LOCKDOWN 2020! It should now be LOOK-OUTWARDS 2021

A “lock-down” was originally canal terminology from 19th century America. It refers to a strip of wood or a peg that secured the poles of a barge or raft together when timber was transported by river.

Lockdown: a fastening mechanism that ensured reliable travel in the ‘Great Outdoors.

But ‘lock’ can also mean the space enclosed by such a mechanism, which is why a lock in modern English is also a barrier in a canal.

So, you can ‘lock in’ a person in a room. But a lock-up can also mean the room or even the door itself. Many people now have ‘lock-ups’ to store stuff.

But in 1975 the word lockdown” was used for inmates of prison or psychiatric hospitals to keep them in enforced isolation for security issues. Gradually, it became the term used for any period of enforced isolation.

In this current Covid19 crisis, I don’t know who first decided to use the term LOCKDOWN, but our government went along with it.

A word that refers to standard prison or psychiatric protocol is being used to control the behaviour and movement of British citizens.

I am not a prisoner and I am not a psychiatric patient.

But 100s of 1000s of people, of all ages, are beginning to feel – and act – as if they are ‘prisoners.’ Many are beginning to struggle with emotional and psychological conditions that they never imagined would impinge on their lives. Many with existing emotional and mental challenges are ‘in despair.’

The word ‘LOCKDOWN’ was a shock which many of us coped with by laughing, or joking and even boasting about it “We are in lockdown, you know,” as if it was some kind of adventure holiday.  

Support our NHS workers? Absolutely. But that ‘shame-on-you-if-you-don’t-join-in’ the Thursday night ‘clap-at-eight’ ritual, served only to magnify the ‘we-are-prisoners’ mentality. Who dreamt that one up? Prisoners! Yes. But a different category of ‘prisoners.’ A different kind of ‘solitary confinement.’ A different kind of isolation, with which most of our leaders (political, religious, cultural) have little or no idea how to help us.

Winter will soon be here. Then Christmas. A ‘Happy’ New Year. Spring and Easter.

2021: most of us will not be travelling down a river in a raft or enjoying a trip on a canal, but we live in the middle of a ‘Great Outdoors’ in our country.

LOCK-DOWN? Enough is enough!


We have Fields, Beaches, Nature Trails, Wide-Open Public Spaces aplenty here in Wales. We have a wide array of talented people to supervise and monitor a host of activities. Here in Wales the iconic space in Cardiff Bay could have been a shop-window for positive ways on how to handle Covid19. But what happened? Night after night of negative reporting, criticising a handful of irresponsible young people.  We can do better.

Keep Britain barricaded? Prisoners to our own individual and mental ‘dark, satanic mills?’ Or get together with your neighbours and creatively come up with a raft of measures to celebrate the gift of ‘Looking-Outdoors.


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