Lockdown sucks. The coronavirus pandemic sucks. We are due to visit Kiev, Ukraine in October and I hoped to fulfil a long term ambition of visiting Chernobyl with my friends. It took a bit of persuasion to get them to agree to enter the exclusion zone in the first place and now, due to the restrictions on travel and requirement to quarantine upon returning to the UK it looks like the trip will probably be cancelled.
Chernobyl is number one on my list of places I want to visit. Ever since I stumbled upon the Kidd of Speed website I’ve been fascinated by the Chernobyl disaster. It happened in 1986, I was 9 year old at the time and I have vague memories of seeing it on TV. Watching reports of a deadly cloud of radiation spewed into the atmosphere and drifting hundreds of miles. Here in the UK, 1500 miles away, toxic heavy rainfall hit farms in North Wales in April and May 1986 with radioactive caesium and iodine. The government responded by banning the sale of sheep at thousands of farms to stop radiation entering the food chain.
Now, 34 years later, with the radioactive core of the reactor encased in steel and concrete, Chernobyl is ‘safe’ to visit.
And I want to go.
I’ve always – well, for as long as I can remember – had an affinity for dystopian settings. Places like this which are desolate and ruinous or abandoned hold a fascination for me. If we don’t get to Chernobyl this year we shall go another time.