Life under the Covid cosh.  And a new book

I’m trying not to be bored.

New words and phrases have entered the language, old words and phrases have taken on new meaning, usually imprecise meanings that convey different things to everyone.  We are all now living in ways we would not choose.

‘Locked-down’, ‘self-isolation’ ‘social-distancing’.  We are having to get used to completely changed patterns of behaviour and activity.  I’m trying to live in line with scientific and medical advice, confusing as the Government’s interpretation of it may be.  I consider my changed and very constrained lifestyle to be rational and responsible, though I don’t know what to call it.

Some years ago, when I was responsible for development planning, I began by identifying objectives.  Strategies were developed to meet the objectives. In this case the primary objective is not to catch Covid-19. One reason is that I don’t want the inconvenience of being ill but the main reason is to not become a burden on the health service.  Behind that is the objective that if I have a symptomless version of the virus, I don’t want to pass it on to others.

To meet this objective my strategy is clear.  Minimise contact with other people.  I live on my own and have not had proximate contact socially since 16 March. The guy I shared a pint with then now has the virus.

I had a stock of vegetables and fruit from the garden in the freezer and before the requirement to make only trips beyond home for essentials, I stocked up with protein (meat, eggs, cheese, nuts) and luxuries like chocolate.  Now I only need to go to the shop for bread.

I didn’t indulge in panic-buying, partly because of the stock in the freezer.  I certainly failed to understand the obsession in the UK with panic-buying loo rolls, though that has to be better than the panic-buying of firearms in the US.  Perhaps they intend to shoot their neighbours.

I stopped using public transport at the beginning of March, a dramatic change from BC (Before Covid).  I parked the car in the garage and haven’t been out in it for weeks. To get bread I walk the 25 minutes each way to the supermarket early morning Mondays and Fridays which doubles as my allowance of daily exercise.  Other days I walk to the top of the ridge behind the house, about 1000 feet of ascent, except Sundays when I go to the top of the mountain half an hour further and eat a banana by the trig point.  I may see a couple of fell-runners or mountain-bikers, otherwise it’s about as self-isolating as you can get.

But most of the time I get to grips with preparing, planting and sowing the vegetable garden.  This Spring it’s much harder physical work than normal.  I ‘rough dig’ the soil in Autumn so the winter frosts will break it down and make it easy to turn into a tilth in Spring.  Lack of frost plus very heavy and frequent rainfall this winter has left me with soil so compacted it’s nearly as hard the stone slabs in the patio.  Forty years of manuring and adding leaf-mold and compost to the very heavy clay soil has improved it but it’s still not very gardener-friendly, though provides an excellent work-out.

In March I’m usually writing in the blog about preparations and anticipations of a summer in Greek sunshine with a long stay on Symi and visits to Nisyros, Kalymnos and the like.  Not this year.  Not only has the flight I booked in February  for the end of April been cancelled but quarantine requirements in place in Greece make it unlikely that I’ll get there this year.

Confinement has meant I have been able to concentrate on finishing and publishing my next book.  A small life in twenty memories.  It’s a collection of memories from a childhood trauma in the corner shop, via paragliding, kayaking, climbing and caving to fleeing a hotel in Canada in the middle of the night into minus 25 degrees.  And setting fire to my underpants.

Small life front coverI hurried to send the files to the printers before the lock-down began.  And succeeded.  Just.  The printers received it an hour before they closed the print-shop for the duration. So that will have to wait.  But it’s available as a Kindle edition.

Let me know what you think

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3 Responses to Life under the Covid cosh.  And a new book

  1. philsalluk says:

    Stay savage Barry. Greece will still be here and they are being vigilant. I have written several poems around this recently and attach for you to read.

    Ode to Corona let’s defeat it on Kos

    As the world waits for Corona to try and stop it in its tracks people rush to stock up on food and clear the shelves and racks. But on this island peace abounds and like all, things life goes by slowly now and silently with no one out to catch your eye.

    Heeding to the warnings, to stay in, not go about , it’s strange to see no one drinking coffee an excuse to just go out. But time is used constructively, painting, building DIY still hopeful for the summer, still hopeful this menace will go by

    So silent now the atmosphere, no shouting, song or laughter no vehicles on the Epar Road , so few to see no matter. The sun is up, the wind blows strong, no rain about and yet no one to have an impact on, no one to bother or upset

    only the sound that Nature makes, Bees, Goats or Donkeys bray signify life still goes on not suspended for a day Let’s hope this act of selflessness, of keeping clear of others works to stop this menace killing parents, sisters, brothers.

    How long we’ll have to wait it out, who knows how long it’ll take Let’s hope we turn the tide on it and stop it in it’s wake. So when the sun comes out again to shine on tourists bright we can proudly say we won the battle without the need to fight.


    I have a poem in my head I must get out of bed the words are going around you see, it’s time to get them said So used to talking to myself and when answering discover my friends don’t know what I’m on about, they’re still stuck on the other

    So now the world has shrunk a lot and facebook is so clear it keeps us close to others, it keeps so many near the trouble is no one’s the same, no one knows what is right so many with opinions,some commiserate some fight

    so within our household Islands, some virtual that is true we need to stay focussed, caring, supportive do be careful what you’re saying, sometime soon you’ll be back out then time to return to normal , who knows what that’s about

    This distancing, unsocial, is hard for us to do that’s why we keep on posting, stay in touch with me and you But when the Virus is dead and gone and time to see each other we’ll maybe find we’re different now and a new way of life discover

    They are from my Just be an Expat Poet page

    Best wishes

    Sally Sent from my iPad


  2. derrick eveleigh says:

    Hi Barry
    Jenny and I had the pleasure of your company in lefteras three years ago. Our second symi trip. Increasing age and decreasing finance meant we were unlikely to visit symi again, but now it seems even more unlikely. Like you to symi we were heading to Portugal at easter, found small. more greek place on crete for June and fancied Kos for sept. Now it seems we will be lucky to go to Dartmoor for the day. Never mind, memories of hearing your adventures while supping Yanniss’ Mythos, coupled with Adriana pics and Steves’ “symi wind” will have to keep us going.
    Safe safe and hope you will be able to go on your travels again soon
    Derrick and Jenny

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