Three weeks of lockdown in Scotland have passed by. Three more weeks lie ahead.
I’m more used to staying at home and keeping to myself than many others in the wider population, but their distress disturbs me. It’s reassuring when I see that people have the same thoughts and the same struggles, but this situation is different. A couple of people have said on TV and social media, “You know, this is what our lives have always been like,” and I guess I feel that too.
That doesn’t mean I have no frustrations and fears about the lockdown; I have plenty.
I’m lucky in many ways, really. For instance, I’m not alone in the house. I’m not in one of the most vulnerable groups health-wise, but can’t go out in case I bring the virus home to my mother. We stay in isolation and my sister brings shopping. The rest of the time we get deliveries. People are having trouble obtaining delivery slots from local supermarkets, so I haven’t even tried — we get ours from local shops and Amazon.
I’m careful to space out deliveries because banks have been freezing the cards of people who’ve never shopped online before. I’m not in that bracket but am careful not to order from too many different places all at once. The last thing I need in the middle of a lockdown is for my card to be frozen! Others can unfreeze their cards by picking up the phone but I can’t do that.
Apparently the supermarket shelves are less bare than they were, though still have their moments. I really miss being able to look for things myself. I love impulse buys and being able to choose between one product and another. These days you have to take whatever’s available. I write a list for one shop by email, for example: 1x bacon, 1x apple juice, 1x Earl Grey Teabags, 1x veg box. I don’t specify brands or weights for fear of not getting things at all.
If I went out, though, I’d need to stand in spaced-out supermarket queues. My sister took a photo of one winding round the car park. Anyone following my ‘panic attack’ adventures would know I’m practically allergic to queues. Also I believe people should be wearing masks in public spaces, but here in the UK we are discouraged from doing so. In some sense I’m waiting for authorities to accept that wearing masks is a better idea than not. I was joking in an email that I would choose a black scarf to wind round my mouth as it’s a nice respectable colour, but I don’t think I have one. It would have to be white with teddy bears. “Very you,” commented the neighbour.
There was a bin disruption… the council decided they were going to pick up certain bins and not others. Now they’ve decided to start picking it up again, but we have to keep checking the bin calendar because they change the rota every week. The bins aren’t the worst of our worries, though; that’s just a minor issue. One of the side effects of lockdown.
Facebook has become hard to bear. People and groups who were on your side all through the Brexit era are suddenly voicing opinions you don’t agree with. Most of the time I absorb different opinions, try to make sense of things and say nothing… but there’s so much unkindness. They say these are times that bring out both the best and the worst in people, but I’m not sure I see any difference. The best and the worst have always been there. Often the best is more subtle. The silent majority; the person who takes a little time to be kind; those who have the patience to stick around; those who work responsibly and without fanfare. Also kindness begets kindness — it’s easier to be kind and accepting when others are less acerbic and judgemental.
A queen wasp came into the kitchen and prodded the ceiling thoughtfully. She said if only there were chinks between the panels there might have been a nice little cave behind for wasps to lock themselves down in. I opened the back door to let her out, and forgot all about the incident till a few days later she came back for a second viewing. Why us?? Hasn’t she found anywhere she likes yet?
My hands are so dry… not just from hand-washing but from washing everything else more than usual. Soaping all the milk bottles and groceries and keeping handles clean. I’m glad we have plenty of hand cream. I found a huge pot of E45 sitting around that I bought years ago.
Non-perishable groceries are left aside for a few days before we put them away. I ordered a parcel from Amazon and left it in a cupboard weeks ago. If there was any virus on it, it’s died a thousand deaths by now, but I still haven’t gone in to open it. It’s a batch of kitchen rolls. I offered some to the neighbours, who politely said they have plenty, thanks, and suddenly the parcel seemed a little less shiny and exciting.
Mum squirts our letters with anti-bacterial spray, though I don’t think it kills viruses. Things drop through the letterbox, get a soaking, then are left for a couple of days before being picked up. They are statements and bills with the odd pizza circular.
Boris Johnson wrote us all a letter and told us in advance he was sending it. He posted a copy on his Facebook page but I didn’t read it, as that would have spoiled it for me. For ages mine didn’t turn up. I started to lose hope, thinking someone in Royal Mail might have been anti-Boris and threw it in the burn, but it eventually turned up… only to be squirted by Mum and her bottle of anti-bacterial fluid. Now it looks pimply, but not too bad… my letter from Boris!
Oh, but the days he landed in hospital were the worst. The majority of people were shocked and upset, and I could barely speak. I’ve been reading that the U.S. and even China tried to save his life by offering drugs, so perhaps they were upset too. I felt annoyed every time someone began their commiserations with “Whatever you may think of his politics…” it’s such a grudging remark, as though he’s not their Prime Minister, only ours. I’m glad he’s recovering now, but he’s greatly missed.
The song going round my head over the last few days is The Old Rugged Cross. I didn’t think about it till now, but it must be because of pictures I saw over Easter.
People talk about what they do at home; they connect online or read books or tidy their gardens. I envy them because I can’t concentrate on reading; I can’t relax enough to watch a film or a drama or to listen to music, paint or do anything pleasant. I’m not sure why. I seem to be looking for something — perhaps better news. Like some kind of batwoman I crouch on a ledge and wait, surveying the empty streets below.
Metaphorically, of course. 🙂