Tag Archives: #Covid19

The past 756 days….

Deliberately, I’ve mentioned very little about Covid 19 on this blog as I felt for the past two years it was dominating all other avenues of life and I wanted to keep my blog as a “safe” space.

However, today seems like a good moment to pause and reflect.

I took the above photo at about 7:10am on 23 March 2020, roughly twelve hours before the UK went into its first lockdown.

For the previous few weeks, news of this virus from China had dominated conversation. I mean, who had heard of Wuhan before February 2020? Not me. There were anxious conversations, scary news stories, sensational headlines in the press and then, like a scene from 1984, the TV broadcast that the nation will recall for decades as we were all told, like naughty children, to “stay at home”.

I remember having coffee with a friend a few days beforehand during our lunchbreak at work. They asked me if I thought this virus was something to worry about and how long did I think it would last for. Both of us were growing slightly concerned; both of us a little unsure of where this situation was headed and neither of us were able to answer those simple questions.

It’s a conversation I’ve revisited in my mind many times since. If only we had known then what we know now….

Today the last of the Covid 19 laws were lifted with the Scottish “mask laws” becoming “mask guidance” so it feels like a fitting moment to pause for breath and to reflect on the past 756 days of a life lived under various lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

It feels like an appropriate moment to take stock and to think back on all the challenges we faced and survived; the emotions surrounding the impact of the various levels of restrictions that have been forced onto our everyday existence; the impact on our mental health (as Ruby Wax said, and I paraphrase – we all have mental health but some of us are in better shape than others, just like with our physical health); the impact on our relationships with friends and family; the effects that these past 756 days have had on children ( a friend posted just yesterday about how proud she is of her son for rediscovering his mojo after two tough years – yes kids have been feeling it too!); the changes that have altered the way we do our jobs on a day-to-day basis (how did we get through the working day pre-2020 without half a dozen zoom meetings a day?)…

You get the hint…so I’ll leave you to take a moment or two to reflect on the impact the past 756 days have had on you personally. Everyone’s journey from then until now is unique and there’s been no one straight road to follow.

I took this photo today from the same spot. The sun is shining. The sky’s blue. The trees are in bud. The landscape looks the same.

But I don’t think any of us are the same people we were on the morning of 23 March 2020. Do you?

These past two years have touched our lives in so many ways that they’ve left their mark and I suspect it’s a mark that will remain for many years to come.

I know personally speaking, life will never be the same.

To quote from an Alter Bridge song though-

Cause the sun always sets, the moon always falls
It feels like the end, just pay no mind at all
And keep on rolling, rolling, life must go on
It must go on

And it does.

Continue The Story – A 2021 Tale of Suspense

With her head spinning, she opened the box and poured the contents out onto the countertop. Lifting the instruction leaflet, she skimmed through it, carefully assembling the paraphernalia she needed from the scattered contents of the flat box.

Leaving the leaflet open at the step-by-step guide page, she opened the packet containing the testing tile. Next, she settled the plastic test tube/dropper into the round hole in the corner of the cardboard tray and peeled off the foil seal. Muttering, she wrestled with the small plastic bag designed for the rubbish until she got it open. Lastly, she opened the packet containing the small slender swab.

How hard could this be?               

Dreading the thought of how it would feel, she gingerly inserted the swab into her right nostril, guiding it in as far as it would go. As instructed, she swirled it around for a slow count of five then, her stomach heaving, she inserted it up her left nostril and repeated the count. Twitching her nose like Samantha from Bewitched, she put the slender swab into the test tube.

Her hands were clammy and trembling as she stirred it round and counted slowly to thirty then to five as she “squeezed” it out in the tube. Having discarded the swab in the small plastic bag, she pushed the stopper into place, eased the test tube out of the cardboard hole then dripped four drops into the sample section of the tile.

Offering up a silent prayer, she watched and waited….

Slowly the liquid soaked up through the tile. The timer on her phone clicked down second by painfully slow second.

Before her, the result emerged…

When did you last check up on your inner child? Are they ok?

Everywhere you look these days someone or something is encouraging you to look after your wellbeing whether that be mental or physical.

No one is challenging or questioning the fact that the last year or so has been hard. We’ve been forced into living under “lockdown” restrictions that none of us had ever experienced or thought they would experience. We’ve been isolated from our families and friends. We’ve seen our favourite pastimes forcibly removed from our lives and it’s no doubt taken its toll on many.

Personally, I feel we’ll be living with the echoes of the Covid 19 Pandemic in our lives for a long time yet as the world gradually tries to regain and sustain some level of “normality.” For many, who have suffered loss or trauma, life may never feel the same as before. 2020 will be etched into history as the year that stopped the world.

In all this melee, there’s one part of our psyche that perhaps been forgotten.

When did you last check up on your inner child? Are they ok?

It only hit me the other day that I’d been neglecting my own… and I feel more than a little guilty about it. She’ll think that I’ve abandoned her for the “grown up world”!

There’s an inner child lurking in all of us.

The thought struck me last Friday morning during my early morning run (at a snail’s pace). My route takes me past a small, neglected playpark and, as I looked over at the two swings hanging still, a thought crossed my mind. When did I last play on the swings?

Yes, I know I’m a fifty-year-old woman before any of you say anything.

As I headed for home, I thought back. I’ve always loved playing on a swing. Trying to swing high enough to reach the sky. I remembered loving going round the corner to play in a childhood friend’s garden because she had a swing. I remembered playing on the swings in various parks that my mum took me to when I was wee. Who else remembers worrying about falling through the hole in the middle of swings made from old tyres? I remembered loving slipping out to play on the swing set behind a house we stayed in for a week while we were on holiday in the USA when I was ten. I loved that swing as it was set in among some pine trees and underneath it was a bed of dried pine needles. It was a shady haven from the scorching sun of the summer heatwave of 1980. I remember another old rickety swing at house we stayed at for long weekends in Kilchattan Bay, Bute. I spent hours on that swing…well there really wasn’t much else to do. Years later, I remember taking my own kids to the park to play on the swings. Many times, I’ve sat on the swings that I ran past with my teenage Baby Girl when she felt troubled or anxious. Sitting there together helped to calm her down when teenage life got tough. I guess subconsciously I was showing her how to stay connected to her inner child.

And the last time I played on the swings? Last year, around this time, during the first lockdown. Boy Child and I went exploring the hills and woodland near where we live and found ourselves at the back of the local caravan park. We stumbled across their playpark by chance, and he rolled his eyes as I made a beeline for the swings.

My inner child is an important part of me, and I now realise I need to reconnect with her. Life has become too serious of late. Maybe its time to build some time into the day/week to play and be silly and to enjoy some innocent childhood pastimes.

I guess what I’m saying is that you’re never too old to reconnect with that inner child. So, jump in puddles, build sandcastles on the beach, skim stones, colour in or draw or simply play on the swings.

Once Upon A Time (a Covid fairy tale)

While I was doing my ironing on Sunday morning, I was watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix. I don’t watch a huge amount of TV but I do have a weakness for that show. I love a good fairy tale!

For those that have never seen it, it’s a fantasy drama spanning 7 series that alternates between a fictional coastal town in Maine called Storybrooke and various fantasy kingdoms. In the “real world” of Storybrooke the characters have all been cursed and have forgotten their fairy tale roots. None of them can leave Storybrooke. They are all trapped there by a curse that was cast by Regina, the Evil Queen.

In the episode (OK 3 episodes) I watched (it was a big pile of ironing) one of the characters said there would always be a place in the world for fairy tales as fairy tales brought one thing to people – Hope.

That resonated with me…….

Once upon a time, a very long time ago (OK it was 23 March 2020 but it feels like a lifetime ago) a horrible curse was spreading like wildfire through all of the lands. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister appeared on national television to read a proclamation (link to the transcript is below) and told all his subjects, loyal or otherwise, that he was placing the entire realm into Lockdown. Everyone was ordered to “stay at home”. All the shops were told to close, apart from those selling essential items like food and medical supplies. All the schools were closed indefinitely. Workers were told to work from their homes where possible.  Within a few short days, everything was closed down, locked down.

The people across the land were told that they could only leave their homes for one hour a day to exercise locally. They were allowed to leave to buy food or seek medical attention.

Meeting friends and families was outlawed.

Social distancing was introduced but no one was allowed within 2m of each other if they met in the street or in a shop.

The people were scared. Their lives had been turned upside down. They panicked! Terrified that this curse was going to scare the shit out them, they bought up all the toilet rolls for miles around (and the pasta, rice, flour, eggs, sugar and pretty much everything else!) The shelves in the supermarkets were empty.

Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. The hourly news bulletins were dominated with horror stories of how many subjects had been affected by the curse and how many had died from it.

Hospitals struggled to cope. Doctors and nurses were working to the point of exhaustion trying to care for those who fell ill.  In an effort to thank these unsung heroes, people stood on their doorsteps at 8pm on a Thursday evening to clap their hands. Week after week, come rain or shine, they clapped.

Children were encouraged to draw rainbows to display in their windows as a sign of hope.

During the summer months, some of the restrictions were slackened off a little. The schools and the “non-essential” shops were allowed to re-open (everyone could now buy new socks and knickers!) Restaurants and cafes could open for a few hours a day too. But while this was going on, the wearing of masks became mandatory in shops and indoor spaces. Social distancing was still being enforced and people could only meet in small socially distanced groups.

Hugs were still outlawed.

Understandably some of the subjects had become restless after all these long months of Lockdown and not all of the obeyed all of the rules all of the time.

The curse continued to spread and to mutate and to kill thousands of innocent people.

Scientists worked furiously in their towers to develop an antidote to break the curse. It became a race to see who could develop the most effective vaccine first.

As Christmas, a time for feasting with friends and family, approached there were promises that the Lockdown restrictions would be slackened for four days. There was joy among the weary subjects as they began to sense some hope for the Festive Season. They began to plan for reunions with their friends and families. But just days before Christmas, these hopes were dashed as the government proclaimed that the rules would only be relaxed for one day instead of four. The people were devastated. And in a second hefty blow to their already low morale, from Boxing Day the entire country was place back into full Lockdown and told to “stay at home” once more. Schools and shops closed. Cafes and restaurants closed. Meeting friends and family was once again banned regardless of whether it was indoors or outdoors.

But the scientists struck gold! A vaccine was created to help beat the curse. By January there were four different vaccines licenced for use in the land. These “magic potions” promised protection from the dreadful curse.

A plan was devised and the mass vaccination of all the subjects in the kingdom began.

At last, there was some real hope for people. Real hope that someday they might be able to return to their lives, their jobs and be able to meet up with friends and family. There was finally hope that hugs would once more be allowed.

To be continued….

It’s too soon to say when or if we’ll get our “and they all lived happily ever after.” For too many families across the land, life will never be the same again but for now we can hold onto that grain of hope that some sense of normal life is on the horizon.

As for me, well, I’m just looking forward to hugging my friends and family. It’s been a long year…..

The proclamation read out on 23 March 2020:-

Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 March 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Six months on…..

Six months ago today the British Prime Minister put the country into a state of Lockdown due to COVID 19……

I could go on a rant about the affect that has had on life, the adverse impact it’s had on friendships, the detrimental affects on wellbeing etc etc but I won’t.

What’s the point? It doesn’t change where we are.

Throughout those ten initial long weeks of isolation Boy Child and I regularly walked to the nearby beach at Lunderston Bay during our hour of authorised exercise time.

It’s a path we’ve travelled many many times over the past six months.

Late this afternoon we walked there again.

I wonder how many more times we’ll take that walk before the world returns to being a safer place?

100 Days of Lockdown

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I took this photo on my way home from the salt mine on 23rd March 2020. I drove past “Wee Annie” and actually looped back through town to park the car and run up to take the photo. It struck a chord with me about how the world was on the brink of change.

As a keen amateur photographer I’m always taking photos. It drives my family insane I suspect.

Today marks 100 Days of Lockdown in the UK. The video below is my photographic journey over the past 100 days ( actually its the edited highlights – there are hundreds more photos!)

 

Stay safe, folks.

 

Lockdown – an acrostic poem

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Loneliness

Ostracised

Captive

Killing time

Depressed

Oppressed

Withdrawn

Never ending…….

 

 

 

I’ll never take some things for granted again…..

purple-coffee-cup-saucer-spoon-gray-wooden-table-80853020

 

Three months ago, on 23rd March 2020, the UK was placed into Lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Three months later, on 23rd June 2020, we are slowly emerging from this surreal isolated state. It’s been a challenging time to say the least.

Now I’m not about to go on and on and on about that dreaded virus. There’s more than enough in the news about it!

What I have done though, as I’m sure many of you have too, is to reflect on what I won’t take for granted again.

1- I won’t take for granted the freedom to come and go as I please.

2- I won’t take for granted being able to shop at my leisure without having to queue up outside the stores and to being able to find what I want on the shelves when I get inside.

3- I won’t take for granted the enjoyment of going for a drive, playing my music, even if it is only the daily commute to work and back.

4- I won’t take for granted the pleasure of social conversation with people I don’t share a home with.

5- I won’t take for granted the simple pleasure of sitting down for a coffee and a heart to heart with a friend.

If nothing else, the last three months have been a reminder to appreciate what you have in life because overnight it can all disappear.

Personally, I can’t wait for that first coffee catch up.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Let me introduce you to Wilson

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Once upon a time Boy Child and I found a lonely turnip on the local beach. We named him Wilson.
This was way back at the start of Lockdown (around a week in maybe). When I started working from home, Boy Child and I started taking our authorised daily exercise together in the late afternoon and, more often than not, we would walk to the local beach and back.
And that’s where this story began ….one day we met Wilson.

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We moved him up to the back of the beach, safely nestled him among the rocks and grass out of the reaches of the tide.
Each day we would pause to check if he was still there. In the early days, Boy Child attempted to play football with him but without much success. Wilson wasn’t much of a team player.
A few weeks after I’d met Wilson, I was out for a walk with the Big Green Gummi Bear and made the mistake of introducing them. Big mistake! The Big Green Gummi Bear drop kicked him down the beach and into the river.
I was distraught!
Next day, even though the weather was pretty miserable, I hurried back to the beach after work on my own in search of Wilson.
I scoured the tide line and, eventually, in among a tangle of seaweed, a little wet and wrinkled, I found Wilson. Carefully I carried him back up the beach and returned him to the safety of his rocky hideout.

 

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Over the weeks that  slipped into months, Boy Child and I continued to check on him, daily at first but over the last week  or so our visits have been less frequent. However, every time we visited the beach, we checked up on him.
Lockdown hasn’t been kind to poor Wilson. It’s taken it toll on his wellbeing and he’s now a shrivelled-up shadow of his former self.
He has survived his ten weeks of Lockdown but only just….

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So, why am I talking about a turnip as if he were a person?

Over these past few challenging weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what has been happening and about what the future may hold.
One of my fears for folk as result of the weeks and weeks of Lockdown restrictions is- will we ever be the same again?
The weeks of isolation. The weeks of only being allowed out once a day for exercise or for essential shopping. The weeks and weeks of practically non-existent social contact. The lack of conversation. The lack of company. The lack of physical contact and hugs!
I wonder, sadly, in the months to come, once the world begins to reawaken how many human “Wilson’s” will be found.
I worry about how many individuals around the globe entered Lockdown in their hometowns as healthy human beings only to slowly emerge weeks and months later as withered shrivelled up versions of their former vibrant selves.
I wonder how many people started out with good intentions to keep in touch with elderly or lonely friends and neighbours but as the weeks wore on, checked less and less often on their wellbeing.
I wonder how many of life’s loners perhaps fell ill or for other darker reasons have passed away alone and may lie forgotten in their homes for weeks or months?
It’s a truly tragic thing to contemplate but equally tragically it will most likely happen….

I sincerely hope that we all get our “and they all lived happily ever after moment” but for Wilson, Mother Nature is slowly reaching out and taking him back into her care.

 

Daisy….. an acrostic poem

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Days lengthening; sun shining
All seems so normal
Isolation, social distancing for everyone’s sake
Surreal- is this really happening?
Yes – and we’ll get through it together

 

 

Stay safe, everyone

xx