The BBC journalist reporting from the epicentre of some dreadful, covid-19-dismissive swarm outside a pub summed it up for me: “They’re all drunk and some of them are jigging up and down.” After two and a half months of putting up with self-centred ‘celebrities’ playing to the television news through laptop Zooms like annoying ten year olds desperate for their parents’ attention, the herds are back, screaming for haircuts and alcohol in plastic beakers, no longer giving a fig for the elderly and the infirm because the need to escape their own personalities by losing themselves in the thick of the crowd is overwhelming. So much for our hopes for the future. This is our brave new world.
Not that I’m complaining. They’ve left the towpaths now, following each other blindly in some mythical giant conga-line to the nearest grey beach; hattifatteners drawn to an electrical storm of Ambre Solaire and camera phones, leaving th’ Owd Lanky privately owned by the anglers and license payers once more.
You can tell that the lockdown’s over. It’s raining again. We moved through the mist beneath bruised skies this afternoon, past the Tithe Barn (surprisingly cattle-free), pausing briefly at Moss Lane Thetford Station to send our ‘so long‘ message to Anchorsholme beach, before continuing on to Bridge House; one end of Garstang to the other, not quite beyond the parish boundaries as ‘recommended’ by the CaRT continuous cruising regulations, but far enough not to matter.
Somewhere in another universe the President of Brazil, known to thousands for his lackadaisical, ‘it’s never goin to happen‘ approach to the plague (much like the idiots outside the pub on the news) has tested positive. Out there in the urban jungle, the Covid Rebellion is regrouping in the corners of pubs.
Well, let the tsunami come. For now the cut is ours again; weed clogged, drizzled, grey, and peeling its paint, but familiarly abandoned; our own personal shielding against the infected masses.