This new normal just isn’t normal!
I’m lucky to have beautiful forests to my east and west but to my south is probably the best beach coastline in UK. We decided to walk along a section of that award winning 7 mile bay. But we went via a shop. I had to return something purchased shortly before lockdown and like most shops which shut, this one extended the returns period due to COVID-19. The shop was a big one and easy to distance, but the preparations were very good indeed. I donned a face covering and upon entering, I was instructed to wash my hands with sanitiser before proceeding to the right department – they had a non-contact sanitising facility with a foot pump to eject the soap onto waiting hands. Very efficient. I repeated the exercise on the way out. This was the second visit to a shop in as many days. After donning a face covering, I entered a small shop to get some milk (one needs milk in tea!) and that was my first foray into a shop since before lockdown, some 4 months ago.
Onto the beach, it was a cloudy but hot day and the sun was burning through the cloud. Even though this beautiful beach has been in the news for being overcrowded, during our visit, the beach wasn’t at all crowded and the promenade was easy to navigate without getting close to anyone. We had lunch on the way to our half way point and an ice cream on the way back. It just felt normal.
BUT, it wasn’t really normal, there were visible signs warning people to stay apart, people wearing face coverings, people avoiding you, and getting in line to make a purchase needed bigger gaps than normal. Eerily, there’s 3 large cruise ships parked out in the bay because Southampton, a major cruise liner terminal and port, 20 miles east, is full to the brim with redundant cruise liners. Three cruise liners parked in Bournemouth bay just isn’t normal. It’s July, it’s summer, and this beach was nowhere near its usual quota of people – this is not normal. I was very conscious of touching anything and everything, washing my hands every now and then – that isn’t normal. Conversely, locking yourself in the house for months isn’t normal either. You know what, I totally get why people are frightened and apprehensive, I remain overcautious but I realise that life has to go on – just in a different way, in a safer way with more risk assessments.
The new normal is not normal. I think COVID anxiety is a real thing but I believe it can be overcome by treading carefully, one step at a time. Everything we do in life is risky, driving a car, getting on a plane, walking to the shops, we just need to assess the risks in relation to our own situation. Staying cooped up inside has it’s own very real risks too.
This too shall pass.
Enjoy the pictures.
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