Let’s start with a little bit of background information….
At the start of 2020, if someone had said ‘lockdown’, ‘social distancing’, ‘the R rate’, ‘let’s have a Zoom meeting’ or ‘Coronavirus’ I think most people would get funny looks. Now, of course, these words are part of the ‘new normal’ – that’s another for you – after what has been the strangest few months that most of the worlds population has every seen. Will things ever get back to the way they were? Do we want things to go back to exactly the way they were?
In January the virus was being mentioned briefly in the foriegn news sections, while the UK was gearing up for Brexit on the 31st January. This was also the day that the first cases of the virus were announced in the UK, At the beginning of March, it was mainly happening abroad, with just 36 cases in the UK, but by the 12th March it was 590 cases and people in the UK had started to die.
At work, we were told that we were to start working from home on 16th March. A week later, the UK was in full lockdown and a week after that, my work had stopped and I was on ‘furlough’, a word that I’d only ever heard on US TV dramas, but was now my life! I was being paid to stay at home and do nothing, how bloody strange was that!
How was I to fill my days?
Well, I did OK. The weather was brilliant for the first 6 weeks or so. I spent time in the garden with Mrs Bewes. I did proper excercise every day for the first time in my life. A 10 minute workout first thing in the morning, and here we are 116 days later, I haven’t missed a morning yet. I put more effort in some days than others. That was followed by a walk in the evening, every night. I think since this all started, we’ve only missed going for a walk about 5 times.
There was the weekly Clap for the Carers on a Thursday evening. We started to see neighbours every week that we hadn’t seen more than a handful of times in the 2 1/2 years we’ve lived here. Food shopping was done once a week at the local farm shop, and once a week at the local supermarket.
Without doubt the hardest thing was not seeing family. None of them are up on tech, so catching up online was out of the question. I would ring my parents every other day. I spoke to my brothers via text regularly. We aren’t that big on talking, but we know that if we need eachother, we are there.
One of the hardest days was early in May, leading up to the VE Day Bank Holiday. Up to this point, we hadn’t really been venturing out of the village, apart from to do a weekly shop at Morrisons down the road. On this occassion, Mrs Bewes wanted something special from M&S. So we set off and drove in to town at 8.45am. Normally it would take you a good 45 minutes at that time to get in to the city centre, but no, we were there in 10 minutes or so. It was the day that it really brought home what was happening. Nothing was open, no-one was around. It was horribly quiet. It was very very strange.
The rest of my time was spent faffing basically. I’m very good at wasting time doing very little. I did re-organize my books, CDs and records. Yes, I went full Rob Gordon from High Fidelity.
After years of buying books and very rarely reading them because I didn’t have the time, I now had all the time in the world. I had no excuse. My Lockdown reading sessions began. And I’m still going. (See following posts.)
Workwise, I was told that I was going back, then I wasn’t. Then I was, I started again from home. Then I was going to the studio, then I wasn’t. I am now back working from home in the mornings, then on air from the studio in the afternoon. And soon, we are due back in the office full time, so normal life begins to look like it might be returning soon. Maybe.