Coronavirus diary week 4 11th to 18th April

Of course it would be nice if the sun always shone and the swallows swooped and everyone kept their spirits up all the time and mostly I think we are doing pretty well.  On Thursday though I had a dip.  The weather has been fabulous, bright blue skies, warm breeze, day long sunshine.  On Thursday morning I had my Spanish conversation class which has moved online with a fair degree of success.  Afterwards I looked at the sunshine and decided to go for a run.  I have been having trouble getting into any kind of running routine since the lockdown as most of my running normally takes place a little away from home so that I don't have to cope with the fact that going anywhere on foot from here requires going up or down a pretty steep hill.  This week I thought I would combine running and walking up the hill when the lane gets steep and see if I can improve by reducing my time for the haul up the hill and back.  It was great and running downhill I felt like the gazelle I certainly am not.  I felt the way I used to feel as a child when I was convinced I was running like the wind.  I was always a bit astonished when school sports day inevitably showed I was not the fastest, fleetest runner in the world.  How could that be when I knew that when I ran by myself I was swift and graceful as a racehorse?

So the day was going well and then over the course of the afternoon it gradually fell apart.  It was not the extension of the lockdown.  That had been flagged up so clearly that it was no surprise.  It was just a gradual sense that there seemed no reason for things ever to change.  There is no vaccine.  Testing remains patchy.  Why should it be any safer to be out in the world in a month's time, or two months' or even six months'?  The thought of not knowing when I would see my children and grandchildren again overwhelmed me.  I couldn't cry.  I felt a cold pit in my stomach.  I wandered around the garden in the sunshine trying to feel the warmth of the sun and to see the beauty of the cherry blossom.  None of it mattered I thought, without the people I love, nothing matters.  Eventually I went to find Ian.  He was digging.  "Come and sit in the shelter with me,"  I said.  He stuck his spade in the ground and took off his gardening gloves.  We sat together.  "I need a hug."  So we hugged.  We didn't talk.  There was  nothing to say.  The sadness didn't disappear but it gradually drained away a little so that it swirled around my knees instead of closing over my head.  "I'll make a cup of tea," I said eventually.  "Shall I bring you one out?"

So if I am to tell the truth in these diaries, sometimes it is hard.

But we have to do this so do it we will, and with as much grace and good cheer as we can muster.  And one of the examples of grace and good cheer must be that of Captain Tom, the ninety nine year old former soldier who has,as I write, raised more than £20 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden after a hip operation.  It is not simply the fact of his quiet determination that has caught public imagination I think.  It is his modesty and gentleness and strong spirit.  His intention when he started was to raise £1000.  It is an amazing story and I think that people all over the country have latched on to his positivity in a time of darkness and sad news.  Without intending to, he seems to have become an emblem of all that we want ourselves to be in these hard times.



This is our view out across the valley, up to Moel Arthur, something to contemplate with a cup of tea.

So on Friday it was time to dust myself off and emulate Captain Tom!  One foot in front of the other!  What can we do to have a good day?  In the morning I had a Spanish session with my friend in Valencia and felt that, though there is still a long way to go, my Spanish is improving.  Then I decided that this was the ideal time to rescue an abandoned knitting project, of which I have an embarrassing number.   These have been set aside for a variety of reasons:  a new grandchild has meant that making baby clothes was more appealing, a sense of having reached a particularly tricky part of a pattern sometimes galvanises me into action but sometimes I will put something aside, intending to come back to it and just never get there.  I knew I had a pair of fairisle gloves which I had abandoned because I couldn't combine the level of concentration required with any form of conversation or television watching.  I also knew I had a jacket which only needed the shawl collar making that I had put to one side because I wasn't sure how to do the next bit.

I went up to the sewing room and dug the knitting bag out.  There it was.  It was really quite nice.  It was just a matter of working out exactly where I was with the pattern.

 

I sat down quietly in the sewing room, called up Ravelry on the ipad and found the pattern.  I could see that I had put this into my projects so I went to check how long it was since I had done anything on it and found to my astonishment, and amusement, that I put it aside in 2012!!! Whoops!  So it would be a great achievement from this lockdown time if I could actually finish it, actually wear it, wouldn't that be great?!  I am halfway through the collar now.  I realise that the thing I was unsure about in 2012 was working short rows.  The great advantage of having had so much time go by is that since then I have made half a dozen things which have required short rows so they hold no fears.  I should actually finish this over the weekend and that would please me very much.

And last night we had a glass of wine with good friends, Joyce and Adrian, once the technology had been beaten into submission.  It is not the same as sitting around a table together but it is still good to see their faces and hear their voices and make each other laugh.

So there we go, a week of up and down, but mainly OK and back on an even keel for now.  How is it for you?

Comments

  1. Lovely to read your coronavirus diary. I have one too but rather more frivolous than yours. confinedtoquarters.blogspot.com.

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  2. Meant to say more but I was cooking dinner. I started my blog for the benefit of my Keepfit pals. We had formed a little unit and wanted to stay in touch during lockdown. I try to keep it light and interesting and include things that make me happy like referring back to my time in France with my husband. Also, of course, the political scene has to be mentioned as that is important in a diary.
    I have lots more unfinished projects myself so I can identify with that.
    I remain cheerful and optimistic for the future.
    The hug sounds good. I miss those.

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    1. Really good to read your blog Brenda! I like the way you have included bits of news as well. Mine is a more personal diary. I am basically optimistic too (with occasional bouts of pessimism as outlined above!) but I am by nature a cheerful soul so that is my default position.

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  3. Trying to enjoy each day as much as we can is the best thing to do. Always.

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    1. Totally agree - a day at a time is the way to go!

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  4. It's a delight to find you blogging again, even if the reason is a downer. I'm sorry you're finding it so hard though. As a natural hermit (well, as long as I have lots of online contact) I'm finding it a pleasure. Then of course we're so lucky to have the garden, all services including broadband, and each other.

    It's strange to have Bridget back in the cottage - and as inaccessible as she was in London.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you on here. Xxxx

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    1. Hi Anne. It would be untrue to say I am generally finding it hard. Most of the time it's fine and, like you, we are confined in a beautiful place with plenty to do so most of my days are OK. But I did think I should document a low if this was to be a true record.
      Funnily enough I was thinking of you the other day and imagining that you would not find it difficult to have to stay home as that is your special place! I am having no trouble filling the days and as you say broadband and connectivity provides the online contact which is a lifeline. If I were confined here with all my clan it would be a pleasure!

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    2. Yes, I think you are more naturally sociable than me, so missing the family must come hard. I wonder how people like me cope when they have had families? Well, actually, I have an idea - a friend who suffers mightily from demands of many children and grandchildren coming to be fed, entertained and b&b'd. I think they want to move to a smaller place partly to make this no longer possible/expected.

      It's interesting to think what will emerge from all this. (besides the tragedies, of course.)

      Monmouthshire archives have asked people to write and send them their diaries. Wonder if your local archives would welcome yours?

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    3. Our local council are also collecting records of this time as is our very local history group. I would be very interested to see other people's records of this time too. I saw that someone had been round photographing all the local businesses in our village to record the signs outside about what is happening. Good idea.

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  5. I have had those same sadnesses come over me as well — the futility of it all, it seems. My grandchildren live close — one within walking distance — and I can’t really see them except online and it is taking its toll. However, I do deep down feel there will be an end to is, I try to nudge away the feeling that we don’t really know the truth of all of this (living in the US I am always skeptical of what we are being told) and I am making great plans for when we are free to move around and see those kids again — in the flesh.

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    1. I think we have to feel that there will be an end to survive reasonably happily! I agree with you, I do think we will come out the other side in some fashion but I suspect it might take a while and the shape of life on the other side might also take some time to become clear. All the more important to make every day count!!

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  6. I have watched your Captain Tom in admiration from Cape Town.

    I do find it hard to imagine after, finding the courage to meet and touch people again, after learning carefully NOT to.

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    1. I do know what you mean exactly Diana. I see film on the TV from before this time and the closeness with which people are packed makes me want to say "Look, look! You are not leaving enough space!" Amazing how quickly my internal sense of what is appropriate has shifted, bearing in mind how many years I have had the old sense and how few weeks it has taken to acquire the new sense of what is OK!

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  7. As always I very much enjoyed reading your blog - and indeed everyone's comments. I have been pondering on how different personality types cope with the situation. I'm a Myers Briggs practitioner (a theory on personality preferences that's used extensively in organisations and in some therapeutic settings to assist in self understanding and understanding of others) and I speculate as to the possible (and it is only possible) personality preferences that may be at play in the way we individually react to what is going on.
    I have a very clear preference for Introversion but I find lack of contact with people one of the hardest things about the current situation. Whereas my husband, with the same preference, is adjusts much better. On another Myers Briggs dimension, the need to plan and have some kind of order to one's day, as compared with "going with the flow", could be indicative of our individual innate preferences. I'm sure much research will be done by the psychologists when this is over.
    And I agree with the sentiment that we have to believe it will be over and that we'll emerge stronger - if different in many ways.
    I am heavily involved in the Patient & Carer Network of the Royal College of Physicians and can't help being aware of what is being discussed about how delivery of healthcare will change in the future. Lots more telemedicine for example!

    Enough ramblings from me. I look forward to your next instalment....

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    1. This is very interesting Lynne and funnily enough I have been thinking myself about Myers Briggs and whether it offers any insights into coping with lockdown. That was sparked by the comment from my friend, Anne, above. I think she would say herself that she has a strong need for solitude in order to feel most like herself. I have had a couple of Myers Briggs tests myself over the course of my working life and I come out just on the extrovert side in looking at introversion/extraversion. I certainly recognise in myself that I need periods to myself to feel happy and comfortable and also that without interaction with people I can drift into a kind of greyness. Certainly now I am fine with the day to day nature of life and it is not people in general I miss (although there is a little of that) but my own people, our children and grandchildren. I too am surprised at how well Ian has adjusted as he is in many ways a people person. I suspect the answer might be that as an intensely practical person he is able to withdraw into doing things, having a project. And the whole question is also affected by the circumstances of your isolation. Would I be managing as well as I generally am if I were not in such a beautiful place, with vast amounts of green around me? I suspect not!

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  8. It´s lovely to read another post in your diary. I´m starting the 6th week in lockdown in Spain with a panorama of uncertainty. I´m sure that when all this is over we´ll become more appreciative and stronger, different.
    I´m living and enjoying each day the best I can.
    Looking foward to hearing more posts from you here.

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    1. I very much hope you are right that we will be changed by this experience even if only to some degree and emerge stronger and more appreciative of what we have. At the moment I feel that I will never ever take a hug for granted!!

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