It’s hard not to be sweepingly negative in these posts, but things are going a little better, so I’m going to try and act like it. Restrictions eased yesterday in Ireland for the first time – every measure before now has been a tightening. The change allows us to travel 5kms from home, instead of 2kms. It’s not a huge change, but it does bring Phoenix Park back into play for us, and we’re grateful for that. Things genuinely seem to be slowing down, in terms of both cases, deaths and critical cases. It’s becoming more a question of how to go back to normal
For later, when I read back, I thought I’d talk about some of the themes of the lockdown so far, from my perspective. Here’s what’s been important personally, whilst simultaneously being utterly unimportant in a wider context, such is life:
- Zoom. I’d barely heard of the video conferencing website before all this. Now, extended phone calls with multiple people seem to be the only way to socialise. Sitting in front of a screen with a beer on a Friday night isn’t great, but it’s better than nothing, and there have been some really clever uses of it, too. I’ve watched talks on Roman history, speeches on escapism, and spoken to school friends for the first time in several years. Great stuff.
- Delivery – the highlight of the day, every day. I’ve tried to limit what I buy as orders, as obviously every delivery brings someone new to the door, or rather a few metres from it, nodding in acknowledgement of the parcel they’ve just deposited at the threshold. Deliveries are not totally abnormal, but they’re starting to feel like a key connection with the outside world.
- Silent shops. I hate going shopping now, it’s the absolute worst part of any week (or, on good weeks, ten days). The supermarkets are eerily quiet, with everyone shopping alone, and most of the customers in masks. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, particularly the days where half the shelves are empty and the whole thing feels a bit aggressive. Not nice, but a fact of life.
- Baking. Lots of bread and cake, but always without yeast. It’s impossible to find yeast.
- Reading. I’m getting through a heap of books that have been sat on shelves for an age. They bring escapism and a weird comfort of normalilty, at least until you realise that the world you’re reading about is not normal anymore, at least for now. Perhaps the escapism bit is the better part.
- BBQs. At least once a week, they’ve become one of the best moments of any week, too.
- DIY and house improvement. We’ve run out of stuff to work with now, but transforming little areas, like a desk under our stairs, a clear-out of the garden, and sorting through cupboards has been an essential ‘stuck indoors, might as well’ activity.
- Running. Apparently everyone runs now, and I think that’s great. I’m closing in on 650km for the year, and go out about 4-6 days a week. It gets you out of the house when there’s almost no other form of exercise available. It does mean an endless stream of loops around the same roads, but so be it.
- Strange school. Several lessons a week via Zoom, for example, or the daily dose of classes on RTE. It doesn’t work that well, but it’s better than nothing.
- Helplessness. The world’s key events are never in our control, of course, but now they have such a direct and tangible impact, it’s easy to feel an anxious fear all day long. I guess we’re living a critical event in history in a way that most people of my generation in my part of the world haven’t so far.
- Appreciation. For being in a happy household, where things could be so much harder, but they’re not.
That’s all for today.