When lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020, it was permitted to take
“one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone
or with members of your household”. I decided to use my exercise time to
cycle into the centre of London, expecting to find a post-apocalyptic
wasteland in the manner of 28 Days Later.
While it was eerily quiet, it didn’t have the feel of an apocalypse;
partly because it was unseasonably sunny, and partly because there was
a handful of other people around, all of whom had presumably had the
same idea as me. Still, it was a once-in-a-lifetime – hopefully only
once, anyway – chance to see usually crowded areas devoid of people.
In summer 2021, things began to feel a little more normal. More and more
venues had reopened, at least with outdoor seating, and councils had
found solutions to venues without outdoor space – often creating, in the
process, more liveable city spaces.