Coronavirus week 9, 17th to 23rd May

Week 9?  Well it could be week 29.  This is just what life is like now, especially here in Wales where the lockdown restrictions remain in place.  It seems that new infections and deaths from the virus are slowing but at different speeds in different places around the country.  London, which was the first place to have a surge in infections, has now seen a marked fall.  Here in North Wales the friend who is a front line NHS worker in our local hospital thinks that we might not yet have reached the peak.  In England the relaxation of lockdown has seen people travelling to exercise and meeting up in small numbers in outside spaces.  When I talk to my friend from Valencia she too reports the relaxation of lockdown in Spain.  In some ways it is almost easier when the rules remain tight.  There are no decisions to be made or risks to weigh up.  We are still here, still staying home.
Perhaps it is this sense of almost being left behind that has got to me a bit this week.  I don't mean by…

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 …

Coronavirus diary week 7 - 2nd to 9th May

Have we really been confined like this for seven weeks?  Sometimes it seems unbelievable that so much time has passed.  Sometimes I can barely remember what it felt like to get in the car and drive down to South Wales or Devon to visit children and grandchildren.  Perhaps we need to become acclimatized.  It is the old idea of the frog in hot water, not leaping out if you heat it slowly enough.  Clearly there are ways in which I have become acclimatized.  Watching footage of film from before the pandemic I am astonished at how close together people stand.  Some film of the crowds thronging the streets of London on V. E. Day, seventy five years ago, seems quite astonishing.  Did we really stand so close?  Did we hug and kiss and dance?  
Deaths have continued to rise this week, more slowly in hospitals, still quite rapidly in care homes.  Deaths as of the 8th May stand at 31, 587.  These are deaths where people tested positive for coronavirus so it is widely accepted that the actual figu…

Coronavirus diary week 6 - 27th April to 2nd May

A strange week on the political front:  Boris Johnson returns to work after coronavirus.  His fiancée has their first child, a baby boy.  Official figures this week begin to include deaths in care homes and deaths now stand at 27,510 since the beginning of the outbreak.  There is much noise in the media about how we in the UK compare with other countries in Europe but it seems very difficult to be sure that we are not comparing apples and pears.  Reaching back into the skills required by my professional life, I am pretty sure that the reliable measure will be what is known as "excess deaths" which seems to be an internationally recognised concept calculated in the same way across most countries.  So we shall see as the figures emerge.  What does seem likely is that deaths from coronavirus in the UK will be high.
There also begins to be more pressure from the media for more detail as to the way out of lockdown and it looks as though some guidance from government might come tow…

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 …

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 no…

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 Ap…