A STUDENT from Goring cycled the distance between ... [more]
Tuesday, 11 May 2021
LIS RANSOM is a journalist and parish councillor in Binfield Heath. She charts events in her diary as lockdown III, which could be longer and harder than the first two, begins.
Monday, January 4
FANFARE of relief and pride: Oxford vaccine rolls out in start of biggest-ever vaccination programme. UK first to approve and use. It will go worldwide.
Prime Minister to address nation at 8pm. Big announcement coming, so race to village shop with friend for masked raid on the Christmas window, bag up decorations and dash home. Just in time.
Third lockdown begins in England from midnight. Only leave home to shop, work or exercise, or to get help. Back to the spirit of March, says Opposition leader.
Schools to close, after just one day, except for children of keyworkers (of which there are far more this time). PM understands inconvenience and distress but children are vectors of transmission.
Parliament recalled, this will be law by Wednesday. Hardest weeks yet lie ahead, says PM, but every jab tilts the odds in our favour, helps prevent NHS meltdown.
So, stay at home again, protect the NHS and save lives.
Tuesday, January 5
GLANCE at diary for March 23. Same loss of freedom but we feel differently. Accept it now, probably out of fear combined with realism, with an end possibly in sight by spring. Back then, PM said this could last a year. He was right. Hope lies in vaccination; we have already done more than whole of Europe.
By mid-February everyone in care homes, the over-70s,
frontline carers and clinically vulnerable should have been vaccinated. If rollout is fast enough and everyone behaves we could move out of lockdown after half-term.
Meanwhile, more than 60,000 new cases and more than 830 deaths in 24 hours, a huge rise.
Hear an aeroplane overhead. Where is it going and who’s on board in this virus-infected, border-barricaded, quarantine-closed world?
Wednesday, January 6
TWELFTH night, Christmas over. English Heritage expert says decorations used to stay up till Candlemas (February 2). He hasn’t seen the dust under my cards.
Remind husband to remove tiny nativity and Christmas tree from railway scene. Also, the mini rail-track that appeared under the tree in the sitting room.
The phantom festooner has taken down bus shelter decorations, complete with crocheted coronavirus. Investigations are ongoing.
As we can still exercise with one other person, do usual dog walk with friend.
Consider making a Galette des Rois but there’s only two of us to compete for the crown.
Trouble in the States: unprecedented presidential crisis as incumbent stirs up supporters to storm the Capitol and somehow unseat his successor. Violent unrest, four dead, rioting not seen since civil war. And hardly a covid mask in sight.
Thursday, January 7
CALLS for US president to be impeached. Incomer confirmed amid continuing chaos.
Life here resumes on Zoom: choir, French and book club all restarting.
Worcester parents are keyworkers so children can go to school — tears as friends won’t be there. London daughter thinks hers are “at risk” as she can’t educate them properly. Could her lawyer husband count as a keyworker? Local children offer to read to me. Meanwhile, on Guernsey real life carries on — one of few such places in the world.
More than 62,000 new cases today, every region reporting more than at April peak. Services on brink, could be overwhelmed. Army will help speed up vaccinations.
In Devon, an endangered species of ant has been saved. There’s hope for the world.
Friday, January 8
LONDON declares major incident with one in 30 people infected, one in 50 in rest of England. Our area is bang on average for England. Another 1,300 deaths in 24 hours.
Better news — third vaccine approved by UK, from Moderna, available in spring.
South Africa’s virus variant might resist vaccines. Implications for survival of man, never mind the planet, which will carry on long after we’ve gone. Medic son-in-law always predicted a virus could wipe us out one day. Prophetic, perhaps, but not yet, I hope.
Now US leader turns on supporters who stormed the Capitol. Apparently doesn’t want to be impeached.
Saturday, January 9
COLD, bright, beautiful day, forecast for freezing fog.
Surprise outing to Reading station to hand over my car to Worcester daughter. Theirs has given up at 200,000 miles and they need to get to hospital to work. I won’t need it for weeks, possibly months.
Our first meeting since September, but not allowed to linger. Zoom tonight instead, but connection might be bad as puppy has chewed through the wire.
Spend hour outside in sunshine, which suddenly disappears. Watch fog roll over fields towards us, enclosing garden. Is that how a virus moves too?
Sunday, January 10
GOVERNMENT may have to make lockdown stricter. Seems people are not scared enough of the virus and what it could do unchecked with NHS overwhelmed.
Unfazed by world events, Guernsey granddaughters paddle in the sea. Freezing.
Americans are turning to old British comedies and films to get them through long evenings — so are we. But nothing beats Attenborough’s Perfect Planet: tonight, cryogenic frogs and battery-charged snakes. Order the poster for the grandchildren.
ANGELA STANTON, 55, works as a therapeutic counsellor and lives in North Stoke with her husband and two grown up children.
I HAVE a private practice usually based in Wallingford but during lockdown I offer online counselling sessions as well as phone sessions.
I also volunteer at the Maggie’s Centre at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Maggie’s supports people with cancer and their family and friends. As their clients are often shielding or supporting someone who is shielding, again I “meet” them online or over the phone.
For those affected by cancer, covid-19 has presented an even bigger challenge than for most.
Some will be living with uncertainty around their surgery and treatment. Many will be concerned about their lower immunity and this will shape their day-to-day interactions with others and may leave them feeling isolated.
Conversely, the immediate need to socially distance and/or shield can act as a strong motivator to stay at home.
I am constantly inspired and humbled by clients’ determination to safely get through lockdown and it is a privilege to work with them to develop their emotional wellbeing and resilience.
I am also very moved by my private practice clients who will come to therapy for a wide variety of reasons.
People often come to therapy to explore the uncertainty in their lives. Emotions such as fear and negative thinking, together with changing relationships often predominate.
Although we are unable to change what has happened in the past, we can control our response and this is what many are seeking to achieve.
Here in North Stoke we are lucky to have an excellent covid-19 support group led by Karen Tong. Volunteers organise shopping and support for villagers but if your fears and anxieties are affecting your normal life, then it may be time to seek professional help.
Never before has human interaction been so relevant. Having someone to talk to and someone to specifically listen to you, is invaluable during this time. You do not have to face your issues alone.
A counsellor can work with you to explore your fears and anxieties, in order to help you find a confident way forward and this is the work that I love to do.
LIZZIE WEBB was TV AM’s daily fitness presenter for 10 years. She has devised and implemented several literacy and numeracy projects for schools in areas of deprivation, but is now in lockdown and self-isolating with her husband in her Henley home.
“WALKING should be done on golf courses” has been my husband’s consistent cry while living in this wonderful South Oxfordshire countryside.
So thus it has been that I have been regularly striding out by myself, staying to the confines of the safety of my usual route through lightly wooded public footpaths and narrow country lanes.
Until now. Boris has decreed that golf courses are to remain shut throughout lockdown.
Although my man’s wistful and resentful mantra has now changed to: “Today would have been the perfect day for a round of golf”.
I am the recipient of good fortune from this enforced closure. It’s not because I am no longer a “golfing widow”, much though I miss those peaceful days to myself, it’s because we are now striding out together exploring this magical countryside and seeing what we’ve been missing these last 20 years.
Every day we’re covering at least six miles of vast swathes of local countryside, miles of public footpaths winding through huge forests of trees, climbing up hills of tiny country lanes.
Every day we pick a different route to the hamlets of Hook End, Checkendon, Highmoor and Woodcote and each time it is rare to see other people in these huge woodland areas. But when we do, they or we respectively stand back as if shopping in a crowded supermarket aisle.
Sometimes we plan our route so it has a purpose, shopping for a few basics becomes a circuitous walk, what would normally be a five-minute drive in the car to the delightful Stoke Row Village Store becomes a two-hour adventure for our milk and bread.
There is one other huge advantage with my husband now accompanying me on these delightful walks.
When I’m deep in thought composing the next chapter of my book, I get the most enormous fright as a sudden whishing sound of whirring wheels starts overtaking me.
It’s yet another lycra-clad cyclist treating these narrow country lanes as their race track.
With my husband now in tow, whose hearing is far better than mine, I get a warning cry of “Fore”.
When we come out of lockdown can you cyclists please buy a bell?
18 January 2021
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