Locked down.

Day whatever of lockdown. As of this week we’ve moved from “Stay home” to “Stay alert”. Face masks may be worn in some shops and on public transport, but it’s only a suggestion. A fourteen-day quarantine for overseas travellers might be imposed, or perhaps it mightn’t, sometimes in the future. More than ever, this country needed a Winston Churchill. It got Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill.
Anyway, enough with politics. Better to head out, to check how the neighbourhood is coping. After all, that’s as far as we can go. Or perhaps now we can go further. But not to Wales. Definitely not to Wales.
The situation is critical, the tunnel is long and, whilst we can see the world around it, we’ve got to walk its entire length. But not everyone’s in agreement. For somebody, it’s a hoax. Actually, a haox. I bet that whoever wrote this also passes his/her time posting comments on the BBC’s website.
Mr. Monkey lives close to the Tube station and he isn’t taking any chances. “Better be safe than sorry”, he says.
We love walking around the posher streets in our neighbourhood. There’s a milk van – remember them? well, this one’s electric, get that Elon! – leaving milk and juice on people’s doorsteps. A Fiat 500. Beautiful bicycles. Last Thursday, during the “get-out-and-clap-your-hands-for-the-frontline-workers” minute, somebody improvised a three-piece concert: viola, violin and cello. Three neighbours got together and played Somewhere over the rainbow to a small crowd of socially-distant locals, plus some dogs who spent the whole performance sniffing each other’s arse.
A side entrance – painted black so not to be covered with soot – leading into the old stables of a beautiful manor, its main gate a triumph of white wood and stained glass, and a cross to remember the all-but forgotten tragedy of Holodomor. Both are a few blocks away from our flat.

Lastly, something genuinely heart-warming. Since the first days of the lockdown this bus stop has been turned in an art gallery for the local kids. It’s been like that for weeks and no one – no soulless council worker, no bored yobbo, no inane tagger – has vandalised it. Which is all the better for, amongst the many beautiful drawings, it contiains the absolute masterpiece below. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a young Ringo Starr worrying for the NHS. Ricky Wally, you’re a legend.

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32 Responses to Locked down.

  1. MELewis says:

    I loved the walk around your neighbourhood! Part of my frustration during lockdown has been a complete absence of the things you shared: artwork, people being spontaneous, interesting houses. It’s all rather dull around here. As for the need for Winston Churchill, I agree. This crisis has also shown the limitations of our leaders. Sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I sit alone with my dogs and ever-more silent wife, here in the mountains of Tennessee, I often wonder what life is like around the world. I appreciate your sharing. Reading your post actually gave me a smile. “HAOX”: It is reassuring, somehow, to know that the public schools in the USA are not the only ones that are failing, and it makes me less worried to hear that schools may not re-convene in the Fall. I mean, What’s the Point?

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Oh, spelling’s been atrocious here for ages. Sometimes I wish the Oxford English dictionary gave up and admitted that ‘its’ can be written as “it’s” and you’re “your”. Glad I could give you some escapism, stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, what a lovely jaunt around your neighbourhood, Fabrizio. The weather looks lovely. Although we can still sit on our balcony for our morning cup of coffee at sunrise, and sometimes even with a glass of wine at sunset, we are nearing the tipping point for what I would consider pleasant. I won’t miss these long suffocating summers when we can finally make the move to Portugal. I hope you will soon be able to go as far as Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hey Jolandi!
      The weather has been great ever since the lockdown has been ordered (with the odd bad day or two), which is typical bad karma of course.
      I’ve been to Dubai a couple of times for work and both times have been more than enough for me. I’d rather live in the Kazakh steppe, -30C winters included. Good luck on your move to Portugal!

      Like

  4. That bus shelter art gallery is so lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Yes, the families involved in that little project are my hope for the neighbourhood. The remainder of the place is made of posh families with dads and moms driving gigantic Range Rovers, pink trousers, whippets as dogs and kids taking scooters in shops. If I had a pound for every time I heard little Oliver scream MUMMY WE’RE OUT OF MANUKA HONEY or other such things I’d be a millionaire.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. J.D. Riso says:

    I enjoyed your neighborhood adventure just as much as your far-flung adventures. It seems just as surreal and exotic. The reemergence is going to be so strange, a shock. From silence back to noise. It seems as though centuries have passed in just 2 months. Good to hear you are well, Fabrizio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Indeed Julie, it feels like ages. Exactly one year ago I was on Easter Island. It might partially be because of my change of jobs, but it feels like a million years ago. And the other day I had to stop and think whether one could walk from car to car on the Overground, or if they had those closed compartments. It’s going to be a long slog to normality, whatever that is…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the walk in your neighbourhood. I love seeing what communities are doing, like the children’s artwork on the bus shelter. We’re living in a remote are right now which is nice to be safe, but I have no idea what kind acts are being performed in the cities.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful! Thanks for taking us on a walk around your streets. You’re sure that’s not Frank Zappa? I know he wasn’t English but he was a global thinker – he certainly would have worried about the NHS.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That bus shelter is gold! And the drawing of Ringo priceless. What a great neighbourhood you live in. Still appalled by the bad spelling and random (clueless) use of apostrophes though. I guess they don’t teach that anymore 🙂 Still in these times it’s hardly important.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lexklein says:

    Thanks for getting us out and about, London-style. I’m not sure if it’s better to be in a big city or a more remote place in the country during all this craziness. We’ve kind of walked the middle here in our very large but still spread-out city, and for the last two weeks, I fully escaped! (It was allowed, for the record.) I drove 16 hours through the high plains of West Texas, and on into the front range of the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado – a magnificent respite of bleak but soothing landscapes – and back again. Your surroundings have their charm as well, and I’m glad you have places and things that make you smile even when the posh twats are making you cringe!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really enjoyed your refreshing take on a neighbourhood walk. I didn’t know milk delivery still existed! I remember this as a kid in Montreal and my mom getting mad at me if I forgot to bring it in before it froze in winter. The bus shelter artwork is an awesome idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Yes, it’s not that common but some wealthy wealthy areas still have the milkman. I should point out I don’t live there! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  11. Dave Ply says:

    Thanks for the walking tour. Your neighborhood is more eclectic than mine, twats and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lignum Draco says:

    A lovely neighbourhood stroll. It’s great to see no-one has vandalised that kids art gallery.
    For the period of lockdown here, it was a pleasure to enjoy the clean air, safe roads and relative lack of political divisiveness. A shame some things will be lost when we return to “normal”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      I had you until you got to lack of political disiveness. Here everyone is quacking like ducks on PCP. anyway, thanks for reading! The kids gallery is still going strong.

      Like

  13. equinoxio21 says:

    Fantastic. Love the bus stop. Cheers “Mate”. Keep up the spirit. I hope your relations and friends in Italy are as well as may be.
    A bientôt

    Like

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