One week down. There we go, that wasn't so bad was it? At least, not for me. I feel very grateful that I'm in a good position to do this – already retired, in my own home with no worries about income and plenty to do. My initial fear that I would be lonely without face-to-face contact with my friends has been greatly alleviated by phone calls, video calls and all kinds of messaging. I miss the family but even that is helped, as it always is, by regular contact and photos of the grandchildren. I think of those who are doing it much harder and wish them well.
That said, the airwaves are a bit clogged and while I'm waiting for an email to come in – from my phone which is right beside me! - I tidy up my inbox. Scrolling back I start deleting more than 200 messages from the past two weeks cancelling meetings, at first apologetically, then emphatically. It's hard to believe that as recently at St Patrick's Day there was some doubt about whether cancellation would be wise. Further back and the reckless gaiety of travel plans and gatherings makes me think of the gay and lesbian newsletters of Berlin the late 1930s, advertising tea dances just prior to Hitler's swoop which saw thousands of people labelled degenerate and sent to the camps. How optimistic we humans are, going about our day happily until we can't!
Not that I'm feeling under threat. The regular updates from the Director of Health and the Prime Minister are informative and engage my trust and most people are complying with the requirements. A few things I question, such as closing independent green grocers, our local fish shop and, if you must, butchers. I hate the thought of farmers ploughing produce back into the ground, surely the food is needed. But perhaps our population has dropped with the absence of tourists and foreign workers. I wonder who knows about that.
When I set out for a run I'm drawn to the waterfront again and again I'm grateful. How lucky to have this beautiful place to exercise. But I'm also surprised at the number of cars and trucks on the road and three police cars pass me, two with their lights flashing. Is a week about as long as we can be good for?
As I run I notice my breathing is tight and doesn't really settle till I'm on my way back. That tells me there's an underlying feeling of stress which I can address with my regular exercise and meditation and perhaps a little more attention to letting the knots in my shoulders go.
As I settle into the rhythm, I compose some (mostly humorous) advice for exercise:
Keep two metres from anyone not in your bubble. Couples, that might mean going single file sometimes.
Smile. It's easy to see from two metres away, you can't catch a virus from a smile even though smiles can go viral, and we'll both feel better. (See my blog 'A Smile' or ask any parent of a newborn.)
Some parts of the path are narrow. If you see me running in the cycle lane, don't scowl and blow me into the gutter with your electric bike. Give me a nod to show you can see I'm doing right by the pedestrian beside me.
A toot and brown arms waving from a battered car made my day – people different from me, acknowledging me. Just saying...
For some of us this hour of exercise is the only time we see live human beings. So again – smile!