I am leaving my house for the first time in over a month. My wife and I have been self isolating, dependant on spasmodic home deliveries for essential shopping, searching online daily for a delivery slot with one of the many online supermarkets. It will be some time before we feel confident that it is safe enough to shop in the real world again.
I've decided to take the car for a run as it's been sitting idle on my driveway for over a month and I worry that the battery will go flat, and the car will not start when it is needed.
I slide into the drivers seat and turn the key, the engine starts first time, I put the car into gear, ease off the clutch and press down on the accelerator and there's a jolt as the brakes, which have been in the applied position for all these weeks, reluctantly loosen their grip on the wheels and the car moves forward. The car seems none the worse for its idleness as I edge out onto the open road.
The sense of freedom is incredible. Who would have thought that something as simple as driving a car could bring such pleasure. My route is a round trip of 22 miles, through villages and towns, and will take 50 minutes, enough time, I hope, to charge the battery and ensure the car will be ready if needed.
I'm surprised at how many vehicles are on the roads, I wasn't expecting it to be so busy. There are more pedestrians out as well, many of them with dogs. People appear to be trying to distance themselves from other walkers, although I do see some not adhering to the 2 metre rule. Driving through the town, I notice many shuttered shops. However, at some of the shops that are open, shoppers are not always adhering to social distancing, with shoppers passing each other in the doorways as they enter or leave the premises. The queue snaking along the pavement outside the bank is a pretty mixed bag, with some adhering to the rules whilst others are blatantly flouting them.
Returning home, I am glad I've taken the car for a run, for the car's and my own well-being, but I have no desire to venture out again anytime soon. Although I miss my social life, I feel safer at home.