Coronavirus diary Week 8 - 19th to 17th May

Well I was wrong about there being not a lot of difference between the arrangements in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Restrictions have been eased significantly in England with driving for exercise now allowed and schools to reopen partially in June.  The picture in England seems quite confused to me but that may be because I have not spent any time on the detail of the new arrangements.  Rules in Wales continue very much the same although we can now go out from home for exercise as often as we like.  There has been some concern here in Wales about people travelling into the country from England to exercise.  We were surprised to hear from our neighbours that in walking up the hill for their exercise the other day they had been stopped by the police who were clearly checking to make sure that they hadn't driven in from outside the area.  While where we live is very beautiful it is not very well known so I was curious to find resources being given to police it.  I suppose it is sufficiently out of the way to be a place for people to come if they were trying to keep off the radar!

Deaths in hospitals and in the community of people who have tested positive for coronavirus now stand at 34,466 with the daily total running at around 4-500.  I see that for the first time deaths in Spain fell below 100 yesterday.  Let us hope that we can get there too.  



Here at home, I am having to work a bit at not being bored.  I was brought up with "only boring people are bored" as a maxim.  If you tried to tell my mother that you were bored she would say "Go and find something to do then."  That normally involved going outside and building elaborate dens in the garden or being packed off up to the pond on the common with sandwiches and a bottle of pop and an ancient watch to check the time.  That freedom for children wouldn't happen now, would it?  There is always so much to do here that it is never a problem to pass the time profitably but I am aware that I do not like the repetition of endless routine.  My father in law lived with us for the last four years of his life and he loved routine: doing the same thing at the same time every day, eating the same food, telling the same stories.  "People might say I am in a rut, but I think I am in a groove," he would say laughing, for the tenth time that month.  It anchored him, made him happy and secure.  When Motor Neurone Disease began to take its hold on my father he and my mother, who had never really been routine people,  also adopted a similar thing: coffee at ten, lunch at twelve thirty, tea at six.  Perhaps it gave them a sense of being in control of something when so much physical capacity began to ebb away and horizons became small.

I like an element of routine.  I like the shape to the week given by Welsh and Spanish on Zoom and Skype, but I have never liked the rigidity of the routine which Eric loved.  I like spontaneity.  I like to drive to the sea, to go out for lunch just because I feel like it.  I love being on a train or on a ferry with that sense of journeying.  I like not knowing what might happen today.  But we have fallen very much into a routine because we are here all the time and that is just what happens.  Not every day is the same, and I haven't yet got to the stage my mother did of laying the table for breakfast the night before, but there is a rhythm to the days: coffee does tend to happen around 10.30; we do eat our meals at the same time each day, we watch television or read in the evening, we go to bed around 11.00.  There is a sort of comfort in the rhythm in these uncertain days but I find I am also trying to find ways of creating some small kinds of difference and variety.  A couple of times a week I am cooking something new, experimenting with spices and herbs and new flavours.  I bought a new cookery book called "The Roasting Tin Around the World" which is full of easy and different food.  Often I am getting changed at the end of the day.  I am looking for new authors to read.  It is a tightrope to walk: there is comfort in familiarity but too much sameness makes me feel I am only half alive.  There is pleasure and interest in new things but too much looking for change makes me lose the equilibrium I need to have to live this confined life.  


I would love to know how it works for you.

Comments

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    1. Had to log out of my Google account and log back in again to be able to publish my comment.

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  2. I feel very dull. I dulled down in order to survive months alone in hospital without going loopy and was only just coming out of that mode when lockdown began. I slipped back into it for self-protection and for the most part it has worked - I am content doing nothing! It's not going to be practical for much longer though for physically I'll start running down as well as mentally being only 'half alive'.

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    1. I don't think I have ever read anything about this idea of "dulling down" in response to difficult circumstances but I do know what you mean and I think I have observed it both in others and in myself. I am sorry you have had the sort of things to cope with that have made you feel it necessary but I also find it very hard to imagine your being dull in any way!!

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  3. I've been coping well with lockdown (I am shielding and live alone) but am aware that little periods of boredom and failure to concentrate are creeping in.

    I think this is due in part to losing any structure to the day and just drifting so I am working towards reintroducing a rhythm to the day that I know works for me, i.e. chores and exercise in the morning and leave the rest of the day free to do what I want.

    For the first time in weeks I went out for a drive today, mainly to give the car a long run out, but just seeing different sights as I was driving around has cheered me up. I deemed it to be very low risk as I was on my own and had no contact with others at all, but it was definitely worth that risk. If I can drive somewhere free from people and spend some time in the fresh air just once a week, I think it will save my sanity!

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    1. It must be so much harder to keep your equilibrium when you are on your own. I know that time and time again a low mood is lifted by a joke shared or a hug. So I admire your resilience and determination. I agree too that structure helps. We have even tried to maintain the difference between week days and weekend although there is no logical necessity for it. Somehow the week works better with a shape!

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  4. This week has been pretty well with lockdown here in Spain. Thus the lockdown has not been so strict and there are good news around. The best new is that the number of deaths has started to decreasing now. Also the researchers do know more on the Covid-19. That gives us more comfort and security. So I have continued with my daily routines: work, yoga and pilates classes online, reading, chores, English, family and friends Zoom and Skype meetings ... Yet I have scheduled the some activities and chores more or less every day, every single day is completely different and unique. Everything is wonderful in Spring!!

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    1. Spring does make a huge difference doesn't it? And I can tell that you are good at making every day count. I had to give myself a talking to yesterday. I was not feeling very well physically and just couldn't get going on any of the tasks I had set myself to do for the day and began to get quite annoyed with myself. Eventually I decided that I was wasting a beautiful spring day in pushing against what my body was telling me and I would just stop trying to do things, sit in the sun, read or knit and relax. As a result I had a much better afternoon, just going with the flow.

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  5. One thing is certain for me - the ups and downs of mood and sense of wellbeing continue and don't decrease as the weeks go by. Adjusting to the situation - now subtly changed of course by the freedom to exercise more than once a day and the opportunity to meet with one other person from a different household outside, and at a safe distance, is still something that I'm finding hard. Some days I think I've cracked it - acceptance is relatively easy but on others I find the thought of what it's going to be like when things are supposedly fully eased, very difficult. Pictures on the TV of classrooms with tape across the bookshelves so that children don't contaminate the books was very depressing to see.
    This morning, for the first time since lockdown, we took our exercise away from our immediate neighbourhood. A short car drive took us to Hathersage where we began a lovely walk across fields and through woodland to Grindleford. It was really good to enjoy different scenes and views; a mood boosting experience!
    I've been reading the comments about the need for routine with interest. I recognise that I need to have structure to my days and to have some idea of what I will be doing the next day. The choice of what to do is obviously significantly reduced now and I find that the loss of control that this brings is what can easily lead to frustration. The ability to "go with the flow" and approach each day with spontaneity must be a blessing just now. The beautiful weather of the last few days is also helpful though my positivity about this is somewhat tempered by the fears that the mass rush to the beach will not help us reduce the R. But then who can blame those with little opportunity otherwise,perhaps because of their home situation, to enjoy the outdoors, from seizing the moment?
    Apologies for the rather melancholic nature of this comment- perhaps there'll be more "acceptance days" next week.

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    1. I felt just the same shock on seeing the pictures of the primary school with all its books taped off to prevent the children from taking them from the shelves! Is that really necessary? I don't know, but it was hard to see.
      I am beginning to long for the idea of exercising somewhere else - some of my favourite walks or places to run are a short car drive away. Maybe that will come soon. But I do appreciate how amazingly lucky we are to be able to walk from the door out into the hills. There seems to be quite a lot of evidence on tv and in the papers of people in England out and about and clearly not social distancing. The big question must be whether the decline in the number of deaths, slow though it is, continues or whether there is a second wave of infection. Time will presumably tell us reasonably quickly!

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