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  • janenewaudby

Lock down Part II

So what's been happening? On a shared experience level, much strangeness. In a few weeks we have gone from the routines of our fast-moving-train lives, to a sort of extended bank holiday - with less flour. All the many key worker bees have carried on working (heroically or otherwise), and the rest of us clear out the back of our cupboards or cajole children into school work, or work from home, or all of the above at the same time. Many of us have been secretly and guiltily loving the quieter pace of our lives. The whole planet has been taking a breath.

Even as we have marveled at the peace and quiet all around, the bird song and clear skies, there has been darkness lurking below. This has taken shape in many forms, whether its fear of the virus itself (the Government has done a good job on that one), financial insecurity, anxiety about family, or just having to bear witness to the almighty Government f**k ups - not to speak of the collateral damage coming down the line. If there was ever a moment this country needed some decisive operational expertise, this was one. Sadly, these politicians can talk, they even have self belief, but can't seem to follow a logical train of thought. The hollowed out public services and reliance on outsourcing everything to the private sector have left the Government limbless. They have proved unable to implement anything (efficiently or otherwise). Don't they remember the security debacle at the London Olympics? If the private sector couldn't even organise itself to check a few bags and tickets (the army was drafted in to save the day), how on earth are the private sector supposed to run a nationwide track and trace? So much for "Take Back Control". On a national level, we can't even order, count or supply PPE. They probably would have been better off asking Tesco.

I try not to confront these many worries, because I have no control. I maybe allow myself a rant a week. Here we have structured our lives around checking up on friends, staying active, walking the cats..... some volunteering ... and trying to be a better ceramic artist. I've made two quilts, a Covid cushion (for my sister, an embroidered cushion that says "For my 30th birthday I got a Global Pandemic"), a cat bed (that the cat won't sleep in), 30 face masks for the community.... and tried to curate a clutch of ceramic work that is "exhibition worthy". My standards are impossibly high, but this has in itself helped the work improve a notch. All we need now are some tourists... preferably Covid free tourists. The community is naturally worried how these small Highland communities will cope when the influx of visitors starts. I hope folk put the sharpened pitch forks away when the tourists are allowed to come. The fact is that life cannot go on like this - in lock down. In the next stage, we will all be needing to adapt to a socially distanced life. I hope everyone remembers to be kind. I hope good things come of this; that we learn the right lessons so we are better prepared next time, that the economy is not shot to pieces and that the children are not too scarred by the whole thing. I also hope I see you all soon.

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