18 April 2020. The first day of the new cricket season at school. Torrential rain overnight and this morning. The first rain for at least three weeks. How did it know?
Walking past the immaculate and empty pitches today, each wicket carefully protected. Eerily waiting for a season that still may not happen. It may. But the likelihood is that it won’t.
And little bits of activity which begin to look more and more like a siege mentality. Friends and colleagues who have bought laying chickens, a couple who have splashed out on pigs. Beginning to worry about various pet rabbits. Meanwhile, a second trip in a week to Waitrose for essentials – coffee ran out this morning at home. But the only shortage in the shop is still just flour; everything else available, even if some of it still limited in the quantity each shopper can buy.
The rain made some of the footpaths slippery with mud. Over the last few weeks people have been exploring their local area and discovering paths that only the dog-walkers know about. Each path has been getting clearer, more beaten and wider as people step aside to avoid each other, sadly crushing down the plants as they do so. The other day the dog and I waited for at least 15 minutes over our hour’s walk as families with small children plodded by on paths where we have seen no one in four years of walking there. Just wish that some of them said thank you as we wait, but most seem oblivious that we are waiting at all. And a couple of teenagers clearly believing that the other side of the hedge is a discrete place for a clandestine rendezvous. Gave the dog a shock. Twice.
This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community, to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.
© Clare Sargent