By the end of April the UK has spent six in lockdown and COVID-19 has taken the lives of 26,771 UK citizens. Lockdown has become routine and we are coming to terms with the close proximity of this evil virus. The John Hopkins University CSSE dashboard is showing over 3million confirmed Coronavirus cases worldwide, resulting in 237,180 deaths.
While we appear be passing through an initial peak in the UK, we are also on a trajectory to have one of the highest mortality rates (per capita) in the world. Not the predicted outcome for one of the most advanced (and fifth largest) economies in the modern world. To capture a sense of scale on this; We had 739 COVID-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours in the UK. A significant reduction from the average daily death toll (of almost 1000/day) a couple of weeks ago. This improves our confidence that the lock-down is containing the spread of COVID-19 for the time being. The infection and death curves from this initial wave was successfully flattened and is now falling.But with 26,771 COVID-19 deaths in the UK and no vaccine on the horizon, the threat of a resurgent COVID-19 wreaking a trail of death and financial ruin for too many of our citizens in the autumn remains both real and ominous.
Lack of protective equipment to go round across NHS must amplify the stress levels for staff and patients. How can we expect people to operate under these conditions and not make mistakes? For care-homes it has been far worse. I can’t begin to discuss how much of a strain it has been for care workers who are totally under-equipped. For a period (earlier in the month) elderly infected patients were being shipped out of hospitals and back to care-homes to free up hospital beds. The logic behind this strategy is staggering as it is clear that the elderly and frail are much more susceptible and more likely to be killed by the disease.
By the end of the month I’ve personally lost all trust in what is being conveyed by senior ministers on the daily OCVID-19 briefings. I am no longer bothered about listening to the propaganda and un-truths being broadcasted. How stupid do they really think we are? I have a new past time which is to catch-up with friends on WhatsApp, sharing posts that rip the politicians to shreds with each new update / miss-information they provide.
The ‘New Normal’ during Lockdown
Our family unit has settled into a lockdown routine which is beginning to feel like a new normal. I have a lot more time each day as I’m not commuting into an office. We’ve all slightly time-shifted our morning schedules. I rise between 6 and 6:30 and quite enjoy pottering around the kitchen, making sure all is in order for the start the day and savouring the first brew of the morning. Sonja is down for soon after 7am and we’re breakfasted and clear of the kitchen by 8am.
I bought a new office chair this month as it encourages good posture and is comfy. The previous incumbent (from Ikea) lasted 19 years and was long overdue for replacement with a broken back, squeaky and rattly. It’s a real pleasure sitting down in the new chair every morning after breakfast, preparing my desk and taking in the view across the garden.
I am aiming to call my Mum at around 8am every day, just a check-in to see how she is coping. If the weather is good then I sometimes call Mum as I take a turn around the garden which is lovely. We’ve organised with online shopping for my Mum (and ourselves) and Max has stepped up to the mark to go through and update Grandmother’s order with her on the phone a couple of days in advance of each delivery.
Most mornings, after my first couple of online meetings, I will pop down to the kitchen and and en-route I’ll notice a lot of industry in the house. I’ll find Max online, doing his school work in the kitchen (sometimes with his mates online) and Sonja will be working in the dining room, often on a conference call,. Earlier in the lockdown Immy worked in the kitchen too, but now she prefers to work in her room.
The kids tend to surface between 8 and 9 and either Max or Immy will walk the dog. Teddy must be quite pleased with the new lock-down arrangements, having his humans around all day. He gets three walks a day (morning, lunchtime and evening) and there is frequent activity in and out of the kitchen for drinks and snacks, so clearly, he gets attention every time. He is also at liberty to come and go to the garden, as and when he wants to. Sonja and I usually take him for a walk in the evening straight after work, the perfect way to wind-down.
We’re all having a go at developing new skills during to the lock down. Some of the skill-levels are questionable, for example, we’ve all had a go a trimming the dog’s fur over the past couple of weeks as it was starting to get a bit long. He didn’t seem too traumatised by it but I reckon his canine-buddies are all laughing at him now. Max has been getting into a bit of film making which is great to see. Immy is spending much time reading and studying various historical genres and has turned her hand to fixing Oma’s treasured ornaments. Both of our darling children are doing a bit of cooking (evening meals and lunches). Sonja and I have been spending more time in the garden. Sonja’s main focus is the flower beds and mine is the cultivation of fruit and veg. I’ve bought myself a 6ft propagator to grow from seed. We’ve ordered a substantial batch of plugs as this is my first proper attempt at mass production from seed and I am not confident of the outcome. We had some late frosts coming through towards the end of the month, so I’m ready to get them all in the ground in early May.
Raised beds and fruit cage prep'd
First crop already harvested.
It must be tough for the children, especially for Immy and her cohort who are no longer in a position to ‘go for it’ with their A-levels, being cut-off just as they were building up to a full head of steam to go for the best grades possible. Now it’s in the lap of (not the gods) the teaching staff to determine what they think the students will have achieved. So much at stake for these kids, with places at Uni in the balance. Not great for Max and his cohort who were lining up for GCSE finals either. So far as I can gather, both Max and all of his friends have been offered the A-levels they were aiming for, subject to them achieving the grades. It’s a tough call for the teachers who will need to be prepared to be audited and to justify the grades they have signed-up to. .
When the weather is good the skies are just soooo blue and expansive, unmarked by vapour trails. The A3 and A30 are eerily silent for long periods, just a very occasional swish of tyres. The sound of emergency vehicle with sirens on seem more frequent than they used to be. They remind me of the surreal situation we are in and how precarious things are.
I have been totally loving the early morning walks with the dog. Heading down onto Pilgrims way and along the North Downs way has become an even more enriching experience. Gone are the distant noises of human transport from the bottom of the valley. Even the farm machinery is quiet at the moment. The only sounds now are that of the birds, the wind in the trees, our footsteps and breathing.
If you click on the image below, you can hear exactly what I was listening to when I took this picture.
Just found out that Mark Williams has passed away to COVID-19. He lost his battle to live on Saturday 25th April. @Andrea, So so sorry to hear this news, my thoughts are with you.
I have such great memories of Mark…. or ‘Taff’ as we knew him. The antics and fun on the apprenticeship, the bike rallies, the gigs, boozing in Chislehurst, trips to the Norfolk Broads, Isle of White, the trip up the M1 to see Led Zep at Knebworth….. The list of memories that we can all cherish is endless, for me and for everyone that knew him.
RIP Taff, we will all miss you.
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Links to sources on this page:
John Hopkins University CSSE dashboard is on this link
Coronavirus deaths data for UK sourced on the Worldometer website on this link