Thursday, 28 January 2021

Coronavirus Diaries: Lis Ransom

Coronavirus Diaries: Lis Ransom

LIS RANSOM, from Binfield Heath, signs off as lockdown ends but not quite in the way she had hoped.

Monday, November 23

PRIME MINISTER sees a route out of the pandemic, “the scientific cavalry is in sight”. We will be going back into tiers on December 2, to be confirmed on Thursday. Tiers could be in place until Easter.

Astra Zeneca vaccine is “wonderful British scientific achievement” at least 70 per cent, possibly 90 per cent effective, as shown by 20,000 volunteers, my niece among them. It’s a not-for-profit organisation.

Busy zooming — book club lecture, then parish council. Residents to be warned about a possible puppy stealer out and about. Huge trade in dogs during lockdown.

Tuesday, November 24

SOME quarantine changes to incoming travellers to UK — should help boost tourism and business.

Leaders of UK nations debating what to do about Christmas to avoid another corona spike in January.

Looks as if three households will be able to “bubble” over five days and not see any other people. Extremely difficult to organise with a five-household family, battles loom.

Picture of Worcester puppy wearing its new Christmas jumper.

Wednesday, November 25

ONE month to the big day, one week to end of lockdown. Festive family rules are a logistical brain teaser. Will let the families sort it out. Guernsey still off limits owing to quarantine: has just one active case, well under control.

Chancellor’s address: economy in worst state since big freeze of 1709. Repercussions will last for decades, generations. Worst recession in 300 years — £400bn borrowed, highest ever in peacetime. Debt and unemployment will go on rising.

Eldest Worcester grandson plays us Jingle Bells on the piano — with two hands. Lessons online.

Thursday, November 26

NOW we know. Release into tier 2 will be very little different from lockdown. No mixing of households except out of doors (it’s winter). Churches, pubs and shops can re-open but no socialising. We may go carol singing in groups of six. Only Cornwall and Isle of Wight to enjoy tier 1 relative freedom.

At least our little boys can play rugby again, to parents’ relief. London and Worcester families pleased to have escaped highest tier 3, where nothing much is open.

Beautiful cold day, attack overgrown laurel hedge. Silver birch has turned gold.

Friday, November 27

BLACK FRIDAY, apparently.

The cheery WhatsApps, texts and emails have fallen silent. People absorbing what is meant by the coming regime, looks like release in name only with no end in sight for months. Good old-fashioned “glum” is the word. In rural, low-case areas like ours around the country there is mute opposition to continued separations. Cornwall and Isle of Wight ask people not to visit.

First real frost hits garden. Blue tits remember where the food is. Joined by two robins.

Saturday, November 28

DAUGHTER-IN-LAW has accident, needs surgery to hand. We will do some child care.

Arcadia, huge retail consortium, fails. Thousands of job losses, victim of covid and online shopping.

Village plans to decorate shop window for Christmas on hold — no-one sure how many people are allowed inside. We might do it in pairs, when shop is quiet.

Sunday, November 29

Nativity plays will be allowed — our extended family numbers two kings, two angels, two choir singers, one shepherd, one sheep, and a musician. So far, no partridge. We will be able to watch virtually.

Photo of Guernsey granddaughter in party dress beside decorated doll’s house — because “Granny would like it”. She does.

Light Advent candle in window.

Monday November 30

SOLVE the Christmas conundrum, mainly by geography. Consider getting fire pit and space heaters for outdoor six-somes and find they are already selling out. We are advised to take vitamin D and avoid playing board games with the family over Christmas.

Parish council Zoom to discuss neighbourhood planning.

Tuesday, December 1

LAST month of 2020. So far more than 1.5 million have caught covid in UK, nearly 60,000 have died. There may be no new year celebrations but we won’t be sorry to see the back of this one.

Do the school run with grandchildren for first time since March, while son takes daughter-in-law for surgery.

Start filling in calendar for 2021 — next summer half-term holiday still in place and ferries already taking bookings.

Wednesday, December 2

Great news! Pfizer vaccine cleared for use in UK from next week. Hope is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, we move seamlessly from lockdown to clampdown.

Live services resume at church — great opportunity to see people safely. Shops open, pubs re-start but must sit on our own. Have to cancel husband’s birthday tea with children, so hard to explain why.

But we have moved mountains at home — plaster hillside safely installed in railway scenery. One day the covid drama will be over — but I may never get the dining room back.

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