Coronavirus week three - 5th to 12th April

You might think that all weeks would be the same: nothing different to do, nowhere different to go, no new people bring their energy and life.  But you would be wrong.  Perhaps it is a version of getting used to the isolation, perhaps it is a form of adjustment, but it changes.

The big change outside our little life here has been the steady increase in coronavirus deaths.  For the last couple of days they have hovered at just under a thousand a day.  It seems we might hit the peak over the next few days but there is still no indication of how we can escape this lockdown.  I read about the search for a vaccine.  I try to continue to find the balance between knowing what is going on and being overwhelmed. I can tell when I have got it wrong because it becomes harder to tune into the here and now.  If in doubt, less news seems to be the answer for me, a disconcerting feeling for a news and current affairs addict like me.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, goes into hospital on the 5th April and then the following day into intensive care.  As someone who feels a strong attachment to Europe I do not share his politics but I am heartened to see politicians around the country wishing him well and I am relieved when he leaves intensive care.  We need less of the divisiveness that has torn our country apart over recent years and more of a focus on what unites us, our common humanity, our shared vulnerability, our ability to care for each other.  Get well soon Boris.

And with no end in sight to the lockdown it is even more important to make every day count.  I thought at the beginning that I would be doing more than in fact I am.  Life has got slower and I am finding that the tasks that I thought I would spend lots of time on - Spanish, Welsh, writing, - need to be balanced with other things to make the days work.  I found an article by a Spanish psychiatrist  to read in my regular exchange with my Spanish friend.  He recommends that each day you do something for the mind, something for the body and something for the heart so that could be to read a book, do some exercise and make time to connect in some way with friends and family.  I think that is a really good prescription and for myself a would add a fourth pillar: something with the hands.

So perhaps I am doing less with the mind than I thought I would.  If I do some Spanish I don't try to do Welsh as well on that day.  It is the same with the body.  I am doing something everyday but again perhaps not asking quite so much of myself.  If I do some Pilates or yoga I won't also try to run or take a long walk.  If I walk up the hill with Ian that might be it in terms of exercise for the day.

And I find if I am doing a bit less in a timetabled sort of way with mind and body I am doing a bit more with the hands and the heart.  The hands are the easy one.  I went rooting through my unfinished bits of knitting and came across all sorts of bits of work in progress which had been put aside at the birth of a new grandchild or the arrival of some particularly beautiful yarn.  I am quite excited at the thought of finishing them.  There is a jacket with only the shawl collar to do, some fairisle gloves put aside because they need absolute concentration, a pattern and the wool for a knitted sheep.  So some time every day for the hands.  That could be gardening too or cooking or baking something new.  Yesterday I made hot cross buns.  They were so delicious I had to put half of them in the freezer to stop myself eating the lot.  It would be sad to end this period of confinement with an extra half stone.

And the heart is the harder one.  Easter is normally a family time.  It is a time for Easter egg hunts in the garden, for roast lamb and chocolate cakes and filling the place with people.  This year it is quiet.  I look out of the window at the valley dreaming in the sun: no children squealing, no dogs chasing balls, no adults sprawled on the grass catching up with each other.  We send little videos and later we will facetime.  Thank heavens for the technology that makes connection possible.  And these strange times across the world have thrown up new things for the heart: a zoom call with a cousin and her husband in Australia, emails from friends.  And always there is the fact that I am sharing this time with Ian.  My heart goes out to those who are alone.

And all the time spring is throwing out beauty.  The wild cherry is in flower.



There are still primroses by the wall.


And this morning in that dreaming sunshine a swallow flashed by the window and looped back in a sweeping curve over the pigsties.  They nest in the old stone pigsty in the kitchen garden every year and every year I wait for their return.  So here they are.  The world is still turning.  Now I am going to go out and weed the raspberries and be thankful.

How is it with you in your staying home life?

Comments

  1. So lovely to read your words. They bring encouragement in a strange and unfamiliar time. We have a small walled garden, but it is lovely to see signs of life in the flowering bulbs and the Wisteria on the wall. That always brings Pyte House to mind and the hours of joy and family time spent there. I am knitting too and have picked up crochet again, trying to improve my skills. I would love the recipe for Hot Cross Buns if you are able to share. Many blessings to you and yours this Easter, enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of nature. Take care.

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    Replies
    1. Another cousin! Great to hear from Julie! That is a real blast from the past, the memory of the wisteria on the wall of Pytte House! Wasn't it beautiful? The hot cross buns were a Mary Berry recipe https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_hot_cross_65003
      They were fab! Love to you and yours.

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  2. I hit the 'can't take any more news' moment this afternoon, having listened to it in what seems an almost non-stop way for weeks. I couldn't take any more. Strangely the death of Time Brooke-Taylor was a tipping point. I cried. And I hadn't even known I cared. Something to do with him being part of the background to my childhood then his voice being on Radio 4 on and off ever since.

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    1. I know what you mean about Tim Brook Taylor. He has been one of the background characters to my life too. I am finding that I have to pay attention to how I feel about the news far more than I ever had and when I withdraw from it, as I did this afternoon, I still feel quite surprised at myself. It is good to hear from you. Hope you and your family are OK.

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  3. Have enjoyed reading your journal during this time of stress. I was concerned that you had set
    a pretty high bar of activities to fill your time....glad you adjusted your expectations. It is very
    hard to find a good balance. I'm afraid I haven't found it yet. I have spent too much time in the kitchen and was anxious to have your recipe for hot cross buns. Thanks for providing it above. I became a fan of Mary Berry while watching The Great British Bake Off; a very popular
    program here in the U.S. My favorite activity is embroidery and have started stitching a Quaker sampler as well as finishing several works in progress. Stay well and happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Embroidery sounds like it might be your version of my "doing something with the hands"! No, I haven't really found the balance yet but I am trying to be kind to myself and not beat myself up if the day seems to have drifted away without much point or purpose. I would admit that I enjoy the days more which seem to have some kind of achievement though, even if it is a small one!

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  4. If I am locked down for long enough. perhaps I will get to sorting out 2 pullovers that have needed finishing off for ... decades?

    Wow your cherry tree!!

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    1. I have a quilting project which has made no progress for over ten years! I'm not sure I will ever get to that one!

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  5. Starting so many projects and not finishing them (usually because of wanting to investigate and try the many beautiful crafts we appreciate) leads to a lot of guilt. I switched from hand quilting to embroidery after 20 years, many quilt tops later. I finally relaxed my "hand only" standard and sent four tops to a machine quilter for finishing. It was a real relief when those quilts got completed before my time ran out...at 75 that is a consideration. I now truly enjoy working on smaller embroidery projects, but, unfortunately have accumulated a box of UFO's that have begun to nag at me. I'm trying to finish some of those during our time of confinement.

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    Replies
    1. I love the idea of what I call work in progress being a UFO! I shall adopt it!!

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  6. One of two people have told me that they can't always comment on the blog so here is one from Lynne Quinney:
    Another piece of lovely writing that captures many of the same experiences and emotions I'm growing very familiar with as this situation continues.
    I guess theories around transitions and coming to terms with loss encapsulate the rollercoaster nature of our current experience. One part of the day can see me calm and accepting of the situation and other times I can be angry or downright depressed and anxious. Like you I find exposure to the news a mixed blessing. I want to be informed and up to date but the sheer volume of seemingly relentless bad news is not a recipe for more of the calm and accepting times.
    My best times are, unsurprisingly, those which provide human contact with family and friends. Of course, like you, I so value having someone to share this with and I feel so grateful for David's company. reading a bedtime story via skype to our 3 year old granddaughter is a joy and I treasure all the whatsapp messages, photos and videos that our three kids send.
    We are fortunate to live right on the south westerly edge of Sheffield - the Peak district national park is just 2 or 3 miles up the road. Avoiding the cyclists, runners and other walkers heading in that direction we can nevertheless access lots of green space and it is a joy to see the lambs and hear the birds on our daily walk.

    Thanks again for this blog, reading it is a very welcome addition to my new weekly routine. Have a good week both.




    ReplyDelete
  7. And another one here from Denise Williams:
    Living alone and miles from all my family I thought I would really struggle during social distancing , fortunately I am not 70 yrs old until October so am not socially isolating. What has amazed me is how much more time I have to appreciate nature. I adore the countryside and feel blessed to be fortunate to live in such a wonderful part of the world. I remember the day Richard and I came to look at my current home in Ysceifiog. I was shocked that we would ever think of moving from a busy city like Sunderland to a tiny village in a field.!!
    However I always trusted his judgement and could see from the outset that he had fallen in love with the house and the village. Gosh was he right (, not something I would often admit.)

    I walk about 3 miles every day and taking different routes have see the most beautiful wild flowers in the hedgerows. I am busy trying to memorise the names, its so peaceful without the traffic and the birdsong is wonderful.

    I like you have been keeping myself busy ,gardening, pilates ,walking and crocheting blankets for the Premature baby units in several hospitals. I've just completed two lap blankets for elderly people in local care homes.

    I miss my family and friends as we all do and realise how much they all mean far more important than money or possessions ,I will be so ecstatic when we can all be together again and able to Hug !. I speak to my parents every day but my Mum can't quite get the hang of FaceTime . however my brother lives very close and is having conversations through the window when he takes groceries.

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  8. I have copied these onto the blog because I think when we look back on all this it will be fascinating to be reminded of everyone's experiences.

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  9. Tim Brook Taylor. He has been one of the background characters to my life too. I am finding that I have to pay attention to how I feel about the news far more than I ever had and when I withdraw from it, as I did this afternoon, I still feel quite surprised at myself. It is good to hear from you.

    best baby bottle nipples

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tim Brook Taylor. He has been one of the background characters to my life too. I am finding that I have to pay attention to how I feel about the news far more than I ever had and when I withdraw from it, as I did this afternoon, I still feel quite surprised at myself. It is good to hear from you.

    best baby bottle nipples

    ReplyDelete

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