One Month On

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Yesterday, 24 April, we in the UK reached the one month mark in our Covid-19 lockdown. It’s a rather odd experience – are we all in it together, or in isolation…? I’m lucky. I live in a place which is not very densely populated; going for a walk or even doing a shop in the local supermarket doesn’t cause great social distancing problems. And I have access to some garden space so most afternoons at the moment are spent sitting in the sun getting on with my crochet while listening to a podcast. The crochet is a rather complicated shawl in case you’re wondering, one of those projects you put aside until you have enough time for it. Well, if not now, then when…?

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I’ve got loads of podcasts downloaded on to my phone, and I rather enjoy just sitting there listening while my hands are busy. For example, the BBC World Service’s 13 Minutes to the Moon, all about the successful Apollo 11 landing on the Moon in 1969, and then series 2 about the rescue of Apollo 13 when that mission went disastrously wrong. It’s escapism literally out of this world! I’ll be listening to Death in Ice Valley next, if you want another recommendation, and The Doorstep Murder looks good too.

This all makes it sound as if I’ve entered a kind of dreamlike state within my own personal lockdown, and of course I haven’t. I’m not one of those people who report going stir crazy because they can’t go out, but I greatly miss physical contact with my children and grandchildren even though I do catch the occasional glimpses of them on Zoom. It’s just that the sun makes it all so much more bearable than the early weeks when you were quite glad not to go out because it was cold and wet most of the time. And you would listen obsessively to 24-hour media to hear the same old news and opinions being rehearsed over and over again, as if hearing it for the umpteenth time would somehow change the basic fact that there is a global pandemic and the world is in quarantine.

I don’t do that any more – I catch up morning and evening, and the rest of the time try not to allow the Coronavirus to take over my every waking thought. I’ve learned over the past month that I need to strive to set my own agenda for the day – if I let the news do it I just end up getting all hot and bothered about what should and shouldn’t have been done, is being done now, will be done in the future. The trouble is that everyone has an opinion, from the US President who seems to think that if we injected ourselves with cleaning fluid we could make this whole thing go away, to the great British public who have largely adopted a kind of Dunkirk spirit embodied by the marvellous 99 year old veteran, Captain Tom Moore.

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I remember the moon landing being the go-to news the minute you got home from school in 1969 (I was 15 that year), rather in the way Covid-19 is now, or at the beginning of the year Brexit – remember Brexit? –  before the world changed and we became obsessed with something rather bigger. Back in the sixties families would huddle round our wee black and white televisions watching events in real time, along with, it seemed, most of the rest of the world. There really was a huge Earth-wide collective holding of breath until those Apollo astronauts finally touched down safely after their perilous missions. That’s the way I remember it anyhow.

We tend, we humans, to come together at times of great triumph and disaster – royal weddings, sporting victories, wars, natural disasters, the death of a much revered personage. We remember those events, we remember where we were when we learned of the death of Princess Diana, or JFK, or John Lennon – insert your own iconic figure here – and the memory of them becomes a shared cultural experience that we use as reference points as part of our very identity. Funny thing is we often feel as if we were actually there when in reality all we’ve done is watch it on television.

So with the Coronavirus. There will, eventually, be life after lockdown. We will be like the Londoners emerging from the Underground Stations after an air-raid warning in the midst of the blitz, blinking and coughing in the daylight, battered and bruised but glad to be alive.

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In the meantime, I suppose we just need to do what it takes to get past this. We can’t see enemy planes flying overhead, but the peril is no less real, casualties heartbreaking, those on the front line heroic.  I have misgivings about the curtailment of our civil liberties,  questions about exactly WHICH science it is the politicians are following and what seem like broken promises over PPE or testing. We must continue asking these questions, but for now we are largely suspending our disbelief and focusing on the bigger picture. 

And I am finding a genuine sense of us all being in it together – when you venture to the shops or walk along the street, most people nod and smile as they neatly step off the pavement in order to stay 2 metres away, or chat as they wait in line to be allowed in to the supermarket. When we go out and do our Thursday shout-out for the NHS, neighbours grin and wave at each other – in fact I’ve seen people from across the street that I’d never even met until all this started.

I’m learning to be less hard on myself now that I’ve finally accepted that left to myself my two favourite pastimes are sleeping and eating. Any day is a success which consist of more than just getting up, having breakfast and then going back to bed until it’s time to eat again (I’m not kidding!). I try to write every day, box sets are good, but really, it’s knitting and crochet that are getting me through. Sometimes the only thing that helps is to get the hook out and make yet another rainbow….

 

3 thoughts on “One Month On”

  1. I love your rainbows. Are they going to be part of something or are you hanging them all in different places around the house? I have had to give up crochet – at least for the moment til I can find a yarn that doesn’t let off fibre in the air, as I was getting wheezy whenever I crocheted with the acrylic yarn, and I’m sensitive to animal fibres. But I do miss it! I may try it with some thin mercerized cotton sometimes, I did that a few years ago and made some jewellery.

    The covid situation kept me anxious most of the time when it began – particularly when it was obvious it was a pandemic and was spreading worldwide and because of that, like you, I limit how much news I look at or listen to. For me, once a day is enough. I have noticed that on occasion, I’ve forgotten to look at the news at all for a couple of days.

    I’m in a rural area so there isn’t as much of it here (the virus) but we’ve still got some. I’m self-isolating mostly because I’ve a tendency to asthma, but thankfully (so far) I’ve not caught it.

    I wish you well. Hopefully you’ll continue as you are and sometime in the near rather than distance future, this will be gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Val, it’s very good to hear that you are keeping safe and well. I do hope you manage to find an alternative yarn – needlework is such a comforting thing to do, I love the feeling of seeing something grow stitch by stitch beneath your fingers. As to the rainbows – well, I only got round to hanging one of them up at my own window yesterday! The rest of them have been given away or sent to loved ones. It was my daughter that got me on to it, having spotted the design on the web and wanting one for herself, then a few to give as prizes for an online children’s fitness challenge she’s running. Since then they’ve become my go-to thing when I no longer have the brainpower for anything more complicated, or simply want an excuse to binge on a box set… Beatrice x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts which gives my marbles a stir.
    Although I have memories of living through previous historical events not only the ones that you highlight but also Suez, the Cuban Crisis, the limitations of the 3 day week, to mention just a few, I think that this is the first time I have a very real sense of living through historical events which really has the opportunity to change our world. The question is will this be for the better or worse. We really are on the cusp of the wave which makes for scary times. I take comfort as a Scot that our Nicola is one of the grown ups but as never before, I feel, there is the need for each of us to be vigilant to ensure that the Good wins through.

    Like

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