Home: Lockdown, London

“Coronavirus Update”

Rosie Pentreath, July 2020.

“Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives” –– Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister


Months of masks, mixed messages and mayhem.
Empty buses and endless queues;
Of anger and anxiety; of hope and helping hands.
Clap for our Carers;
Stay home, protect the NHS; save lives.

Daily press briefings: “Are these useful, should we keep doing these?”

HRH The Prince of Wales has coronavirus; Prime minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care.
No-one is immune.
The great leveller.

Streets with no litter, only discarded gloves.
Skies with no jet trails, only sun.
Roads with no cars, only runners.
Quarter of the world in quarantine.

The parks remained full, but the pubs were empty.
The theatres were closed but the video chats were open.

1000 deaths; 10,000 deaths; 30,000 deaths.

Herd immunity was right then a mistake. Now we know.
Let’s flatten the curve and flatten those abs.
Let’s get past the peak and to peak fitness. But stay inside.
Stay 2 metres apart; only 6 foot of loneliness.

We have poetry to cheer you up; music on the Today programme.
Lessons at home: PE with Joe Wickes; Myleene’s Music Klass.

Parents are in pain homeschooling; toilet roll stocks are the big logistical challenge of 2020.
Back to the weekly shop; COBRA meetings and wartime cabinet; VE Day 75 at home. Easter away from loved ones: “please don’t travel”.

Second-home owners hamstrung; Cornwall spared from its invasion by emits.

Knife crime down; cybercrime up.
Money saved; money spent.
Coffee shops closed, MacDonalds closed; the high street is shut.

Oyster card sales down; bicycle sales up. Not a single folding bike in all the land.

Walk to work; walk across London; walk the length of a marathon. As long as it’s only once a day.

Video calls; phone calls; no house calls please.
No takeout, no clubs, no Sunday afternoon pint.
Virtual festivals; Zoom comedy; learn a new language; do a jigsaw puzzle – Grandma night have one you can borrow; learn to do the splits; pick up the piano again; why not try roller skating? Learn ballet.

Virtual yoga and pub quizzes through “House Party” app.
Memes and meanness on Twitter.

Work from home; work for longer; work for 80% of your pay; don’t work for 80% of your pay.

“I hate runners”; “I hate couples”; “I hate kids on beaches”; “I hate people at sunny markets”; “I hate partying teenagers”; “I hate private jets turned around in the sky”.
“I hate people without kids”; “I hate people complaining about home schooling and having to look after the kids they (didn’t know) they chose to have”.
“I hate Trump”; “I hate Boris”; “I hate Hancock and I hate Petel”. “Laura Cuntsberg”; “Piers Morron”; “I hate staying at home”; “I hate being bored”. “I hate pangolins and bats”. “I hate China”.

Stock market crashes; the Great Depression; unemployment rates soar.
Dolphins are back in Venice; goats take over Welsh streets, and Spain sprayed thick bleach across its beaches.

Fake news; hard news; breaking news and leaked news.
The Queen’s emergency speech; the Queen’s VE Day speech.
Empty shelves and full fridges.

30,000 people dying alone.

The silent killer; war against the virus.

Cover your cough and cough into your elbow. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.

Green shoots and v-shaped recovery.

Actors acting alone; performers performing alone. People peopling alone.

Read with: ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac

Rosie Pentreath

I am a writer, digital producer and musician, most often found travelling to some far flung place or other to take photographs on a 1970s Pentax SLR camera. I have contributed to Reader's Digest, Grazia, Classic FM, BBC Music Magazine, Homes & Antiques, Music Feeds, The Fashion Spot and other arts and lifestyle publications.

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