Living with changes

Susan Hall

No vapour trails

Life during lockdown changed in so many ways, we are all told stay home, only go out for one form of exercise or for food and medicine.

So you begin to adapt, you start working from home setting up makeshift offices in the dining room or a spare bedroom, or where ever you can find a space.

You have to remember to take breaks, have lunch and move about. The commute to work is much easier and a pleasant one, probably via the kettle or the fridge.

But have you noticed other things that are missing or even more obvious!

I was born in Welwyn Garden City in 1960 and aside from a span of about 7 years I have lived here all my life. My house is on the north east side of the town and normally I can hear the traffic roaring around the one way system, except in the late evenings and at weekends that sound is endless.

But, at the moment there is silence, no traffic noise, just the occasional vehicle going by.

I can also hear the trains going to and from London, if the wind is in the right direction they can be very loud, over the past three months I have only heard the occasional train, no fast trains going into London, which are the ones that make the most sound.

Being in an area surrounded by airports, Luton and Stanstead, we can see aeroplanes and hear them in the distance. We can see lots of vapour tails in the sky, knowing that someone is going on a business trip or a holiday somewhere in the world.

Now, no planes are going overhead, no vapour trails or the sounds of planes, just the odd one now and again.

What I can hear are more birds singing, the sound of families enjoying their gardens. Gardeners trimming their hedges or cutting the grass. The trees and shrubs in my garden rustling in the breeze. The sound of wind chimes from the surrounding houses, some deep and woody, others a gently tinkle like small bells.

I can smell more outdoor smells, grass, flowers and barbeques. No fumes or vapour from the traffic.

Although only being allowed out for one form of exercise a day, there are more people about, walking, running and cycling. They keep their distance, but you always get a hello or ‘morning’

Children are not in school so there are no sounds of voices and laughter in the playgrounds, just silence. The children of care workers are still in school, but they cannot mix or have close contact with anyone, playing in the outdoors whilst at school must be very different.

However, there are more children out and about with their parents, going on walks, learning to ride bikes, learning about their surroundings, probably spending more time as families then they have ever done before.

Eventually the lock down will start to be relaxed, you will be able to go out more, shops will start opening and businesses will begin to go back to work. You will be able to start meeting people outside, eventually seeing family again without having to distance yourself, being able to give a grandchild a hug, or your elderly mother who you haven’t seen for three months.

The aeroplanes will start appearing in the sky leaving their vapour trails and the traffic will start building up again, the roaring sounds will begin to increase around the one way system drowning out the other sounds you have discovered.

But think about this, for the past few months people have worked from home, have had a better work/home life balance, do you really need to go to an office to do your job, can you still work from home, may be not every day, but most days.

Life will get back to normal, but maybe this will be the start of a new normal.


This page was added on 29/05/2020.

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