Coronavirus diary - creeping into October

 Last time I blogged I said we were on the Welsh Government's Amber list up here which meant that the numbers of coronavirus cases were rising and a return to more restrictions was possible.  Well on 1st October at 6pm local restrictions were imposed here in Flintshire and also in the neighbouring counties in North Wales of Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham.  This means that we are not supposed to cross the county boundaries unless for a "reasonable excuse" such as travelling for work or for a medical appointment.  Living as we do very close to the border with Denbighshire that has meant a change in our normal shopping habits so we are now going eastward to Mold rather than west to Denbigh or south to Ruthin.    A greater impact has been made by the suspension of the "extended household" rules which now means we cannot meet anyone inside from outside our own household of two.  So our weekly meet up with friends has disappeared for now which I am missing.  I am also feeling very aware of being cut off from family, with only our younger daughter and her family within reach now.  We can still meet up with them outdoors as they live in our county but everyone else feels very far away!

One piece of good news is that yoga and Pilates classes have restarted (in a Covid compliant way) and that is very welcome.  It is amazing how quickly you get used to sanitising your hands as you arrive, booking your place in advance to allow for reduced numbers and keeping a distance from your friends as you exercise.  With all that it is still very good to see people, to focus for the length of time of a class on your own body and to be, however fleetingly, somewhere other than home!  I love my home so heaven knows what it must be like if you don't!

Numbers in Flintshire are high and numbers over the border in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and the North West are higher still.  As I write now this increase is beginning to feed through into higher hospital admissions but not yet into the sort of mortality figures we saw in the first wave of the pandemic in March and April.  What will happen over the coming months?  No one knows.  I am very aware of falling temperatures and the shortening days and how much the glorious weather of our covid spring helped us all to cope.  It will take a different sort of strength this time I think, in a weary population.

So for what it is worth I offer what has worked for me this last week:


Exercise and being outside.  Up on Moel y Parc the clouds were scudding and the bracken is turning gold.  Walking or running, the rhythm of my feet feels good.  Crows caw.  Buzzards mew.  Sheep watch incuriously as we pass.  My lungs fill and my spirits rise.


Colour.  Colour in the garden still vivid, the salvias and the sedum still full of life, buzzing with bees and pollinators.  Colour inside with hats coming off the hook for some of the granddaughters.



Using my brain.  Three hours of Welsh class on Zoom is hard work but the immersion seems to have helped my brain to cope with trying to learn two new languages.  Welsh does not have one single word for "yes" and "no".  It works by using verb forms, mostly, so that you answer "it is", "I do", "they weren't".  Sorry, Welsh speaking friends, I know this is a simplification!  In the first week of returning to Welsh classes I kept falling into Spanish, especially jumping in with "Si" in place of the correct form of yes.  Last week for some reason it fell into place again and I found myself happy to speak Welsh on Tuesday and Spanish on Thursday.  It is not possible to fret about an uncertain future while trying to get your head around a Welsh grammar rule or explain what Offa's Dyke is to a Spanish person.

Food.  I have always enjoyed the shift between seasons in all sorts of ways and moving to cooking winter food is a pleasure.  So far we have  had spicy chillis, savoury lamb stews, rich beef casseroles.  The drawback of this one is that is doesn't help much with weight control.  I will just have to run more.

And most importantly, company.  Lighting the woodburner, having a glass of wine with Ian and watching something on the television together is soothing and warm, like having your fur stroked the right way.  I need Ian's company for this to work.  Watching by myself is not the same!  And I do know how lucky we are to have each other and am grateful every day.  This week we have had the pleasure of Michael Palin revisiting the start of his travel documentaries.  The combination of a lively intelligence, a self deprecating line in jokes and an open mind and heart makes him the best of travel companions.  

So we are still lucky here, with each other in our beautiful place.  Hang on in there everybody.  

Let's raise a glass to a night by the fire.


Are you all OK out there?  What is your top tip for raising your spirits on a grey day?


Comments

  1. We too have been watching Michael Palin. It’s been fascinating as well to see the time warp.. the hairstyles, fashions, cars.. and no-one walking around glued to a mobile phone!

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    1. Totally! Just watched the one where he is in alaska and moving east through Russia. The bleakness of that world is startling.

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  2. Sorry to hear your restrictions are getting tighter. I know we are so lucky here as, apart from tracking where you go and hand sanitizers things seem to be back to "normal". Of course, this could all change very quickly and we do not feel like going out to indoor functions. Even trips to parts of Australia are on the cards shortly.


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    1. It's interesting that despite the very small numbers of cases in New Zealand you still don't feel like going out and mixing on the way you might normally do. I wonder what sort of long term changes to our behaviour we might see.

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  3. Emerging cautiously here. Flights from Germany have started again, but, their figures are rising?!

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    1. Yes, we have seen Germany as an example of a country which has done well in managing the virus but I was reading earlier today that their cases are rising again. Are you in South Africa emerging from the worst of it?

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  4. Our Island on the west coast of Canada has had few cases of the virus and we are still all being very cautious. Getting out of the house is so important, I think. I'm still teaching (retiring at the end of January) and I enjoy interacting with the students, even in a physically distanced manner whenever possible. Adapting to the changing season is a way to lift the spirits, too, as you are doing with cozy fires and quiet evenings.

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    1. There must be benefits in being an island! I really agree with you about the value of being outside and of mixing with some people, if you can do so safely. It is a balancing act isn't it!

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  5. Yes we're certainly well and truly back to staying at home apart from a walk each day - the numbers in Sheffield are grim, and have risen considerably since 60,000 students arrived.
    As our nearest family members live in Trafford where they have had local restrictions in place since the end of July( apparently with no positive effect) we had got used to the occasional outdoor and socially distanced meeting on neutral ground with our daughter and 3 granddaughters ( abiding with the rule of 6 we haven't seen our son in law for some time). This pleasure looks set to be removed when the PM announces the new restrictions today.
    So... what lifts the spirits in these gloomy days? I think it boils down to including something physical and some activity or task that feeds mental, emotional and even spiritual needs, each day. So for me this might be a walk in the nearby countryside, even though it might be brief depending on the weather, contributing to the voluntary work I do on patient and carer involvement with the Royal College of Physicians, contact via whats app or a screen with family and friends and an attempt to weave mindfulness into all I do. I often fail with that last one...
    Knitting, embroidery, good books and a glass of wine are also helpful if not essential to maintaining positivity in these difficult times. Oh and feeling connected to you all helps too!

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    1. So much of what you say chimes with me lynne! We just have to look for the good in every day. Long time readers of my blog might remember how good my mother was at this during the long hard time when she cared for my dad as he died so slowly with MND. I was in awe of how she did it and I hope very much that I learned something from her, although it remains easier to say than to do. And like you I find the connection with friends around the world through this blog a reminder that we are all doing our best and have far more in common than what divides us. In an increasingly polarised world I like that a lot!

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