Millions of words have been written about Boris Johnson’s illegal lockdown parties in 10 Downing Street. A nation has expressed its outrage, which will not be assuaged until Johnson resigns as prime minister.
The stories about the May 2020 party, to which over 100 people were invited to bring booze and enjoy the lovely weather, have brought back vivid memories of that extraordinary lockdown spring.
Like almost everyone in Britain, but unlike Johnson and his team, we obeyed the rules. We knew how important this was to keep safe, minimise the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. On my daily exercise, I kept local and was more careful than normal when cycling down steep hills – the last thing I wanted was to put pressure on A&A by crashing.
20 May 2020: a lockdown heatwave
I’ve checked my Strava records and found that on the day of the most notorious Downing Street party, I used my daily exercise to cycle to Stoke Poges and Fulmer.
I relished those lockdown bike rides, as I blogged at the time:
Don’t underestimate the importance of these daily escapes. These strange times are tough on us all. (Although obviously those at the front line in the NHS, care homes and serving the public face to face have a far greater challenge.) Getting out for some decent exercise is good for body and soul. You may experience a high that will get you through the loss of all those activities that you can’t enjoy at present.Ertblog, 28 March 2020
On the evening of 20 May 2020, as Boris Johnson and crew knocked back the party drinks, I enjoyed the solitude of our garden, photographing red kite birds against a true blue sky.
That May heatwave lasted well into the following half term week. Owen and I enjoyed a camping expedition: to our back garden.
It truly was a spring like no other, as I blogged over the first pandemic Easter.
Missing my 93 year old father
This was as close as I got to seeing my then 93 year old father for almost five months. Bob Skinner was interviewed by Good Morning Britain in April 2020 about life in a care home during the pandemic. We also had regular Zoom chats, but it wasn’t until July that we met face to face – at a socially distanced two metres. Our reunion was featured on Good Morning Britain.
It was well into 2021 before we were able to hug, and catch up as a small family group. But we never considered breaking the rules, which were there to keep us all safe. We were lucky that Dad was (and is) tech-savvy enough to use Zoom and email. As a former reporter, he recognised that the pandemic was a unique time in our lives and started a blog diary to record his experiences. We published it as a Kindle book, Pandemic!: My Care Home Diary, last year.
While Boris Johnson clings to office, the rest of us can be proud that we did the right thing.