Somerset April 6th

Another week has passed and being in the cottage is now normal. Today there have been 51,608 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK. Out of those 5373 have died. Cuzzie replied to an email I sent earlier saying a friend of her’s in London died from it over the weekend. He was only in his fifties.

In New York they have had just over 123000 cases and 4159 deaths. The total death toll in America is under 10000. NYC is experiencing a major crisis with one council man tweeting a few hours ago that the morgues, including makeshift morgues made from frozen lorry trailers are now at full capacity, which means they might have to start burying the dead in the parks. It’s medieval.

Here Boris Johnson has had it over a week and, after self-isolating for a week, has now been admitted to hospital. Every day throws up new crazy and unbelievable stories. Everyday I’m reminded of something from a sci-fi movie.

My work rate has gone down, there’s no doubt. Tomorrow I must get back to writing. I am exactly halfway through my online course (what a happy accident it was that I decided to do that). 6 assignments done. 6 to go. And it’s been going well.

The Tablet Education Supplement have reduced what they are publishing so the Roger article is on the back burner. I had an idea for ‘walking from home’ during the pandemic and the positives of this. I must continue that tomorrow.

It has been a slow start to the week because, against all the national advice, I broke curfew on Friday evening and drove to Exeter to see Lamprini. It was another surreal experience. A beautiful Spring evening. Trees, shrubs and flowers bursting into life. Birds piping, warbling, cooing. Butterflies and bees flitting and buzzing.

And on the roads, nothing.

I had a reminder of stories of liaisons during the blitz. Had it come from ‘The End of the Affair’, Graham Greene’s wartime novel about obsession and jealousy? Who knows.

Whichever way you look at it it was a transgression. On all news outlets the message is patently clear ‘Stay at home’. Anyone caught engaging in non-essential travel can be stopped and fined.

Joining the M5 near Taunton, the three lanes curved away to the horizon while the odd lorry would come past me in the opposite direction. How many times had I been on this road packed with traffic: caravans, motorhomes, groups of motorcyclists, etc. This is the route to the West – the holidaymakers’ trail. Everyone is at home. But not me.

Police cars were waiting on the roadside and on road bridges. I have my lanyard and school teacher ID hanging from the rear view mirror. I am alone. And there are other motorists. Also alone. I wonder if this is what the traffic police have been told to look out for. I think it is illegal for groups of 2 or more to be driving anywhere.

I wasn’t stopped. I didn’t see any more police in Exeter. Not the whole weekend. And only one police car on the way back today. Lucky.

And how lovely to be allowed a break from home. And company. Lamprini is a rare creature: little, intelligent, introverted, sensitive, sensual, determined and brave. She has moments of intensity when she is lost in thought and then from nowhere she laughs with great gusto, a real explosion of joy while her dark eyes twinkle.

Like I said before, how lucky to have found her before the wave of virus rolled over us and changed everything. We can hide from the world while we self isolate.

Tomorrow I must return to my routine. Run and read and write in the morning. Walk and write some more in the afternoon. There is a temptation to mix and get wasted in the evenings but that’ll have to wait.

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