Friday, 22 May 2020

Things I have learned

Things I have learned so far during the coronavirus crisis.

I guess the first thing I learned was the apparent value of toilet rolls and butter in the economic life of the UK. I assume the butter shortage was due to so many people experimenting with baking during lockdown.  Most other panic buying at least had a logical base but I'm still not sure why everyone rushed out for toilet rolls.

One of my former colleagues (SS) is as kind and caring and helpful as ever.  As soon as we were locked down she was offerring to help in any way she could. 

On second thoughts I've always known she was a star so I haven't learned that as a result of the 2020 crisis. Similarly, I have extolled the virtues of the NHS and its people for many decades so that also is not newly learned. 

Meanwhile a local photographer I have only met on Instagram @jamiedoesphotos also offered to drop off anything we needed and showed that strangers can also be so kind and caring at times of crisis. 

If you are as introverted and have reduced mobility as I have, being locked down has been easier to cope with than it has been for many people. .  

Indeed, seeing more of Jo has been a real positive of the lockdown situation even though she has been working in the office most days.  I'm not looking forward to her resuming a seven day week. 

I am very fortunate to have a garden no matter how neglected. 

And no matter how ineffectual and questionable some of the UK government's actions may have been (and I say 'may' advisedly) at least we don't have a complete nutter as our leader.  (Sorry about the politically incorrect term.  I do take mental health seriously. But how else can one adequately describe a man who suggests bleach enemas. Don't try this at home.) Rambling Boris almost seems sane by comparison.  And, what is more, I've learned Donald Trump can get even more idiotic as time goes on.  He views their 1.56 million cases as "a badge of honour" and a week after saying testing was "overrated" he was boasting about testing 14 million!  After all if they had only tested a million then they wouldn't have so many cases....  

I have discovered my To Be Read shelves of books are nowhere near as long-lasting as I had imagined they would be.  But strangely despite reading about 6 books a week the number of books on those shelves has not diminished. Thank Heaven Amazon, AbeBooks and courier services kept going.  But I have really missed browsing in charity shops and finding authors by serendipity. 

The other thing I've really missed is my twice weekly coffees in my favourite café.

Skype calls and WhatsApp have helped enormously in keeping me in touch with my daughters.

A hamper from one daughter was turned into super meals by my son who also decorated the kitchen and bathroom while locked down with us.

Ànd I learned just how important my penpals and postcard swappers are to my life. Without Royal Mail and the postal services of Belarus, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain,  USA, etc. my life would be much less exciting.  I await the mail dropping on my mat with great excitement every day and the fact that Saturday has joined Sunday as a day of no deliveries has been quite a blow.  

Snailmail has kept me in touch with my brother and e-mails with friend-uber-special. Instagram and Facebook not only allowed me to share what I'm doing with old friends but also re-united me with a friend from my college days. 

However, when a friend's partner's mother died from the virus it reminded us that no matter how many positives one can find the negative has been, for many people, the ultimate one.  And that without a properly attended funeral. So sad. 

I wonder what you have learned.


  1. This is a difficult one. I have only left my property in the last 65 days for the occasional walk, trips to the postbox ½ a mile up the road, 2 medical trips to town and a few days ago to have my cellphone screensaver replaced (absolutely essential!). My car which averages 1200 miles a month has done 30 miles in 65 days. I still have frequent virtual coffees and am in communication with as many people as usual even if not face to face. Of course I miss my friends in Glasgow and my stent replacement is well overdue. However, I've spent days and days in the garden doing heavy manual work and walking up to 4 miles on many days. I am as happy as a sandboy or as Larry for that matter. How I would have felt living in a flat in town I can only speculate upon. However I do still have 70 years of photos to sort out!

  2. The toilet paper panic buys have been puzzling me greatly, too. One theory I have read is that it is a "big" item when you buy it, and makes people feel safe as in "I have control because I have a large stock of big things". It is definitely not rational.
    Here in this country, butter was never a problem; flour and yeast were. I did not need any of it, as I had no intention of baking (the bakeries were open throughout), but apparently some did. Also, canned goods and pasta were high up on many people's shopping lists.

    What have I learned? That my home town has very few pavements wide enough to let two pedestrians pass each other keeping the minimum recommended distance. That most people forget everything else when they see a "special offer" in a shop (not that this was really new to me). That apparently a church is a more dangerous place than a supermarket when it comes to infection.

  3. Good to see a long rambling blog post from you again! :) I think I have learned a lot of the same or similar things. I did not notice any shortage of butter here (but I use margarine!), but for weeks there was no dry yeast to be found. The toilet paper situation I think has been as widespread over the earth as the virus. Here too, even though we produce quite enough of it. But for a while they could not keep up with the deliveries to the shops, when people went crazy stock-piling. (It felt really weird with the shops still full of fresh fruit and vegetables etc from all over the world - but no TP. However, when my supermarket did not have any - my nearest small convenience store did!)

    My home life hasn't really changed all that much as I was already not working, and used to ordering most of my groceries online with home delivery every fortnight; and I have been both able and allowed to go out for walks. I do feel bit more limited/isolated than usual though - avoiding public transport, and keeping more distance to other people everywhere else as well. Haven't seen any local friends "properly" since it all started; but am in touch with the usual people around the globe on the internet. It's also been a beautiful spring with a lot of sunny days, and even if I don't have my own garden I've been able to go out and enjoy beautiful parks nearby (and for necessary errands and getting my postcards posted etc) - and so far, I've manged to stay healthy (as in free of infections, and no need of seeing doctors or nurses). So not all that much to complain about, personally - even if somehow my most frequently watched TV program has come to be the daily press conference with information from our Authorities about the corona virus situation. (Something which only back in January would have seemed like something out of a dystopian novel)

  4. I have just come across your blog and really enjoyed reading your Rambles. Here in my home town of Adelaide we have been in lockdown since March and things are now starting to get back to normal, so some restaurants and cafes are opening again for eat-in meals but with limited numbers. I have only been shopping fortnightly instead of weekly and will probably continue to do this as it has worked well. I have done a lot more gardening and have really enjoyed being outside more although I don't like the cold weather here. I have also been doing more art and craft when I am inside. I have missed seeing my friends, but having a chat on the phone has been good, and sometimes I think that I don't really miss them that much! I have decided that the news reports are often not as accurate as they should be and often only give one side of the story so I only watch the news on TV once a day as they repeat the same thing every hour. I also think there are a lot of crazy people in the world, and the news reports usually show people at their worst instead of the good ones who do good deeds. That's my thoughts on things as they are at the moment, and may be I will have to get out more now.

    1. Welcome Rosie. Glad you enjoyed it. I have been neglecting my blog in favour of Instagram but am hoping to post more regularly again soon.

  5. How lovely to see this post from you!
    I have learned that one can have health issues from extremely high anxiety, that my faith in God is extremely important to me, that music and flowers are uplifting to my spirits and that my habit of always having an extra pack of toilet paper was a good idea!

  6. My understanding is it started because in places where toilet paper is imported from China, those areas were having trouble with supply. People misunderstood and thought they needed to stock up everywhere, and the panic hit as the shelves emptied.

    It's lovely to know you have friends who are willing to help out.

    Someone posted this online, "Introverts, put down your books and call your extrovert friends. They are not all right!"

    A couple of years ago i read a magazine article that asked, "Is Serendipity Dying?" The premise was that because people search primarily online now for things, and are automatically directed, sometimes with auto fill-in, to what they think they already wanted, there's no room for the happy accidental discoveries.

    How wonderful the mail is, i am glad you are getting fun stuff. We, of course, mostly get bills.

    Since Jo has been working from home and all is well, is there any way she could continue to do that at least a few days a week once the all clear is given? Here, there are some places that have realized they don't need huge office buildings, smaller places will do, they can let most people work at home most days and make better use of resources that way.

    Know that you are in my prayers every day.

    1. I'm glad to know there was at least some initial logic to yhe toilet paper crisis!

      I hadn't thought about the serendipity issue but it's certainly true. If I start to wander around Instagram it takes me to sites about my usual subjects - not to totally random sites. I think that would be a good subject for its own post.

      The virus had also reduced serendipity in my reading matter.

      Since the virus I have been ordering secondhand books from online. That means you need to know the title... Prior to the virus I loved wandering around charity shops and finding new authors purely by serendipity.

  7. Thanks so much for the sweet postcard you sent me! We are safe here even though I'm working in the hospital and other areas. Our surgery has opened again and we're getting busier day by day. Through all this I've learned I can do hard things. And so can my family. My Mom is finally home after being in a nursing facility that was swamped by the virus. 78 cases there and 13 deaths. It only holds 65 residents so many of the sick were employees. I think Mom was one of the few who didn't get infected. She was tested 3 times before making it home. It was a horrid experience at a facility that's rated 5 stars. She fell 6 times during her stay there and the last fall broke her neck and sent her to the hospital. We got her out of there asap and home. Thankfully. So please stay safe and prayers that all your family stays healthy too. I agree with you about all the crazy things that have been said over here by our leaders. I just hope we can get through this mess and do better next election!

    1. Glad your Mum is home and safe. It sounds like a horrendous experience for all concerned. Please continue to look after yourselves. "Good folk are scarce" as my gran used to say.


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