As I'm holed-up in the United Kingdom at the moment, I decided that I would share some thoughts with you regarding the Coronavirus lockdown that you have been subjected to for a good while - whilst we in Blighty have just started. Mind you, I like to think that most of us over here have been careful to avoid too much contact with other folk, but after the images of swarms of people at seaside resorts, parks and even atop of Snowdonia I'm not so sure. Cleary, the government didn't think so, because - as of Monday evening, we have our own limited lockdown to observe. Nevertheless, I don't intend to chunter-on about this sort of thing, but - to try to discover and understand what we are doing as we try to sit out this crisis. First of all, if you are anything like me you are becoming slightly chubby and rather lazy, but with the perfect excuse of having to sit around all day because - it's the law.
Nevertheless, I have signed up to a couple of Majorca based social media sites, where women (it's always women) like to take us through various keep-fit regimes, filmed on iPhones whilst they jig about shouting. I also notice that island based artistes insist upon singing to us - along with the usual percentage of doomsters and saddo's with their conspiracy theories gleaned from God- knows-where on the internet. However, I rather approve of most of the positive well being' stuff that's posted, as there is clearly a well intentioned community spirit about it all. Most of all though - I love the sardonic humour that emerges from those locked-up with nowhere to go and nothing to do. It is also quite revealing, just how quickly it seems that people get used to sitting within the confines of their homes dreaming up ways to entertain themselves. For instance, what would we do without televisions channels such as Sharks & Nazi's - plus Amazon and Netflix? Other streaming services are available -snatch! Although, as a radio man through-and-through, I find the best way to be informed of what's happening locally, nationally and internationally is to listen to the wireless - particularly locally.
So then, as from yesterday, we - who are here in Blighty have had just a mere taste of what you in Majorca have dealt with for almost two weeks; because clearly even now, our British so-called ‘shutdown' is nowhere near as all-encompassing as yours. As a responsible (most of the time) grandparent I have avoided visiting the grandchildren since we arrived here to attend a family wedding earlier in the month. But I was told by my daughter that because she and her husband work in jobs that are deemed ‘essential' she had to break it to her two kids (eight & six) that they had to go to school as normal. Well, what a palaver! Tears, tantrums - it all kicked off apparently because they had set their hearts on staying at home and being a complete pain.
Anyway, that's bye-the-bye - how does a person stay sane when stuck staring at the same four walls all day? Here in the UK - the place where we stay is a townhouse with no garden, so I can't even get out to shout at the flowers as I would undoubtedly do at home. Also, because I am the designated shopper and all other outdoors stuff, when I return from the local Co-op store clasping a bottle of cheap and nasty Peruvian Merlot and a four pack of San Miguel - the question often posed, is - 'Is that it?" And then I'm sent back immediately to buy something nutritious and lumpy.
It is at times such as these that reading becomes a central part in a person’s life. I read the MDB online (it's very good, honest!) and count how many people have been really rude about my last 1,000 word masterpiece. Before this lockdown, I would buy at least two daily papers, one slightly less right-wing as the other- and a local evening paper and view various other rags online - somebody I know (yes her) reckons that I am a one man support system for Britain's publishing industry. I also have pretensions of being both learned and erudite - so I am grimly making way through 670 pages of Peter Ackroyd's biography of Charles Dickens and should I falter in this regard, I have a standby, in the shape of former footballer, Peter Crouch's, lighthearted witterings and over-familiar footer anecdotes as an oft used alternative.
It's a given fact I believe, that the less you can do, the less you want to do. It is as if your life suddenly becomes much smaller when you have to stay at home. I'm hardly being hugely perceptive, or indeed original, in noticing this phenomenon - because it would be strange if in fact this were not always the case when a life becomes severely limited. This is why, much against my usual reservations against those who seek to cheer a person up - I'd like to say a big thank you for their selfless efforts, anything else would be churlish in the extreme and I'm happy to report that I am no longer an extremely churlish per-son. Well, not until all this malarkey is over anyway.