It is a very strange time – March 2020. We are in isolated ‘lockdown’ as the coronavirus quickly spread across the entire world in a couple of months and it can be deadly. We were hearing about it in late February, something in China…. SARs and Avian flu had come and gone. I dismissed it as sensationalism – Social media out of control. Then people started panic buying all the toilet paper – worldwide!
Then Italy shut the country! What???? We couldn’t comprehend it. Then France closed all the restaurants and cafes – all of France! They live for eating and coffee what will they do? It was unbelievable. Thousands are dying, mostly elderly and unwell people with other illnesses.
As this was unfolding I was going back to work after 8 weeks of medical leave and wondered, “should I go in?” The UK measures were quite slow compared to other countries. The University had not yet decided to have all staff work from home. My guess is that they had to employ emergency upgrades so the technology could cope from having a few hundred ad hoc remotes to 20,000+ loading secure servers. I went in for one day, reconnected with our team. The next day ‘social distancing’ and the word lockdown became a soundbite. What does that mean I asked myself? Will the police be cruising the streets?
After a long wet winter, the weather started getting mild and some people were angry that others were going ‘outside’ to ‘parks’. If you live in a big congested city, eh-hmm, like London, odds are high that you share with several people and do not have the luxury of a garden or open fields.
A week later, in a desperate effort to save the NHS from an onslaught of people needing urgent care restaurants, cafes and pubs all shut. we were instructed to stay at home unless you are a key worker, caring for a vulnerable person, food shopping or having one daily exercise; walk, bike ride or jog! This is the whole world, not just a few cities or countries, the whole world! It feels so surreal.
We are in a bubble of unreality. An undercurrent of anxiety along with normal life goes on one day at a time in our house as chaos ensues worldwide. We are so grateful for each other and our little patch at the edge of the countryside.