Sure lockdown life’s tough, but it’s not exactly like a war, is it?
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Trudging ankle-deep in squelching unguent mud on a drizzly rural yomp the other day, my companion piped up: “Walking in mud always makes me think of soldiers in the First World War.”
Same here. I can never walk a swampy path without thoughts of those terrible trenches and how teenagers who should have been at school lived, lay wounded and died caked in cold, cloying mud.
We can never imagine the horrors, or the reality of living through a war.
The next day, I listened to some fool droning on comparing living through the coronavirus crisis as living through a war.
A war? Our children aren’t being drafted to the frontline, we’re not surviving on rations, despite the best efforts of the stupid and selfish stockpiling loo roll, bottled water and tinned food towers, we’re not living in daily fear that our homes will be bombed, shivering in air raid shelters or fearing a foreign dictator. Children aren’t being evacuated from danger zones where infection rates of the new variant are multiplying to the safer areas.
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But on he went about our “war”, the restrictions forced on us, our loss of freedoms, sounding like a hard done-by spoilt idiot. His spectacular whinge screamed ignorance and a humiliating lack of self-awareness.
If your idea of a war is staying at home as you’re told to do to keep yourself safe, ordering supermarket deliveries on your phone, sending out for takeaways, watching Netflix and earning your money at your kitchen table on computers supplied by your employer, then you should be ashamed at your lack of perspective and knowledge.
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And since when did winning a war depend on people acting responsibly and heeding professional advice to avoid falling foul of the enemy?
A snapshot of those horror trenches should have brought him to his senses.
It’s an insult to those who lived through wars to compare the hardship of restrictions and isolation with the real hardship of international conflict.
The virus is the enemy, of course, and fear of how it transmits and the lottery of how it effects different people, so fear of the unknown, is terrifying.
Controlling and eradicating it to make the population safe demands strategy and strong decisive leadership, much like a war, but that’s where the comparison can stop.
Dithering and delaying critical decisions makes the crisis worse, as we’ve seen by flip-flopping over when we should lock down, when we should play Christmas sardines with multiple households and swerving closing our borders to untested incomers.
But we all have personal responsibility to see off Covid, and the power individually to make a difference. All we have to do is keep out of each other’s way. It’s tough, but not a great hardship or terror of a war.
Don't go to the beach: Wherever we live in Norfolk or Suffolk, we believe we live by the coast.
It might be 30 miles away, but living by the sea it is. That’s the thing about coastal counties; residents claim the beaches as their own, even if they live inland. If a county has a coastline, it belongs to all residents.
It was never an issue until lockdown.
A quick nip to our coast to take the air and clear the head is second nature. It’s what we do.
To hear clifftop car parks are shut – and councils threatening to shut others – because of visitors flocking for seaside walks, makes us growl, until we realise that those ‘visitors’ who shouldn’t be walking there are us.
Beaches open for “local people” is where it gets parochial. Local isn’t Norfolk or Suffolk, it’s for those specific village and town people.
It is hard to swallow, especially for those in desperate need of the crunch of the sand beneath their wellies, the whoosh of the waves, sound of gulls and lungs full of sea air to remain calm, kill stress and restore to face another week indoors.
Sadly, taking exercise locally in lockdown doesn’t mean the nearest beach, unless you can walk there, however much we long it to be and believe it’s our right.
Now, with one in 50 of us with Covid, the more we stay at home, the sooner we’ll be back on our shorelines.
Don't be too hard on your self: Our hearts feel for the lonely elderly and the young feeling caged at home during lockdowns, and we’ve heard so much about their plight, but my biggest sympathies are with working parents of primary school children.
The few I know are at their wits end, frazzled and fraught, trying to do right by their children by cajoling them to keep up with the mountain of school work they have to download and distribute, explain and guide different age children through while composing themselves for the Zoom and Microsoft Teams screens for work, satisfying their employer demands and making sure their elderly parents are safe and looked after.
The ‘sandwich generation’ who had children relatively late in their 30s, now with elderly parents, are determined to be successful at homeschooling while trying to hold down a full-time job at home.
I don’t know how they do it. They sure don’t.
The stress of trying to do everything perfectly isn’t worth it. They’re not teachers so they should view themselves what they are – homework supervisors – and cut themselves some slack.