At the time of writing we are in week five of the lockdown in the UK, and in recent days there has been a noticeable change in tone from the politicians. The Scottish Government has produced a Covid-19 Framework for Discussion, and a particularly astute analysis of this was given by the BBC Scotland political editor, the excellent Brian Taylor.
So in essence, just in case we were in any doubt, we now know that we are in this for the long haul. Current measures are suppressing the virus, but until science can come up with reliable tangible answers, some levels of restriction will be the norm. The virus can’t be allowed free rein, and for all of us this means tough and tougher times ahead.
Boiling everything down to a personal level, I’m still finding the situation slightly surreal, but am surprised at the relative ease of getting through each day, albeit sticking to a routine and focusing strongly on taking as much time as needed to talk/zoom/WhatsApp/Facetime friends and family. No matter what I am doing this never defaults to “I’m busy right now, can I call you back?”
I was speaking by landline (!) to an old school friend yesterday and I commented that I feel as if I am living the way my mother did in the late fifties and early sixties. Shopping locally. Having the option to have food delivered. Paying strong attention to nutrition, healthy eating and minimising food waste. Daily housework, washing, cooking and some TV in the evening.
I even dug out my mum’s old recipe books and messaged my daughter with a recipe for scones. She has developed an interest in baking and was delighted to have found flour in their local shop. My grandson has developed an interest in eating them too!
On a lighter note, I blame the flour shortage on the mischievous fairies who sneak into the house at night and sprinkle it liberally on to my hair. What else could explain the spreading white roots?
But these daily routines are important. They are not just purely practical in terms of keeping our home environment clean and germ free, they give purpose and structure and have a visible end result.
In her press conference on 24 April Nicola Sturgeon commented that she had been surprised at how well the Scottish people had complied with the lockdown, and certainly from my very small corner of the world I am conscious of people being sensible and courteous. The recent warm sunny weather has also helped to lift spirits and on my daily short walk there is much evidence of garden work taking place.
The human spirit is quite amazing, and despite the speed with which the lockdown was imposed on us, certainly within my direct circle of friends, family and neighbours there is a strong sense of resilience, patience and kindness.
As time progresses, we have been warned things will get harder, so let’s hope the well of resilience, patience and kindness is a deep one.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
William Arthur Ward
Take care, stay safe