Lockdown restrictions are lifting in a series of confusing ways across England, differently in Scotland (I really want to see my dad, I'm very homesick for Shetland, I'm hoping that it'll be possible to visit him before too long, but have no idea when it'll be deemed safe to do so) but even as things lift, what's obvious are the way things have changed.
The thing I'm currently finding hardest to deal with is he change in atmosphere around the city. The park which was a solace for most of the last 3 months isn't any longer. There's a group of up to 20, mostly middle aged men, who have taken over both sides of the path at the narrowest point in the park which is also the middle of it. They drink steadily throughout the day and though it would be unfair to say they're threatening, they are intimidating. Walking through them feels like an intrusion. Their music drowns out the birdsong, and whatever is rustling around in the bushes these days is larger than a rat. (They've been rained out by the storm, and it sounds like a few of them are having an argument under the archway that leads to the garages of this flat)
The city itself is busy again but people look like they're much more on edge - some carefully keeping 2 meters distance, others brushing past like you're invisible and ignoring the carefully laid out one way systems. Queues to get into the newly reopened shops are... long, I haven't really had this with the corner shop style supermarkets in town and after months of nearly empty streets it's proving hard to get used to. Some public toilets are open, but even between them and the deluges of rain we've had in the last couple of weeks there's still an overwhelming smell of urine in a lot of the alleyways too.
Now that I can go out I've never wanted to stay in more.
That edginess is even more obvious online, it's probably cowardly to stay quiet on some topics but equally now doesn't seem like a good time to try and speak out on sensitive subjects when you can't do it face to face. To try and keep myself from falling down rabbit holes on twitter I spent most of the last few days binge reading my way through Sarah J Maas 'Court of Thorns and Roses' series. It sounded promising, though I hadn't realised they're aimed at young adults.
I don't really have much to say about them - there are interesting ideas which could have been better
handled, the quality dips as the books go on, but it's possible the rest of the series might get better (I think there are more books planned). I wanted something fairly mindless that I could bury myself in, and I managed to do that, but I was also hoping I'd find another Naomi Novak (I'm thinking of Uprooted and Spinning Silver) or Katherine Arden, and didn't. They were neither good or bad enough to say much more about here.
The relative break from everything did help me step back from all the crap though, and I do feel more able to deal with everything, and that's a better place to be in than I was last week. Now I just need the storms to blow over.