If any future historians are reading this – and don’t worry, I know there aren’t actually any future historians reading this – please take note of the change in tone from last week’s post. Background levels of coronavirus conversation amid fun social activities have now been replaced by mass economic shutdown, with Randi and I now coming off our first week of working from home together in our hastily-assembled home office / bunker.
Thankfully my industry is already well-adjusted to home working and I’ve always worked with remote colleagues, but it was still a surreal moment to watch Monday afternoon’s Downing Street press conference from the office and realise that it might be quite some time before I set foot there again. I walked down the street to St Pancras with my desk monitor jammed halfway into a Tesco bag for life, boarded an emptier-than-usual Thameslink home and apologised to the guy sitting next to me when I sneezed.
I’m sure things will keep changing quickly, but at time of writing we aren’t living in quite the same extreme situation as the “lockdowns” and “shelter in place” orders elsewhere. This morning Randi and I went on a long walk – nowhere with public crowds – and there’s still lots of life around. But obviously we are sticking in the flat most of the time, indulging the pseudo-wartime vibe by migrating to the sofa for the government’s daily broadcast. (And yes, if there are any current historians reading this, I am aware that Skyping friends and family or playing group games on the Ticket to Ride mobile app* before popping out to the Co-Op for dinner does not qualify as WW2. Apart from anything else, during WW2 they probably didn’t keep making postmodern WW2 references.)
Anyway, none of this will be news to everyone else who’s all living the exact same thing. But it is an extended excuse for an upcoming dearth of content on this blog. It seems like such a long time ago that we joined Steve, Simon and Fleur for deep-dish dinner at Jape’s, but actually it was only last Thursday. I present this one photo of Steve and Randi arguing about the size and shape of pyramids you would need to construct a cube (yes, really) as an homage to a lost age.
On Sunday we walked our last Loop for a while (sniff) before the Great Pause officially began. So I guess my final meal out for a while was actually at The Full Monty café where I stockpiled a Full English in the most direct way possible. “Oh, that’s a rare thing – customers!” cried the guy behind the counter when we walked in. But the next time you find yourself around Coulsdon South – and it might be a while – you should follow our example.
*A group game which I actually won! So I think it’s important to share the message that you too can prosper by providing decent, hardworking Midwesterners the dedicated railway services they deserve: