May 1st.

I’ve been looking back, as there is probably a tendency to do, at this stage of the lockdown, at its beginnings. Formal lockdown came on Monday 23rd. March. The two weeks before lockdown are in everyone’s minds as to whether or not the government acted fast enough. I find it interesting to look back at the three weeks before lockdown. Monday 2nd. March was the first time someone refused to shake hands and there was already an awareness of impending difficulties. Monday 9th. March was a dinner at the National Portrait Gallery. We already knew that we were on the decks of the Titanic and Roy Strong had said – in retrospect, very sensibly – that he didn’t feel able to come, but did. Wednesday 11th. March was the opening of Titian: Love, Desire and Death. I didn’t think it was a great idea to go and mingle with a lot of people, which was correct, although I bitterly regret now not having been able to see the exhibition. Wednesday 12th. March, we had lunch at the lovely new restaurant at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. We cancelled a birthday lunch on Sunday 15th. March because everyone by then knew it would be a really bad idea. I was by no means as well informed as a lot of other people who were already self-isolating. They must have been better informed about the progress of the disease in China. I mention this not to be macabre, but only to make the point that many people already knew what were likely to be the problems at the beginning of March. In retrospect – I know it is too easy to be wise after the event – we were all slow to react, including, especially, the government.


2 thoughts on “May 1st.

  1. Juliana Cavaliero says:

    Thanks for sharing, I absolutely agree, these were the two crucial weeks. Have you read Dominic Minghella’s writings about these crucial days? Really heartbreaking

    • I hadn’t, but I now have. Says what I was thinking, but much more powerfully, particularly the feeling that we should not allow our memories to be warped, which is why I wanted to write it down now, to remember.

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