Lockdown Diary: Day One.

Such a curious day. Even though I knew I would not see a living soul, I still put on my lipstick and the second-best hat. Something about morale and not letting everything go.

The routine with the horses was completely different. First of all, my dear posse of young horsewomen were not there, so there was an eerie quiet where we usually have shrieks of laughter and murmurs of affection.

The red mare and I went out for a very gentle, old lady ride. Usually, we run into walkers and families and children. (The red mare adores children, so we always stop and say hello and ask if the little people want to stroke her.) Today, the place had the sinister emptiness of a disaster movie.

All at once, I spotted a young mother and her tiny baby. She and I did not know each other from Adam, but we waved at each other as if we were long-lost sisters. It was so lovely to feel connected to another human being, even a stranger, even at a vast distance.

I work from home anyway, so my usual daily routine was, if anything, slightly busier than usual. But all the time I was aware of the strange, Christmas Day silence outside. I live next door to two offices and a building yard, and there is usually a tremendous amount of coming and going. The farmer arrives with his tractor and the builders zoom about in their diggers.

I spotted one man in a van, and there was more delighted waving. The trucks and the diggers and the tractors and the trailers were all parked up and silent.

And then I had mushrooms on toast for supper, because I craved something comforting and simple.

Everyone will adjust to this. Human beings are amazingly adaptable and resilient. I have a secret hope that it might even lead to more kindness and co-operation and love. There is nothing like the world stopping to remind one of what is truly important.

I miss the cheery chat in the village. I miss hugs. I miss the feeling of community I get every day, hardly even realising it. I’ve lived in this part of Scotland for a long time, and it is stitched into my heart. I’m a solitary and I don’t go out much. (I go to the pub about three times a year for fish and chips and it is always a vast treat.) But I had not realised how many people I do see in my daily life, just going about the place – the gentle boy in the petrol station, beaming Wanda in the Co-op, my horsing girls, the ladies in the shop who have my Racing Post ready for me and don’t mind my muddy boots and the hay that is so often in my hair.

I miss all that, and it’s only one day in.

But just think how glorious it will be when we can all go out and about again. I’m going to hug everyone. I shall never take ordinary human contact for granted ever again.

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