The last two days of March brought the hottest weather of the year so far, coinciding with the relaxation of some COVID restrictions that had been in place since early January. March 30 was the hottest March day in 53 years, with a temperature of 24.5 degrees Celsius recorded in London, an uplifting start to the easing of lockdown and for most students, the beginning of the Easter holidays.

By March 31, the government was warning people not to waste all those months of lockdown by being reckless and reminding all to still adhere to social distancing rules. All across England, there have been reports of large, illegal gatherings in local parks and people have been urged to report on neighbours and friends to prevent this. Picnics, football matches and barbeques have been seen all over the country, as people try and squeeze in as much “summer” fun as possible before the rain and cold is expected to take hold again from the start of April.

My local Beckenham Place Park also welcomed many over the last two days, although crowds were well-spaced in the huge green area. Once a dilapidated golf course, this park now boasts a large verdant expanse with a new swimming lake and café and several playgrounds and play areas for children. The River Ravensbourne also runs alongside it. For many in Southeast London, Beckenham Place Park became a new hotspot and a substitute for all the places we could not travel to due to the pandemic over the last year.