It is lockdown week 14 and maybe the heat has got me hallucinating but I think the end of lockdown is in sight. However I could have sworn that Boris said everything (apart from beauty salons and swimming pools) and everybody (apart from OH & I) would be opening up on 4th July. Yet this week, still June, there have been wild gatherings and parties, in parks, on beaches and on our river. Our police have been attacked and injured as they now take over as the frontline in the fight with Covid-19.
I am guessing that the sun came out and nobody could wait. As I am still in lockdown awaiting OH’s op I cannot allow myself to think about ending lockdown. Everyone else has had enough of lockdown and just wants to feel free both physically and mentally. They don’t need to wait for pubs and restaurants to open up to have fun. Liverpool won the league and the crowds gathered at their home stadium. The sun came out and Bournemouth beach was packed whilst Majorca was empty – missing the Brits?
Here on the river it has been lovely seeing people using it during lockdown to exercise, on paddle boards, in kayaks or simply swimming. Power boats were not allowed out until recently. Now the river is heaving. It is to be expected when it is so hot however it appears that teenagers, not at school and without the pressure of exams, have borrowed their parents’ boats and are letting their exuberance out on the river. Alcohol comes into play and so we have potential cocktail of danger.
So it was this week that OH and I were watching TV at about 10.30pm on a still, warm evening when we heard constant shouting and screaming. We live next to a lock and boats moor on our land whilst waiting to get through the lock. However after a while we decided I should pop to the riverside and make sure there was no-one in trouble.
I was greeted by three boats moored up, with about 25 teenagers having a party, and this is how the conversation went.
Me: “Hi is there any way you could keep the noise down as it made me come and check no-one was calling for help.”
Slightly drunk boy: “We’re just trying to go through the lock”
Me: “Well you aren’t trying very hard as the lock gates aren’t on ‘open sesame’ mode.”
Girl in teeny weeny yellow bikini (isn’t there a song for this look?): approaches: “But isn’t there a man to open it?”
Me: “Strangely not on a Wednesday at 10.30pm but looking at how you are dressed I guess you are unaware of the time?”
Girl: “F*** what are we going to do?”
Me: “Can you all read?”
Girl: “Yes I think so” (!!!!)
Me: “Well go to the lock, if you can walk in a straight line without falling in the river, and read the instructions.”
Girl now joined by a few drunken boys and other equally gorgeous girls: “Are they difficult to follow?”
Me: “No” (mutters under breath – to most people with brain cells that haven’t been fried by sun and alcohol.) And now that I know you can read please can you read to me the notice you are leaning against.”
Boy: “This is private property, by kind permission of the owners you can moor here whilst waiting for the lock. Please turn your engines off and keep the noise down.”
The group: “Oh!”
Me: And just for your information I am not sure groups of six keeping 2m or even 1m distance is happening here. So basically you aren’t getting much right tonight. My advice is go home and sober up.”
They took another half an hour to get through the lock and it was all
done with much screaming!!
I know we were all the same at that age. Life was for having fun and it always involved alcohol but then we didn’t get to use big powerful boats on the river late at night. My OH says the nearest he got was a Pedalo off the beach at Westcliff-on-Sea. Of course adults can be just as loud and out of control in a boat. However seeing these youngsters, who probably had left parents behind at home desperate to have their first evening on their own, I could see how hard it is to lift lockdown slowly. 67 million people have by and large been cooped up and now they are free – small details like waiting until 4th July and only gathering in small groups whilst still social distancing seem low on everyone’s list of priorities. Getting out is what we all want.
As I am housebound still waiting for OH’s operation – also on 4th July – I am fearful that that this is all going to end in tears and subsequently more lockdown. If we can’t behave we will be shoved back in our boxes. I hope there is truth in the rumour that the sun kills Covid-19 but what does anyone really know? This is going to be the biggest test for the government, the scientists and the British public.
For all of my Lockdown week by week posts click HERE