Covid Diaries Pt 1

Jan 9th

At the cottage in Curry Rivel. Lived here throughout my first years as a school teacher. Lived here alone for most of it. How long was it? 2008 until I met V in when? 2012?

Sitting beside the woodburner. There is still frost on the little leaves in the bed outside the window but snowdrops are out next to them, their pure white cones swaying gently in the wind.

Arrived here illegally – I think – last night. Sadiq Khan has called the situation in London a ‘major incident’ as hospitals are reaching capacity and the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.

We are in lockdown 03. The government hummed and hahed over Christmas and then they announced on Sunday that we would all be locked down again on Monday. They were still saying on Sunday that schools were ‘safe’ (Boris’s word). Secondaries were told they wouldn’t return until the 18th but they were still telling parents that primaries would go back on Monday and however million kids did go to school on Monday only for them to do another u-turn and tell them to stay at home on Tuesday.

It’s been a crazy week. For the first time in years I felt the old fear bubbling to the surface. The fizziness, the rapid heartbeat, the thinking too fast, the thinking too dark. The weather got cold and a fog descended on Bristol which never really lifted. On Thursday it just sat on us and never really left.

Jan 13th Clifton

Why the fear? It was fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of letting the side down. These things are embedded within me – I believe – from childhood. Or is that just an erroneous thought?

Anyway, whatever the case, it came back in abundance to bite me in the arse last week. It was the return to work but returning to a new type of working which up til now I had never done before. It probably didn’t help that I started the week high on a combo of opiates and sleeping pills which dissolved my self-esteem and made me a shell of my normal self. Why?? I had only seen a couple of tutorials on how to use Google Meet and so wasn’t feeling confident. What about enforcing mics and cameras off? What if I was trolled? What about the organisation? What about the order of the lesson? How do I complete the register? Etc..etc..

And then when I did have my first day last Friday it was…..fine. Of course. The kids were great. Responsive. Polite. Grateful. The only time there was a blunder was when I hadn’t allowed them to see the link so that they couldn’t sign in to the classroom. For 10 minutes I looked at myself on my laptop saying ‘Hello year 8. Are you there? Year 8??’ When I finally saw what I had done and turned on the camera icon the chat was lit up by a sudden deluge of ‘Hi Sir’, ‘Hi Sir’, ‘Hi Sir’,’Hi Sir’, ‘Hi Sir’, etc. Bless em for being patient. I’m learning by the day!

Just finished a tuition lesson with Theo. He’s only 11 and gets hyper and distracted quite easily especially I think at the moment because he has so much online learning to do. I think it’s stretching his retention span when it’s just him looking at a laptop every day. Think I probably need to be more creative with him next week rather than improve on his online teaching that he was doing yesterday.

Feeling a bit fizzy again now. Forcibly feel tremors in my face and neck and back like I’m shaking with cold. Shiver and shake. Shiver and shake.

Checked my blog about walking the Suffolk Coast Path and dealing with Dad’s death and wonder if I’ve finished it. I finished the walk on August 20th and up til now I’ve been editing it. As I heard someone say the other day about being successful at writing. ‘Just finish it.’ And then move on. A continuing thing for me is to try and stick at one thing. Between this sentence and the one 3 before I spent 10 minutes looking at my website, school emails, etc. If I get distracted and try to cover too much ground then I get less far with what I’m trying to do. It’s maintaining concentration and keeping at the same thing an not giving up that is a great lesson to learn.

Anyway, I think the wander blog might be done. And I think I should just leave it a while and then look at it. Do I add the entry for Shingle Street which I never wrote? It was in October last year. Amazing how Patrick Leigh Fermor (PLF) recounted all of his crazy adventure as an 18/19 year old when he was in his forties. My memory isn’t good enough but I do find that using photographs is a great way to remind me and can be used for helping with description and structuring the journey in a similar way, I guess, to how painters use them.

I want to see if the US Senate have decided to impeach Donald Trump fpr a second time today. It will be on C4 news in just over an hour. I’m cooking lamb chops for me and Jade tonight so must get them in beforehand so that I can concentrate.

Oh yes – that’s the third factor that contributed to my fear last Thursday. Trump had a rally in DC and encouraged his followers to ‘stop the steal’, still maintaining that he won the election when the courts have declared that Biden won it. He is accused of inciting violence last Thursday when a hardcore of Trump supporters broke into Congress resulting in the death of 5 people. Here are some of the quotes from that day:

Trump Jnr:

“The people who did nothing to stop the steal. This gathering should send a message to them: This isn’t their Republican party any more. This is Donald Trump’s.”

“If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it!”

Rudy Giuliani:

“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” he said. “But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let’s have trial by combat.”


“We will not take it any more,” he said.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong … I know everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building. To peacefully, patriotically make your voices heard.”

I note here that he actually does use the word ‘peacefully’ but the message is there and the blame for what happened afterwards. We’re all sick of the constant lies, the accusations, the lack of self responsibility, the conspiracy theories that are clearly and deliberately getting everyone razzed up into a fury which didn’t need to have happened. Why don’t they get it? Because social media allows for fake news. Those platforms now have more power and wealth than anyone has ever held before in business and surely therefore they now need to take editorial responsibility and culpability.

Enough of my pontificating and let’s get on with the lamb chops..

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