A lockdown love letter to Norwich: Part 4 by Philip Browne

One of a series of love letters to Norwich during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020. A few local people reflecting on what they miss, about everyday life in the city.

Do I sit in splendid isolation, or do I sit miserable, whisky in hand in The Fine City of Norwich ?

In “splendid isolation” was a notorious British sentiment in the late Victorian era presiding two world wars.

That was then, Covid-19 is now.

Implications of a Norwich isolation, and the impact it has on our community is too early to measure, and too early to feel.

By no means however, is it personally my first experience of isolation.

In the late seventies I lived under curfew during the Angolan Civil war, and I have spent long periods isolated in the Libyan Desert, with periods marooned on a vessel in the Red Sea.

That was my career in the oil field, paid extravagantly, my mind focused on occasions with work, but with long periods otherwise lost, fragile, unstable and almost distant as others.

My profession was, for the most part, isolated, away from normal society.

In contrast, our Norwich Lanes Community is full of creative and productive people, their creativity thriving on being close physically, a social interaction which itself provides fulfillment of ordinary life.

Our work together is structured to provide a community that gathers in a union, as we did in The Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre last year.

A wonderful day to remember in complete contrast to the isolation we have today.

The inability to physically connect, to talk or  to shake hands ,to embrace  , and not have to  Skype , Zoom or Facetime, is I believe, integral to how we are to be human.

Our mental wellbeing depends upon being with family, friends, even colleagues at work.

Being isolated at my home with Waitrose food being delivered, and Amazon calling, is not so much a burden, but a luxury.

The challenge unfortunately for me , and possibly others, is not so much the idleness of being at home, the loneliness for others, or the cramped conditions some may find, it’s the lack of real physical contact that I miss.

Norwich will, I have no doubt, reconnect with itself once this extraordinary challenge has been overcome, and I look forward to walking through our wonderful market en route for a libation at the Sir Garnet, friends and family ready, and waiting.

I wish you well, good luck and good health.

With a handshake in my thoughts.

About the Author

Philip Browne

Avid walker, talker, art collector and founder/owner of Philip Browne Menswear.

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