It’s hard to imagine now that we were apprehensive about being seen getting into the car to drive a mile into Lyme Regis to pick up some fresh veg or salad, or that I sat nervously on the beach 6 feet away from my best friend eating a socially distanced picnic and hoping that no-one would dob us in – but looking at my phone photos from March to September 2020, they bring it all back.
The getting up early for a pre-breakfast walk before the place got busy and one might inadvertently come within breathing distance of a stranger; opening kissing gates with sleeved hands; making sure we had face coverings to go into the shop; endless applications of alcohol gel; following the hectoring signs in every shop, on every railing and post, about what we were and weren’t allowed to do; walking with non-household members at the regulation distance (a whole generation will grow up thinking that 6 feet is the same as 2 metres!); and on and on.
Left: 3rd April 2020 07:47
Right: 8th May 2020, 09:33
Fortunately, the worst excesses of this state intervention in our daily lives coincided with a long period of warm sunny weather, and repeated walks in the same location near to home for our regulation hour of exercise gave me the opportunity to develop my already-settled habit of exploring the same location for new takes on very familiar subjects.
Left: 10th June 2020, 07:06
Right: 2nd July 2020, 08:05
My catalogue for the first lockdown is therefore replete with images of Uplyme (where I live), and our nearest town, Lyme Regis. Most of them are just fairly trivial mementos of a rather weird time, but I thought it was interesting to select just a few from more or less the same location in different conditions. Looking either east along the Jurassic Coast towards Golden Cap, or straight out into the Channel, here are my picks for the months of the first lockdown.
Left: 7th August 2020, 07:36
Right: 10th September 2020, 07:47
Lyme is in full summer holiday mode now, and it’s great to see families having unfettered fun on the beach and browsing the shops and eating places. A few tattered signs still urge us to keep masked up and follow the arrows on the floor, but most have now worn away or been binned, for which I am profoundly grateful. We are social animals, and badly needed to return to our customary habits for our well-being.
I leave you with this unintentionally macabre instruction on a corner in Seaton, round which the unwary pedestrian might come into proximity with another human being. I have a more extensive collection from this “close to home” project, spanning several years, as an album on my Facebook page. It’s my 2020 online advent calendar, so you have 24 to choose from.