Over the last 10 months of the Covid crisis, all our lives have changed in one way or another. I thought I would get my thoughts down about what has happened to me over this period. Hopefully it won’t be too boring.
Just before the 23rd March lockdown announcement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, it was my birthday and I happen to share the date with a very good friend of mine. We agreed to meet up on the day with our wives at a local pub which serves very good food for lunch. That was the last time we went out with anybody for a meal, something we ordinarily do on a regular basis. So that has been missed so much, it’s all very worthy to cook at home all the time but sometimes it gets a bit of a chore. The night after that dinner I went out as usual to my touch rugby session with Farnham Rugby Club and I took along my brand new studded trainers; in ordinary trainers I was sliding all over the place. Anyway I got stuck in the mud during play, fell over and cracked a couple of ribs. I still feel the pain at the site of the fall today, but there was no other damage thank goodness.
From then I couldn’t do much in the way of physical work because of my injury so I certainly wasn’t able to go to rugby any more, but since that sort of activity was banned anyway it didn’t make much difference. During April, May and June the weather was nice so I spent a lot of time in the garden reading. The past year I think I’ve read 25 novels, more than the previous 10 probably. As an aspiring writer (well trying to be) they say read a lot of fiction and it spurs to write some yourself. I don’t know about that; my writing goes in fits and spurts. At the moment I’m a member of a (virtual) writing group and we used to meet in the local library once a month, but now we’re restricted to Zoom meetings, although we did manage some outdoor meetings in the summer. But even with the encouragement of other members of the group, I still have trouble getting motivated. It’s almost the same with one of my other Zoom groups called Folk0Clock, which is as the name suggests a virtual folk club; whereas we used to meet once a month to sing and play in front of our peers. Strangely though doing it in front of a PC screen with 20 or so other faces peering at you can be a bit off-putting; I prefer my audience to be live. Still, I have written a couple of songs, one about writing a song and the other about different sorts of music and instruments. I do love playing the guitar and singing and it’s nice when you get positive feedback, but to be honest all the feedback is normally positive, it’s the nature of the folk scene. Back to the writing though and I’m in the middle of writing several stories: a crime novel, an autobiography and a wartime story. Plus several other short stories; I started writing when I was about 10 I think.
The rest of the summer was spent variously sitting in the garden, not going out and trying to keep occupied and I must say that I think we achieved those goals pretty much. When we were able to go out, even to do a shop, we did, but back in those days (only 6 months ago!) it wasn’t so frowned upon as now when there is definitely a stigma about not going out, staying in, wash your hands, cover your face etc. But there is a small section of the population who don’t believe in any of that and that the virus is a hoax and won’t wear a mask or do all the other things that should keep the virus at bay. So while they’re gallivanting around having a good time and meeting up with all their friends and family, we who are doing the right thing have to sit back and suffer not being able to do such things. I miss simple things, like going to the pub. We did manage it once at our local for a meal, and to be fair to the staff, the layout was conducive to having a safe meal, but we didn’t have a chance to do it again before lockdown II, just when you thought it was safe… Other things I miss is going out to a restaurant. The only one we had was at where we were told it was a ‘fabulous’ steak house where the food was ‘fantastic’ for our wedding anniversary, again within the rules at the time, but it was awful and even after we complained that the steaks we were given were tough, and they agreed, the 2nd steaks weren’t much better. Oh well, we’ll try again when we’re able.
Then of course we come to the autumn, earlier sunsets and longer nights leading up to the usual trimphirate of Halloween, Bonfire night and then Christmas, which all seem to come and go rather quickly. In between all this, we kept in touch we our daughter who lives in Australia via Messenger and Whatsapp and because we are in a ‘bubble’ with our other daughter who lives not far away, she was able to come here for Christmas and we can go to her house. It’s kept us close and that is very important. It would be nice to hug them all at some stage and that will happen later. To be honest the year has gone quickly as usual, despite long periods of not doing a great deal, but luckily all has been peaceful and quiet in the house. I’ve baked bread all year, about once a week, and it has turned out pretty well, at least I haven’t had to throw any away. So here we are post Brexit, post Trump, post vaccination available (haven’t had mine yet though) and the rest of the year is undetermined to say the least. Who could have predicted that in January last we’d be in the state we are in now? I’m not talking about Brexit, that is a whole subject matter on it’s own; but I don’t think the full effect of it will be felt for a little while yet. No it’s the accusured Covid-19. Now Wuhan Province are saying ‘wasn’t us gov, you lot gave it to us’, meaning Italy, the States, the UK, rather than them spreading it around the world from there. I don’t know how they got the nerve to say that, when it clearly started in their fish and pangolin markets. Of course that area is now ‘free’ of Covid and they are ‘practically’ back to normal! Well thanks a bunch for giving this horrible virus and spreading it far and wide, now we have to deal with the consequences. Well, let’s hope the Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca vaccines do their job and kill all strains of the virus, including the Brazil and South Africa varieties. I won’t get mine for a little while: I’m not 70 until March.
So, to the future? We would like to go to Australia to visit our daughter sometime, either this year or next, we have a couple of breaks booked in for this year, suspended from last year so I hope they go to plan. We were due to see Genesis in April but that’s been delayed until October, along with a few other local events that have been pushed back to later in the year. One thing we did get to which wasn’t cancelled was the Kew Gardens night trail on 2nd January. We kept the social distances and enjoyed the show which wasn’t affected by the restrictions. It was great to be out, out; to quote Micky Flanagan. Let’s hope we can do a few more this year and really celebrate life.