Saturday, 16 May 2020

A day in Broadstairs during lockdown

Friday 15th May 2020, the sun shone and Nathan and I headed to the beach. The house was looking scruffy and needed a lot of attention but I had worked too hard lately. We were able to get out to go walking now, Boris said. So, I spent some time in the garden writing and drinking a soya milk coffee (would the dairy free life finally get rid of this cough?), listening to the fountain tinkling in the pond while my son slept. Broadstairs.  The home of Charles Dickens. We would go there. Always takes me back to happy times at college.










One pound lighter. I was dieting now. I’d lost half a stone on lockdown but wasn’t sure if that was enough so I was aiming for another half a stone before we start getting out in public again. Our local independent gluten free coffee house would be serving me cake again soon enough, so I felt it was a good idea to go a pound or two under my ideal weight just so I can enjoy a guilt free piece of carrot cake. 

Broadstairs was more than beautiful, and there was a solitary cloud looking more like a feather against the deep blue back drop. I vlogged the day, pointing out my history within the local pubs and even the old Captain Digby which was now someone’s home. We had so much fun in there on the nights before we rocked up at Nero’s, the nightclub in Ramsgate. I had never known anything quite like it. Proper clubbing, so much fun, especially on a particular, chilly night in 1987 but that’s another story for another book. 
     “So, it was like pre-drinks then?” Nathan asked, 
     ‘yeah, kinda, can you imagine me walking down that hill at 17 in all my stuff,’ and I remembered and laughed, ‘curly perm, big hoop earrings and so skinny, red and white striped t-shirt and a little rah rah skirt type thing,’ my mind wandered back to that girl. Carefree on that night, but unusually so.
We took photos and walked, trying to decide if it was warm enough to take the hoody off or should It be kept on. One of my lovely people phoned me and made me smile as we walked and I perched for a minute on a bench near the bandstand to enjoy the phone conversation.  All brand new and lit up, I popped the phone in my back jeans pocket and continued with the history lesson, pointing to Morellis the ice cream shop. It was closed. The windows were dusty on all of the shops since lockdown. 
     Handwritten notes were beginning to fade in the windows now, it had been over 8 weeks since places began to close. A long time. I had got used to it now and I liked most parts of living this lockdown life. A reason to flow downstream on the creative path, which I liked. 



     A local vegan shop was open for take away, one person in the shop at a time. We went in and I bought a coffee, using cash for the very first time in two months. We remained socially distant and followed the rules and walked with the takeaway coffee to sit on the pier where the most perfect empty bench gave us and our thoughts some time to pause.
     It was odd seeing somewhere new again. Just like people. When we see them, that will be new too. I’m frightened. 





Bleak house, where Charles Dickens lived and wrote, had the most perfect desk in front of the most perfect bay window overlooking the sea, high-up on the cliff.  I was in slight envy of that desk but remembered my own office at home with the adjacent palm tree outside. Very blessed, especially when the birds flew in and out to take the little berry type flowers. 

Before long, it was time to stop escaping the lockdown and get home once again. The car felt warm so we opened up the sunroof and windows before choosing some loud, music to play and sing along to. Nathan checked his phone, 
     “Mum it’s work. They are opening up again. They want me to start back on Sunday,”
     “No?” I said. My stomach felt like it was full of waves and I felt tears begin to build some pressure behind my eyes. I wasn’t ready. I liked lockdown. I was clearly still frightened of life, of my children being out there again, of the people getting stressed and afraid of me being so busy that I would wear a watch, check it often, work hard to stay awake and probably not be half the writer I am able to be at the moment. 
     “aww but I like it like this, oh, Nathan,” I said,
     “Not really, I’m just joking, not yet Mum,” he smiled. 


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An excerpt from the forthcoming book, 'No rain no flowers'
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