Worst of times: why Charles Dickens would have hated lockdown

He won large, jumping up and down at the “coming-in” – the last turn behind the brow of the hill – and marvelled at the scale of thegrandstand, “rising against the sky with its vast tiers of little white dots of faces, and its last high rows and corners of people, looking like pins stuck into an enormous pin-cushion”. We are trapped in the back of a car on a long, dark journey, and the world’s worst parents keep telling us every few miles that we are nearly there.Surely they know that those words, at this stage, are a trigger for rage and despair? His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was left half-finished onhis desk in the garden chalet at Gad’s Hill. And on the morning before he finally collapsed, Dickens dropped into the Sir John Falstaff pub in Higham (still there, opposite his former home) and cashed a cheque with the landlord for £22.