Venturing out and seeking solitude

A few days ago, a friend in Australia sent me a message: ‘Been to the beach lately? Worrying scenes on our televisions!’ He was referring to the major incident declared when around half a million people flocked to Bournemouth on the UK’s south coast last week on one of the hottest days of the yearContinue reading “Venturing out and seeking solitude”

Face masks in my garden

Situated on a T-junction, with only a few streets between it and the gusts of the English Channel, our house tends to get a lot of litter blown into its front garden. Over the time we have lived here, I have got used to picking up crisp packets, drinks cans and chocolate wrappers that haveContinue reading “Face masks in my garden”

Going our separate ways

The past few days have brought a greater sense of variety and divergence to life here on the UK’s south coast. With different lockdown rules now applying to different groups of people (for example, single adults are now at liberty to form a bubble with another household, while those deemed clinically vulnerable are still advisedContinue reading “Going our separate ways”

Life opening up again

The world has felt different these last few days. Walking out with my toddler along the cliffs near my house yesterday, a change was evident. The flags were back on the municipal golf course around the Martello tower. The tennis nets were up on the courts at the local sports facility and two games wereContinue reading “Life opening up again”

2020: the year that recalibrated time?

Strange things have been happening to time, these past few months. When the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, it felt in many ways as though life had ground to a halt. Projects were postponed; plans were left hanging. Three weddings I was meant to attend were put off – two of them untilContinue reading “2020: the year that recalibrated time?”

First takeaway coffee since lockdown began

It happened on a whim. Out for a walk with my toddler this morning, I noticed that Bobbies Bakehouse, the small cafe running in the signal box at the now-defunct Folkestone Harbour station, was open for takeaways. Knowing my daughter’s penchant for warm, frothy milk (or a babyccino as it’s known in the trade), IContinue reading “First takeaway coffee since lockdown began”

Back to school

Today marks the partial reopening of the UK’s primary (elementary) schools. Although classroom teaching has been available for the children of keyworkers throughout the pandemic, the majority of the nation’s pupils have been at home since mid-March. From now, three year groups are officially allowed back: Reception (aged 4-5), Year 1 (aged 5-6) and YearContinue reading “Back to school”

Social media outrage

A couple of days ago, a Dutch writer friend retweeted something at me. ‘Did you see this one-sentence postcolonial novel? ;)’ he asked. The ‘novel’ was a tweet by London-based Lebanese-Iraqi architect and satirist Karl Sharro. It was this: ‘The British are finally experiencing what’s it like to have the British rule your country.’ TheContinue reading “Social media outrage”

The last bank holiday of spring

For self-employed people, national holidays often don’t mean much. In the twelve years that I have worked for myself, I have tended to treat many of them as normal working days. When you don’t get paid if you don’t work, time off loses some of its appeal. In lockdown, this sense of bank holidays becomingContinue reading “The last bank holiday of spring”

First outing with a face mask

A few days ago, I put on a face mask for the first time. Although much of the rest of the world has been wearing them for weeks (and much longer than that in the case of some nations), here in the UK the habit has been slow to catch on. The official advice hasContinue reading “First outing with a face mask”