Friday November 20th 2020 – I’d been in Birmingham and returned early evening on Friday. It wasn’t late, maybe 7-7:30pm. Shire Oak Crossroads, a homecoming beacon for me for decades with it’s brightly lit pub, frenetic traffic and air of hilltop crossing has always been special to me.
For one thing, it means the journey from here is almost completely downhill and I can coast. But it also means I’m very nearly back home and I love to see the lights and busy but patient traffic at night.
Except at the moment, during the second lockdown, there is surprisingly little traffic and the pub whose welcoming lights I cherish sits in darkness, forbidden from opening.
This is not the homecoming I love. This feels desolate, empty and almost nightmarish.
I’ve talked a lot about steadying influences and anchors the last few weeks here. This is one I rely on usually that has sort of gone – well not gone, but been temporarily lost. And it affects me more than I would imagine.
It’s now like a symbol of the times.
Ah well, these days will pass. They have to.