24 March 2020
First day of ‘not-quite-lockdown’ and the first day after the school sent all staff to work from home. Walking the dog along the footpath across the golf course and up Cheesers to Lodge Hill. Everywhere is still and quiet. A few colleagues seen in the distance. A wave but no closer greetings. The first time I have ever seen it without grounds staff and gardeners busy somewhere. But the signs of their work are everywhere. The gardens are filled with bulbs, the buds swelling on the wisteria, perfectly pruned. On the golf course the greens are immaculate after one last frantic day of care. And on the pitches, wickets are ready for a cricket season that may never happen. The blue sky empty of aircraft and free of com trails – a site I have seldom seen in my lifetime – brings a sense that this is a global tragedy.