Jo Aylward, East Kent
I suppose it is only natural when finding yourself unexpectedly confined to your home for an indefinite period of time to feel moments of frustration and disappointment, not to mention sadness and concern about the gravity of the situation we all find ourselves in.
We live in a rural location, tucked behind a beautiful Norman church in a small Kentish village and I feel strangely cocooned from the the hardship and suffering that is the reality of Covid 19. It is impossible to imagine the difficulty and level of stress being placed on people in the medical and caring professions and the risks to their own health which they are currently taking on our behalf.
Working at home as I do, though, my daily life is relatively unchanged. My regular activities continue as normal, albeit in a distracted and muddled fashion. Due to a period of ill health last Summer, which saw me spend most of June in hospital, I am not venturing out at all. My husband has taken charge of food shopping and we are fortunate to have an excellent farm shop nearby who are making food deliveries to local villages and towns.
I think of my friends in the shop (I know them well as I used to work part time in the shop) and how incredibly hard they will be working to keep up this service to the community whilst of course coming into physical contact with multiple customers on a daily basis.
On a personal level, the peace that this strange time affords in many ways is welcome. The nearest road to us has fallen silent and all I can generally hear is the chatter of family activity and birdsong. As someone who doesn't enjoy driving the enforced break from it is rather wonderful and the resulting drop in co2 emissions also a bonus. Our daughters are home and I know they are safe, we have a garden and animals to enjoy and life has a simplicity which I am often looking for but am normally unable to achieve. In the circumstances though it feels wrong to enjoy it.
Returning to the birds, I am noticing a far greater variety visiting our garden since our confinement. I spotted the first long tailed tit I had seen for at least a year and a half the other day and there have been bullfinches in the churchyard every morning, which is very rare here. Perhaps with all this time at home those of us with outdoor space can plant more bee and bird friendly plants and create extra habitat and food for dwindling populations. A collective horticultural effort in support of the natural world
Just an Observation...
Linda Macfarlane, Saffron Walden
We live in a small 'court' - a fairly enclosed batch of 10 houses and a block of 8 flats - nothing special. We're a mixed bunch in every way, nationality, work, background and ages - the oldest of us is 92 and the youngest was born just a few weeks ago. We know everyone around us in various levels of sociability - we never pass each other by without pausing to say hello and sometimes some of us share a meal together.
All fairly ordinary really, except that from day one of the current 'plague', we have had so many solicitous enquiries from our younger neighbours about our health, and so many offers to shop for us, it's been overwhelming! In fact I keep suggesting the odd item we need, so they don't feel disheartened. Everyone has time to talk and everyone wants to talk - the socially distant hot spot is about six yards beyond our front garden gate... We have been quite humbled by the kindness, openness and concern of everyone here - greater connectedness in action. Is this the germ of something bigger? I'm always modestly hopeful and then that word 'society' popped up from somewhere - once that was out of the box, hope soared!
A Poole-side View
Martin Green, Ashley Cross, Poole
A CROQUET PLAYER CONFINED TO BARRACKS
"There's a face at the window - what does he need ?
I'd better go out, it's only polite."
"Oh no you don't - I don't want a fight,
So none of your nonsense - self-isolation indeed!
It's the man from Ocado, no stranger, you see,
With the package I ordered at a quarter to eight:
Tomatoes, eggs, prunes and your blessed whitebait.
"Just sit down quietly if you want a nice tea."
"Tonight when all the kids are in bed
We'll down to the pub for a quick beer or two."
"That's a new Boris guideline, according to you ?
The pubs, clubs and churches are all shut, he said.
And you're over 70, isolated till Fall
So just hang your hat on the peg in the hall,
Sit in front of the telly till you get the call
To come out and play with your mallet and ball."
Thoughts from the Suffolk Coast
Harris G, Between Aldeburgh and Southwold
Today - a delightful letter from my elderly aunt:-
“Dear H and M,
Just a few lines, hoping all is well with you both. Hasn’t the weather been lovely? Dry, sunny and not too windy. How is your garden looking? I must have fifty primroses in the front. Mostly yellow but they are beautiful.
What do you think about this virus? Staying at home and isolating is no problem for me but I know it must be for some. Claire has been phoning every day and I keep busy anyway. Mind you, all the bookings for the cottage have been cancelled. Not sure what we will do if this goes on too long.
Are you getting all your shopping? Max did a shop for me on Friday and left it by the back gate so it wasn’t too far. He couldn’t get flour and they are being strict with some things. I blame the government. Why do they let people panic buy? They should put a stop to it. The queues were dreadful.
Prince Charles has got the corona now. Must be a terrible worry for them. The queen is ancient and William has a young family. I read that it affects men more than women. That must be why Camilla tested negative.
I wonder what will happen when it all ends. The money they are spending now will have to be paid back. Where is Boris getting it from anyway? House prices will drop. They’re a shocking price here. Nearly a million for a two bedroom cottage. No proper pantry either.
I haven’t heard anything from K since Christmas. Don’t know what his dad would have said. K has always been a loner. I tried my best with him.
Give my love to L. I suppose she’s staying away. Keep washing your hands they say and stay away from people.
I’d better sign off now as it is getting late. Ring me when you get a chance.
Lots of love, R xx “
Maybe the worst has come.
The Husband has been told that should he be permanently sequestered to work in ED he will be asked to shave off his beard and moustache.
I have never seen his naked face. In 16 years there has been some form of hairy coverage - neat and clipped, unruly and wild. Twirled, combed, greying, sometimes decorated.
What if my love for the Husband is somehow wrapped up in his bearded beauty? What if he likes the feel of the sun on his shining, pink face? What if he NEVER GROWS IT BACK??
NB: I did ask the Husband permission to attach a photo, so you could all share in his lovely whiskers. I was very quickly refused.
The foxes were the first to notice
Rapture. An edging forward: the boundary crossed. More sound – others.
Earth and branch broken with a sharpened blade. Away: the lake, the field.
Egret, grebe and cormorant. Trace lines of avoidance in the grass.
Choose Something Like A Star
Spent some of yesterday running errands which made me feel a bit useful....shopping for a couple in their late seventies, and again for a poorly lady with an autistic son. Theres a group that has sprung up in Hitchin, like so many parts of the country, which is called 'Hitchin Helpers '- it helps not only the helpees if that's a word, but the helpers who are helping them. Within Hitchin itself, there are are smaller groups looking after each other too. For some reason I have written two posts about India. And it's still on my mind. I don't have television, so my news comes from Radio 4, the World Service and anything someone shares with me online (not online news however which is way too unauthorised and distracting). A good freind sent me a little news clip - a film of Delhi after Modi announced the lockdown. It was absolutely horrific- thousands of years people crammed into bus and train stations (no trains) buses mobbed by desperate people trying to get back to their villages....crowds walking home sometimes for hundreds of kilometers. So once again it is the best and the worst of humanity that we are seeing. The consequences of this time are anyone's guess.
Meanwhile, I've been reading from the Oxford Book of Poetry for Children, todays poem is The Eagle by Tennyson, which I've used for my Inksolation project on Instagram.
(Illustration also shown here).
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sea in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls,
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt, he falls.
All is quiet
My husband, Nick and I share our lockdown home with a slightly overweight interminably greedy 10 year old cat, Chutney, who is indifferent to affection, yet always close by. Today won’t go down in history as one of his best. With isolation in full swing, we find our various appointments being cancelled or postponed which include Chutney’s check up at the vet. So, with this new cancellation comes the inevitability that we will be administering the worming pill ourselves. I am sensible in timing appointments to avoid having to take on this task in our normal life. I have always admired the vet’s method; stroke cat, pop in pill, stroke cat – ‘’there’s a good boy’’. Job done.
Having attempted this before, we knew to arm ourselves. Chutney was swaddled in a heavy blanket. His eyes turn black. Claws’ are out in full. Why is he so slippery? I attempt to open his mouth. So many teeth. Nick propels the pill through the administering syringe into the cat’s mouth. It ends up on the kitchen floor. We try again. I scrabble around on the kitchen floor retrieving the pill while a fight is taking place with a furious fireball of teeth and claws. Nick and I swap roles and during a minute of calmness we think the pill may have ended up down the throat of this terrified monster. Feeling smug we release Chutney, still furious, only to discover the pill on the floor once more. I try to reconcile our differences with him. Nick resorts to grinding the pill down and sprinkling this over the cat biscuits ready for Chutney’s tea. He eats his food, happier now. When the meal is finished, I notice a covering of white powder in his food bowl. Oh, well. Maybe he won’t get worms anyway.
Later when Nick cooks our evening meal Chutney is given a treat of an anchovy on a saucer with a rather delicious crushed worm pill crust. It slips down easily. Time to relax. In the evening we will cuddle up on the sofa with a contented cat curled up between us. All is quiet.
A Week in the life of Edward & Molly (final entry)
Carla, South Norfolk
Dear Edward (5) and Molly (3)
School, nursery and all our groups are now closed and cancelled, due to the corona virus so I thought I'd write to you so you know why we are not formally home schooling and so one day you can read what a normal day in the life of us consists of:
Dear Edward and Molly
When we talked about our day, Edward reminded us of his school song which is to the tune of Here we go round the mulberry bush.
Edward picked a name out of the pot and Molly was our Pheasant of the Day, she got to wear a lanyard with a brilliant sign on that Edward made. She was the front of any lines (I'm not sure there were any), and she got to sit on a chair for any stories (she wanted to sit with us rather than on a chair).
Daddy did breakfast today so Mummy could go for a bike ride in the sunshine :)
In the morning we joined in with Pete's Music class online. You particularly enjoyed 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' and 'The Hokey Cokey'.
We made a huge chalk rainbow on the driveway and Edward wrote a lovely message that says 'stay well and keep smiling'. Children all over the country and making rainbows to display in their front windows.
While we were chalking the rainbow the pair of ducks came to see us. We usually just give them a bowl of water now as they poo everywhere so we have stopped giving them oats. If the kitchen door is open they want to go inside, they are very tame and will follow us if they think we have food.
We biked to the village hall car park and back and up and down the other end of the lane a few times. Edward you are so fast!
We are looking forward to Daddy not having to work in the dining room so much over the weekend, he is going to make a stand for Siri's new wooden cage which we are excited about.
We have put Siri's new big wheel in her current cage and last night she didn't mess up or move anything, so we think all she did was run in her huge wheel!
Love from Mummy.x