Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Lockdown fallout.

As the lockdown begins to ease in England, it won’t be too long before we can think about eating inside a restaurant, or meeting up with family and friends in their houses. It has been a difficult year for everyone, some much more so than others. I have been lucky, and I am aware of that.

Next Wednesday, I am having the second dose of A-Z vaccine, so even if the ‘Vaccination Passports’ do come in, I will be ‘free to roam’, as it were. We have booked a holiday in England for September, a week away that now seems to be more desirable than at any time in my life.

But with all this progress comes some reflection on the fallout of over a year in lockdowns. The effects, both tangible and unseen, of fear, worry, concern, and being stuck in and around the same place whether from choice or complusion.

For me, the main effects are obvious.

I stopped reading books. I tried, but couldn’t concentrate.

I stopped using any of my cameras. I already had so many photos of the same things and places.

I stopped watching so many films. Again, lack of concentration was the reason.

I ate too many ‘bad’ things, and drunk more wine than before. ‘Treating’ myself was an easy excuse, but not a good reason.

I stopped watching so much television. With a few notable exceptions, it no longer seemed important or interesting.

I stopped ringing friends and family. What do you talk about? The fact that you haven’t been anywhere, or done anything?

My life, such as it was over the past year, moved almost completely online. Although I still went to the supermarket, I spent more time in front of the computer. I wrote more blog posts, kept in touch with people by email, and bought everything I didn’t actually eat or drink by using online sellers.

Now with life forecast to ‘open up’, albeit with sensible safety measures still in place, I feel the need to ‘claw back’ some of the me that was lost over this past year. I want to charge up my camera batteries, try again with some of those books on my Kindle, and wander aimlessly around reopened shops, not intending to buy anything. I don’t know if there will be a ‘new normal’, and there will definitely never be a return to that ‘old normal’.

But I will take whatever comes, and do my best to enjoy it.

90 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

    1. From the 21st of June, we will be able to sit inside pubs, bars, and restaurants. Also stay in hotels, and go on holiday in Britain, and some other ‘approved’ countries. Between now and then, there is the opening of all shops since last week, and less restrictions on gatherings. I hope it works this time. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This pandemic has changed our lives in one way or another. Here, vacvination for seniors has temporarily stopped. No “ready” vaccines to replenish it. Police forces are even red-tagging those who put up the community pantries. We have almost 400 now in different areas. Duterte is do afraid snd insecure branding the organizers communists when he is the one who loves china and hate us Filipinos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear about the mess in your country, Arlene. I had my second dose yesterday, and had no side-effects at all. I hope you get more vaccine there soon.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. You write such an honest and realistic account of this isolating time for all of us, worldwide I might add. I can relate to much of your experience, my inability to concentrate, enjoying too much wine, fear, disinterest, frustration, and the anticipation of traveling again or dinning out. It’s a strange new world and I’m not sure our lives will ever return to our old “normal?” I always appreciate your perspective Pete, warmly, C

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to the end of the restrictions, Pete! Here i think, we will have them much more longer. ;-( Our government is not able, or not willing – there are election at the end of September – to stop this virus. Best wishes, Michael

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  4. Well I am still reading not has not changed…..watching less tube…..movies are not that important any more….spending more time in the garden and dealing with a ‘pushy’ MoMo…..new normal? This is normal for me….I am and have been for 15 years a hermit so this is not been a problem for me…..I have always been my best company. chuq

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  5. I have no idea what the ‘new normal’ will be like, Pete. We’ve booked a week away in a self-catering cottage on Lewis in June – so looking forward to being somewhere else! Looks like the time has come to explore more of my own country as I won’t be going abroad.

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  6. Might as well be positive. 🙂 Charge up the batteries, take the photos, wander in the bookstore. On our recent road trip things almost felt ‘normal’ again. It helped that we spent most of our time in the great outdoors. We wore masks but sometimes ate in restaurants, either outside or safely distanced inside. But I can’t wait till we can gather with others face to face, without worry, a once simple thing, now precious indeed!

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  7. It has certainly been a strange year Pete and we are still waiting for our second jabs so not doing much differently. In fact I can’t see that we will ever feel comfortable in a crowd again, and until we see how the infection rate changes after the opening up of shops and bars and restaurants we will not be changing our habits. Especially as Cornwall will be heaving this summer. I AM looking forward to seeing my family again, once we can stay overnight, but I want hugs – none of this keeping 2m apart from them! And I am so wanting to see somewhere different!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even with both jabs from next week, you can be sure we will still be very careful. But I would dearly love to eat out again (inside, with partitions and spacing) and just go somewhere that isn’t Beetley or Dereham. I doubt life will ever be like it was, but that might not be such a bad thing, in my opinion.
      I can imagine your trepidation about the ‘Staycationers’ in Cornwall. I am sure it will be a record-breaking year for Cornish tourism. Good luck with that, Jude! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I would serously think about escaping during August. I never go anywhere near the Norfolk coast until the schools go back in September. The parking is crazy, and there are even traffic jams! 🙂

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            1. It’s a hassle moving. And if you live somewhere nice, it’s always going to attract tourists. I don’t think I could face a normal move again, unless I had the money to pay someone to pack everything! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t think of anything that has changed for us. We know of people who have died and even more that have survived, including most of Gosias family as her sister brought it back from the hospital she works at. Without sounding flippant I have resigned myself to the fact that if I become ill then I might not make it, but then again I probably will.
    Still I will be signing up for the vaccine tomorrow as my birth year is next up. I expect they will send the vet round to administer it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I called to check in on people, sent a Friday Funnies & Quotes emails out JUST until, others were ‘over the worst of it, had their vaccine and got back to their preferred normal” – for a time? Me that I love being, that was useful? Not so much and the world crowds in again, asking me for what I’m not ready to give. I like being a hermit. Yes, it had it’s downsides, but for a brief, few, shining moments? I was deemed ‘okay and understood and compassionate’ in the hard months – and now? I’m just a slacker, or whatever term the trending beliefs want to bestow. Whatever – if nothing else? I’ve learned so fully, this past year? I’m only needed when the shite hits the fan and all the rest of the time, I’m a pain in the arse. but this go around? I’m okay with that and backing away from being a pain in the arse on calling/touching base, when others are back to their ‘real lives’ – sigh – That, in a nutshell, has been my COVID experience. LOL. I have a penchant for sitting in the dark with myself, I guess….LOL

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  10. The pandemic and lockdown didn’t impact me in the same way as you, Pete. I just did more of everything and wore myself out a bit. I had to work to much, it ramped up in a most unprecedented way. I think that’s because people weren’t used to working at home and fully on-line. As an accountant, I am most interested in seeing how the governments of the world are going to claw their way out of the depression we are in and whether they will make any meaningful improvements to the way things operate as a result of the unexpected and never to be repeated opportunity to remediate some of the big issues in our society like fossil fuels.

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    1. I have also been unaffected, except for being unable to visit relatives, and appearing to lack concentration. But the hope of a little more ‘freedom’ has made me feel a lot better.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Vaccinated or note, we are not out of the wood yet. Let us get it right for once, as we have come out of lockdowns too many times, at least here, for there to be any real hope we have this monster beaten, More than 1/2 million dead in this country alone, and more to come. Then too, it was the life we used to lead that provided the virus with a well-nurished petri dish in which to grow. Finally, I wonder if we have learned anything? Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that we have not beaten it at all. It is mutating as I write this. But if people are responsible enough to continue the safety precautions, we may yet minimise the death toll. All we really have left is hope. The vaccination programme here has already dramatically reduced hospital admissions for sufferers, so that’s a small beginning.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “If people are responsible” may be a stretch too far. Then to the virus has some surprises for us down the road–latent afflictions from the damage it did while in people, symptomatic or not. Warmest regards, Theo

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am trying to be positive now, Sue. I spent the first part of the pandemic being sure it would kill me. Now I survived this long, I want to make sure I enjoy some freedom this summer. I know it might be short-lived, but all the more reason to do it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m lucky, farming didn’t close down, we’re rural and busy and I’ve had plenty to do. Also I’ve found writing remained a relaxation.
    I really feel for those who have been trapped by lockdown

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    1. Writing on my blog helps me too, Jim. I wasn’t working anyway, so life stayed much as normal. But it will be nice to just get in the car and go somewhere further than Dereham. 🙂
      Best wishes, pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The same over here, Pete. But I should make this point.. in which you might agree because we are similar in age. Before Covid.. and being a senior in an normally active world, I felt a bit like this was my time to watch the rest of the world now pass me by… that I am now “out to pasture”, and this feeling like I should be doing something that old people are supposed to do, or not do. When Covid kicked off and the restrictions began.. and things.. society.. slowed down… there was a subliminal.. hmm.. feeling of calm within me as Covid took over. I didn’t feel like I was being left behind.. that I should be doing something just to stay in sync with the rest of the world. Yeah.. ok.. I can do this “stay at home thing” just fine… because the world has slowed down to meet my own pace. I have shared with others that the only ones not suffering in all this are us baby boomers. Yet… most of the things on your list I have experienced. I tried reading books I bought.. never finished a one. I was a TV junkie.. now it’s just news. I was a film junkie.. don’t care much now. Use of my phone is down to robo calls and the occasional call to go into work because someone else didn’t show up.

    You know… I have felt inside a slight pang when I hear talk about society going back to “normal” given that I will be leaving the slow pace I am getting way to used to living in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Doug. When I retired, I did feel rather isolated. Then the pandemic hit, and everyone else was in the same situation. In general, it made people nicer, more accepting. Once they get back to the hustle and bustle, I will be on the sidelines again. Not that it bothered me that much. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  14. It’s lovely to get away and do something different. We’re having a whale of a time on the IOW. Weather is glorious, and we cycle about and sit outside in pub gardens for a rest. I don’t want to go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting read which I can partly relate to: I’m still reading lots (and haven’t noticeably reduced the wine intake) but I’m also finding concentration an issue, although usually when working – perhaps it’s being cooped up at home each and every day, no longer able to easily separate that time from my private life. Plus missing meeting up with family and colleagues, of course. Thank Gawd we have a garden is all I can say.

    Also the camera thing made me think of my mother. Ever since I remember, she has always taken lots of photos. Usually spending ages on each shot – it became a regular family-chuckle-and-eye-roll event. Then we lost my Dad and practically overnight, she stopped taking them. Completely. She suddenly saw that all her photos were so strikingly similar. Kind of what the rest of us had known all along.

    Perhaps something inside all of us has died a little during these strange lockdown times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You could be right about that, HC. I don’t have those work/home separation issues, as I retired in 2012. But my concentration is definitely greatly reduced, as is my desire to do much else besides writing on my blog.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  16. We’re getting our second Pfizer doses a week from Tuesday. While this will be somewhat a relief, it’s not going to change all that much for us. There have been at least 5,800 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people here, with hundreds of hospitalizations and 74 deaths. As such, we’re still going to be social distancing and wearing masks. No indoor dining, no movies, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting statistic, Kim. I don’t know what the reinfection rates are here, but it is well known that people who have been fully vaccinated have indeed been infected with the ‘new strains’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The lockdown effect has been the same for many. I’ve spoken to quite a few who are scared of coming out of it and the same amount who can’t wait to get out there again. I get the inability to do things that I once enjoyed. My cross stitch being the latest victim. Too much concentration required. With a bit of luck the new freedom will bring about the ability to do all those things again.

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    1. That lack of concentration seems to have affected many people. Yet on the other side of that are all the people who have learned new skills, and used the extra free time to very good effect. Sadly, I am not one of those. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. You are right. The lockdown has affected us all and emotionally we react our own way.
    I have read more books this year and
    talking to family and friends on the phone has been a saver from angst.
    E-mails equally so.

    The bubble we were allowed has been the biggest blessing and still is. Photos have become more
    Macro and views from the window at different times.

    For all our sake, may the improvements continue. We who are alive carry the responsibility of showing
    gratitude when so many have been lost.

    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  19. i also think that in mid july 2020 many things open up in india but again afterwards the restrictions were there and corona also slowed down but now all are there with it and it is increasing and it is also weird that 1 year past and corona is still there

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve experienced exactly the same effects Pete. Weird isn’t it? I should be getting excited now things are opening up and I am getting my second jab next weekend but for some reason I’m not. I suppose it’s that sense that in the back of my mind I’m thinking how bad things are in some places around the world and that we will somehow cock-up the recovery. But, like you, I will push myself to get it together and I will learn to enjoy our new freedom and spend time catching up on everything I’ve dropped!

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    1. Thanks, Paul. My concern is that once we are open to foreign travel and tourists, it will all start up again immediately. But before that happens, I will try my best to stay positive! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  21. I really appreciate this post. I think a lot of folks suffered similarly. But don’t be too hard on yourself for losing the ability to focus and concentrate. This was a real trauma to the lives we have been living. I think your ability to express it well in writing is a gift. Something similar happened to me when my husband died in 2016, and I didn’t read a book for 4 years (I’m a reading teacher, so…!) What I did do was “claw back” (Love that phrase) to myself by following things that made my heart happy or that I found interest in. Give yourself some grace, and find the beauty in the moment.

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  22. I hope you do, Pete. I think it’s probably fair to say that the enforced isolation will have affected people in a variety of different ways, depending upon their circumstances: I think the primary cause of the depression I have experienced has been the separation, albeit not total, from my loved ones; I can’t imagine how bad it might have been for people who either had nobody, or were prevented from having any physical contact, or even close proximity, with loved ones. Shopping I can very much take or leave: I enjoy food shopping, the difficulty of combining mask & glasses notwithstanding, but other than that, I’d rather be out in the fresh air or reading. Cheers, Jon.

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    1. Wandering around my local small town doesn’t take long, and it somehow connects me to the wider community. Village life and being out in the countryside is what I do all the time, so some aimless wandering in town can be a diversion.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Good to have a positive outlook for the ‘opening up’. I think because we were working things didn’t seem very different in our lives other than not seeing Phil’s kids on a weekly basis. I could never give up reading, that escapism helped me not think about all the bad stuff, and giving up watching the news was a good choice by Phil.

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    1. I tried to read, but ended up having to go back over the chapter. That loss of concentration was so strange, I was actually concerned it might be something ‘physical’. I still find it hard to read now, and I am hoping to ‘cure’ that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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