98 DAYS OF LOCKDOWN AND STILL COUNTING

So, they’re relaxing the lockdown. But is that wise with so many new people still becoming infected every day?

It’s reported that half a million people travelled to the south coast yesterday. I’ve never understood the urge to rush to the beach the minute the temperature hots up. I can understand the need to get out if you don’t have any outside space at all to call your own but why go to a crowded beach and sit cheek by jowl with thousands of others? I can’t imagine anything worse than sitting on top of other people – even when there was no such thing as a deadly virus.

What can be more pleasurable that sitting in the comfort of your own back garden/balcony/terrace/front garden/patio/front step/communal garden/nearby green space (delete whichever is inapplicable) with a good book and a drink to hand – unless of course, like us, you are having to contend with the sawing and drilling coming from neighbouring properties.  The work starts at 7.30 am and goes on all day.  I suppose we could always escape to someone else’s garden or to the local park but what would I do if I needed the loo?  At the moment, with this heatwave, our downstairs loo is the coolest place to sit in the whole house!

On a good day, when it is quiet, the sun is shining and the birds are singing it feels unimaginable that we are all in the middle of a global epidemic. However, I read in today’s Times that pollution levels have sadly gone back to their pre-Covid levels. Nothing Lasts Forever, as Judy Collins sang.

One thing that has stopped is the 5pm briefing. I’m sure that BJ had better things to do than attend those briefings we have all been avoiding.  Have you noticed how he has recently taken to banging on his lectern? Maybe they did a Mori poll which asked what would you rather do – watch Boris and Co’s slides, sit in the sun on a beach in Bournemouth with all the other Covidiots or turn to the other channel and watch Pointless instead?

Do you think Boris has been doing his share of childcare? He hasn’t shown much of an aptitude for it up till now by all accounts. But then he’s had a lot to put up with. What with Brexit, the election, his divorce, his engagement, a deadly pandemic, getting the virus and then catching it and having to go into hospital and then the arrival of yet another Johnson baby.  One could also begin to feel sorry for him.   He has packed into a few months what most of us don’t get done in a lifetime! No wonder he didn’t have time for those Cobra meetings!

Today it was reported that Gavin Williamson, the Education Minister, wants all schoolchildren to face the front of the class.  It’s interesting that it has taken this epidemic to return to what was the normal classroom setting when I was growing up.  I’ve never thought it sensible to have small children arranged around tables so that some of them have to strain to see the teacher whilst others have their back to the whiteboard the whole time! It will be interesting to see if learning improves with all the children now facing in the same direction.

Now lockdown has been relaxed will people maintain some of the new hobbies and interests they have been enjoying? I wonder what the gender balance is?  Has lockdown seen more women returning to what’s traditionally been considered as women’s work – childcare, sewing, baking, cooking, housework, knitting – or have men taken up these things in equal measure?

I thought lockdown would give me more time for working on my book. Instead I have been busy blogging, writing poems and flash fiction in response to the tasks set by Watford Writers, my local writers’ group. I also imagined I’d get more reading done during lockdown but the same pile of books still sits on my bedside while I play Words with Friends and Upwords online. What’s more, almost every evening OH (other half) and I play a table tennis match.  We have clocked up fifty games so far.  And I remain ahead!  I wish I’d had this competitive spirit in my schooldays!

Another thing we’ve done is to rearrange our living room. Moved some furniture around so it feels like we’re in a new environment.  One of the best things about going away on holiday is coming home and seeing your surroundings with fresh eyes, after having spent time in a cramped hotel room or Airbnb.   Now, we’ve all been home for months on end we’re all sick of the sight of the same four walls which might explain why so many of our neighbours seem to be knocking them down and building new ones. Which is almost where I came in.
Wherever you are, I hope you have a peaceful and Covid-free weekend.  See you next week.
© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

5 thoughts on “98 DAYS OF LOCKDOWN AND STILL COUNTING

  1. One year when I was teaching the teacher in the room next door let the class arrange the desks as they wanted. He sat at his desk with his back to them! I would love to be on a beach but not a crowded one on the hottest day of the year, pandemic or no pandemic. Sorry to hear you’ve got noise from builders.

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  2. We back onto a field and it has been nice to see people enjoying themselves. Unfortunately the price to pay is the litter they leave behind.
    I just can’t understand why they don’t just take it with them. They came with bags filled with food, leave with them, then everyone can enjoy the open spaces.

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  3. Soon on our way to the airport for our trip to Amherst. We’ll be in touch from there; will probably have a 14 day quarantine when we arrive, but that is easier there. Karen already did a big shop for us, so we will easily survive!! XXXX Barbara

    >

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  4. Dear Andrea, thank you for your very amusing blog. Geoff and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea children didn’t face the front of a classroom! Surely this is the best way for Teachers to keep an eye on all the children and what they are up to! Especially those at the back. I remember thinking I couldn’t be seen if I sat at the back with my friends when it’s the complete opposite! Many I time we had to duck to avoid the blackboard rubber flying down the classroom. Those were the days.
    DIY is still going on here too. Lots of drilling, hammering, sawing, skip delivery and shouting. So no relaxing in the garden for us.
    Have a relaxing and safe weekend.
    Irene XX

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    1. Thanks Irene. Yes, children (in most State schools at least) are usually grouped around tables in their classrooms so some inevitably are not facing the front. I believe it is meant to encourage co-operation and shared skills. But, of course, it also encourages them to chat to one another instead of concentrating on what they are meant to be doing! I saw this for myself when I was going into our local junior school to help the children with their reading. It only takes for one child to be disruptive to affect the learning of all the others – though I’m sure that applied just as well to the old system. The teacher and learning assistant(s) visit each table in turn. The advantage is that the slower learners get helped by the brighter children – though on occasion I witnessed copying going on!

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