I went on a “last” expedition to London, to the British Library. I met a friend who lives in north London. She lives alone and is not anticipating lockdown with any sense of glee. Normally she visits many museums and galleries, is a great supporter of concerts at the Wigmore Hall, and loves the theatre. All gone by the wayside. She is also a member of a choir which gives her considerable social life: it hasn’t met since March. What massive human costs there are to these restrictions. We went first of all to have a coffee in the Library.
No problem with social distancing here. The exhibition we went to see was about Hebrew manuscripts, which was far more interesting than I had anticipated. Some very old artefacts, mostly from the British Library’s own collection, some wonderfully illustrated. This was a statement of women’s rights within a marriage, remarkably liberal and even-handed if one can trust the translation.
We said goodbye, let’s meet in December, keep in touch: soon back to house and garden and keeping a low profile.
I started thinking about other diseases which have been a scourge in the past. TB was a killer: no vaccination, no cure, a period in a sanatorium in Switzerland if you were wealthy. The artists of the nineteenth century were decimated by it. Cholera, smallpox: all frightful things, even polio within living memory. Yet now all treatable and curable, and not much in evidence. So I guess all things pass, and we must remain optimistic.