At this time of year I would normally write a post about my current trips and soon-to-happen holidays, and now I feel like I can only write about all the cancelled or postponed (till next year…) hols I have been looking forward to for so long. This winter seemed to have lasted forever and to be honest it still does not look much like spring either, with barren trees and temperatures still below zero in some parts of the country. As if the political turmoil and neverending storms and floods haven’t been bad enough, we are now hit with the Coronavirus, and its disastrous consequences. Pesonally, I am very lucky to be in a postion where, so far, I haven’t been affected too badly. Cancelled flights and bookings are, after all, minor inconveniences. I am still working, although not from home, this not being possible because of the nature of my work. Many of my colleagues are stuck at home with company laptops, there are very few of us left at the site. We are saying jokingly that we can make hand sanitizer 24/7 as long as it means our jobs are secure. Some people chose to self-isolate, either because they or their relatives genuinely feel under the weather, or, and this makes me quite angry, because they take advantage of fully paid sick leave. Again, I am in a lucky position, as a childless person I don’t need to worry about child care and can cover for those absent. I know that a lot of hospitality, catering etc. staff don’t have any choice but to stay on upaid leave indefinitely. I felt very sad walking past closing restaurants last night, whose staff seemed disorientated and miserable. This situation cannot continue for more than a few weeks. Even a wealthy country cannot afford all these extra ‘corona’ benefits and employers, no matter how generous, won’t be able to keep paying us sick leave beyond 14 days of self-isolation.
I won’t even comment on what is going on in the supermarkets. I last saw empty shelfs in shops circa 1985, in Communist Poland. UK imports a lot of food from Europe so this is now affected too. One would think that with online shopping and things delivered to our door stockpiling simply isn’t necessary. What is weirder, even frozen veg – a staple of my diet – is gone, and I wouldn’t have thought that frozen spinach or leeks would be very attractive to stockpilers 😉 On the other hand, I don’t understand their obsession with beans either. To quote Jim Morrison, people are strange…
After my friends rebooked their Easter flights I nearly booked myself a couple of nights near Keswick, however I’m so glad I didn’t, for I would have ended up fighting for take-away chips or raiding Booths at 6 in the morning for supplies. And so it means Easter at home. We had such nice plans: A Ghost Tour, maybe a movie at the Storyhouse or a gig at Alexander’s. All of this will still be here, I hope, in October. Cancelling our trip to Northern Spain is proving slightly more complicated; rebooking my Easy Jet flight was more costly than buying a separate, surprisingly cheap flight just before Xmas. Airbnb waived their cancellation fee but only for bookings until 14 April, so we are stuck with pre-paid holiday. If I went to Spain anyway, I would have to self-isolate afterwards for 2 unpaid weeks. Ain’t gonna happen. The remaining trips: Ireland weekend in July, Dumfries and Galloway in August, Krakow in September have not been cancelled yet 😉
I am eternally grateful that I managed to move in to my place last summer. I cannot possibly imagine going through a property purchase right now. Everything else might be uncertain, but at least I have a roof above my head. I follow a band of Facebook, who, like many others, had to cancel their tour. They said they have no money, they’re all renting and none of them own a house. 30 years of being in the music industry, a dozen or more albums, sold out shows…and this. I guess I will stick to manufacturing hand sanitizer. Or making artisan, organic, vegan-friendly toilet paper 😉
My day trip to London, which is now a ghost city, isn’t happening, rebooking tickets would cost me another £200 on top of £115 I already paid. Too bad, I really wanted to check out all the flagship outdoors stores in the Covent Garden. Internet and online shopping will again be my saviour. Local trains are being cancelled randomly, so it seems like I have to rely on my own pair of legs from now on. While social distancing is something I have been practising for at least 20 years – haha – and I don’t generally have a problem being on my own, I hate being stuck at home on a nice day. So, while mainaining distance from other humans and avoiding busy places (nowhere is busy anymore…), I shall continue going for walks in my local area unless Boris & Co forbid me from doing so.
It will be all over one day. We will have our lives back and we will appreciate them even more.
In the meantime, I will revisit the past and think of all the places I will be able to go to in the future.
Edinburgh, March 2018: