When people switched on the radio and all the other forms of media in March and heard the Prime Minister broadcasting from No10 on the outbreak of the pandemic, the nation held its breath .. . the threat was real, the enemy had shown its hand, no practice air-raid warnings, no issue of gas masks (that bit followed later), no mass evacuation to the countryside (unless you were a Special Advisor)…no, the nation rushed to buy toilet rolls, fill the house with cans of food and Google what Zoom was all about. “Stay at Home - Protect the NHS - Save lives” and most of us did.
The spectacle of morning marathons in sportswear reminiscent of psychedelic 60s-style clothing, as the village filled with so many athletes you wondered why team GB did not win every medal at the Olympics, the dog walkers, where even the dogs respected government guidelines.
The assortment of face masks (now compulsory but not then) where the population became the “the lone ranger” overnight and the queuing, not seen since the days of rationing, or the High Street looking like East Germany in the 60s.
And our heroes, members of the village who braved the front, who, against all odds, found toilet rolls and pasta, got their prescriptions, and who clapped energetically on a Thursday night to the sound of bell ringing. Never in the fields of Barrow was so much distance observed by so many for so few weeks. My part in all this - to gaze in awe at a queue in Tesco’s, four rows deep: a sight not seen since I was at Disneyworld in the 90s.
When this crisis is over, and a degree of normality returns, people will look back and conversations will sparkle as they relate tales of the “great lockdown”, of Captain Tom, of empty parking spaces in town, of closed nail bars and dormant pubs, of zombies wandering aimlessly in search of life, of repeats on the television of past summer sporting events and, sadly, the death or Dame Vera Lynn. But her anthem to the English nation, “We’ll meet again“ lives on.
And finally through this crisis also remember we had to brace ourselves to do our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."