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A Pensioner’s Tale of Lockdown

Lockdown – a new experience and a hitherto little-used word.  The Oxford Compact English Dictionary defines lockdown as “the confining of prisoners to their cells”- other dictionaries may differ in detail – and although we are not undergoing anything quite as draconian as that, it must seem almost as bad to those who, because of various health problems are deemed to be of particular risk of coronavirus, must not leave their homes for three months.

But for most of us, we can go out, to work where that cannot be done from home, or for other very limited reasons.  Nevertheless, we are discouraged from using public transport and whilst the Henshaw buses are still running through Badsey, for the most part they are completely devoid of passengers.  Of those people who must travel to work, we immediately think of the men and women employed in the National Health Service and in care homes, whose tireless efforts have done much to lessen the effects of the virus.

But for all of us it has been a strange sort of existence:  no family parties; no visits from grandchildren; no meetings for coffee with friends; no meetings of Women’s Institute, Mothers’ Union, Badsey Society or other organisations; no sporting activities.

Even with the recent relaxation of a few of the restrictions, so that wider travel is allowed and garden centres can open, the restaurants and public hoses are still closed.  Few could have imagined that places of worship would be forced to close.  It is doubtful whether Badsey parishioners have been denied access to their church at any previous time during its long history.

Here in Badsey, in spite of the difficulties and frustration, we are fortunate in many ways.  We have an excellent village shop, also offering a delivery service to vulnerable people, as does the next-door butcher.  Both The Round of Gras and The Wheatsheaf Inn will deliver meals, lunchtime and evenings.  Leaflets have been delivered throughout the village by a group known as Badsey Social Aid, providing much useful information.  We hear many stories of the kind acts of individuals, shopping for those unable to get out or simply a phone call.

Friday 8th May was the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the end of the war in Europe, and although it was not possible to hold full-scale celebrations, many residents, individually or in small groups, sat outside their home in beautiful weather to enjoy a tea or drinks party, no doubt in some cases sharing memories of street parties 75 years ago.  The difficult and unprecedented experiences during the past few weeks have clearly demonstrated that a strong community spirit is still alive in Badsey.

T C Sparrow, Badsey, 20th May 2020