Tales from the Covid-19 Lockdown 2020
Easter Saturday started off with a scout around the house, collecting up the rubbish and the recycling, to get it out to the gate by 7:30 am. Even though it’s a holiday weekend, we needed to get this done because the waste transfer station is closed to the public. It’s the first time I’ve had to rush to complete a task in about two weeks, which was a shock to my system. Bermuda’s a place that you don’t want your rubbish piling up. It’s warm, which means the rubbish quickly gets that nasty wifty waft that wriggles up your nose and lingers. Luckily it has been a bit cooler lately, but it still means leftovers have to be stored in the fridge to avoid them going off. If we miss rubbish day, they then have to be stored in the freezer, which takes up valuable space. The Bermudians call it ‘trash’ and look at me blankly when I talk about rubbish. I’m learning to translate to help them out. On days we are too late, it all has to be taken back inside, or stored in a lidded bin, to stop the chickens from trying to scratch through for scraps, and rats gnawing at the bags. The relentless ants get in anyway, and many a time I’ve removed the trash from the bin, to be covered in an army of the tiny black biters swarming up my arm.
The waste transfer station takes all the burnable trash, and then burns it to create electricity for the island. This is burnt and re-burnt in a system that has almost zero waste emissions at the end of the process. I expect electricity is in high demand currently along with internet as everyone that can be is home ‘sheltering in place’, which is what the government call it. I imagine in the current cold spell there will be a few heaters blatting away, but for us it feels refreshing not to have to manage the heat, even for a short time.
Then it’s hot cross buns for breakfast. Yum! The first half dozen we got were grey when we cut them, and had almost undetectable spices. They were kind of a bland, sweet bread with the occasional sultana. This was disappointing, but we know that having lived in Wales, and being able to buy hot cross buns from Tesco at the rate of two packets for a pound, was incredibly spoilt. These cost ten dollars. We diligently ate them and wondered if they were meant to be like that to support the cod fish cakes Bermudians like to put in them. Investing in the next half dozen, that looked browner, glossier, and much more appetising, thankfully were much better. Still not what I would call a hot cross bun, but a good rendition of what they could be. My lovely husband asked ‘are we meant to wait till Sunday for Easter treats?’. I thought about this for about a split second, and said ‘No, we’re on lockdown, we can do what ever we want when it comes to treats’. I might regret that statement later, when I know my body’s starting to get wider, and there’s less opportunity to exercise. Not even a snorkel, as I may have to draw on emergency services if I get into trouble, who are already occupied elsewhere.
So what does ‘shelter in place’ mean for us? At Easter it’s traditional for Bermudians to go camping in their parks, and fly kites. This year the parks are locked and there’s strict curfew in place of being off the roads and at home from 8:00 pm til 6:00 am each night, unless you’re an essential worker. We have separate grocery days: with surnames A to M going Monday, Wednesday and Friday; L to Z on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and Sunday is reserved for the elderly and people with disabilities. That last group can also go on their surname days as well, and they have a special hour first thing in the morning after the store has been cleaned to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus. We have been all told not to stockpile and assured that our food will turn up as usual from its reliable source, but we’re already out of eggs at our closest supermarket. We have special diets, so there’s a few items I would like to get from more distant stores, but this isn’t possible for us now. However we can go to the Pharmacy any day, to pick up medications. But not hand sanitiser, there isn’t any. Our post office is closed and has been since 20 March. I still look in the mailbox every day, just in case! We can walk up to a half mile radius from our home for exercise up to an hour a day. This is quite generous, but with the railway trail closed, it’s a bit tedious walking along the road and back to the same destination each day. My body likes different terrains to get at all the different muscles, and repetitive walking on asphalt is really hard on my joints. I said to my lovely husband ‘We could have a home gym set up on the lawn, there’s plenty of room’. He hasn’t stopped laughing yet about what I think he can do with a saw, hammer and a few nails. He’ll be sitting in his little boat right now contemplating that one! It’s such a shame, he worked so hard on restoring it, to have a no boating restriction placed on it, virtually the minute it was ready to sail. The Coastguard are patrolling the water to make sure no ones breaching the rules. I researched virtual walks, and came up with a couple you can do in the comfort of your own lounge. They are quite different from each other so here are the links:
This first one is through the lovely autumnal Cotswalds in the United Kingdom, and has music to walk or run to along with a fairly rapid pace drive through the area: https://youtu.be/dCjt9eptadI
This second one is a walk in tropical North Queensland, Australia, with all the sounds of the beach and people, as you stroll along sand, promenade, past shops and so forth: https://youtu.be/HKUcm1juEbM
My lovely husband is an essential worker, and has a letter he has to show when out and about helping his clients. On Wednesday he got stopped six times at check points, and was feeling a bit frustrated when he finally got back. The queue at the supermarket was winding all around the edge of the carpark, and out the gate along the sidewalk, about two hours wait to get in. Because he is out already in the car, I can’t go, so I get to completely shelter at home. Now if we miss one microscopic bug, he’ll bring the virus home to me anyway, so part of me believes it’s a bit futile. However, I wash my veges, and clean down the packaging I have to keep, and transfer the rest into virus free containers. And we wash our hands, and wash our hands, and wash our hands. Every little bit helps, and I can only do my best.
So what does pandemic mean for me? I am no more isolated from family and friends than I always have been, since I left my home country. I can still communicate via social media and the marvels of technology with anyone I want to. In fact it means people have more time to as well. The internet is on overload here in Bermuda, and at peak times, like when the curfew starts, gets very glitchy and frustrating. But aren’t we lucky to have it?! What it does mean, is my choice has been taken away from me. I planned to visit my family at Christmas, but the current compulsory quarantine means fourteen days when you get there, in a hotel; and fourteen days when you get back. Who can afford twenty-eight days leave to begin with, before even getting to visit your family, let alone the cost of it? All speculation out there points to a world without the transport and travel liberties we’ve come to know and rely on. I have to admit, I find that a bit scary.
The real truth of it is, we just don’t know yet what our new world will look like. But it is very important to keep yourself safe. I mean physically, and mentally safe. ‘What?’ I hear you say. That’s right, both physically and mentally. Choose which news articles you trust and read them at a set time each day. Then set it aside, until the next allocated time slot. Look for words in reports that say ‘could, should, if, when….’ Theres a multitude of speculation out there, and none of it is true, unless it’s a fact. These words do not support facts. Find the sources in that sensational news piece, or should I say, can you? If there are no reputable, peer reviewed sources listed, then it’s made up, and can not be trusted. Turn off your phone. My friends love me dearly, but I’m getting YouTube videos sent to me at 1:00, 3:15, and sometimes 5:45 am through the night. Their daytime. I want to look at them too, but I can choose when I see them, and not be reading about doom and destruction before my peaceful slumber, or during it. And not reading them at first light either! Try to start your day with a nice cuppa looking at nature, blue sky of you’re lucky enough to have a clear day, and breathing in that clean air fewer cars have provided us. I like to battle a sudoku each day, and when I couldn’t solve them this week, realised I had to get my underlying stress levels under control. My Tai Chi eight strand has come in handy for that. After a just few days of standing mediation, I can proudly complete the expert level again, without too much cheating. Whatever you have planned today, there is no rush. And you know, the idea of never having to rush again, actually feels quite nice.
Stay safe and well
More soon – Sally
P.S. Check out George’s page………..
P.P.S. Here’s a page I’ve added – check it out here………. https://idontdoironing.com/did-you-know/
Good to catch up pn your news. I always enjoy your positive point of view.
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Thanks P that’s so nice to hear!
Stay safe xx
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Thanks Lisa – you too!