Harry’s Ramblings. Virus Routine
As a couple in the at risk category, here’s some thoughts/impressions/suggestions to aid the daily routine.
Shopping for food is a problem, especially for those who are more senior in age, so we have adopted a routine with our daily lives. First, get up at the usual time. Also, maintain personal hygiene standards. It is very easy to become slothful, not bothering to getting dressed until later in the day. Just don’t do this, it is easy to atrophy, we shower as normal, I shave in the usual way, we have porridge for breakfast. Just because there is a worldwide virus and we are mostly housebound doesn’t mean that we should lower our standards. When we emerge I won’t have a flowing white beard, Pam will be the lovely fragrant young bride to me that she has always been.
In line with the Marks and Spencer shopping hours, we attend every Monday and Thursday between 8-9am. This shopping period is just for the over 70s and those considered vulnerable, with a very civilised atmosphere. Here in Eastbourne we have a central shopping centre, with M&S access either from the main high street or pedestrianised through the mall. The food hall is at the back, the whole of the clothing area is now closed, only the food area is accessible. Staff are manning temporary barriers so only a limited number may be in the store at any one time, so as any one leaves, another in the queue enter. The line is again civilised, people standing the requisite two metres apart. There is plenty in the shop, queueing minimal, again people being sensible and standing a distance away from each other.
On other mornings, I go to my local small Tesco Express just to buy newspapers and essentials. There’s not much left on the shelves, and I could see them closing if the emergency continues for a long period. This would be because logistically the big supermarkets will have to decide priorities. Do they keep the larger stores open, or the smaller ones which might be more problematic to keep the lorries rolling to keep stocked. At present the smaller ones appear to have less. I won’t go there after lunch because there are more people about. Some have questionable habits, for example one man mid-afternoon last week smelled very strongly that he had been smoking an illegal substance, despite our best efforts to maintain a safe distance. Some people just have no idea, nor ever will do.
We seem to read our papers more assiduously, as the time passes better this way. About 10am it’s off for our morning walk along the seafront. We are very lucky that we live within 40 metres of the pier, so it’s a pleasant 10 minute stroll to the bandstand and back. We then sit on the sea wall for about half an hour, watching the sea change colour, deliberately keeping that 2 metres away. Strange really, how some people still manage to walk close, also how strangers want to start a conversation. This happened this afternoon, we were quietly sitting there, just chatting away, this man who said he was 60 years old, proudly wore a bright yellow sweater, and informed us that he regretted the passing of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, and any other deceased rock legend of the last fifty years. He gave special mention to Elvis, who apparently is still in this world and a recluse in Gracelands. I had to ask him politely and firmly not to get too close.
We have lunch at the same time, then it’s the BBC 1 o’clock news to see the latest edict and pandemic news from around the world. The BBC seem to excel in revelling in world-wide misery, yes I know there’s not much to laugh about, but they just seem to gain vicarious delight in the plight of others. Comparisons with other countries seems to be a staple.
If the weather is good, we might have an afternoon brisk walk for half an hour, then it’s back for tea with a biscuit (or two). We don’t turn the tv on again until 4pm when Tipping Point comes on, followed by The Chase. Wine with dinner a couple of times a week, little treats now and again, especially fruit such as M&S small easy peel oranges, and bananas. Interesting tv in the evening so we are able to resist the temptation to fall asleep on the sofa.
During the day, phone friends and relatives to make sure that they are doing okay. It’s amazing how a shared experience makes your own so much lighter. Usually I am a cruise ship lecturer with P&O, so I am now researching, writing, and learning more talks for 2021. My topic is They Made Us Laugh, all about the top English comedians of all time, I have lots of reference books as well as the internet, and as well as the talks I have lots of photos to edit. Also concerning work. I am a funeral celebrant, that work has gone completely because funerals are only being taken with minimal number present, no service, and strong possibility of no-one attending funerals in the future, just the hearse going direct to the crematorium. All talks cancelled, which is considerable because I had 50 booked for this year, so severe loss of income here.
The future. Common sense really, this will all ultimately blow over, we know that, but it will certainly have a lasting impact on society for quite some time to come, both financial and recreational. Statistically there is a fair chance that a lot of us will have the virus to some degree, but as an asthmatic I cough with hay fever in any case, this doesn’t stop people from casting anti-social stares my way, and when out I endeavour not to cough until it is absolutely necessary. No, I’m not unclean. Financially governments world-wide will take some years to recover from supporting their citizens, but people are pretty resilient.
My advice is to get into an early routine, maintain it, keep the standards, so when normality resumes, we can step back into it with greater ease.