I went out early, just after 7 a.m., for a walk of roughly 3 miles/5 km, not expecting to see many people. And whilst it wasn't busy, it certainly wasn't quiet...
I turn right from the gate, and across the road, is somone, similarly clad in coat, hat and gloves, striding the other way. We wave and smile.
I start up the hill, towards the Secondary School, and approaching me, in a high-viz hjacket is someone who won't step left or right, so I move into the road. They issue a repost, 'A've no go the virus...' Good, I think, and stride onwards, wondering if they don't understand.
Outside the convenience shop, two young adults wheel a cage of supplies towards the door. I hang back, giving them room. 'Morning' they say cherrily. 'Thank you for being open' I reply. We all smile.
At the traffic lights I turn right, spotting a lycra clad jogger ahead of me. We execute a balletic pas-de-deux; they thank me, we smile and go on our way.
I pass the play park, the primary school, and notice the streets start to fill up with dog-walkers, people buying their daily paper or going to work. We nod, and negotiate the distancing as if carefully choreographed in advance.
I duck through a couple of side-streets, having paused to photograph some beautiful jib-cranes (it takes all sorts!)
Back on the main road, and I see two people chatting outside a convenience shop, clearly not from the same household, and clearly not two metres apart. As I step into the road to pass them, they spot an approaching police car and step apart on the pavement. I chuckle to myself.
Another right turn, and I pass the retail park. Ahead of me I glimspe the familiar form of one of the supermarket check out staff, heading in to work. I glance across and see the queue of early shoppers waitng to go in. I give thanks for those who keep us fed at this time.
I near the bus shelter and a person meanders down the centre of the pavement, eyes fixed on a phone, tapping with thier thumbs. They don't even notice as I step into the road.
Almost home and I see a neighbour in a bright floral coat. We stand in the road, a large gap between us (more like 3m than 2m!) and catch up, before they head to the shops.
I pass through the back gate, cross the car park, in the back door and up the stairs. At my own front door, I doff gloves, hat, coat, shoes; I wash my keys, wipe my phone and head to the shower.
I have seen all sorts of people, handling this strange situation in all sort of ways.
I am blessed to be permitted to go out for a walk.
I will pas-de-deux; I will smile and nod; I will breath in clean air; I will be grateful... and I will try to be gracious to those whose reponse I don't understand.