Home Cars Interrupted relationships in the Lockdown of 2020

Interrupted relationships in the Lockdown of 2020

There's always something interesting to see at Brooklands. Turn up any day and a surprise will be parked outside the clubhouse. But virus has stopped play.

After five weeks of virtual house arrest, my horizons have receded alarmingly. I haven’t even been down to the local High Street since March and a weekly visit to the supermarket, my exercise has been conducted within a radius of one mile. It’s worse than that, in reality, since I live on the bank of a river. I’m restricted to a one-mile semi-circle unless I want to get my feet wet.

After lifetimes of ever-expanding horizons – when a trip to Australia or Hong Kong became a commonplace aspiration – most of us have now regressed to the very early nineteenth century, before the invention of the steam train. We can again travel just about as far as our legs (and bladders) will allow. Which in my case isn’t very far.

There's always something interesting to see at Brooklands. Turn up any day and a surprise will be parked outside the clubhouse. But virus has stopped play.
There’s always something interesting to see at Brooklands. Turn up any day and a surprise will be parked outside the clubhouse. But virus has stopped such simple pleasures.

In the past, such parochialism could lead to unwelcome genetic aberrations as people generally married from the stock available within half an hour’s stroll from the family cottage. If we’re not careful we’ll be running into the same problems again. All those connections on dating apps, faces from all around the world, are now somewhat academic. Good as these far-flung liaisons might be for the gene pool, there’ll be a long wait for consummation. The way things are going, it might never happen.

Not that I’m too bothered about all that, mind. At my age, I’m more concerned with “knowing” the local Leica store. And I have an irresistible urge to enjoy renewed relations, carnal or otherwise, with the Brooklands Museum. Most weeks I used to make my way there, to sit with a coffee and see what interesting cars or motorcycles had arrived in front of the clubhouse. Now I’m reduced to visiting the web site. I’d even settle for a bit of classic-car coitus interruptus if only I could drive to Brooklands and stand outside the bolted gates for half an hour.

I miss driving, even pointlessness, in my electric Jaguar I-Pace. But pointless journeys are is seriously frowned upon. The police have been known to stop and turn back naughty motorists during the current emergency.

Stop and fish

The Chinese show us how to do it with precision and elan, though. This clip was forward today by William Fagan. Could it be happening also in Dublin? Has William been fished yet?

It will be a strange sensation when we are again released, to roam, to drive, to fly without fear of our head being caught in a fishing net.

Even a trip to central London, which was once commonplace for me, is now out of the question – despite Piccadilly Circus being only six miles from my little one-mile semicircle of interest. I suspect we will appreciate our freedoms acutely after having been deprived of travel for so long. The Great Covid Lockdown of 2020 will be something we are unlikely ever to forget.


  1. My brother who knows a thing or two about China reckons that this is a training exercise which was filmed to show the population what might happen if you fail to obey instructions. He also says that these are not Beijing accents and that is not a Beijing number plate, but who am I to argue with him?As for here in Dublin there is a video doing the rounds of a couple of journalists who are challenging the lockdown in our courts giving verbal abuse to some police officers who stopped them on the way to the courts. It was all a bit of a perfect storm for them, but a real storm in a teacup really. Most countries have provisions in their laws or constitutions that allow restrictions to individual rights to be brought in for the sake of the public order or for the public good. I hope that our courts find that this concept applies in the current situation.


    • A Chinese friend of mine made the same observation, that it is a training video. I saw that the number plate wasn’t from Beijing (北京) because it’s about the only one I recognise, having taken note on my visits there. But we couldn’t read the word even with magnification. At least it’s good for a laugh. I love the way the stinger tyre-popper is pulled out on a string.

  2. The video adds a whole new dimension to going fishing with a small net. Oh look I’ve captured a local Chinese resident. As you do. In my childhood it was down the local beck, and the odd stickleback on a good day.

    The one positive I found from my daily walk is the improvement in air quality, and noise quality – no trains, planes and heavy duty motor vehicles around the local vicinity has improved the air quality hugely.

    I suspect the world will be a very different place when we return.

    • And the skies are blue; much bluer than usual. Less aerial pollution. Gardens are filled with birds and song and Spring blossoms. Soon it will be early summer. I will happily accept my life here provided the virus stays elsewhere.

  3. Nature has gone wild, though, with foxes running around the city centre and grass growing between the cobblestones on Grafton Street. There is a suggestion that farmers might bring cattle or sheep into town for some extra grazing. I found a dead pigeon in my back garden this morning. Normally the neighbourhood cats or foxes would be high on the suspect list, but the foxes have all gone to town, so it must be the cats or another bird. I have seen a hawk trying to attack a pigeon just down the road from my house. We can watch natural selection happening before our eyes while we are cocooning.



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