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9:13am on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020:



On Monday, I started a new regime by which I go on a walk in the morning before work. My hope is that this may delay the atrophying of my lower limbs without causing them lasting damage. Because exercise was explicitly allowed by the Prime Minister in his "stay at home or you'll kill us all" speech on Monday evening, I have continued to do it.

It's interesting to see who's out and about. Yesterday, I counted the cars that went past: there were 36, or roughly one a minute. I did this because I had a suspicion that drivers of certain makes of car (BMW, Audi, Mercedes) might think that the Covid-19 instructions from the government were as optional as they believe the Highway Code to be; this was not in evidence, however, with only three of the cars that went past falling into the category of vehicle makes I was counting separately. I didn't categorise the other vehicles, but noticed that there were three minis among the 36. It would also seem that more drivers of SUVs have a legitimate need to be driving around in the morning than one might expect from the number of SUVs normally observed. Further research is necessary.

Today, though, I didn't count cars (although the impression I got was that the breakdown was pretty much the same as yesterday). Instead, I counted people I passed by. There were fewer around than yesterday, but that may be because I set off 20 minutes earlier. In total, I encountered 14 individuals walking (plus two cyclists):
3 joggers
2 dog-walkers
2 people looking at their mobile phones and not where they were going
3 people together (a parent taking his kids to school)
2 people walking with purpose
2 construction workers

The construction workers were moaning that they were having to go to work rather than stay indoors and wait for the Covid-19 storm to pass. Given that their critical infrastructure maintenance involved laying a driveway in someone's garden, I can see their point.

Tomorrow, I'll count vans. I may give the sandwiches-and-buffet van I saw today the benefit of the doubt, but I'm unpersuaded that the signwriter or TV aerial repairer are vital cogs in the machinery of the nation who are selflessly risking their lives to stave off the worst of the virus.

Yes, I do keep 2 metres away from everyone — more, if possible. That said, it's a little unnerving to walk past a woman whose perfume lingers in the air for the next 20 metres. If this new coronavirus can live in perfume, I'm a goner.

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Copyright © 2020 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).