24th June 2020
Three months on and some new ‘normality’ returns.
Quarter of a year gone by in a whirl, and now imprinted on human’s minds, Covid19, influencing everyone in some way.
This week has seen the results of the eased lockdown and humans are back in their masses. Surroundings have become noisy again with groups of people talking, shouting, laughing and the persistent background lull of traffic can generally be heard again.
Littering has been reported nationally as people visit beaches and other nature spots and don’t take their rubbish with them when they leave, including Plymouth’s waterfront where by the evening bins are overflowing.
Plymouth Hoe: Visiting the seafront to enjoy the beauty? Please take your rubbish when you leave!
I’ve found solace in morning sea water, by going wild swimming at Plymouth Hoe early to avoid the later crowds. The sunshine has felt so hot on some days this week that even at 8am it was 20 degrees or more. The water is transparent yet colourful, palest teal to dark blue the deeper it goes. I’ve been getting to know the daily tides and how they differ depending on the lunar cycle, as the moon waxes the high tide becomes deeper near the shores edge at peak.
One morning somebody throws some pink flowers to the tide and the light made rainbows reaching for the petals.
Flowers in the Ocean
Later on in the afternoon I walk to the city centre and Drake circus shopping mall. First time I’d set foot in there for three months and most shops inside have not been open since before lockdown until last week’s re-opening of non-essential retail. I follow the one way system up the escalators to Paperchase, as I need cards for my little niece’s birthdays, but it was still closed, so I follow the walkway back down the stairs and into Waterstones. Employees are wearing face visors; in the rest of the shopping mall many workers are wearing turquoise surgical facemasks. I was not prepared for how different this previously taken for granted shopping experience would be.
The smell of car fumes cling to the humid air as I walk from Plymouth city centre and through the barbican, its 3pm, the temperature must be 29 degrees and the streets are busy. Old familiar smells from pre-lockdown infuse, fish and chips cooking, fragrances from perfume and aftershave as people walk by, cigarettes and beer.
Pubs are set to re-open in a state of ‘new normal’ on July 4th, but some are already able to sell takeaway alcohol. The mixture of sun, alcohol and lockdown easing can be sensed in the air as I walk through the crowds congregating on pavements and cobbled streets, a different scene to just last week as people flout their new freedom. I head over the Barbican footbridge and back in to peaceful Coxside.
Matthew talks of how life in Lockdown has affected him, his family and his work with Fotonow in the latest of Raman’s Covid Letters.
Anita reflects upon the early morning queues and “open” signs on her journey to work as Plymouth continues to emerge from Lockdown.
“Six months with years of events crammed in”