At the beginning of ‘lockdown’ I read an article by an Englishman living in locked-down Wuhan describing his experiences of the COVID19 crisis. He wrote about how he had become used to the strangeness of his new life, how his fear turned to calm, how he learnt to appreciate the change of pace and even how he had come to love it. I couldn’t imagine that happening to me.
For those first few weeks as we waited for the virus to tighten its grip I felt constantly sick with worry. The days seemed long and panic-driven, punctuated by announcements from Boris and then announcements without Boris.
But the man from China was right, I did become used to the strangeness, I did start to feel calm as I poured my attention into feeding my family, gardening and my work. I was fortunate as I already worked from home, my daughter is home schooled and my husband was able to quickly set up his office at home too. My step sons came back early from university and our odd new life took on a different and rather lovely quietness. I learnt to filter the news and turned my attention inward. Just like the rest of the world, I baked and gardened for England and it helped. Survival to me meant looking after my family.
As I write, this is Day 95 of lockdown. This week shops opened, more people returned to work, some children are returning to school and much of life is going back to some kind of recognisable routine, but although I know we need the engine of normality to restart, I am mourning the loss of the peace of the last 95 days. I am a little scared about returning to the real world. I wonder how the man from China is doing.
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