The photographic exhibition, Overheard in Lockdown, at the Temple in Wanstead Park, brings back memories of that period.

The pictures, taken by photographer Russell Boyce, capture a number of people walking in the two-week period leading up to then Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement on 22 February 2021of a roadmap out of lockdown.

Boyce has also captured snippets of conversation that accompany the pictures.

It was a truly extraordinary time, with the whole country under lockdown.

Remember, the first lockdown was declared in March 2020. This eased after three months but the longer lockdown started for Londoners in November that year, not even beginning to be lifted for another four months. Then release was slow, with all restrictions, not going till well into July.

Covid dominated news bulletins, with infections and death numbers being reported on a daily basis.

Wanstead Park and other open spaces offered a welcome respite, somewhere to go, exercise, get away and enjoy nature. There were less cars on the road, as life slowed for a while.

The period of the pandemic altered life totally, people adjusted and most survived.

There are lasting legacies, such as many people continuing to work from home, for at least part of the week.

Hopefully, many more are continuing to come to the park and other places to enjoy nature.

One of the most amazing things is how quickly things have got back to normal.

Covid only occasionally gets a mention in the news now - though it is still very much around. People are still wary, with face masks popular in a lot of settings.

There is also the loss of over 200,000 to the terrible disease, so many grieving lost loved ones. Also, the 100,000s with long Covid.

A little more sensitivity from government on those suffering from these causes would be welcome - in place of a growing obsession with getting the half million or so who left the workforce during the period to get back to work

The pandemic was a strange period, the like of which none of us would want to see again.It was though also a time to stop reflect and think about life - something well captured in Russell Boyce's pictures.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See