Diary Project 2020Everything Else

Living History Diary Project Part 6

Kate, Edinburgh

Saturday 30th May

Signs of the times (again):

  • My daughter, a keen cyclist, tells me she can no longer bike somewhere, chain it up and go for a walk. There have been too many bike thefts, and her local community website is full of the cries of the bereft. Is all this avoidance of public transport, or the need to get away from others and be in the fresh air?
  • Another downside: I hear of a quiet, small-scale book launch on Zoom being zoombombed. (I hadn’t come across the word before).
  • More creatively, I was sent a link to an online funeral. It was rather well done. Most participants had filmed themselves, one or two were audio only. It felt deeply personal.
  • Other forms of creativity… One family I know off set up a rainbow challenge, where each family member had to appear on Skype wearing the appropriate shade of the day – red, orange, yellow etc. The little girls loved it but the adults had to spend a lot of time scrabbling round the backs of wardrobes to find that elusive violet garment.
  • And the Hay Festival of books is online and free. I’ve always wanted to attend and now I can.
  • But this week has thrown up a major lockdown-related problem in my own life. Soreness in the mouth and a swollen face indicated a worsening dental problem. And no dentists – at least NHS ones- are available in Scotland. I rang the answering service associated with my surgery and, after over six hours, and three increasingly desperate messages, got a response. So now I have a course of antibiotics, which is great but I fear will only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause. It isn’t clear when dentists will re-open (some suggest there are PPE shortages) but I am worried – the more so because I am shielding and in a wheelchair – if this is left untreated. A timely but depressing news report said that in England some are so anguished that they are taking pliers to their own teeth.

Val, Wales

Sunday 31st May

This has been another unusually sunny and warm week. I have tried to think of this time as a time of opportunity and not enforced curtailment of my freedom. I choose to stay at home. It is an opportunity to do exactly as I want everyday.

Life has slowed down. I hear the birdsong so clearly now and as I water my flowers and plants, I wonder at nature. People everywhere, if they are lucky enough to have a garden, have taken to growing their own vegetables, herbs and fruit.

Culture in quarantine has really flourished with the Hay Literary Festival going digital. If I think of all the operas, ballets, theatre and music events we have all been able to access daily in our homes, the choice has been staggering. The fast growth of digital platforms has been fast. The range of online resources for learning is huge.

There has been a good sense of community with wonderful stories of people helping each other and looking out for others. I’ll always be grateful to my neighbours who have shopped and got my prescriptions. I also appreciate the calls from my daughters who ring every day. To see their faces and those of my grandchildren is lovely. Keeping in touch with family and friends, to joke and make each other laugh has been so important.

When friends email me and say they have wasted a morning doing very little, I always say not to feel guilty, most of us have slowed down. Some say, they will never go about ‘filling time’ in the same way as in the past. I have read quite a few books but have taken to using my iPad more- reading researched topics or listening to talks etc. I am informed that my time spent on my iPad has gone up but I know it has been time well spent.