Wednesday 8th April – Sunny Days
It is a bit of a mixed blessing that the weather has turned out to be very sunny and warm recently. Out here in the countryside those with reasonable sized gardens and, some with paddocks as well, have plenty of area to move around in. Plus when we do venture out for a bit of exercise there are fields and woods to walk in and not too many people about. I really feel for those that live in flats in towns and cities with no outside space – particularly if they are families with children – it must be so difficult.
Walking down the track the other day with Lottie, we found a bit of light relief. One of the houses in the lane is a weekend getaway for naturists and they have some adornments on their gate that have bought a smile from people walking by. (Warning – if you are of a nervous disposition do not enlarge the image of the male bear on the left! :-))
The following day on the walk, someone obviously decided that they wanted to join in rather than let Lottie and I go on our own:
I’m not sure if Lottie is politely telling Hector the cat to go away and stop following us or suuggesting that he keeps up.
With a sunny Easter weekend coming up, I hope those less fortunate than those of us with space can get through without breaking the guidelines – I wish them well!
Thursday 2nd April – Knuckling Down
We are well into our second week on lockdown now and trying to develop some kind of routine in our lives. Lottie and I head off for a walk around the nearby woods every morning. During that walk it’s almost like life is as normal and social distancing is not generally a problem as you can see from the picture below:
Occasionally we do come across other walkers and it is always a case of who is going to keep going and who is going to leap into the bushes first!
Otherwise, I am spending some time on the book as well as this blog and trying to keep the days structured – no wine until 7 pm haha! At the weekends I aim to spend time in the garden so that Saturday and Sunday are distinguishable from the weekdays and everything doesn’t just mould into a kind of drift where everyday is the same. I am sure everybody has their own way of dealing with this stuff and we can only hope that by June we may start to see a little slackening off of the controls but at this point no-one knows and I think the uncertainty is the one of the most frustrating things.
Occasionally there are signs of normality – everyone’s at home and rurally that means:
Yes – emptying the sceptic tanks. We can’t afford to have them overflowing. This was my neighbour today and I was “done” just 3 weeks ago, so the people down the bottom of the lane have one less thing to worry about as time goes on. 🙂
Friday 27th March – Lockdown
Since my last update things have obviously changed dramatically and we are now in a form of lockdown. Apart from the odd shopping trip, time needs to be spent in and around one’s own house. When I’m feeling down and frustrated by all this I try and persuade myself to think what it must be like to be stuck in a one or two bedroom flat in town with only a balcony (or maybe even not) to get outside except for the hour’s permitted exercise and a visit to the shops. As I look outside the windows to the beautiful scenery I live in I have to be grateful. I have a lovely walk across the field of sheep and then along a bridlepath into a lovely wood around which Lottie and I can do a circuit. The whole trip takes about 45 minutes and keeps us both fit.
I find the night times the hardest and do get hit by depression sometimes although I am lucky in having some family living with me. It’s going to be tough for all of us I guess and somehow we have to find an inner strength to get through. I am continuing with writing my book which is due to the publishers later this year so hopefully that will pass much of the time. Frankly, I can’t see this only being 3 weeks – probably at least another 3 after that – so if I have 6 weeks in my head then it won’t be so much of a shock if and when that happens.
I am going to get the camera out tomorrow and will post some pictures of the beautiful nearby spring countryside. Hopefully that may bring some cheer to my lovely followers.
Thanks for continuing to read and please stay safe.
Monday 23rd March – Meanwhile in the countryside….
Sometimes, working in the garden out here in rural parts on a lovely sunny afternoon, it’s easy to forget what the world is going through or indeed that anything has changed. For some people (or dogs to be precise) it hasn’t really –
In fact, for Lottie, this is proving to be a fabulous spring. She’s never had some many walks in the fields and woods as she’s getting now and as a consequence sleeps and snores very deeply and noisily at nights!
Hector the cat is in a similar situation – life hasn’t changed. Never thought I would envy my animals so much. In the meantime, with nothing much to distract me, the lawn has been cut down from about a foot high to almost looking like a lawn in 3 days! Unheard of haha.
As I said it almost can seem that nothing much has changed but then I go to the shops and there are (to be fair not quite so many as before) bare shelves and the reality comes back like a slap in the face. My daughter took a Morrisons on-line delivery today with loads of essentials missing – the store says it must give priority to stocking the shops. Not sure how this fits with trying to encourage social distancing. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The whole situation seems to be chaotic and one can only hope it resolves itself over the coming weeks rather than many months otherwise I might have to start eating the grass I am cutting and then Lottie!!
Wednesday 18th March – To be beside the seaside ……
I think it’s clear that we are going to follow European countries lead and have a 2-3 lockdown at some point where we can only go out to work or shopping and the occasional bit of exercise. Although I live in a beautiful spot surrounded by fields and woods, I do love walking by the sea particularly as Dorset has such a wonderful and scenic coastline.
So together with Lottie dog and a friend – air kisses and a metre plus apart 😦 – I hit Sandbanks beach for an hour or so stretching our legs along the seafront. Lovely fresh air, even if it was a little breezy, nice company and refreshing for the body and soul. Lottie, too, had fun playing with a few other dogs and the exercise will be good for her too.
I have an appointment to have a BCC (non-cancerous skin growth) removed from my upper arm on 3rd April. So when a letter arrived today from the NHS I was expecting it to be cancelled but it was, in fact, a confirmation. Hopefully that won’t change and as it’s at Wimborne Hospital and I won’t be occupying a bed makes the chances slightly better I guess. Although given the worries some people have health-wise, I shouldn’t really complain if it is.
I have started to work on the garden – it’s going to take a week just to get the grass cut, I reckon, as it’s about a foot high. But, given the limitations on society right now, it will be quite a good time occupier and, when it’s done, the garden will start to look ready for summer – hopefully I won’t be the only one who gets to enjoy it.
I hope the government remain sensible on the whole matter – two or three people outside walking or talking shouldn’t pose a problem even when controls get tighter. I understand that things are different in London and other big towns and cities but here in the countryside the environment we live in and can continue to enjoy sensibly will play it’s part in keeping us sane. I can only imagine what it must be like for people living in high rise urban dwellings. My thoughts are with them and hope they will make it through – they can’t get to the seaside!
Tuesday 17th March – 3 Days and a Lifetime Later!!!!
In my last post, I made the comment that life so far in Dorset was relatively untouched by the virus but undoubtedly that would change. How quickly that change would be, I couldn’t have begun to imagine.
So, three days later, we are not yet confined to barracks – although the over 70’s and people with underlying conditions will be by the weekend – there is little to see and do in the big wide world, shopping aside which is a challenge in itself.
The pubs and cafes are all empty as we have been advised to not congregate in public gatherings and they will surely close within days. Personally, as someone who lives alone in a rural setting, I am getting quite depressed by this and we are only on the first full day. I am a social animal and very rarely spend a whole day and evening at home. Not sure how I, and many others, will get through the coming months!
Some countries have already gone further and told everybody to stay indoors for 2 weeks or more. I cannot begin to imagine what effect that will have on people who live in high rise buildings and other congested areas. On a slighlty lighter note, I read that in Spain people are allowed out for very few exceptions, one of which is walking a dog if you have one. I have this vision of some poor dog, the only one in a block of flats maybe, being passed around so that the neighbours can all get outside for a bit. The poor thing will either end up very fit or dead from over-exhaustion.
Back to the UK – our Easter family holiday in Cornwall is obviously cancelled but at least we can go out and about a bit providing we don’t hang around in large groups. I heard on the radio (which may just be media talk of course) that “social distancing” could go on for 12-18 months. Seriously? I can’t see any population, even one as generally law-abiding as ours putting up with that sort of period of isolation. There’ll be riots on the streets.
In the end, the reason we aren’t just letting everyone get this virus and building up a kind of herd immunity is to prevent a large number of resultant deaths in the most vulnerable The government need to be careful that they don’t still have a large number of deaths through suicides and civil disobedience – would we even be safe in our own homes? The prospect really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Saturday March 14th 2020
It is just over 3 years since I completed my “A Year in a Lane” blog – can’t believe where all that time has gone. I have in the meantime been working on a book based on a diary (of sorts) that my late grandfather-in-law took into Changi Prison in Singapore with him in 1942. I hope to have this published later this year so more of that nearer the time.
I decided to re-open the blog with a different theme – and not so many photos this time – because we are living through unprecedented times with the pandemic of Covid19 or coronavirus.
I thought it would be interesting to record the thoughts of a sixty something (although not in the vulnerable category thank goodness) living in rural Britain during this period. If nothing else it will serve as an aide-memoire to myself in the future even if no-one else is interested 🙂 .
Currently, here in Dorset we are relatively untouched by events unfolding in terms of infection but that will undoubtedly change as time moves on. We are still getting out and about to pubs, shops and cafes albeit being sensible about it. I think it’s important to support local businesses as much as possible at these incredibly difficult times for them.
Over the coming few months I will try and reflect the progress and impact that is hitting home locally. Right now, it is quite strange sitting here in the middle of the beautiful Dorset countryside where it’s easy to imagine that nothing has changed – but indeed it has. Coronavirus and Brexit are words that did not exist when I last published a blog. Strange days indeed!