giggling whilst tying together Brian May’s shoelaces, and that since we weren’t strictly members of the badger community our help may not be appreciated. I think she stopped listening and rolled her eyes in contempt after the word ‘frowned’.
I ran further that I meant to today. Why not? Since I have time to explore all the fields and patches of woodland in my zone of adventure I haven’t quite worked out where I can and can’t go and so had to turn back on myself a few times. Some people said hello when I passed (at a safe distance – never go running without a tape measure and pepper spray these days) and others just looked at me and wondered why I had thought it useful to paint my face bright red before going outside. Sometimes I stopped and walked for a bit because it’s still all coming back to me and besides I’m getting more exercise that the woman the other next door, whose sole contribution to the planet has been pumping out a couple of kids called Mason and Jaxon. Lucky us.
But, yes. Hold on. Lucky us. If you’re reading this then you’re not in intensive care and you’re probably not dead, unless the boredom has just tipped you over the edge. You’ll be at work and still earning money or you’ll be self isolating or furloughed and hopefully the government purse will have your back. After all that’s years of moaning about taxes finally paying off. If you normally do fuck all, all day, then you won’t notice the difference and if you were homeless then I hope it’s all working out for you (though in fairness I doubt this site would really appeal much to the permanently unemployed or frequenters of soup kitchens). The world seems suddenly so much more beautiful, despite all the hideous things that are going on. Getting to stop and soak it all up without the usual buggering about is something to be savoured. Some people say it will never be the same and that people will be different after this settles, but I think they’re wearing big pink glasses and talking shite. I think we’ll just go back to being greedy and selfish and stupid at the first possible opportunity; we just can’t help it. Mind you, I was wrong about the coronavirus in the first place, so what do I know?
G B Hewitt. 08.04.2020
Big Hotel Chocolat order with Wifey’s 50% NHS discount placed and Majestic Wine has just delivered a dozen. I told you it’s a beautiful world.