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2020 comes to an end

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So here we are: the last day of 2020.  What a strange year and what a strange point we have reached with the virus.  Yesterday the Oxford Vaccine was cleared for use in the UK by the medicines regulator. On the same day new cases exceeded  50,000 and there were 981 deaths of people within 28 days of a positive test for covid 19.  So a strange tension between the hope that comes with the roll out of the vaccine and the tightening of restrictions to try to prevent the NHS from being totally overwhelmed by the increasing demand.  Here in Wales we have been in virtual lockdown since just before Christmas with an easing just on Christmas Day to allow a visit from only one household.  Yesterday it was announced that many more areas of England would go into Tier 4, not quite national lockdown but very close with all non essential retail closed and hospitality businesses open only for take away food.  It feels as if we are at a hugely significant point in the story of this virus.  If we can pr

Coronavirus at Christmas

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A press conference on Saturday afternoon, the 19th December.  Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers announce that the spread of a new strain of the virus is causing great concern.  This strain appears to be considerably more infectious so while the illness itself seems to be no more (or less) virulent, if it runs unchecked we shall have a huge increase in case numbers with the inevitable impact on hospitalisations and fatalities.  So fiercer restrictions are put in place in much of England and significant changes made to the arrangements for Christmas, reducing the period in which restrictions are relaxed from five days to one.  Here in Wales there is the immediate announcement of another lockdown, again with some very slight easing on Christmas Day, but otherwise a lockdown to mirror the severity of the one we had here in spring: no travel, exercise from home, no household mixing. It was not unexpected.  Cases had been suddenly rising in the South East and in South Wales and the n

Approaching Christmas and where are we up to?

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 Five things to be thankful for this Christmas. We are still here.  We come to the end of 2020 still alive, still living, breathing, laughing, doing, still here. Ian.  We have come through all these months of uncertainty and confinement together, looking after each other practically and emotionally,  keeping each other company, looking out for each other, enjoying our time together, amusing and occasionally annoying each other but always making each other's lives immeasurably richer.   Our wider family and friends.  We may not have seen as much of them as we like to do but we have been in touch often and just that sense of them being out there fills me with gratitude: a facetime degenerating into noisy chaos with the younger grandchildren, a call with the adults in the evening, a visit from local daughter and her family.  Knowing that they are there is like a warm fire in winter. The natural world.  We live in a beautiful place and like to spend a lot of time outside in it.  This y

Coronavirus diary in November 2020

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It is a couple of weeks since my last entry, a couple of weeks with various things happening, some to do with the virus and some not.  The first was a strange period of visual disturbance.  This has disappeared as mysteriously as it came but has left me waiting for an appointment in our local hospital (delayed because of coronavirus) and not able to drive until I have been seen.  I am doing my best to go with the flow on this.  I do not seem able to do anything which will speed things up and fretting about it not only does not help but actively makes the waiting worse!  Ian is cheerily doing all the driving so it is just a matter living the intervening days rather than waiting in them.  I am not too bad at that: a walk in the sun, a poached egg, a call with family or an evening with a good book, all of these things can easily be the focus of my days.  We had a brief but totally delightful visit from older daughter and nearly eleven year old grandson after the lockdown eased.  In Wales

Coronavirus diary - coming to the end of the lockdown in Wales

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Tomorrow we come to the end of the "firebreak" lockdown in Wales, two weeks and two days of further restrictions.  It has not felt like the first lockdown at all and it is interesting to wonder why.  In March it felt as if life had truly gone inside.  The roads were empty.  The skies were blue and silent.  We went nowhere.  But the sun shone and spring came tumbling over itself in its rush to blossom and growth.  We worked in the garden and took advantage of the fact that, living up here, we always have a full freezer and a well stocked pantry.  When Ian went food shopping, as rarely as we could, I waited with bated breath for him to come home.  We saw no one. This time has been only a shadow of that.  There was still traffic on the roads.  We continued to do some childcare for our locally living daughter.  Yoga and Pilates classes which had only recently restarted were suspended again but Zoom meetings for Welsh and Spanish continued.  Again we have stayed home and exercised

Coronavirus diary week 1084 (or something like that!)

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So here we are on day five of the sixteen day "firebreak lockdown" in Wales.  The main difference for us from the local lockdown which preceded it is that we are no longer allowed to meet other people even outside and the small opening up which had led to yoga and pilates classes restarting has been withdrawn.  In some ways this is fine.    It is quite a short period of time and if it helps to stem the rising number of cases then it could be worthwhile.   Let us hope so.  In some ways it is far from fine.  We were not seeing many people, really only our locally living daughter and her family and some very close local friends, but we miss them.  And I am intensely missing our further away family, children and grandchildren, in South Wales, Manchester and Devon, who we have not seen properly for months.  Rain and darker evenings don't help either!  I just want to sit round a table with those that I love and eat delicious food and drink wine and laugh and tell stories.  I wa

Coronavirus diary and where does the time go?

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Today I found myself struggling to remember exactly what I had done this week and I realised that one effect for me of this protracted period of lockdown and semi lockdown is that the weeks blur into each other.  Tomorrow we are expecting an announcement to the effect that there will be what is being called a circuit breaker lockdown in Wales, a shorter period (but exactly how long?) of serious restrictions in an attempt to reverse the trend of rising infections and hospitalisations. So in this week's blog I am going to pin down exactly what I have been doing over the last seven days to try to stop the weeks blurring into months! Sunday 11th October I went for a run about lunchtime and in the afternoon younger daughter and all her family (the only part of our family within reach at the moment as they live in the same county) came to spend the afternoon with us.  It was a lovely day, warm enough to sit outside, as we must right now.  We have two horse chestnut trees and much of the