Saturday, 23 January 2021

Coronavirus Diaries: Lis Ransom

Coronavirus Diaries: Lis Ransom

LIS RANSOM, who lives in Binfield Heath, has kept a daily diary since the beginning of the first lockdown in March. She chronicles life as it affects her family, village and the wider world during covid times. The first 10 weeks were published here, ending at the easing of restrictions in June. Over the summer she and husband Peter met up with all their scattered families from London, Worcester and Guernsey as well as round the corner in the village, enjoying breaks in the West Country and in the Channel Islands. Now she picks up the theme for the four-week second lockdown.

Sunday, November 1

MESSAGE from the Prime Minister: Lockdown 2 will start on November 5 and end on December 2 (husband’s birthday, so excuse to celebrate), then we go back into tiers. Plenty of them.

Monday, November 2

SOME resigned opposition to this lockdown — too much, too late or simply not necessary in low risk areas like ours. Prime Minister says situation in NHS is critical, at breaking point, and there is no choice. Already three times more pressure on medical services than in a normal autumn.

Remembrance Day events will be restricted. No poppy sales except in shops or online. Our fallen in two world wars faced more than a pandemic.

We thought it would be all over by Christmas. It won’t be. We plan vaguely for a virtual celebration.

Tuesday, November 3

DISTRACTION of US election displaces covid woes.

Meet friends at last lunch before lockdown. We can all cope with a month, given an end-date.

Friday lunch friend popping over for supper tonight instead. Discover supermarkets already have alarming gaps on shelves.

Good news from our Worcester medic family — there could be vaccines for NHS staff before Christmas and the vulnerable (us) in the new year. That lifts the spirits.

We hope for early US election results but it’s going to be a long wait.

Wednesday, November 4

STALEMATE in America.

First frost here heralds beautiful, sunny day. Blue skies, sunshine, go for walk with friend. Pass a van making huge (and vital) delivery to our village shop — hope it does well in these times. Put citrus trees away ahead of cold spell, store geraniums, cut back vine. Sweep piles of golden leaves. Reluctant to go in as sun goes down on almost normal life.

Thursday, November 5

Remember, remember, first day of second lockdown. But this wave is different, we know the rules. We wear masks and shop in queues, social distancing now second nature and somehow manage not to hug our families. We wash hands frequently and never run out of gel or loo roll. We’ve become experts at Zoom (unheard of eight months ago) and do everything online from book clubs to church services, parish council to choirs, family chats to French conversation.

In winter we’ll swap gardening for decorating and carry on reading, singing, writing and modelling railways. The hard part is facing into short, dark days; the promise of spring is a long way off.

Economy takes a blow again. John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Lloyds Bank cutting staff. M&S declares a loss. London family says capital is a ghost city.

America still does not decide. Very much divided as we were over Brexit.

Son’s children light a few fireworks. Worcester family’s new puppy doesn’t like them. Guernsey family (no covid restrictions) have a party. Londoners have permission for Saturday display in their square.

Friday, November 6

FLU jabs. Essential not to catch both viruses at same time.

One good thing about no visitors — house is major construction site for railway, which is having a hillside and a tunnel added. Book club by Zoom. Not as many people as usual, is the novelty wearing off? Prime Minister says there is light ahead. This is not a repeat of the spring clampdown, it is time-limited. There are better treatments, enough personal protective equipment, more experience. Hopefully, families will meet at Christmas.

US election count nearly over, but outcome still uncertain.

Saturday, November 7

Is this the warmest November day ever?

Finally, in the USA the challenger trumps the incumbent. Fears of new coronavirus strain in mink in Denmark leads to cull. Invited to join nationwide survey of covid cases — random selection reaches me and our youngest grandson. We’ll both do our bit.

Socially-distanced Festival of Remembrance in Albert Hall also remembers NHS front line staff who died in covid battle.

London children watch fireworks from front doorstep. Fire brigade arrives in error to put out bonfire, ends up watching display. In Guernsey, two little girls have had fireworks three nights running.

Sunday, November 8

QUEEN pays lonely tribute at tomb of the unknown soldier, who was interred 100 years ago. Our local Remembrance ceremony moves this year to churchyard memorial, no public. Good location, those present preferred it. I lay the parish wreath. It’s 80 years since Battle of Britain, 75 since the war ended. Today, our armed forces are helping covid testing in Liverpool.

Lots of people out on bikes and walking again. Son and grandchildren ride past looking cheerful.

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