Social Distancing

So far, I have had three weeks of separation from my daughter, Harriet. 

It is one thing to still visit us when the government has ‘suggested’ we all stay at home, it’s something entirely different when you’re insisting on bringing your friend with you too, who is just down from London!

As advisory suggestions made by governmental bodies turn into demanding decree and the social distancing enforcement becomes more pronounced, Harriet has finally got it into her head that being in my vicinity is indeed something she should avoid and so she resorts to having conversations with me, enquiring about my health, from a safe distance outside and ‘through the square window’.

Alfie who is very mindful of bringing any form of contagion home with him, takes a full shower as soon as he enters and he puts his clothes in the wash, for that modern-day miracle to occur, where everything he places in the aforementioned receptacle magically returns to his room, washed and pressed, in a matter of days, if not minutes.

Social distancing has interesting side effects that can be witnessed on social media as, generally speaking, we develop a keen sense of community spirit. We begin to think of others, rather than just ourselves, that little bit more. Where once a cursory wave to her next-door sufficed, it is now replaced by actually, literally, enquiring if she is ok and if she is in possession of everything she needs. 

Thinking of the wider picture and ramifications of our actions, we monitor our own movements in an attempt to minimise contact with our fellow shoppers or workers as we gaze upon an approaching person with a mixture of undisguised disdain, lest they themselves be a carrier of the dreaded lurgy, about to infect all those around them.

On an aside, I have been witness to a member of the medical profession describing man flu as “the lurgy”, so I’ll take it as now being a recognised term in the echelons of medicuremental power and expertise.

A lurgy that lays one low for a few days on the sofa being cared for by one’s long-suffering wife is not something I am accustomed to. As most will know, I come from a stiff upper lip, don’t mention the war wound, carry on regardless, type of background. Being married to the least sensitive-in-these-matters person I know, where, “unless the bone is poking through or there are copious quantities of blood, I’m not even going to acknowledge your existence” type woman, together, from both Charlotte and me, there is precious little acknowledgement of any illness whatsoever in our household.

A lurgy that has already wiped out thousands upon thousands, where hospitals are being constructed at lightning speed to cater for multiple thousands more sufferers is, within our lifetime, something alarming and perturbing.

We are all used to minor irritants and localised disturbances, but on such a scale as this and one from which we are all now shying away, awaiting the whirling dervish tornado of Damocles’ scything sword to fall upon us, with seemingly no amount of prayer, to whichever god we turn to in our hour of need, able to protect us from this unseen enemy, is distressing to witness.

To our front line troops working on containment of this disease, to the construction engineers from our Armed Forces, drafted in for their special skills in building the Nightingale Hospitals, to the medical professionals who are in daily contact with those suffering. To all those who are endangering themselves in the pursuit of a cure whether by clinical trial or research, to all the laboratories and field agents and to everyone who is maintaining an effort to rid us of this plague….we all salute you.

As a family, we continue to do our part in social distancing. Not that initially Harriet thought in bringing her friend from London to meet me could possibly be an issue of concern under the current conditions and climate in which we are all embroiled. 

From the safety of the rear garden she waved and then licked the square window as I reclined on the sofa bed, basking in the amplified wintry sun’s rays that penetrated the glass of our conservatory.

I’m not too sure why licking the window was her preferred method of exhibiting love at a distance, but I accepted with good grace that at least she was on the other side of the glass and not invading my airspace with her contaminants!

Carry on regardless!


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