Skip to main content

Letter from... Cardiff


By Siân Jones, Associate Partner

Walking at sunset along the promenade of my little seaside town, just outside the Welsh capital, it almost feels like a normal spring evening. Almost. Strings of white lights cast a shimmering reflection on the sea. A new fish and chip shop, its tantalising scent wafting across the beach, draws a socially distanced queue of families.  Out in the Bristol Channel, the familiar white and red flashes from lighthouses are a reassuring constant on the darkening horizon. “It’s just like it used to be,” an elderly couple remark, approvingly. And they’re not talking about six weeks ago.

I can’t quite bring myself to feel nostalgic, though. To me, empty seaside towns feel so sad. The normally bustling pier is locked. Restaurants and souvenir shops are closed. Ice cream kiosks are shuttered. Speedboats, jet-skis and fishing boats are nowhere to be seen. Up in the blocks of flats overlooking the sea, curtains twitch as inhabitants scan the promenade for lockdown rule-breakers - or just something, anything, interesting enough to break the monotony of self-isolation.

And, slowly, but surely, people are beginning to bend the rules.  Cyclists gather for a casual chat and a beer on the pebble beach. Children ride their bikes and scooters up and down the pavement. They don’t know what ‘two metres’ means – and don’t much care. After all, next month they might be back at school. On a Thursday evening, after the claps for key workers have died away, neighbours linger to chat on their doorsteps with glasses of wine. Affluent pensioners, undeterred by reports of thousands of deaths, mutter mutinously about popping to M&S for rose-scented toilet paper. And although Government officials say Welsh people are willingly surrendering their freedoms, it’s clear – in these parts at least – that lockdown fatigue is beginning to set in.  Whether it’s Boris Johnson’s anticipated ‘unlockdown’ speech, or Mark Drakeford’s elusive ‘green zone’, a return to normality can’t come soon enough.