Here we are in the first week of ‘lock down’ after restrictions were tightened on Monday this week. We are allowed to go out for one exercise walk, run or cycle each day and we have take the opportunity to go out in the early morning. It is very quiet and the only people we meet are dog walkers and a few runners.
We go out to our local park and trail that provides a bit of a natural corridor out towards the city ringroad and beyond. It follows a beck and includes woodland as well as the open parkland space. Meanwood Park in Leeds was where of polar explorer Titus Oates, played as a child as his grandfather owned the local mansion. He is best known for walking away from the Antarctic Expedition of Robert Scott so that he would not hold them back. His famous remark was “I am just going outside and may be some time.” It didn’t do them much good though as all members of the expedition to find the South Pole perished and were beaten by the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundson.
There is a strange atmosphere too. As we are told to keep at least 2 metres from others, there seems to be a range of social interactions that have replaced a quick ‘hello’.
They range from:
- walking past with your head down totally ignoring others as if exchanging glances were likely provide opportunities for viral transfer,
- making a slightly embarrassed joke like – ‘oops 2 metres’,
- a quick wave – acknowledging that we all know and are sticking to the rules.
We tend to be in the third category but to be honest at 8 am there are very few people about at all.