Coronavirus diary week 5 - 19th to 26th April

For some reason this has been a quieter week.  Perhaps we are getting used to being confined?  Somehow I have done less.  Perhaps the Protestant work ethic of filling every moment with activity, which used to be my default approach, has been smoothed out by the sense that the days pass whether I fill them with Welsh and Spanish and yoga and gardening and reading and communicating with family and friends, or not.  So I seem to have settled to a pattern of doing a bit less, getting up a bit later, spending longer over a cup of coffee or a wander around the garden, more watching the birds, accepting that if I have the structure of my Spanish Skype calls or my Welsh Zoom class, I probably won't also spend much time at the computer doing on line learning.  The garden continues to take a lot of time and Ian has made real inroads on clearing the fruit bed, which had been determinedly returning to the field from which it came, and emptying a raised bed ready for planting out the peas and beans in the greenhouse.  I have been clearing brambles and nettles when I am feeling strong and deadheading daffodils and moving seedlings when I need something a bit less energetic to do.  I have also been making sourdough bread.  Normally it feels as if it takes too long and wants me to be in the kitchen doing something when I want to be out in the world doing something else but right now I am going to be here anyway so tinkering and experimenting with the natural yeast starter and rising times and cooking time seems an easy thing to do.



I haven't yet achieved artisan bakery appearances but it tastes fantastic.  In fact sourdough bread, by itself, may be the reason I have put on four pounds since the lockdown started.



I have also finished the jacket which I put to one side in 2012.  I am quite pleased with it although it is truly a winter jacket and with luck won't get much wearing over the next few weeks.  Now I have another request from four year old granddaughter for a summer dress for her baby doll so that should keep my hands occupied for the coming days.

I find myself thinking about what I want do if and when this lockdown is ever lifted.  There is an interesting tension in the press and on the television between the demands of the economy for a restart and the sense that, in the absence of ideally a vaccine or at the least a wide spread testing and contact tracing programme, a relaxation might be followed by a second wave of infections.  My own thinking is that the pressure for a release of lockdown will lead to some sort of staged programme of lifting the restrictions but I can't imagine a return to anything like normal life until or unless there is a vaccine.

But what would I like to do if I could go out?  I think this is on my mind because I have been learning this form in Spanish:  ¿si pudieras salir hoy, qué harías?  "If you could go out today, what would you do?"

Well there are big things and little things.  The big thing is to see our children and grandchildren and to laugh and hug and have a child on your knee for a cuddle.  Our children and grandchildren are spread out over the country so if the lockdown were lifted entirely tomorrow it would still take us nearly a week to get to everywhere and see everyone.  But that is the big thing which cannot be thought about for too long because it is not possible.  Suppress the thought, steady the heart, calm the breathing, one day at a time.

But there are the less huge things which come tumbling out in a cheery line, waving and shouting "Pick me!  Pick me!"

A cup of coffee and a newspaper in a coffee shop, watching the world go by.

A drive to the sea to sit on the sea wall with an ice cream, watching the tide moving on the sand.

A meal in a pub or dinner with friends round a table full of conversation.

A choir rehearsal in full voice filling the church with sound.

The gentle sociability of a Pilates or yoga class.

The deep Devon lanes, studded with wild flowers.

Driving up and over the Denbigh moors, the road climbing ever higher and and west to the mountains and the sun shining on the Mawddach estuary.

And I haven't even got further from home with a train or a ferry and the delights of travel. 


But for now I will go and make Ian a cup of good coffee and sit outside with it watching the swallows swooping over the stone pigsties.  Later I will facetime a daughter or son.   I will make a carrot soup and work in the garden.  I will read "The Diary of a Provincial Lady".  And for dinner we will have roast chicken and afterwards we will light a fire and have a glass of wine.  One day at a time.

How about you? 

Comments

  1. I'm very unproductive. Sometimes I find myself rushing at something then hold myself back. Why press to finish this when there isn't a particularly strong reason to do whatever will follow? It's quite therapeutic. 'Success' in a day is to have happened to have washed the bathroom floor somewhere along the line.

    What comes after? Mostly I try not to think about it. I'm anticipating the government which has instructed some of us to stay indoors for three months will decide an extra three months can be lobbed on top and I don't want to feel too much of a let-down when that happens. But . . . . I do look forward to going up to Studely Pike again - a hill on the Pennine Way with a monument you can climb to the top of. That's reasonably close by. Further afield . . . in January I stayed at Portmaddoc for a few days. I enjoyed it but the steam railway was closed. I'd like to go back and have a ride!

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    1. Yes I am with you on what constitutes an achievement. Today's is having blogged and gone to the trouble of cooking a chicken in a new way. I do think you are right that this will be extended, especially for those who are for any reason more at risk. But I would have thought that doing things outside (such as Studely Pike) might be much less high risk than going to a shopping centre!

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  2. I've slowed down over the past week as well. I live alone so can pretty much please myself on what I do and when, so meals are being eaten when my body wants nourishment rather than because the clock dictates it's crime to eat. The same for sleeping and rising. I have plenty of things to keep me occupied but I am taking more time to just sit and be, especially now the warmer weather means it's comfortable to sit out on the patio.

    I'm in the high risk category so can't see any normality ahead until there is a vaccine but I am planning my first outing in my head because it will happen one day ... a trip to see the sea again.

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    1. It is funny that your desire to see the sea chimes with one of mine. It is only nine miles from here but at the moment it could be ninety miles for all the difference it makes! But we will get there one day, maybe even swim or paddle!

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  3. Wow, I so enjoy reading your blogs. The world is a different place at the moment and I’m trying to concentrate on the positives, less noise that allows us to better hear the birdsong; beautiful flowers growing in the hedgerows that have been allowed to flourish; cleaner air and less traffic and people about when we venture out. Missing physical contact with family and friends is hard - oh and I’d love to go to the seaside, but for now enjoying the tranquility and slow pace of life. Keep blogging!

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    1. You are right Julie that there are positives, plenty of them in fact. For me it has been hugely helpful that this happened in spring. I have always loved Spring and the greening of the world around me gives me great pleasure and interest. Things are changing all the time. The trees and hedges are now in full leaf, except for our walnut tree and mulberry tree in the garden which are always the last to green. It is a focus. I am so glad I live in the country where it is easy to get absorbed in it!

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  4. I´m really getting used to live confined. It´s the 7th week confined in Spain. I´m totally adjusted to this situation that I refused so much at the beginning but then I have already adapted. Most of the part of my life currently takes place by skype: talking with relatives and friends, working, buying, reading ... Yesterday night I was talking with my husband and I told him that I could already see a path of hope and light in all this.

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    1. It is interesting how we adapt even to situations which seem difficult. The human spirit can be remarkably resilient. For me technology in the form of skype or facetime or whatsapp and zoom has been really important in enabling me to continue to feel connected. I think I have adapted pretty well but I doubt whether I would be able to feel so calm without the bits of communication with family which matter so much.

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  5. For me life seems to have settled into something of a regular routine over the past week or so. A walk through the nearby fields, avoiding the lambs and their protective mothers, between breakfast and coffee, doing odd jobs around the house or holding a virtual meeting lead up to lunchtime, a mindfulness session immediately after lunch then one or more of a variety of leisure pursuits including reading, knitting and cross stitch embroidery as well as cooking, before our evening meal. Sometimes I read a bedtime story via skype to our 3 year old granddaughter and next week will probably see us trying to assist with home schooling of her 2 older sisters - having been given the RE topic of the Trinity!
    I am trying to take one day at a time as so many of us are. I habitually tend to look back at what I was doing, perhaps a year ago, or to look forward to days when things will be different, and better, than they are now. But this can lead very easily to feelings of sadness so I'm attempting to not be guilty of wishing my life away by dwelling on what I want to be different. I suspect that, for those who share my tendency to plan ahead rather than dwell in the present and who are increasingly aware that they are no longer in the first flush of youth, or even middle age, time's winged chariot is a real factor...
    Hence, for me, the regular practising of mindfulness has become an essential part of my daily routine.
    Keep writing Elizabeth - reading and reflecting on what you've recorded is also now an important part of my routine.

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    1. I imagine that having found some sort of routine is important to many of us and it sounds as though you have found one which works for you. For me, four days out of five in the week start with some sort of online language practice : Welsh on Monday, Spanish conversation with my friend on Tuesday and Friday and Spanish conversation class on Thursday. It is a reason to get up and get going and makes me feel connected to the world. I admit that sometimes I feel like staying in bed with the covers over my head but I never do and I always feel good for having done it.
      Like you Lynne I am very inclined to look forward and think about what I am going to do and what is going to happen although I have found over the last seven years or so, with the illness and subsequent loss of my parents that I have become better and better at living in the moment. That is perhaps one good thing about being very aware of fact that life is short! I do appreciate your reading and commenting on the blog. It is good to feel that connection!

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  6. I just want to add that by first time I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, in particular in Spain.

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    1. Ah yes, Luz. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel is an expression we use in English too!

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  7. Apart from having lost track of how many weeks we've been in lockdown I'm fine and settling down into a routine. I push away any thoughts of the economic toll, because what can I do by worrying? I re-read Thomas Hardy's In Time of The Breaking of Nations, because that reminds me that our forebears have lived through other traumas and yet the essentials go on. If my adult children are fine then I'm fine. Neither is far enough on in careers yet to have children, and if they did they wouldn't live near us, but I can imagine how hard is must be if you're used to seeing grandchildren often. Thoughts and plans for future travel are beginning to bubble up and I'm seized with a great desire to explore France thoroughly. It's comforting to think of that and to have time to plan. It sounds as if your garden, like mine, is the great beneficiary of the lockdown.

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    1. "In Time of the Breaking of Nations" is a wonderful poem. Funnily enough I have been rereading "The Darkling Thrush" which I found similarly apposite. I shall go back to Hardy. Travel is interesting as I find the idea of air travel, even if it is possible, deeply unappealing, but I think we will be on a ferry to somewhere with the camper van sometime. That attracts me very much!

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