Day 268: The Second Lockdown in Hove

The guardian had an article on lockdown in Hove last month. It didn’t quite match with my own experiences. It talked about how the second lockdown didn’t feel like a lockdown, and how quiet things were in the first one. But it overplays that hand a little. “No people. Nothing. Now it’s just like normal, whatever normal is,” it quotes one person as saying, and the writer describes the first lockdown as “something rather spectral and unnerving about the UK’s near-abandoned streets, as if a neutron bomb had gone off, and the only people to survive were deeply suspicious of each other”.

The roads were definitely quieter in the first phase of the pandemic, and there was a deep silence in the area where I live. But there were still lots of people walking on the seafront. In fact, the media narrative at the time was all about foolish people crowding together on Brighton seafront and risking the virus. This was unfair, as it didn’t take account of how many people have the seafront as their nearest open space.

There was one significant difference between the two lockdowns. In the first lockdown there was a heavy police presence, and you saw fewer large groups gathering. At one point in April people were even discouraged from sitting on the beach.

Everyone’s pandemic experiences are different, but it’s all difficult. I have an easy time of it in some ways, but there are aspects I find almost unbearable. The second lockdown was a grind, with some things feeling as if they were back to normal. But, my big fear is that I am losing track of what normal ought to be, taking too much of this new world for granted.

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