The news of the firebreak in Wales is not unexpected but I’m unexpectedly distressed about it. Having just built up the confidence to create a bubble with some friends, we started going for walks more regularly and that contact was like a buoy in a rough ocean. Now that’s gone.
On top of that my work load has increased and I’m working with people who are highly anxious and stressed about the situation. It’s difficult to hold optimism for them when I can’t find it myself.
The government makes decisions about lockdowns, turning a blind eye again to groups of people who need support: pregnant people and those with mental health issues in particular spring to mind. They’ve denied free meals to hungry children. It’s harder and harder to find hope.
JJust realised it is months since I last contributed …. which is an indication of 1) my lapse into laziness, 2) thinking nothing of importance has happened to me, and 3) ricocheting between full on online life and avoidance…
For the Record, I still feel guilty because I am liking (most) of my lockdown / isolationist life. I have just enough work to get by, I have a fantastic house and garden, I have a lot of walks by turning left or right out of my back door and about 4000 DVD / blu-rays; that’s the upside. But I realise that it is now about 9 months since I have seen grandkids (and sons and families) and that’s a long old time which zoom and teams doesn’t replicate. The anxiety of rushing between West Wales (ill partner) and Somerset (ill mother) has subsided as they are both ok-ish.
Having become 62 earlier in the month, I have come to terms that I have now entered old age (on my scale of youth 0-30, middle 31 – 61, old 62 – whenever .. maybe 91 as projected by an online social media quiz recently!).
On the subject of online social media quizzes, don’t do them. It just feeds the global machine with all sorts of seemingly random data which is linked up and creates profiles of meta-data about you. And have you signed up to (NOT) the NHS tracking app? I have a smart phone that I think could handle it … but I don’t go anywhere and I don’t meet anyone and most of the places I visit around here have no mobile signal .. so I can’t see the point, even If I thought it was effective. The data for (NOT) the world beating track and trace has deteriorated since the app was launched, what’s going on with that?
Resolution in old age … contribute more regularly to this record.
It’s been a while since I recorded my thoughts on the ongoing global pandemic, and recently these thoughts have changed.
I started a new position as a PGCE student at the begining of September, and honestly, aside from having to wear a mask, you wouldn’t have thought that anything was going on. People weren’t social distancing, university based teaching was happening, and there was a distinct lack of masks being worn on public transport. With the introduction of the new tier system (which let’s be real here, probably isn’t going to have a positive impact at all), the virus has been thrust back into my vision.
Starting my work placement was a shocking experience, the sheer number of children all on top of one another in classrooms which are nowhere near big enough to accommodate a 2 metre radius. It’s no surprise that infection rates have been going up rapidly since the start of the accademic year, nor is it surprising that I am now having to self-isolate as I have presented symptoms of COVID-19 (for which I have been tested).
I honestly think that the impact that this enviornment will have on these kids in school is going to have a long lasting affect. They’re localised to one classroom all day, and then also contained within year group bubbles, the idea being that a positive case should only take out one year group, rather than the entire school. It makes sense to us, but I think the students are getting fed up with the virus.
They’re getting sick of being told to put their masks on, they’re getting sick of being told to disinfect their hands when coming and going. And I think this is leading to a number of behavioural problems. Unfortuantely I can’t go into too much detail about that.
The virus is ever present for the students, in fact, I am sure that my absence this week will have sparked a number of discussions and theories about whether I have COVID or not. In ever class that I observed last week, there were at least 5 questions or discussions relating to the virus; Key stage 4 students are concerned as to whether they’re going to be able to sit their exams in the summer (which following the Scottish decision to cancel their exams is a reasonable quesiton to ask). They’re asking whether we’re going to be going into another lock down. And we as staff haven’t got the answers to these questions, because we’re asking them to.
I forsee this level of uncertainty continuing well into the New Year.
Hundreds of thousands losing their jobs. Cinema, pubs, football clubs, night clubs, music venues shutting down. A culture and way of life ebbing away. Millions of people losing out. Art dying. Is it worth it? Is it worth losing so much to save so few, many of whom did not have long left anyway? The oppression of the lockdown is not just the restrictions but the fact that you can’t question them . In private many, many think it’s gone too far but to say that, or even just to ask is it worth it, is to incur wrath and condemnation. People who happily poison the air with diesel fumes from their SUVs or consume, consume, consume any manner of things that kill the planet, shout down on those who wonder if the cure is worse than the disease. They call us callous or uncaring, blind to their own failings and the millions of deaths from other things. The result is we shut up and follow the rules or bend them quietly. We feel sorry for those who die but not those who sanctimoniously refuse to consider there might be other ways of approaching things. If you want to know what people think about the lockdown look not just to those who shout loudly about what must be done, listen to the whispers of a quiet majority who are seething at what is being done to our communities and our futures.
I have zero faith in this government. I’m not just saying that because I don’t vote Conservative; I genuinely believe that Theresa May, Dominic Grieve, or Philip Hammond would have done a better job here, but the country voted and this is what we got.
We knew the calibre of people they were, and I guess a lot of folks just thought they were the best option available, in all seriousness. It’s not like they’d have to deal with anything more serious than crossing Ts and dotting Is on a Brexit deal, right? Well shit.
Looks like things happen, crises develop, and when you vote in a bunch of charlatans the best they can offer when it comes to crunch time amounts to warm words and a half price takeaway. Cool, thanks Chancellor, that cheeky Nando’s is going to help – at least help with this second spike caused by you and your friends telling us all to get out there and spend, spend, spend!
And this is just one small slice of it. I can’t even joke about the IT failure with an Excel spreadsheet, the throwing of the Arts sector under the bus, the uni students trapped in their accommodation, it’s all just a big noise of awfulness. This is before you look at the 40,000+ covid deaths, although who knows if the government might revise them away at a whim because they need a win right now, any win they can get, just to show how strong and stable they are right now.
Nobody trusts them. Nobody likes them. But we’ve got no other choice right now. At least people seem to have tried to keep calm and carry on for the second spike, far less in the way of toilet paper hoarding. I fucking hate that twee poster anyway, patronising piece of nostalgia-wank.
Phew. Time to get back to the real world and hope this is as bad as 2020 gets.
I hate ‘the Covid’! It has stolen our lives, and at 75, the amount of my life it has stolen could be quite a lot. It has taken away our ability to move about freely, and it has become so political that it has destroyed friendships, romantic relationships….even marriages. It has stolen our jobs and businesses and perhaps even ruined people’s plans to retire, wed, reproduce, accomplish goals, see places we’ve planned to see, and meet people we would normally have met. It has taken loved ones…family, friends, fiancees. And, it has destroyed our financial stability, psychological well-being, health and happiness. It has robbed us of precious time, caused us seemingly endless stress, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, misery, ill health, fear, financial insecurity, needless worry and worry for good reason. I can think of no good that’s come of this awful plague.
During lockdown, I kept myself busy by painting and redecorating the whole house by myself. It was challenging but it was very therapeutic and got my mind off the disaster that is Covid-19. It was a grounding experience and I felt proud and accomplished in the end.
I also tried to learn a new language: Latin. It is going very well and I am still studying it.
Throughout lockdown, I was baking a lot more and made many desserts, despite not having a sweet tooth – my family really enjoyed it!
Initially hearing the news of lockdown, I was frightened as it felt very surreal. However, being a introvert, I did not mind knowing that I had to stay indoors. In fact, it was a well organised strategy to help decrease the spread of this deadly virus. I hope that everyone continues to adhere to the government’s safety measure and tackle this challenging time with solidarity and togetherness.
Sunday 2nd February 2020 – Tour de London
Long before the threat of lockdown, when Covid-19 was just another topic of a news article I’d ignore, one of my friends and I had planned a spontaneous trip to visit our friend in london. We stayed at his place for the weekend and had a bunch of stuff planned but what stays with me the most was the final night.
‘Tour de London’ my friends coined it. We’d always joked about doing it but Saturday night we saw ourselves actually become tourists in a city all three of us had grew up in at some point in our lives. It was about 11 pm, we’d just hired our Boris bikes and we’d started cycling from landmark to landmark on a route we’d planned that morning… we should’ve planned for the weather too. At 2am a light drizzle became torrential by 3, but none of us cared, we were too far gone. Not a worry in the world with the people that meant the most to us cycling on empty roads; just us and the moment.
I’d say I came to terms with the lockdown that came the following month rather terribly. Unlike most people I’d see on social media who took the changes in their stride, I struggled to adjust and still am. The empty roads I see now are a stark contrast to the empty roads that night. They’re empty by necessity not choice. I think the reason I find it so difficult to accept the changes are because of all the memories, like that rainy night, that I’m just so impatient to get back to. I’ve always been scared of change but I’m much more willing to adapt to it of my own accord than when I’m expected to have to. Maybe thats why I look more forward to the day roads aren’t empty because they have to be but because everyone is asleep. Maybe I’ll be more accepting of the lockdown when it too is just another memory.
The pandemic was a weird experience, it felt like we were all part of an apocalyptic movie but weirdly comforting that everyone all over the world is going through the same thing at the same time creating a universal experience. I was used to always being is school or some sort of education so everything being on pause for 6 months was very weird and I kept having to find things to keep myself busy. I took up things like knitting and painting just for something to do and somehow convinced myself to enjoy it when I really didn’t.
Dear body and brain,
During quarantine I didn’t take care of you much in the beginning. I wasn’t really doing well and felt like I was going insane the first month of being home all day. What I did to not feel so isolated and scared was I would FaceTime my friends every night and talk to them, I got a therapist and I decided it was a good thing for me to be able to get everything out. I also started journaling and make Tiktoks for fun. It was the only way I was able to keep my mind occupied on things. I didn’t exercise starting quarantine, but by June I decided to do at home workouts. I did push myself and I did end up relapsing with my eating disorder. I decided to go seek professional help and try to get healthy the correct way. Now through quarantine I talk to my therapist, I go see my nutritionist, I train with my personal trainer, I try to make meal time fun instead of dreading it, I watch movies, I work on school work, I am trying to get in the habit of praying, I have been into skin care recently too. I have been really into going back into the outdoors recently. I really want to go hiking and or horse back riding in an open field. That’s what I have been thinking about to make me calm down. Another really big thing that I have been doing to keep myself occupied is to prepare bday presents that I am gonna give to friends and family. It has been exciting to plan that and really cheers me up throughout the day thinking of what I am gonna do for their bday even if it is at a social distancing. It has been rough but I think I bounced back fairly quickly then most.