Has it really been a year?
Has it really been a year since the first lockdown struck and we all retreated to our homes? I went back and read my first blog about coronavirus and see that I wrote it on 28th March 2020, so yes, a year ago almost exactly. How long ago it seems. This long slow year has chugged away and here we are now, with the vaccination roll out offering hope and the emergence of new variants reminding us that maybe, in some ways, coronavirus is here to stay and the world must adapt to it with annual vaccinations perhaps, as for flu. We shall see. I hear people talking about getting back to normal and I wonder what that will look like. Somehow I find it hard to believe that it will be exactly as life was before the pandemic hit.
|A walk through the churchyard|
But there are lots of things to lift the spirits, chiefly from today that here in Wales we are allowed to travel anywhere in the country. By "country" I do mean Wales as the rest of the UK is still off limits for the moment. Pubs and cafes and restaurants remain closed except for takeaway food but self catering accommodation is reopening and we are taking advantage of the fact that we have a campervan to travel down next week to see that part of our family which lives in South Wales. We will have to see each other outside but we will have our home on our back so that should be fine. Our daughter tells us she has bought a fire pit and the weather forecast looks quite good for a couple of days next week. The journey down will take us four hours or so and it will be much the furthest we have travelled for months. I am pretty sure I will be excited. In fact when I start to think about it I am already excited by the very idea! We have learnt to live without excitement over the last year but it bubbles away under there if I let it!
And it looks as though travel into England will open up later in April which will allow us to see our sons and their families who we also have not seen for months. At the moment seeing family in all its combinations is the limit of my ambitions. Would I like to travel and socialise, go to theatres and concerts and engage with the world in all its richness and variety? Of course I would. But at the moment it is a small number of deeply loved people whose absence I feel, despite the zoom calls and the whatsapps and all the wonders of technology. This is especially true of the younger grandchildren who need games and stories and hugs and the blessing of shared time.
I think it is interesting how thoroughly we seem to have adapted to this strange local life. We exercise from home and live and shop locally and most of the time it feels ok. Little things become the focus of a good day: a successful run, a walk through the churchyard, a cup of coffee in a new mug. Like the frog in hot water, we have adjusted. Everyone we know seems stoical, complying with rules with a surprising amount of good cheer. I think part of the story we tell ourselves in this country is that this is a particularly "British" response to hard times but I doubt whether this is true. I think it is a human response and I expect that all over the world there are people getting on with it, doing their best.
A cup of coffee in a new mug
But oh I am ready for warmth and company, colour and sunlight and playing with children and long chats into the evening with people I love.