I felt a real need to get out of the house yesterday, especially as I was convinced that the combination of exercise and fresh air would help lift my mood. A little too much research into the science behind the spread of novel Corona virus, and the implications relating to how long this pandemic is going to last, was not the best idea before bedtime, particularly when a good night’s sleep was at stake, but hey, us scientists have a need to know these things
I’m pleased to say my idea worked, and despite a cold easterly wind, the bright spring sunshine helped restore my sanity and brought the way I was feeling back to an even keel. My mood had lifted even before I stepped out of my front door, and with the blossom in full bloom, and people’s gardens looking immaculate, I headed into Tonbridge.
Rather than my normal direct stroll into town, I decided on a circular walk, which took me over the main railway line, past the Royal Mail sorting office and then through the town’s industrial estate. The row of smart, new 20 plate Mercedes, lined up outside one car dealership, looked like they'd remain unsold for some time; people having rather more pressing things on their minds! From there I had a pleasant amble along the banks of the River Medway, towards the Town Lock.
The landscape along the river has changed significantly since the days when I first came to Tonbridge. Back then, part of my walk to work was along the course of the river. Today the rusting hulk of an old gasometer still dominates the southern bank, but new housing developments have sprung up on both sides of the river over the past 15 years, completely altering what was once a very pleasant and semi-rural walk.
I stopped to take a few photos of these developments, with Pete Seeger’s Little Boxes very much on my mind. All that was missing was the hillside, but riverside would be
These new houses and apartments illustrate the folly of building close to a river that is known to flood, as whilst the accommodation is of
There weren’t many people about, but ironically I bumped into a friend and then, on my way home, a neighbour. I hadn't seen either of them for a while, so in both cases there was plenty to catch up with and talk about. Being responsible citizens we managed to exchange our news, views and gossip whilst maintaining the recommended 2 metres, social distancing between us.
I made my way to the Nelson Arms - the community local which has just been voted West Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year. The pub closed several days before Johnson’s edict, but is offering a takeaway service for both beer and cooked meals. I treated myself to a 2 pint container of Goacher's Old, which was one of several local cask ales on tap. Should keg take your fancy, Westmalle Dubbel and Paulaner Munchener Hell are also available. Son Matthew will be pleased when I tell him that the latter beer is available.
Landlord Matt said that beer sales had been buoyant the day before, but Sunday had been very good for takeaway food, with the roast dinners proving extremely popular. The pub offers free delivery for food in south Tonbridge, and having eaten several times at the pub in happier times, the meals come highly recommended.
As with my previous encounters, social distancing was the order of the day, and in addition to keeping ones distance the pub has hand sanitizer and wipes to hand. Also, like many other establishments at the moment, payment is by card, rather than cash.
Several other pubs in the town, are also offering a similar, take-out service, and I will give then a mention in due course. Like many of my CAMRA friends and colleagues, I am keen to support these local businesses, especially as we need them to be there for us, once this pandemic is over.
So the message is follow the new government guidelines – issued less than an hour ago. You should stay at home as much as possible, although you will be allowed out to buy food or pick up medicines. You can also go out to exercise, preferably on your own, or with one other member of your household. Avoid gatherings of more than two people, and only go to your place of employment if you are unable to work from home.
Presumably it is still permitted to buy take-away beer from a local pub that is offering the service, although this may become clearer over the coming days and weeks. Whatever you do, maintain that strict 2 metre separation between yourself and other people, and above all, stay safe and do all you can to stay well.