Uneasy

“It is not given to human beings – happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable – to forsee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events.”

Winston Churchill, Euology for Neville Chamberlain November 12 1940

Never has a truer word been said. Warning – today’s blog might not be uplifting

Anybody else here feeling a bit uneasy? Something amiss in the pit of my stomach.  Not a feeling that I am comfortable with. But I know what it’s about.  For the past 2 months we have all been in lockdown.   An experience I can share with most of the country and certainly my friends.  This shared experience bought about a sense of community of belonging and I felt secure, relaxed and in control. The Brits are very good at banding together when there is an external threat and creating a culture of strong social reliance on each other. Certainly, I have seen this on my street.

So, for the past 2 months I have been in control of my situation and enjoyed immensely the sense of community spirit.   But now with lockdown easing slightly everything is shifting.  And it is this shift which is making me feel uneasy.  I cannot ease up as I have an underlying condition.  But for many people including most of my friends they will be able to get out more, go back to work and socialise.  And I am already starting to feel a bit ‘left out’.

In addition while I  have been having  social distance walks with friends  cause I know they  have also been in lockdown, once they are out in the community again I will have to think carefully about who I will walk with.

So, the future is a bit bleak. Just more of the same but now  doing it on my own and sadly I can’t make any plans because I have no idea when I will be getting out. What a bundle of sunshine I am. I did warn you.

Interestingly I am not alone in this feeling of unease.  Many people I have spoken to  also have uneasy feelings.  Some have so enjoyed being furloughed that they are now not looking forward to returning to work. Ironically they quite envy me.  The grass is always greener. They have said that they have never felt so healthy.  The lack of pressure and the relaxation has really worked for them.  I commented to one of my girlfriends yesterday when she sat in my garden, that she looked fantastic and her reply was; ” yes because I have not had work hassles and stress. Am just loving it.”  Another friend who is a child minder for the past 15 years has given the parents notice as they have decided they have so loved the peace that they no longer want to look after other people’s children. Others have said that they are now looking at ways of  changing  the way they work.

I do realise of course we are a privileged bunch of people and we live in a bubble that is not shared by the majority of the UK or the rest of the world. And experts have warned that post lock down the UK may well face a tsunami of mental health issues.

But COVID19 has created a paradigm shift in every part of our society. Both positive and negative. On a positive front it is forcing us to redefine how we live, what we value, how the government works, how society works and the relationships we have with people.  Whereas prior to the virus society focused on status, power, wealth and celebrity – now other things will take precedence.

On the negative front I think many of us felt, unwisely as it has turned out, that science and technology would keep us safe and sound. But this virus is bigger than anything we have ever had to confront before and currently we have no defence against it except social distancing and face masks. And this makes us all feel very vulnerable.

I am convinced that by this time next year they will have found perhaps not a vaccine but treatment for the virus. But in the meantime, I am going to have to find a way of making the most of this enforced isolation without becoming over emotionally indulgent. I will remember the words of Emily Dickinson “I dwell in possibility”.

On a happier note I just watched Obama graduation speech, and that voice and that face makes me feel instantly happier.

obama

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/16/politics/obama-graduate-together-speech/index.html

Note to self: find more things every day that make you feel happy.

“Let’s be careful out there”

 

 

The Community

I know we are living through a nightmarish scenario, but I have found a few silver linings.  One of which is a renewed sense of community – certainly more than I have seen in my adult lifetime.  As a child it was different. I grew up in a two up two down terraced house in the Highfields area of Leicester.  We were working class but with middle class values. If that isn’t an oxymoron.  Everyone on the street new each other and spent most of the time in an out of the different houses.  If one mum was working (it was a given that all men worked) then other mums would mind the children. We had no phone, no car, no television, no washing machine and an outside toilet. We used to get bathed in front of the fire on a sheet of asbestos. Maybe that is why I have COPD now.  In those days no one realised asbestos was dangerous.  The same with cigarettes. Both my parents smoked incessantly, and mum probably had a fag in her mouth when she was breast feeding me.

Oddly I remember a lot about the road even though it was eons ago.  The Batkins lived opposite and their son Terry was chronically shy and used to hide behind the sofa at birthday parties, even his own. The street flirt Jean, quite the glamour puss with her big breasts and tight jumpers fancied my father and wasn’t backward in coming forward in letting him know.  The German spinster who lived next door refused to talk to us because we were Jews until her house caught on fire and my mother saved her life. The Plumber boys were the resident bullies who lived at the bottom of the street and terrorised us kids into supplying them with bounty which was usually sweets or the odd penny.  I remember Brian and I barricading ourselves in the house while they threatened all sorts of nasty things should we ever come out again. And the lovely Polish family – who were ostracised by the rest of the street – not sure why maybe because they were foreigners – but they made fabulous goulash and kuchen which I was forbidden to eat because it wasn’t kosher.  I suspect I must have tried it otherwise how would I remember it being fabulous.

As soon as we were in lockdown someone on our road in North London started a WhatsApp group. And within days there were offers of help and goods being exchanged. The group has been quite wonderful. When my boiler stopped working within hours a local plumber was on hand.  When I was looking for yeast as I had no bread somebody left a box on my doorstep and when they knew I was on my own another neighbour left a bunch of daffodils to cheer me up.

This week the family 2 doors from us had a tragedy. The mother, in her early fifties, had an aneurism and was rushed into hospital where she has been operated on and is currently on a ventilator.  And within hours the street had rallied around to offer support to the devastated family.   A food rota was set up and I am making dinner on Saturday. It is heartening to see how much care there is

I am sure we are not alone and there are similar set ups all over the UK. My Scottish girl friend who lives in a small village sent me this pic below.

phone box

 

I do think we will all be changed by this experience and it goes without saying how tragic it is for all those who have lost their lives and their loved ones, but maybe we will come out of this with a different  and better perspective on life  I know that I certainly will.

Last night I couldn’t sleep as I was thinking of Helen. Only at the weekend we had swapped cakes. I had made banana cake and she had made cupcakes which we left on each other’s doorstep. And now she was in critical care. I think it is the randomness of it all.  It is not something I used to think about but now  I do dwell on it.  You can be a very good person live life healthily and then get cancer and die or walk in front of a bus or….and alternatively you can be a despot, liar greedy and cruel and live to a ripe old age.   And if it really is all random then where does God fit into this.   I know deep stuff.

And it is Thursday again and its clapping time.  Really where on earth did the last 7 days go? I know I keep banging on about this but how can time just keep flitting by especially when I manage to achieve less and less each day. I love the clapping it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I usually end up crying.  But at least tonight I won’t be returning to an empty house as I have company now.

So today was the first day that I have shared the house in 4 weeks. It is lovely but it takes a bit of getting used to.  It is odd talking and getting a real person answering me.  I am very disappointed though with Izzi who has been my constant companion never leaving my side, even following me to the toilet. And now – where is she? Well not with me. She is following Toby around.  And where did she sleep last night? With Toby.  She didn’t even come into my bedroom   – – where she has slept for the past 4 weeks, to say good night. Oh, you fickle creature. When they move out again, I will not forget this behaviour.  Don’t think it will all just go back to how it was when it was just the two of us.  And Mo is no better. She has spent the entire day fast asleep on my bed because that dirty little stop out didn’t come back all night.

 

mo

“Let’s be careful out there”