ONE thing I shall miss when the lockdown is over, and that’s the regular Sunday lunchtime gatherings (socially distanced, of course) in our little road.

Living in what feels like an island off a busy main road, we’ve always been a friendly bunch. But adversity really seems to have pulled us together.

This weekend, in glorious sunshine, we even staged a concert.

I seem to be unusually blessed with musically talented neighbours, for six of them, from three households, turned out on the Tarmac with their instruments. And without having been able to rehearse together (obviously) they treated us to a selection of tunes, kicking off, appropriately in the circumstances, with Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Valiantly attempting to sing along, we all vowed to learn more than just the chorus before next time!

What else? Some Enchanted Evening, along with Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, from My Fair Lady.

I knew all the lyrics to that one because we’ve sung it in the Community Choir. Of course, coronavirus has put the kibosh on our choral activities for the present, so it was nice to give an old favourite an airing.

Finally – glorious nostalgia – the Captain Pugwash theme tune, aka The Trumpet Hornpipe. Blistering barnacles! I loved that wobbly cardboard cutout pirate, back when I was about five and we first got a TV. It would have been a rented one. But what a luxury! Impossible for our own children’s generation to imagine.

Anyway we rounded off these highly satisfactory proceedings with a collection in aid of the hospital.

Later on, walking Poppy through Harnham, I suddenly realised how many families were out enjoying bike rides – far more than on a usual spring Sunday, I’m sure. It was lovely to see.

I’m not suggesting that life in isolation is easy. I’m very aware that it’s harder, and far more lonely, for some than for others.

I’m just saying that there are ways in which this crisis is fostering a sense of togetherness and neighbourliness that it would be worth preserving.

Give traders a fair chance

HERE’S a thing I find unfair.

Why are supermarkets and shops like B&M (very handy, and I don’t blame them) allowed to open because they sell foodstuffs and then to profit from selling garden supplies while people who make their living from keeping our borders blooming have to stay closed?

I confess to buying tomato and chilli plants from Waitrose in the last couple of weeks, and manure for the roses from B&M.

I wouldn’t have done, if I’d had the choice of spending that money in a garden centre.

If I ran a garden centre, and I bought in a couple of dozen pallets of baked beans, some packets of pasta and boxes of breakfast cereal, would I be allowed to open up then, on the basis that I sold ‘essential foodstuffs’? And sell plants, too? I doubt it.

Sorry, this lockdown’s making me more bloody-minded than usual!