12 August 20
Posted at 11:48
Audley End House
Over recent months we have been accustomed to phrases like “strange times’ “unprecedented times” “ the new normal” etc. So at this point when much or Europe appears to have come out of lockdown but now dangerously close to going back into it with second spikes I thin I will share my personal experiences and situation.
As I’ve no doubt said before I consider myself and my family are very fortunate. The biggest pluses are I don’t have to work for a, modest, living and both Marilyn and I are healthy so we are not struggling with the biggest worries that many are facing, at the moment at least. Lockdown for me was fine, I did a lot of volunteering through March and April which was personally rewarding and also meant I got out of the house more than I would have been allowed had I not been doing that. Fast forward to August and I still exist in something of a local bubble, or maybe bubbles. I don’t venture far from home these days, I can count on one hand the times I have been more than 20 miles from home since March. I’ve posted a photo of Audley End House, an English Heritage site, which we visited recently. It is about 30 miles away so for these times something of an epic journey. In ‘normal’ times a visit to an English heritage park (the house is actually closed due to Covid) would not be high on my priorities but in the current circumstances when the weather is fine it makes for as nice day out. A picnic by the river in the sunshine, the peace and tranquillity of the countryside, and an absence of crowds of strangers. We’ve had something of a heat wave recently and folk have been flocking in their thousands to popular beach resorts where social distancing is impossible. They don’t even visit loads of different resorts but all flock to the same five or six places. To me it is madness. I’m not particularly frightened of catching the virus (I often believe I had it mildly back in January anyway), the fear I have, if fear is not too dramatic, is catching it and unknowingly spreading it to others prior to having symptoms. I don’t want to contribute to the possibility that large crowds of strangers from disparate locations being a recipe for creating second spikes which will result in more lockdowns and of course more deaths. So for a change of scenery in a ‘safe’ environment a day out in the country just 30 miles from home. Unprecedented!
Of course in normal times I would be off to London to gigs, to bars and restaurants, short breaks to France or maybe Italy and socialising locally and far and wide with a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Do I miss all that? Yes to an extent I guess but I feel it would be selfish to try and return to me ‘normal’ social activity in these abnormal times. Many don’t think like that though, especially the young which is totally understandable. However their understandable, but never the less short sighted and selfish actions since lockdown eased, are already resulting in new spikes, especially in France and Spain and in some communities in the UK.
Although my life is very different in August 2020 I’m quite comfortable with it. I’m very lucky that I enjoy playing golf and play just three miles from home at a very friendly club where I can meet people in what I consider a ‘safe bubble’. I get exercise, fresh air and a social intercourse, I have many friends also playing there so keep in touch through golf when meeting in pubs and houses is more complicated. And of course when I want solitude I have photography, I have to admit that my project work has lapsed somewhat but I have a large backlog of processing and books I place to create. When the weather is more conducive to being indoors I will crack on with it.
I’m sure in time if the pandemic eases or a vaccination is developed life will change yet again.
Away from me personally the news is spilt between updates on second spikes, as I mentioned France, Spain, even New Zealand have seen the need for further lockdowns this week and we have seen some here although not on such a big scale. Wearing face coverings is now accepted as sensible, in shops, crowded places, cinemas (who would go to a cinema at the moment??) I like many dislike wearing a face covering but I do now agree it is mine (and everyone’s) duty to try to minimise spreading the infection. The other news is the constant recriminations, be it returning to school, exam results, whatever, everything feels polarised around political beliefs irrespective of the facts. In 2020 to express a different opinion on just about anything is classed as a ‘hate crime’ and the constant bickering around so called ‘hate’ seems to fit neatly into political beliefs. The only way to escape it is to switch off all media and have a picnic in the sunshine – somewhere safe like Audley End park.