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.
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.