No doubt others will have described this similarly…but as a young lady from the local children’s nursery said (before lockdown), ..’This is mad! It’s surreal! I feel like I’ve suddenly stumbled onto a movie set’. She was clearly both excited and terrified.
Since that encounter on 18th March (seems like a year ago now)…things have changed. I did my last urgent errand (deliver a simple mobile phone to my mum in case her landline fails) and now, I’m going nowhere…doing my bit to flatten the curve. My poor mum is now pretty much on her own as she has no idea how to use a smart phone or computer. Only phone calls. Nearby sibs and food deliveries will hopefully bring her everything she needs. The next days and weeks will turn into a series of groundhog days…where pretty much the same thing happens….get up, breakfast, emails, whatsapp videos, 10,000 steps of brisk walking, work a little, play with cat (new cat Millie, recently adopted), lunch, get on with things that need doing/repairing, prepare dinner, watch the news, make stuff, read perhaps, bed. In fact this isn’t much different to my regular day…tho my regular day would involve more work-related travel and the freedom to leave the house when I please. Most tradesmen I know are not visiting sites….so will be interesting if any properties need repairs.
So…what to say thank you for? Thank you for the inspiration that is my mother. She makes sure everyone keeps 2m away and takes deliveries with her rubber gloves on. She’s 92 and she’s dealing with this stoically, cheerfully even; careful, but full of faith in God’s will for her…and not afraid.
Thank you so much for darling husband. He is on the government’s list of 1.5 million specially vulnerable people, due to having to take immuno-suppressants…so he’s under house arrest for 12 weeks. It means I have to be specially careful when I go out for exercise and food shopping. So… he’s doing all the cleaning, using Zoom to connect with people and read stories to a friend’s children; he’s divising flag-based quizzes involving neighbours identifying flags hanging from the flagpole outside the front of our house. Plus he’s phoning everyone we know who’s on their own. Everyone is doing what they can. About 500,000 have volunteered for the NHS (about 250,000 more than they were looking for).
When I snapped my achilles tendon about 6 years ago (and which was the cause of me starting this blog)..I took it to be telling me something. I took it to mean I should stop…slow down. The effect of the coronavirus feels eerily similar…for the entire planet. I have a massive pile of books to read. I’m a hopelessly slow reader so there has always been a massive pile. One of the books is James Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia. Husband read it ages ago and, ace bluffer that I am, I get him to tell me about books he’s read and then convince myself that I’ve actually read them. So here’s my summary of a book I haven’t read: This book says that the planet (in it’s entirety..ie including us, I believe), is a self-regulating, living organism that constantly seeks balance. If any part of it becomes out of balance, then it will seek to restore balance, which might involve seemingly undesirable occurences, probably involving population reduction. Gaia will always adjust and survive, even if some of it’s inhabitants may not. I have no idea if this is true…but creating and maintaining balance certainly rings true…things go wrong for me as soon as I do not maintain balance, whether in my eating habits, exercise, work/life. Balance seems to be at the heart of things. So. This may be a wonderful opportunity to listen to the planet; to stop, to take stock and make changes for the good of us all.
I live in London and I have no idea whether I will survive this modern-day plague. (Did I really just say that? Is this a movie set? Is an untimely death really a distinct possibility?…first worlders are not used to the uncertainties many others regularly live with). I am confident of the people of this country, their resilience and willingness to help each other, and of our National Health Service (even under immense strain). We are not all angels, but I think we will, and are, learning the lessons this virus has to teach us.
Many, many, funny videos (virus and non-virus related) are circulating via Whatsapp… it is vital for your immune system that you eat well, exercise….and laugh…a lot. So join or create Whatsapp groups that are circulating the funny stuff. We will get through this.