COVID -19 – Surviving the “Great Lockdown”
With limited access to movement anywhere, DIY and (for those fortunate to have one) gardening, and all of their associated tasks have dominated in this household. But they do seem to have become intertwined.
An old but still useful set of step ladders, it was thought, would benefit form a new coat of paint ready for a longer life of service and so this was duly done. And service they do perform, but not as intended, having been “borrowed” for the garden.
Still with no visits from the grandsons, the railway track can still serve its original purpose and help to pass the time.
(Ladders have been promised to be returned at the end of autumn!)
Thoughts from Lockdown
My first thought about what’s happened to us all is for the family and friends of those who have died. Every one who has been lost will have been precious to someone. And let me assure you that we Christians are by no means eased or exempt from our feelings of loss and grief.
In a country of 66 million people with a fair proportion of elderly and otherwise vulnerable, a sense of proportion is all very well but we aren’t used to this and we should insist on being better prepared in future.
Turning to how we have coped with the lockdown, the pluses and minuses are mind-boggling. The numbers of walkers, joggers, runners and bike riders of all ages has been amazing every day. Well done everyone and let’s keep it going. Of course the diminished car use has helped the ambience for all these exercisers but I have noticed on my bike rides, that cars are creeping back nfortunately.
After the annoyance of panic-buying (particularly toilet rolls), shopping has pretty well returned to normal and people seem to have a sense of proportion about distancing in the shops.
In Weaverham we are so fortunate to have access to open spaces, nearby countryside and we mostly live in houses rather than high-density accommodation. Please everyone spare a thought for those less fortunate.
Our thanks should go to the long list of essential workers – the NHS of course, care workers, shop workers, public transport staff, teachers – the list goes on and on.
God Bless everyone and in the words of the Devonshire bakery “see you on the other side”.
The Green Bins
When COVID 19 reared its ugly head with lockdown in the middle of March, it was the start of weeks and weeks of wonderful weather – it was warm and sunny and everyone who was lucky enough to have a garden of any sort, was keen to be outside and undertaking long considered garden projects or even just tidying up for the coming summer. As a consequence the green garden compost bins were rapidly filled.
But disaster, the green bin collection was suspended so as to concentrate on the recycling and black bin household waste collection. Now we could all understand this, with the possibility of sickness among the dustbin men (or whatever they are currently called) it was sensible that non-essential waste ie garden waste, should not be collected so that the available manpower (I don’t know any women bin collectors but perhaps there are some somewhere) should be concentrated on the essentials. But oh, the comments in the local press and online – not really complaints because no-one dared to actually complain – but the silent rants that undoubtedly went on behind closed doors. So people have still been gardening and finding inventive ways to dispose of the green vegetative results, which unfortunately has even led to fly tipping here and there.
At last, on 12 May, the local recycling centre in Northwich was opened again with resultant long queues on the roads surrounding the tip. A queuing system was enforced and even now weeks later there are signs saying “from this point there is a 2 ½ hr wait”. That’s a long time to wait to visit the tip – you have to be desperate indeed!
So, here are the new signs at the tip so you know how it is operated – it is open for longer hours and if you do go try and choose a possibly quieter time and take a book to read! And now we are told that the green bin collection will be starting again at the beginning of June – there are many sighs of relief.
Personal Experiences of Lockdown in Weaverham
I am fortunate; I do not live in a flat, I have a house with a garden in a quiet neighbourhood and have felt really happy during the lockdown. My social life has changed from regular meetings, dining out with friends and family, theatre or cinema visits to e-mails and phone calls.
My husband and I go for a short walk locally every afternoon, avoiding others by crossing the road or going on to a wide grass verge. We stop, at a distance, to say ‘Hello. How are you?’ to friends and neighbours working in their gardens or garages and we see neighbours every Thursday when we all go outside to applaud frontline workers and listen to guitar and ukulele being played by neighbours. We also had a very enjoyable socially distanced VE Day party in our road with the singing again accompanied by a ukulele. Our prescriptions are delivered and what small local independent food retailers are unable to provide is brought to us by our two daughters. Our youngest two grandchildren have accompanied their mum on a few times on deliveries. They waited at the end of the driveway, laughing, jumping up and down, and chatting for a few minutes. Our teenage granddaughter stays a little longer than the younger children when she comes with her mum leaving the food at a safe distance and chatting from a distance of 4-8 metres. These brief visits are wonderful, but virtual hugs and blown kisses are not quite the same as the real thing.
What else have I been doing? I’ve booked speakers for Weaverham History Society, improved my knowledge of the history of the village and its church, tried to find out as much as I can about those remembered on our local war memorials and, oh dear, unlike others I just haven’t had time to do that massive spring clean the house needs.
I am really happy and quite resigned to remain in lockdown as long as necessary. I just want to keep well!!!
My Thoughts During COVID
We think of loved ones, of being apart, of the loneliness, needing a cuddle.
Yet, for some of us, we can go into our garden, or our outside space.
To sit in the sunshine listening to the birds makes the sadness of our world fade.
We meet our family on ‘Zoom’ and take turns in devising a quiz. We end up with many laughs over the answers.
Likewise we have another group who chat on ‘Zoom’ and send comic ‘WhatsApp’ messages, photos and videos around the group.
We have bonded even more with the folk in our cul-de-sac when we all clap or sing on a Thursday evening and when we chatted (2 metres apart) on 9th May, having a tea party in the afternoon and a sing-song after the Queen’s speech.
Stay home. Stay safe.
As the weeks of lockdown have continued one problem has become more and more obvious – not exactly life and death but enough to exercise people’s thoughts and sometimes action. That of the lack of haircuts taking place, with the addition of hair colouring for some.
For the majority of people their hair is the longest it has been for many years; perhaps it is curlier as well, and for some there has been the gradual creeping of the silver parting!
What to do? Some have resorted to buying on line hair cutting scissors or clippers and asking their partner to do the business usually under close supervision. If you are home alone perhaps your best friend has been the mirror. There have been on line tutorials to colour your riotous locks and perhaps fortunately the general public has not been able to see the results.
Many people now have their hairdressers on speed dial – roll on re-opening.
COVID and Us
Our first thoughts about the Covid crisis should be about the families and loved ones of the 36,393 who have already died. When the crisis started it was stated that total deaths below 20,000 would be a “good” result. However due to bungling, inept politicians and scientists who can’t agree with each other it seems the total will probably reach 40,000. Why is this country which should have the best results in Europe, or the world, actually have the worst. It makes me despair. Anyway that’s my rant for the moment.
Looking back at the calendar I see the things I have missed during lockdown have been – canal boating (including maintenance and manning the Booking Office), a monthly walk with the Railway & Canal Historical Society (RCHS), a long weekend RCHS AGM in Bradford, History Society Committee and Speakers’ meetings. Going shopping with Maggie to M&S at Cheshire Oaks and then a cinema matinee. Visiting the daughters at Nantwich and having pub meals. Having our first caravan holiday of 2020 where we had booked to go to Broadway in the Cotswolds.
So, what have I (or we) been doing instead?
Well, we have had some wonderful weather so that has helped and I haven’t been bored at all. I have walked and cycled locally, although no great distance! Painted my garage, summer house, and shed. Gardened. We have two jigsaws on the go (see below) but they are still works in progress, but there’s no hurry! Haven’t watched much telly as I never do. How do people have time to watch “boxed sets” or Netflix? Our favourite movies are on Channel 81, Talking Pictures TV, old films in black and white. Much better than modern rubbish!
No good including a picture of my hair as I haven’t got much anyway.
In conclusion, I should say that in coming out of lockdown we should spare a thought for our grandchildren’s future. It should be alright for we oldies with our homes and pensions. But life could be very difficult for the next generations. Housing and jobs are going to be very hard to come by in the next few years and life as we know it will probably never be seen again.
A COVID View
Since the 14th of March 2020 I have been working at home and this is the view from my new workplace. The latest COVID 19 risk assessment from my company sits atop of the old Underwood typewriter – purely ornamental, but I like the contrast between the old and new technology. Across the road I look out on my neighbours’ front doors; on a sunny day they both sit out in plastic patio chairs in front of them, being social while socially distancing. Oh, in case you are wondering, the wooden spoon is to prop up one side of the sash window because the weights aren’t balanced and it lets in a draft.