The last few months have felt like a whirlwind, and a lifetime, somehow all at once. Pre-lockdown carefree life seems a distant memory, and although there are some really important things that we can learn from lockdown which I have written about recently here, another thing we should remember is the simplicity of the quiet streets. It’s eerie, yet blissful, when the quiet streets that used to be overcrowded and noisy by default, presented us with a post-apocalyptic, silent and empty world to walk through. Familiar but brand new. That was Manchester during lockdown.
It was my usual weekly ritual to walk into Manchester City Centre and have a wander around the shops, maybe grab a coffee and potter back home. So much so that I never thought of it as more than the norm, almost mundane sometimes. Then lockdown struck and my weekend wanders were no more. Staying home was all that was on the agenda for well over a month, and I really felt myself missing the city, even though I was still technically here. Yearning for the normality that my eyes were tricking me into seeing was still just outside my door, so near but so far. They say you never know what you have until it’s gone.
Eventually, Luke and I decided to take the plunge and use our 1 hour of daily exercise to imitate our old weekend wanders that we took for granted to much. It was the strangest experience exploring Manchester during lockdown. A Saturday afternoon that would usually be the busiest point of the week, was dead silent. The air felt fresh, my ears were not being bombarded with roaring traffic. We walked freely without having to weave around every Tom, Dick and Harry also walking through town without a care in the world. Now there are so many more cares in the world.
Now things are much busier, ‘normal’ still doesn’t really exists, in this world of social distancing, face masks and dry, over-washed hands. Did you do any city exploring during lockdown? Which way do you prefer it? Will you miss the quiet streets? Or are you welcoming the buzz back with open arms? I think I’m somewhere in the middle, but I know for sure I appreciate my surroundings a whole lot more now, knowing they can change at the drop of a hat. Appreciation for what we have is key, and I’m thankful for that has being re-enforced for me.