Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Scenes from the Lockdown

Well, last night's Address to the Nation doesn't seem to have cut an awful lot of ice round here. I ventured out this morning expecting to find the streets deserted but for roaming hygiene police snatch squads in full hazchem gear – no, I didn't really; I expected to find things looking much the same today as they did yesterday. And so it proved. More things closed of course – but not the parks, thank heavens – and rather more 'social distancing' being observed by some (though two young couples meeting up greeted each other with such extravagant embraces you'd think one of them had just returned from the dead). There were as many people out and about, enjoying the weather, as there were yesterday, and – far from a climate of fear – the atmosphere was cheerful and friendly. People are exchanging nods and smiles and greetings with strangers far more than is usual round here, and that is good to see, and to do. 
It occurred to me, as I wandered in the warm spring sunshine, with Brimstones and Peacocks flying everywhere, that if the stormy weather of early March had come later in the month it might have delayed this latest lockdown – people would have been effectively locked down by the weather. Not that I'd wish this glorious sunshine away...

If you're self-isolating and looking for amusement and edification, you could always read this book, if you haven't already  – but here's another idea: have a good wander around this extraordinary website, devoted to the paintings of Van Eyck and, in particular, the restoration of the great Ghent altarpiece. The quality of the images, and the degree of magnification possible, is quite extraordinary.

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