(A guest post from Mr Doug Butts, commenter extraordinaire).
I just went to my local Boots to get Lemsip. They were only allowing two people in the shop at a time so there was quite a queue outside. The spirit of the blitz has taken over. I had several conversations with young people and old people, all swapping stories about what was going on.
A woman dressed in high-viz with a face mask was handing out leaflets on what to do, with “volunteer” written on her. As a group the queue decided to shun her for being weird. We allowed the elderly to enter the shop first because we had formed a fair society in the cold outside Boots.
One grumpy man tried to go in the shop without reading the sign but we set him straight. He was standoffish at first but the warmth of the group brought him onside and soon he was telling tales of his journeys that day.
Eventually I entered the shop and although it was warmer inside it was not warm with human compassion and contact. I bought the Lemsip, standing two metres from the counter with my contactless card and contactless heart. After the purchase I went back out and the group had changed and people were standing further from each other but the old Polish lady still smiled at me and the memory of the times we had will remain.
As I drove away the road was lined with parents and children freed from work and school and walking in the sunlight as if for the first time.
I whistled as I drove home.