Absolute Beaut Scenes.
Things have changed quickly over here on The Mothership, Old Blighty. The obvious changes are clear, glaring even in their significance; the re-nationalisation of the rail network; a mortgage holiday!; guaranteed state support for almost all of those currently released from the shackles of their employers; No evictions! Rigorously enforced social distancing regulations and an Orwellian style, daily isolation exercise and shopping routine set out to all those who are not classed as Key Workers. Thanks Big Brother Borris!
Other changes have been less significant, but still noticeable. For instance, Leicester City -being host to two universities- is undeniably a student city. This unfortunately means that during an early morning ramble of the city, one must have eye out for puddles of puke mixed with broken glass, and for remnants of discarded take-aways, chicken bones etc. This is very distracting. Having to keep up a constant birds-eye-curbside monitoring of the city streets distracts the rambler from what’s going on within the wider environment; leaving you with little or no time to enjoy a view.
Of late however, and in large part due to the government enforced closure of pubs and clubs, the city and suburban streets are not littered with the usual student related detritus, but with the oddly familiar Coronavirus related items. Face masks and latex gloves abound on the streets now. This means that the suburban and city rambler can now take their eye off the street, look-up, and enjoy the view without the fear of stepping onto something which might make their shoes fucking stink.
This brings me onto another very good reason that I wish that I was on lockdown on the sunny old Isle of Man.
Leicester city certainly is not known for its spectacular scenery. The simplest act of visually engaging with the horizon is an impossibility here. This is due to the fact that Leicester City, being situated in the heart of the Midlands, is probably closer to Venus than the ocean. I don’t mean to suggest that there aren’t any pretty sights to be seen here in the City of Leicester; there certainly are a few spectacular buildings and some really beautiful dual carriageways to stare at.
The Isle of Man on the other hand… Well, I don’t need to explain to the locals what an excellent example of diverse beauty the island has to offer to those who can appreciate a fantastic view. I believe that there’s something deeply settling about an uninterrupted view over the ocean which melts seamlessly into a broad horizon, and I miss it. If I want to take in a view remotely as majestic as the rolling Manx hills, and raw blue beauty of the Irish Sea, I have to pack up my tent, slap my boots on and disappear up to the Peak District.
Given the restrictions currently in place here on the Mothership, disappearing into the Peaks isn’t exactly an option; thus I find myself hemmed in by maze-like red bricked terraces, and dull grey towering slabs of undifferentiated concrete and glass. Added to the current restrictions on travel is the seemingly urgent need to be glued to a screen of one form or another. I would imagine that had I made it back to the Rock before lockdown I’d be staring at a lot fewer screens for a lot less time during my day. Purely because there’d be some breath-takingly pretty things to look at. And I’m not just talking about the ravaging beauty of the locals themselves.
When I think back to the last time I lived on the Isle of Man (in Onchan Village yessir) and remember that I could see the sea -and therefore the horizon- from my perch at the kitchen sink, my regret about leaving the the Isle of Man peaks briefly; it begins to subside when I remember the walk to the nearest shop -either Co-Op at the top, or Spar at the bottom of Royal Avenue- my regret then returns when I remember not only how nice a walk it is through Port Jack Glen on the way to the Spar, but also the spectacular view from the Co-Op over Onchan Village, down to the cliffs of Port Jack and the Irish Sea… Dam!
I hope -although due to the curse of overfamiliarity, I would doubt- that all those lucky Manxies are grateful for the free and simply delicious sights that they get to consume as part of their birthright. I’m left, after considering all this, pure green with envy at the thought of you lucky buggers enjoying a walk, or even just a room with a view far surpassing the red-brick and grey cityscape monstrosity that I’m stuck within.
So whilst you’re out walking your dog or getting your daily exercise, looking over the headlands of heather and gorse, spare a thought for us unfortunate city folk, boxed in and denied the beauty of a captivating view.