Coronavirus week 16 - 5th to 12th July
On Monday 6th July the rules in Wales restricting travel to the local area were lifted and we set off down to South Wales to visit our elder daughter and her family. It was February since we had seen them although very frequent facetime or other calls had made me feel very much in touch. The thing is that virtual contact is fine for adults but works much less well for children. And the younger the child the more you need the real in-the-flesh communication. I was longing to see them.
Of course it has not really gone back to normal. We spent the day at Emma's outside, only going in to use the bathroom. This was helped by the fact that they have just had a stone terrace built outside the sitting room with loads of room to play, sit, eat and chat. It was just so lovely to see them, to catch up and walk round admiring their lockdown achievements, with the construction of a shelter to sit in or sleep in and a fire pit in the field. Ten year old Joseph was as delighted with his blanket as I could have wished for and two and a half year old Isobel behaved entirely as though we had been part of the fabric of her life for the last four months.
Here is Ian's picture of her playing in the stream which runs next to their house. She is a cheery sort of child. When I said to her that it was time to go in for tea she smiled at me and said seriously "I am sorry Grandma, but I am busy right now."
Monday was a long day as we drove home in the evening but it was one of those perfect evenings that I associate with the west of the country, with Wales and the South West and the West of Scotland, clear and still and full of golden light.
The next day we did very little. This seems to be one of the ways you can tell you are getting older, not that you cannot find the energy for the exciting and the unusual and the necessary, because you can, but that ,rather than steaming on to the next thing in the way we used to do, there is a need for a bit of recovery time afterwards!
And Friday was a similar day trip to Manchester and back to see older son and his family to spend the day with them and to be introduced to their new dog! Nearly six year old Ted seemed to have grown about six inches and his little sister Stella, just about to be two, had grown from a toddler into a little girl over lockdown time. It was so good to see them all, to chat and catch up and simply spend time together. Again we spent the day outside, although I think the rules in England did not require us to do that. I find myself quite unsure, both about what we are allowed to do on either side of the border, and about what we should do, where the risks lie and how to manage them. I am a bit surprised by my hesitancy as I am in general a pretty decisive person. There just seems to have been so many changes, some relevant to me and some not, and I think I have protected my own sense of well being by focussing very strongly on staying home and having as good a time as possible. I might need to do some more detailed reading and thinking to get my head around it, especially the rules in England which are substantially more relaxed that those in Wales.
And today we have had a lovely morning and lunchtime with younger daughter and her family who live locally. It has been a glorious sunny day so it was easy to stay outside and play on the swings, feed the hens, lift potatoes with Grandpa and throw a ball for the dog. This coming Wednesday will see us down to Devon to see younger son and his family and then all our children and grandchildren will have been seen. I can't wait. That sense of being back in touch with our family properly, however odd it is to be outside and not to be offering or receiving hugs, just makes me feel more like myself again.
Last night after dinner we went and walked on the beach and then up into the dunes a little for the first time since before lockdown began. I had missed the sea.
So here we are with the world slowly opening up again. Life was simpler in some ways in complete lockdown but I am so pleased to feel that our family and friends are within reach again. That is where I shall focus right now. I know there are decisions to be made about venturing out, about pubs and restaurants and holidays. I would love to restart my yoga and Pilates classes and to join my walking group and choir again. Who knows how long it will be before that part of life resumes? But for now I am quite happy to restrict my sense of the lifting of lockdown to the very personal pleasure of seeing my family again. If I let myself, the impact of the virus on the economy and the thought of what the future will hold, both in terms of the virus over winter and of the longer term impact on unemployment and prosperity, could overwhelm me. But these are things which it is not in my power to affect so right now the images to hold onto are of fourteen year old Samuel playing patiently with his younger brother and sister, ten year old Joseph beaming wrapped in his new blanket, five year old Ted smiling as he trotted past us on his riding lesson, four year old Grace finding potatoes in the potato patch, two year old Izzy in the stream, two year old Toby pretending to drive the landrover, nearly two year old Stella giggling on the slide. And there are more images to come this week from Eliza, Addy and Daniel. I am very lucky. My life is rich in people. Let's not ask for anything more right now.
How is it for you? Are things opening up where you are?