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  • Kay Fletcher

Coronavirus Blog Day 39

Ok, so we are back from our walk, back from what has become a near daily routine of pushing our son into a hedge, desperate to create more distance between him and people who insist on walking side by side down a small, narrow lane. Even more so today when a couple I have never seen before (we are a small, nosey (interested...) village) walk past together, both sharing an open Ordnance Survey map... ‘I am going to get a complex at this rate...’ our son moans, fed up with being elbowed in the ribs and chucked in the bushes. ‘Well anything to save innocent bystanders from the distinct eau de cologne which is cooped up teenager’, I reply blithely. He mutters something about adoption... ‘Oh that will not be for a while yet, I only filled the papers out yesterday and you are not even on the website yet...’ I lovingly inform him. He mutters something about Childline...and then, more worringly, choosing care homes... ‘My time will come...’ he insists, somewhat darkly I feel. So this is the state of play on this our 5th weekend of social isolation. Nerves are a bit frayed, energy levels are a bit low and I feel it is difficult to feel motivated. But we are alive and well and feeling grateful for this and for being with each other. Schoolwork at home has also begun again after the Easter break – what joy. ‘We have a different history topic’, our son informs me. It feels as if he has said this with some relish so I should have been forewarned, but no, I ask hopefully about this new topic... ‘Medieval crime and punishment’, he gleefully, I feel, replies. ‘There was this unbelievable device called ‘the pear of anguish...’. He did continue his description, unfortunately. I will not, fortunately. I don’t recommend you look it up either...but I bet you will; you have been warned... No ‘Horrible Histories’ book the source of my woe this time – no, the internet. If you are going to search for medieval punishments you are going to rue the results. I did. Our son found it really interesting. Ah, the generation gap...and the sense of responsibility that comes with being a parent. Should he be reading that, playing that, seeing that, watching that...? Questions I seem to be constantly asking in situations I seem to be constantly assessing. Oh yes, and throw in being in the middle of a pandemic... It feels like I am on red alert all of the time. And do NOT get me started about the worry I now feel when my husband or son says they are not feeling well...or coughs... So I turn to Facebook...not a strategy I would recommend to calm the nerves, and I limit my time spent in this way, but I try to stay connected to friends and updated on the latest developments. Grant Shapps the Transport Secretary warned the UK yesterday that the Coronavirus pandemic may not yet be past its peak as on April 25th the total sadly stood at 20,319 deaths, 813 in 24 hours. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, related the figures to us calling them, '...a tragic and terrible milestone...', and as a nation we grieve for those who have lost their lives and feel for those closest to them who have to deal with this heartbreak. Today, April 26th, I read we have sadly lost 413 people in 24 hours, and that this is the lowest daily hospital death toll since March. In the US their grim total stands at 53,000, accounting for a quarter of the 205,000 deaths worldwide. Trials for testing a vaccine have started but we are warned that a breakthrough could be a long way off. Discarded face masks and gloves seem to have ended up in the ocean – ironically then, we cause a new crisis by the things we use to treat another... Sorting out personal finances feels like a constant headache for most, with more questions than answers about what wages may be payable and what real help is available for the self-employed. The Bank of England has already reduced the base rate so there is lower interest rates on savings – 0.01% now on some savings accounts... I wonder how many businesses will have survived this crisis and what changes this will bring to the high street. I hope we will look at our shopping habits, at food waste and sustainability, and that we might look at shopping locally, at reducing our food miles and producing home-grown food. I also debate how I feel about this time, about how to 'use' this time, how to ‘be’ with this time. Google has the sub-heading ‘make the most of your time at home’ on its search engine page. Facebook seems to be awash with adverts for courses to do or articles on what new skills I could be acquiring. I feel under pressure somehow, pressure to perform, to be gainfully employed developing myself... In amongst these I come across a post that I immediately seem to identify with – I feel it is giving me permission to use this time to just survive, it is telling me it is ok to feel this is not my time to thrive. I think I needed to read this, to feel it was ok to rest, to understand that living with uncertainty and fear undermines my motivation. I need to remember to be kind to myself, to not set myself up to fail, to not ask too much of myself..... Perhaps I need to consider that by appreciating life, by not taking it, or the people in it, for granted, I am making the most of my time full stop.

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