Today I went for a trot along the wild, lonely aqueduct road, which even in normal circumstances is a rather marvellously desolate place. I began this Roman Quarantine on Day 2 happily trotting through Roman parks to the sounds of 90s country music (one of my favourite genres, I’m now happily too old to care that it mightn’t be quite the thing). I wondered at the end of that post, seven weeks – but also possibly a thousand years – ago, how Alan Jackson and his ilk might have responded to the obligation to stay at home. It turns out the singers are mostly wise enough to keep quiet, but as we’ve seen many of their fans aren’t quite so patient. It’s more than a little tiresome, but being cautious seems the only option (not only the right thing to do), and so we’ll do it: liberty is also the freedom for everyone not to die of a tedious virus.
Anyway after seven weeks of no low-grade jogging (I know no other sort), and while still staying close to home and far from anyone else, today I returned to my favourite trotting song: Dolly Parton, Why’d you come in here looking like that. Try it, it’s ace. I have a massive soft spot for Dolly Parton: great songs, free books for kids; what’s not to love?
On this random Saturday, somewhere in the wilds of a couple of solid months of quite the Sunday-est of Sundays, the wild flowers were blooming and I went a little further than I have in nearly two months. I picked some flowers on my way back and we had them on the table as we ate our lunch listening to my cousin Alexander and his wife Ruth on their lockdown radio show (betterdays.fm 12-2pm UK time).
There was Bruce Springsteen and T’Pau and jauntiness and shoutouts to us and family and friends. We loved it. Because at the moment what is nicer than some jolly music and feeling a little bit closer to those people you can’t see but with whom you would very much like to have a proper long, chatty, and possibly boozy lunch?