52 DAYS IN LOCKDOWN. HOW MUCH LONGER?

When we are freed from this lockdown what’s the first thing you will do – aside from seeing your nearest and dearest?

For many women it will be a visit to the hair salon. And if they can’t get an appointment they will probably prefer to stay in isolation for a while longer rather than risk being seen with long, straggly, mousy or grey hair.

Barbers (who incredulously have been among the first back to work in Spain) will also be doing good business. In my childhood they offered men “something for the weekend sir?” If you’re under 40 that’s one of the few ways men were able to buy condoms. Which makes me wonder how they’re all coping in the red light districts of Amsterdam and other cities. Do sex workers practise social distancing do you think?

The first thing I will want to do is visit the dentist. Round about the 49th day of lockdown I lost a filling. Not just any old filling. A ginormous, massive, huge filling that was almost as big as a tooth. Dentists are only handling real emergencies at the moment so what was I to do?

I consulted a dental friend of ours who seriously suggested I could fill the gap with some sugar free chewing gum! I went online and asked among our neighbourhood residents for their ideas. It was then I discovered you can actually buy something to use for a temporary filling. A very kind woman who lives in the area said she had some to spare and that she would leave it on my doorstep. Lo and behold when we came back from a walk there on the doorstep was a tiny little tub. The stuff inside looked just like putty or playdough. All I had to do was roll a small amount into a ball and plug the gap so to speak. It took a couple of hours to harden and my mouth has felt great ever since. I am incredibly impressed. Just think I could have been using this stuff all these years and saved myself a fortune in dental bills.

Most of us can’t wait for the lockdown to finish. And of course there are plenty who haven’t bothered with it at all which is probably why we still have people dying at an alarming rate (though less alarming than it was a week ago).

OH (other half) and I have now been in lockdown for 52 days. Not because we are shielded or vulnerable. But merely because we are over 70 – as is Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Paul McCartney, Prince Charles, Jeremy Corbyn and countless others. Even that challenging hearthrob Jeremy Paxman (the thinking woman’s crumpet) is going to be 70 on May 11th. He has already ranted against the injustice to the over 70s in a piece he wrote for Saga Magazine.

How is it that we healthy over 70s are forbidden from seeing our grandchildren whereas Professor Neil Ferguson thought it was OK for his mistress to visit him? His reasoning, according to today’s Times, was that since he’d already had the virus he was immune.

Well, we, our children and grandchildren (and you too, no doubt) have also all been in lockdown but we wouldn’t dream of breaking it by seeing one another. How is it that we are able to keep to the rules yet Neil Ferguson felt he was above them? And he was one of the advisers who recommended the rule in the first place!

Yiddish has a word for that. Chutzpah. You say the ch in the same way as you would pronounce ch in loch. It’s a Yiddish word meaning extreme nerve or cheek. A good example of chutzpah is the tale of the lad who murdered both his parents and then pleaded to the judge for clemency because he was an orphan!

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

COVID-19 AND ME – 26 MARCH 2020

 

Here we are. Week one into self-isolation in the UK.

I thought I would depart from poetry for a while to let you know what life is like here in the UK right now.

And the photograph? What’s that all about?  I am “French knitting” for our six year old grandson. The longer the knitting gets, the more days we will have been in isolation! So far, it’s up to my chest although he has asked for it to be as high as the house.

My title, “Covid-19 and Me” is a misnomer because fortunately, thank goodness, I don’t have Covid-19. I am in the elderly category but not yet vulnerable I hope, although my daughter – much to my chagrin – recently described me on Facebook as being elderly and vulnerable! So we’re “self-isolating”. Other than going out for the occasional walk, we are not seeing anyone at all. 

If, like me, you are retired, you can almost imagine that it’s just another normal day. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Where we live out in the suburbs, twenty miles from London, the streets are normally pretty quiet. And today is no different.

Then you switch on the news and get the latest statistics on who’s died, who’s dying and how many are expected to die in the next few days, weeks and months. So you go for a walk (how much longer will we still be allowed to go for a walk?) and try to imagine that it’s just another day. Except it’s not.

Other people are walking too. Heads down, avoiding one another on the sidewalk (or pavement as we Brits call it) – stepping into the road if necessary. Sometimes a jogger appears out of nowhere, breathing heavily, almost down one’s neck and one cringes in fear. They clearly haven’t heard about “social distancing” because they get as close as they dare.

“Hey!” my husband yelled at one, “You shouldn’t be this close! “

“You shouldn’t be here!” was his reply as he ran on.

On a positive note, have you noticed how the birds are all singing more loudly? Think they’re enjoying life without air planes, traffic and pollution – Covid 19 has managed to combat global warming all on its own!

More ramblings from me tomorrow. Watch this space!

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 

 

 

Waiting

Waiting

We are all expectant!

Waiting for news of the latest Royal birth. Kate Middleton – the Duchess of Cambridge – went into labour today!

Here’s a  poem I have posted before. I wrote it in 2011 when our daughter was in labour and we were expecting our first grandchild.

Maybe this is how Kate Middleton’s mother is feeling right now …

Waiting

I have never waited like this before

Not for me

Pacing the floor

Instead I find small things to do

Mindless silly things

Anything to keep me from thinking

I walk round and round the garden

Round and round the house

The hours stretch out interminably

I wish I could somehow

Move things along

My thoughts say hurry hurry

I go to the florist

And buy a bouquet

The biggest, bluest, most beautiful bouquet

Now it will happen I think

Now I will get the call

The phone rings

It is my husband

He is also waiting

But while he waits

He has meetings, lunches

discussions, phone calls

He is not waiting

Like I am waiting

He is not thinking

as I am thinking

I am remembering

My first time

How time was telescoped

And what – for those waiting

Was so many hours

For me sped past so swiftly

So amazingly fast

I was surprised when

they said how long it had been

how long long long

I long to get that call

I long to know that all is well

And that my girl has had her boy

8 September 2011

worth waiting for

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Driving Home

Driving Home

A sunny day

Little traffic

Just said goodbye to

my pregnant daughter

I smile to myself

Life is good

Turning the corner

I see

two rows of

men and women

In military uniform

Young, unsmiling

Lined up on either side

of a pathway

outside the cemetery

waiting for their pal to arrive

Another soldier

who didn’t make it home

At the same time

on the radio

Cameron is saying

why we should

take military action

in Syria

The sun has gone in

And I’m no longer smiling.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Waiting for a Royal birth

We are all expectant!

Waiting for news of the royal birth.

Here’s a  poem I wrote nearly two years ago when our daughter was in labour.

I wonder if this is how Kate Middleton’s mother might be feeling right now …

Waiting

I have never waited like this before

Not for me

Pacing the floor

Instead I find small things to do

Mindless silly things

Anything to keep me from thinking

I walk round and round the garden

Round and round the house

The hours stretch out interminably

I wish I could somehow

Move things along

My thoughts say hurry hurry

I go to the florist

And buy a bouquet

The biggest, bluest, most beautiful bouquet

Now it will happen I think

Now I will get the call

The phone rings

It is my husband

He is also waiting

But while he waits

He has meetings, lunches

discussions, phone calls

He is not waiting

Like I am waiting

He is not thinking

as I am thinking

I am remembering

My first time

How time was telescoped

And what – for those waiting

Was so many hours

For me sped past so swiftly

So amazingly fast

I was surprised when

they said how long it had been

how long long long

I long to get that call

I long to know that all is well

And that my girl has had her boy

8 September 2011

worth waiting for

Maybe – by the time you read this – we shall all know a little bit more about the Royal birth!

PS  Just heard it was a boy! 8lb 6oz!

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems