'It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times' -Charles Dickens

'It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times' -Charles Dickens

A Collaborative Post

Emily Speaking:

I think I (and many others) am suffering from Covid fatigue. I would never have guessed that these restrictions would go on for so long. Also, I know it is still vital to adhere to these restrictions, but that doesn't make it any easier day to day. And this is coming from one privileged person. Indeed, it is so easy to overlook those without a steady income, without a roof over their heads and without the support and love of family. On the Jeremy Vine show this week, he played a clip from the house of commons from an MP talking about how we should show more compassion to those that are struggling to cope in yet another uncertain time during lockdown.

In Charles Walker's Speech (a tory MP, I know, my agreement with him shocked me too) he said:

'...I do not wear the fact that I will support the law with great virtue, because it is easy for me to comply with the law. It is easy for most people in this House to comply with the law. We are comfortably off, we live in nice houses, we have gardens and outdoor spaces, and we have access to family. The same is true of the journalists who fill our TV screens every night with their wisdom and wit about how people should comply with these regulations, and they sneer at those who cannot. But the next three months are going to be really hard for a lot of people—people who do not have my advantages of a monthly salary and a monthly pension payment. They will be worrying about their job, their future, their mental health and their family relationships, because they will miss people terribly. They will be living in small environs that apparently they can leave only to exercise once a day. Sadly, some of those people will break. It will be too much for them. That is when we in this place—and the journalists up there in the Gallery with all their privileges—instead of sneering and dismissing them and calling them “covidiots” should show some compassion and understanding.

We should wear our advantages and privileges with great humility.

I do not want to hear from another constituent who is having a good lockdown. I am really pleased that they are, but my voice is for those who are not: for those of my friends, neighbours and constituents who are struggling day in, day out, whose mental health is not in a healthy state, but has deteriorated, and who are wondering how, in the next few months, in the middle of winter, they will cope.

I ask colleagues and people out there who are so fortunate to show some compassion and understanding for those who are not so fortunate.'

Though I don't believe in the practise of making myself feel better by observing the plight of others, this speech reminded me that compassion should be the first response to any situation. I say this to include ourselves also. This time is unprecedented and scary, and we should be kinder to both ourselves and those around us.

When life goes back to 'normal', I am going to cling to normality like my life depends on it. Never will I take for granted a usual day, without masks, without distancing, without my friends. Normal is lovely, and I cannot wait to welcome it back to my life!

Indeed, these past few months have felt like purely the worst of times, but the best of times are just around the corner. I'm sure of it.

Tracey Speaking:

I think this is officially lockdown 3? But here in Wales it’s hard to tell? We really seem to have been in one lockdown or another for months with just the severity of the conditions changing. Perhaps in the blog way back last year in March when we were first told to ‘Stay Home’ we were fuelled with enthusiasm of how to make the best of things, how to make the most of our time and if possible, create memories out of the unique situation we were in. Was this a reflection of living through some of the best of times?

But I do remember thinking how different things would be if this had happened in the dark dreary days of winter and how lucky we were to be heading into spring. We had projects to do, banana bread to bake, a garden to dig and Netflix to binge on! But as we’re approaching the one year anniversary of when this all began, perhaps we are beginning to lose our mojo!

I know how fortunate we are. We’ve been able to work from home, or we’ve been furloughed, college classes continue online, in so many ways technology has held everything together, but I guess even with that we’re feeling a certain amount of Zoom fatigue. It’s really not the same as chatting over lunch with my sister, meeting for a walk and a catch up with a friend and having my son and his wife pop in for a chat and Sunday lunch!

Due to family members' circumstances changing and having to move back home, there’s 7 of us in this house now so it can feel a bit crowded as the majority of us spend 24 hrs a day here. But we are lucky not to be on top of each other and we do have a garden which especially made the previous lockdowns more bearable. We’re adjusting like everyone else to our new normal, every inch of space is occupied. My daughter in law teaches her Primary school class from a bedroom, my youngest is upstairs with her online college studies, the dining table now accommodates the makeshift ‘Enough Already’ headquarters, alongside my aspiring writer son and laptop. While hubby has well and truly taken over the office (which used to be our sewing room) as he now works from home as well. The house is full of laptops, iPads and all kinds of technology. And so often the shout, ‘Is the WiFi down?!’ echoes around the busy house.

Driving back from the post office this week, Emily and I listened with interest to a speech made by the Conservative MP, Charles Walker. Party politics aside, I agree with his statement ‘we should wear our advantages and privileges with great humility’. I think his words were a timely reminder to have compassion and understanding for those who are not having a good lock down. That although this one feels harder than the others, I need to be more aware of those who are really struggling and trying to cope. Not all lockdowns are equal!

It’s also been 10 months since I’ve had any contact with my mum . She remains cared for and protected by wonderful people in her care home, but that’s such a huge stretch of time when your parent is a frail 86 year old in the late stages of dementia. Time we sadly won’t get back. But she’s still here with us and received her first vaccination a couple of weeks ago. So maybe there’s light at the end of all this? And one day soon it’ll be safe to visit.

I’m sure we are all excited to do so many things when we can get out? Strangely enough it seems to have brought out a deep longing for many to get to the sea, us included. We’ve missed cinemas and theatres, museums, eating out and all the freedoms we took for granted. Just walking outside of our local area will be nice and certainly something we look forward to.

But compared to others, our sacrifice of just staying at home doesn’t feel too big a burden.

It’s been a rough winter but spring is just around the corner. I can feel it!

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