The Lockdown Diaries: It’s The Final Lockdown

Observatory

Wellness is a right, not a privilege.

This is the last post covering my fairly unusual journey of the last ten weeks. I’ve reached the so-called 3 day pain peak of my cancer in a time of pandemic (uncomfortable and exhausting but not without moments of hilarity). After the weekend I’ll emerge having learned a few things along the way;

Health workers, carers and people in essential services, I suspect you can expect an influx of help, not from our divided government so much as from young recruits to whom you’ve set an incredible example. In the endless parade of patients you may forget most of us, but we won’t forget you.

Instinctively I wanted to stay silent about all of this as I had 25 years earlier, but I wanted to demystify the process and get others to get tested after reading about it, even though it meant entering hospitals with prevalent coronavirus. To the people who messaged me about making the jump, I’m glad you didn’t regret it.

During the Lockdown our neighbours changed, turning common parts into play areas for children, setting out chairs, holding communal meetings and picnics, fetching food, offering help, checking on each other. In short, being the opposite of people in those apocalypse films who hide behind barbed wire with rifles. Perhaps the amazing weather helped (a full 18 degrees warmer than today) lending a ‘Passport to Pimlico’ air to the proceedings, but our preconceptions about each other vanished. Although there’s one neighbour we all hate, obvs.

As Lockdown unravels thanks to government bluster, I know a lot of people who’ve found they’ll now be working permanently from home. Apparently the single most searched-for furnishing item at the moment is a home desk. Writers are finding it hard to adapt as most publishers have started operating alternating three-week furloughs. Other problems have arisen. As public transport largely uses the world’s oldest tube system, it will have to rely on commuters behaving sensibly. Perhaps those annoying tube announcements that call passengers ‘customers’ can now come to an end.

Even with months of financial hardship ahead nobody wants things go back to exactly how they were. The benefits of reduced air, noise and light pollution are obvious. A huge number of home farmers have appeared, and rules should surely be changed to allow allotment owners to sell their produce. Instead we have Boris Johnson being incompetently pressured into accepting EU-banned chlorinated chicken and hormone-stuffed beef from America, where 1 in 6 people get food poisoning annually compared to in 66 in the UK. (The argument is less about the effect on foodstuffs than the subsequent alteration in control standards). It’s something else the Rees-Moggs and Farages can have on their consciences.

Wellness is a right, not a privilege. Too many of my US friends face an endless struggle to pay for eating healthily and getting medical care. Now they have a president who is actively dismantling over 100 safety protections designed to protect and improve their lives. A second term will further damage the international standing of a nation for which I have had a lifelong respect. I’m not sure that the Lockdown there has had the same transformative effect it has had here, but the protests certainly give hope.

14 comments on “The Lockdown Diaries: It’s The Final Lockdown”

  1. Jo W says:

    That photograph of the scene at the end of Passport to Pimlico made me smile,remembering that as they declare they are back in this country, lightning flashes,thunder roars,rain lashes down and the thermometer outside the grocer’s shop plunges down toward freezing.
    Say safe and well and dry,everyone.

  2. brooke says:

    Well said, sir.
    Protests may be encouraging; more enlightening are corporate/institutional responses.
    For those interested, Wynton Marsalis and Phil. Orch are streaming concert June 6, “Hear Together.”

    btw, what does the lanyard D. Cummings wears actually say? Can see part that says “In God we trust..” But cannot see side that includes the word “others.” In US quote is: “in God we trust; all others pay cash.”

  3. Cornelia Appleyard says:

    ‘ what does the lanyard D. Cummings wears actually say? ’

    I found a picture showing the other side.
    It says ‘all others we monitor’.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/21/what-i-learned-from-doorstepping-dominic-cummings

    I’m hoping that some good will come out of lockdown for society and the environment.
    Monitoring the competence (or otherwise) of politicians might be a good starting point.

  4. Joel says:

    Rees-Mogg and Farage do not have consciences.

    I fear your thoughts on air, light and noise will not survive – we’re too embedded in the capitalistic-society model. Do we go back to village life for better noise / air / light? That only means jobs within walking distance, forms of serfdom, giving up currency for barter? Can you see the ‘hoorays’ surrendering their avocados and brioches? As long as money is the exchange mechanism for life, the old ways will be back, whether it’s cash or ‘plastic’.

    Glad you’re progressing well but we’ve all got a long, long way to go.

  5. Debra Matheney says:

    I am an old white woman. I ventured to a food store today for the first time since lockdaown. The fellow bagging my groceries happened to be a young black man. He asked how I was and I said better, that it had been a long week and I was tired of the endemic racism in America, but the protests and young people like him gave me hope. He said I was the first person to say anythig all week to him about racism and the protests and, ” I was getting a little mad.” Very sad commentary that we can’t mention the elehant in the room.
    T. is a totally deranged man and he will only get worse as the election nears. His reelection must not happen but still could.
    I wish everyone a safe and pleasant weekend. Christopher, take special care.

  6. brooke says:

    Take good care, Debra.

  7. brooke says:

    Congratulations on nominations for three awards! Nice going.
    And O&L cover looks great with the floral arrangement. Great promo image.

  8. SteveB says:

    I don‘t think the lockdown had any transformative effect anywhere except the UK, the UK is just weird and different.
    In Frankfurt everything is pretty much back to normal.
    Trump obviously won‘t be reelected, even last time against such a weak opponent as Hilary Clinton it was a freak of the system that saw him get in,

  9. Dave Young says:

    ‘Trump obviously won’t be re-elected’ – I don’t think you understand the US electoral college system

  10. Helen Martin says:

    Yes, Dave, exactly. The electoral college (one of the weirder inventions in the world) was created to ensure that the wealthy stayed in power. They didn’t have to consider non-whites because they couldn’t vote anyway.
    We’re beginning to look at things differently here in Canada because the government is borrowing itself into long term debt to ensure that there is as little loss to individuals as possible. Part of the country is starting to concern itself about conditions in long term care the way we on this coast did maybe 30 years ago. Pay for staffing in those homes has been raised so that workers don’t have to take multiple jobs in order to survive. That still needs more attention, though.
    We aren’t reporting cases by neighbourhoods the way they are in eastern provinces because there was a feeling that blame for spreading could end up as racist but I don’t know which way thinking should go. If we deal with the problems – proper pay/benefits and so on for the work can we avoid dealing with things in a racially focused manner? I am cautious because a First Nations woman called me racist for asking an improperly phrased question and it still hurts.

  11. Ian Luck says:

    I expect that Trump has phoned the Kremlin to ensure he stays on for another term. I can pretty much guarantee it. He’s going to screw as much cash out of the people of the USA as he can, whilst ensuring that he actually does as little for those people as humanly possible. Once an estate agent, always an estate agent, obviously.

  12. Ed DesCamp says:

    We must never assume The Great Orange Baby will be voted out. The gifts he has given to corporate sponsors (destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency, involving the military to bully protesters, taking the US out of the Paris Accord, defunding WHO…) stand him in good stead with the Senate Republicans and much of industry. Everyone needs to make sure their friends and acquaintances get out and vote!

  13. Ian Luck says:

    The chicken and beef is easy to defeat – don’t buy it. I expect that most UK shops will put it in a separate section – like they did with GMO and irradiated foods many years ago. It doesn’t take many complaining customers for a supermarket to take notice, and thence action. I know that it’s not a 100% guarantee, but the little tractor symbol on UK fresh food is a good indicator of food quality. I don’t want chlorinated chicken, nor beef full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and steroids, thank you very much.

  14. Helen Martin says:

    Buy Canadian, then. It’s illegal here to use those things to encourage growth in beef cattle and I haven’t the faintest idea how you would chlorinate a chicken. (Put chlorine in its water? Well, some of our water is chlorinated.)

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