The Guardian today asked readers for their experiences of the “lockdown” (not a word I like*) and their views about the present and future. Here is “wot I rote” . . .
It is written in the form set out by the questions and I sent it in via Whats App as I find that the form provided by the Guardian often simply doesn’t work.
Retired, 86 years old.
We are already in November and obeying the clear instructions given by the Scottish Government and which can be readily checked on the Scottish Government wed site. We get our groceries by home delivery from Tesco in Castle Douglas and Tesco have shown themselves to be masters of the situation all the way through the last seven months. We had never had home deliveries before self isolation began on 16 March, but we think we will keep on with it always now as it is so much better for Oldies like us. We were asking neighbours to collect prescriptions and so forth, but once shielding stopped here in Scotland (1 Aug) we felt that was unfair so we go out suitably masked for essential items and occasionally somewhat longer journeys for the purpose of keeping the car battery charged. We normally recycle by going to the Recycling Centre in Castle Douglas but have not done so since last March. At first we stored our recycling waste here at home, but eventually that became too much to cope with, so we now dispose of it via the weekly wheelie bin collection in the full knowledge that it will go into a landfill site. We have totally ceased to use local shops because we don’t go into town, but have managed quite well with mail order. I do not like Amazon, but I have to admit that often Amazon is the only, or the most convenient, source of supply and their service is very good – as are the local ladies and girls who drive for the Hermes parcel delivery service. The Posties are also good, and will take outgoing mail in addition to their regular deliveries. Abebooks and PostScript books are good sources of reading materials.
The March self isolation began for us on the 16th when we got clear instructions to commence. We had to lay off our cleaning lady, we have not seen her since and have now lost touch with her. In practice once you get old and less mobile (and very deaf too) life under self isolation is not so very different from ordinary life. One has few friends locally, and family are scattered all over the country and the world, and the few visits they used to make have of course ceased completely. We did quite a bit of gardening – vegetable growing – but we found it to be hard work for Oldies and do not have the ground to grow on any large scale. We are fortunate to have two cars, and despite trying to keep both going the battery of one of them packed up entirely so I took it out. The car remained like this until the garage phoned to say its MOT was due (we got the 6 month extension) and so they fitted a new battery and the car is now usable and run regularly round the local roads – no stopping, or visiting. My wife (88) suffers from Metoprolol induced asthma so we have perhaps been more “isolationist” than some people as I don’t think Sars-Cov-2 would do her a lot of good.
My main concern is the poor attitude of the Westminster Government and the media generally who seem unable to decide whether preventing deaths or keeping complainers quiet is the more important. My own reading about the so called Spanish Flu outbreak suggests that we are far from being finished with this Covid outbreak and remarks by the Prime Minister about everything being alright by “x” date are inaccurate and misleading (like most of what he says) and that really we should be planning and preparing (by briefing people accurately) for a long way ahead. If vaccines are developed and tested properly and not in the ham fisted Government way, that may change the situation, but again there are too many inaccurate and ill founded predictions from both Government and media which will come back and bite us.
The other “elephant in the room” is the unknown effect of the ending of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement. If the pandemic is still going strong in the early part of 2021 how will food shortages and malnourishment affect the death toll ? This too needs facing and some Government advice about food storing would be in order. We managed it during WW2 and we should be managing it now. I foresee the possibility of civil disturbance (riots if you prefer) when the supermarket shelves gradually become empty.
You may publish any or all of this under my name and I shall endeavour to add a photo of my splendid self. Prepare to be amazed !
*I do not like the use of the word “lockdown” because it implies people are being forcibly detained. There is enough of this in the world being done in deadly seriousness that to use it in this cheap way is tactless, inaccurate and generally unpleasant. However, its snappy clickbait implications are ideal for organisations devoted to fear, uncertainty and doubt. I do not think my objections matter for much in the greater scheme of things. But it is better to light a candle than to complain about the dark.