Kerry Provenzano column: Rain plays its part in isolation!

Kerry Provenzano in her regular Chronicle & Echo column

Queen Street, in Oxford
Queen Street, in Oxford

Before we get started, you should know I am writing to you next to a window, where I am periodically getting up to shoo away a pigeon incessantly cooing outside.

I’ve had it with him.

We’ve been arguing for years now. He’s selfish and stubborn and seemingly ignorant that we are in a war he will not win.

Perhaps I’ll start hanging pictures of pigeon stew in my window. Anyway, please pardon my periodic trips to bang on the window and shoo him away. It shouldn’t interrupt us too much.

In this month’s entry of the Lockdown Diaries, we find ourselves in the rather odd position, at least at the time of writing, of transitioning out of lockdown, whilst being aware a local lockdown may be imminent.

As with the rest of the global pandemic, we face uncertainty.

For me, transitioning out of lockdown has been a challenge. Where is the line between appropriate reimmersion into “normal” life and stupidity? It may be a mystery I will never solve.

I have a distinct feeling that staying at home and seeing nobody is the safest option, but I fear my spirit would likely encounter irrevocable damage if I were to become a permanent recluse aged 26, and my mum would have never allowed me to miss her birthday.

As last weekend approached, I found myself wondering if I dare to plan something other than my weekly shop or an outdoor walk.

I already had plans to drop into my mum’s on Sunday to celebrate said birthday, but Saturday was wide open.

Since our other two housemates were working, housemate four and I decided to take a day trip to Oxford, a place which has become my second home in the last couple of years.

It had been my first time leaving Northampton since lockdown began, aside from a small venture to John Lewis in Milton Keynes to buy a food processor, a purchase that surprisingly delighted everyone in my household (“Did you see the way it shredded the carrots? Did you see how thinly it sliced the potatoes? Amazing.”) To minimise risk, we limited the time spent in shops and instead wandered around Oxford city.

When it started to spit slightly, my housemate pointed out that perhaps we’d regret not wearing raincoats after all. I remained confident... a little rain wouldn’t hurt.

But what followed was not a little rain. In fact, it was the most torrential downpour I have ever seen. Huge buckets of water were poured from the sky.

Everyone in Oxford darted into shops and under path coverings. Men ran by, their shirts already soaked through, raindrops clinging to eyelashes and hair dripping wet.

We decided to head for the car. I found myself running, whilst doubled over laughing, and slamming my feet into puddles so big I feared I would sink right into one of them and disappear forever.

When we made it to the car, breathless, soaked through and laughing hysterically, I thought perhaps the British summer weather will play its part in keeping us inside.

I wrung the water out of my hair, and we made our way home.