Sitting outside after work or on days off the canal has been busy with ducks, ducklings, a moorhen and swans and new babies, way, way better than tv! I am working three days a week, my husband three or four days per week, as we both work in care. There have been some adjustments to working practices but I’ve really enjoyed the way people at work have come together.
There are a lot more walkers, cyclists and joggers both on the towpath on the opposite side of the canal, and also on ‘my’ walk. Living quietly on a narrowboat our day to day lives haven’t really changed, it’s the monthly social/family trips to London and overnights with family in Norfolk which have stopped, although we’ve been to Norfolk to get prescriptions and seen my mum in her garden, wearing masks and keeping a distance.
We do not watch tv and I limit the amount of news media or commentary I absorb. I have taken a light interest in and listened to anyone I know sharing conspiracy theories but I avoid totally believing in anything that will scare me (whether conspiracy or on the ordinary news.) Aside from a few moments right at the start neither of us have felt anxious. I could be accused of being a Pollyanna or an ostrich but that is the same as usual.
I was interested to hear some of the news from the US, parts of mainland Europe and Ireland, about protests against the lockdown. And also news about how countries such as Sweden and The Netherlands have done things differently. In the UK we have seen very little in the way of protests. I sometimes question if it is really as bad as we are being told and is the lockdown proportionate, but I do go along with it all because I don’t think we’ll know until afterwards, and maybe not even then.
I like that care workers and supermarket staff are being valued. I am not a fan of the patriotic sentimentality of the clapping, although I go along with doing it, or the fact that some people on Facebook shamed someone for not joining in! This duality, the good (appreciating the NHS) and the bad (shaming people publicly) of people, is the same as always.
Extroverts in the UK are having Skype dinner parties and nights watching live lockdown performances etc. For us, a few extra phone calls made and received, that’s it. But then we are both still seeing lots of people at work, living together, in an idyllic setting, with a place to walk on site and a footpath right across the road. I feel for those in cities and in flats with no gardens, and those who live alone. I think it’s harsh not to be able to meet a friend at a distance.
Duality again, a sense of us being one world, vs casual racism, which I have been disappointed to hear. I have enjoyed reading blogs from Japan, Cambodia and India. WordPress is great for connecting all of us.
The newspapers report daily deaths and pay tribute to individuals who have died of Corona, which is nice in one way, although it induces a lot of fear, but what about all the other people who have died and will continue to die, of suicide, road deaths, and cancer?
Already people are noting the costs of the UK lockdown: a doubling in domestic violence killings; several instances of whole families being killed in murder-suicides due to worries about money as a result of the lockdown; people suffering and even dying due to all non urgent appointments and surgeries being cancelled; a rise in suicides as people are isolated and mental health support systems taken away; and children at risk or just really missing their friends and extended family.
There has been some confusion amongst both the general public and different police forces about what things are actually part of the new Coronovirus law and what are just things the Prime Minister has said in briefings. Me too so I won’t go into too much detail but for example according to the law we shouldn’t be out without ‘reasonable excuse,’ eg food and essentials shopping, caring for relatives etc, exercise, going to work if you can’t work from home. Non essential shops closed, although some more shops are beginning to re open. As my husband said, the list of what is essential begins to expand as time goes on eg items for repair around the home etc, rather than just food and medicines.
Police forces have differed in their approach. One police chief said the powers they have been given are normally only seen in a dictatorship, and that they were mindful to police by consent and that particular force had only issued one fine at that time. Other police forces have been much more heavy handed, threatening to search people’s shopping trolleys for non essential items such as Easter Eggs; The Government had to step in and say that if a shop is open you can buy anything in it. One police chief said a few days ago that some of the rules don’t make sense to police let alone the public, such as, why can’t people sunbathe in a park at a safe distance but they can queue for an hour outside DIY stores?
Some local councils shut parks, later the government told them they had to open them, but I don’t know if they all did. Some benches in parks had tape over them for people not to sit down, what about old people who need a rest when out for a walk?
Most people myself included shop for necessaries and then add the non essentials with them (for us, some chocolate or alcohol on top of necessary food items.) Shops limit the number of customers and often have queues outside with people spaced out. I have made one trip to Superdrug and bought things I needed such as moisturiser and some nice things such as face packs. I really enjoyed that nice, quiet shopping session, and I was glad to support them as they are treating their staff well and also have lots of vegan items.
I’ve managed to get some potting compost and some onions, bought at the same time as buying logs, and have planted one lot which are coming up, the second lot had to wait until I was able to get another bag of compost.
There are new, adorable Easter card worthy lambs in the field right by us. Last year I struggled with this, knowing what lay ahead for them. This year I seem to have managed to switch off more. This week we have both struggled with watching wild birds trapped in cages; the sheep man traps crows and magpies and kills them later. We have checked and he is allowed to do it so there’s nothing else we can do. We considered leaving but have decided to stay. He’s moved the cages slightly so they are not right by where we sit. I cope by reminding myself this type of horror is everywhere, we just don’t always see it. Other neighbours are not upset by it but they love the swans and ducks. My mother in law has pet chickens but eats other chickens. But I have not always been vegan, and I use a car and fly, against some people’s ethical code; as my husband said, we’re all of us responsible for everything.
My book is almost all at the stage of being ready to be read, and then it will be a finer edit to do, as well as submitting to agents.
We still hope to go to India a few days after Christmas and return around 18th March. Flights are still cheap and oh so tempting to book as they might go up but we know that would probably be unwise, as India may not let us in, or may not be open, depending on a second wave, etc.
Wherever you are, I hope you are doing okay and I wish you all the best
Thank you very much for reading