Monthly Archives: June 2020

We’re back – in Prague! The ‘new normal’

lovely prague

I started to write this blog on Friday evening, exactly a week since we arrived back from Spain, although it seems a lot longer – funny how the days rushed past when we were doing not very much over there, and yet this last week seems to have gone on for ages, what with packing up our office – poor Jan now spends hours at a time staring at the shredding machine instead of the swimming pool – paying several visits to the physio paper shredding(yup, I’m still limping horribly and getting grumpier by the day), and trying to see our friends (which has been lovely).  Oh, and doing a bit of work (Jan more than me).

Obviously a lot of our discussions have been comparing our experiences from lockdown, although most of my friends seem to remember more about what we were doing than I do, having read this blog diligently every day!  But it has been really interesting to hear from most of them how strict they have all been, even though the rules didn’t necessarily require it (and irrespective of where they are living).   All, though, have been a bit shocked and worried about how quickly everyone has gone back to normal – or, ‘the new normal’ as we all seem to be calling it (even though, here in Prague, it really does seem like the ‘old normal’.. but maybe I haven’t seen enough yet!).

Talking of the ‘new normal’ though, I read a very interesting article over the weekend by the Swedish epidemiologist (??) who has been under fire for not advising Sweden to go into a ‘proper’ lockdown.  He said that whilst he believes, now, that they should have been tougher at the beginning, he kind of explained it by also saying that we shouldn’t forget that all of the lockdowns have been primarily to protect the health systems from collapsing (and theirs didn’t).  He does agree, though, that locking down more might have saved some lives, but on a long-term basis he believes that his way forward will be seen to be the best – i.e. they have avoided economic disaster and the problems that come from cooping people up for months at a time, whilst at the same time locking down enough to ensure that their health system can cope, and have protected the vulnerable by imposing slightly stockholmstricter rules on them than on others.  AND, most importantly, they have trained everyone to accept the wearing of masks and social distancing as something that they will have to do forever (or words to that effect) as the virus is not going to go away – and people have accepted that as they haven’t really had to fight against anything else.  And that is the bit that I found interesting.

Since a lot of our friends are Brits, we are all, of course, worried about the situation there, particularly in view of the above.   For those of you that don’t know, the number of deaths each day are still in the hundreds and new infections in the thousands, even though the testing and tracking is so inefficient that it is hard to know where this number comes from (and compare this to Spain, Italy, France and others, who were being shown on English TV as disaster zones when they had similar numbers).  Despite that, the UK is as far down the ‘coming out of lockdown’ road as Spain when we left, which doesn’t bode well for the numbers in the future.   Why people are not being more disciplined (irrespective of what ‘rules’ or otherwise the Government is coming out with) is difficult to understand – presumably the half million people that pitched up in bournemouthBournemouth at the weekend to head for the beach are not all complete idiots? – but having only had various rules suggested, rather than being forced to follow them, no-one really seems to have taken on board the real need for care, whether now or in the future.  One of my friends suggested that perhaps it is just that they don’t read or watch the news, to which I responded that I think they maybe DO read AND watch the news, but it’s WHAT they read and watch that is so shockingly awful and tell such lies, that many of the people that flocked to Bournemouth, or anywhere else, have no real idea of what the country is really up against (nor how it is in other countries).

I remember when we arrived in Spain in early March, having come from Prague where there were so few infections, we were completely shocked to watch the news each evening and see people coming out of hospitals in hysterics having just been told that their husband/wife had died, the army driving trucks full of coffins, the doctors breaking down when interviewed having seen xx number of people die that night – it really Italian doctorbrought it home to us how serious the virus was, and explains why the Spanish, generally, (and the Alicante ladies in particular!!) were all so terrified.  Maybe it would help in the UK if the journalists showed a bit more of the horror in order to get the message across to the people that don’t want to know….

Anyway, back in Prague we attended a wedding on Saturday, which freaked me out a little bit.   The wedding itself was very nice – in the Old Town Hall on the Old Town Square, everyone dressed in their finery, and lovely weather.  But I am afraid I have to say that I did not feel at all comfortable being together with so many people in one room (none of whom I knew, other than the groom, a good friend of Jan’s) – all close together, no-one, of course, in masks, and with lots of kissing and hugging going on.  I am sure everyone thought that I was even snootier than usual as I tried to keep my distance (impossible), but, you know, I haven’t heard anyone saying that the virus keeps away from weddings, and whilst I realise that Prague has always had a low rate of wedding picinfection, blah, blah, blah, it is difficult to go more or less overnight from near solitary confinement to ‘party-on as normal’.    All very strange and for sure Jan and I are going to fight more and more over this as time goes on, as he is delighted that we are back in ‘the new normal’, whilst I want to get back to our reclusive life as soon as possible!    So, for a number of reasons, I headed home after the ceremony whilst Jan stayed on for the reception and appeared late in the evening in a pretty horrible state!

Yesterday, Sunday, I found something else interesting.   I woke up early (while you-know-who was recovering) and did some social media monitoring, and then decided to do a bit of Bollywood, then the 7 App and then 45 minutes on my new exercise bike.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to head to the beach or pool, but the sun was shining, so we spent a good part of the day sunbathing; what I realised, is, of course, that we human beings like our routines – so whilst in Spain we were shaken up for the first couple of weeks, we soon sorted out a ‘programme’ that worked for us and became our norm.  And the reason why I have felt so weird for the last week or so is that our ‘norm’ had to change again… the minute I went back to my Spanish programme, I was happy as Larry!  For now, things are looking up a bit!

And something else that cheered me up no end – I do love some of the videos that are put out on Twitter and Facebook, and one that I found the other day made me giggle.. plus I seems appropriate now that we are getting back to our ‘new normal’ life.  Have a look!


We’re Back in Prague – Day 6


I can’t quite believe that we have been back for five days already, but the first couple went by in a bit of a blur, and it wasn’t until Monday, really, that we started to feel ‘normal’.   Saturday wasn’t an easy day as we woke up to grey skies and rain which wasn’t exactly welcoming, but despite that we thought that we should try to do a bit of exercise before we got into anything else.   I was aware that my leg was feeling quite sore after all the travelling the day before (my legs always feel a bit swollen and heavy after jogging on one legflying (it’s a woman and age thing!) but this was worse than usual), and the minute that I started to jog after a bit of stretching (me going right out of our front door, Jan to the left), I realised that there was something not right as I could barely put my foot on the ground, so turned around to go back indoors and then found that I had brought my Spanish house keys, not Prague.   For God’s sake!.

So basically I was stuck outside in the rain for as long as Jan might run.  Thinking that my leg might loosen up a bit though, and on the basis that Jan doesn’t run that fast (apologies dear), I thought, stupidly, that if I hobbled as fast as possible to the park where I knew he was heading, I could loiter about and catch him on one of his rounds, take his keys and hobble back.   Up to a point that actually worked, since I found him relatively quickly, but by the time I had hobbled back, by then drowned, I had made my leg a lot worse and was thoroughly miserable.

Since the main reason why we absolutely had to get back to Prague now was to clear out our offices before the deadline of June 30th, once we had both dried off, the next thing was to head over to see just how much stuff we had to get rid of, store, smash, etc, and that was so horrifying that we decided that the only course of action for the rest of the day was to get back home and hide, and then maybe venture back the next day!  Actually part of the reason for that was that we wanted to watch the next stage of the Adria Tour (the tennis tournament that we watched last weekend in Belgrade, now in Zadar in adria tourCroatia) so that took up the rest of the day, and then I headed out to meet my friend Adam for dinner, with Jan joining us later, and that cheered us both up immensely – thank God, as it was all a bit miserable up until then (and, note, the restaurant was completely normal – no cleaning of the tables, no waiters in mask, no customers in Hazmat suits, etc, and we did hug (I wondered if we would, and knew that I would feel rather offended if we didn’t!).

On Sunday, though, with the sun shining and a bit of a more positive mood, we headed to the office and got started with the mammoth job of clearing and sorting, which, normally, we would have done over the course of three months, and instead have to manage in just 12 days!   Hmmm.   This is proving a bit of a challenge – for Jan as he is a bit of a ‘hoarder’ so he has a Hell of a lot of stuff to go through, and me as I am still on one leg, and my hay fever is much worse here than in Spain, so sorting through a lot of dusty papers and so on is not, exactly, what I want to be doing – but hey, now I really can appreciate wearing a mask!   I am not going to go on about office clearing as that is and has to be the focus of our days until the end of the month, so I could get very boring, plus when I am not clearing the office, I am spending my time either catching up with friends (lovely) or seeing my physio (not so lovely, but necessary). which explains why I don’t have a lot of exciting things to report on.    We have, though, been doing a few other bits and pieces similar to our days in Spain (I have already done some Bollywood and the 7 App, but still waiting for the exercise bike to arrive), plus, of course, I have found time to study the news in all three jurisdictions and rant on Twitter, as usual.

I must say, though, that I have felt quite discombobulated (I do so love that word as, even if you don’t know what it means, I am sure you can probably figure it out!) – even on crowds in parksSaturday, when we first ventured out, I was already taken aback by how little notice anyone took of social distancing – twice, during my hobble to look for Jan, I nearly collided with people walking the other way – I am so used to all of us naturally putting distance between ourselves, that I found it quite disconcerting and, dare I say it, shocking.   Plus so few people wearing masks – I know that everything is back to normal here, but I still found it strange, and actually having parked my car in the underground carpark in town on Monday (my first venture in) and then called the lift, which appeared with three unmasked guys already in situ, I almost freaked out, but masked mendecided that I have to get over it and got in nonetheless (now, isn’t that something… not so long ago I would have freaked out if a lift had arrived with three masked men inside.. now it is the other way around!).

I have also been to the gym (necessary, with only one leg working and no bike at home) and seen my trainer, Vlad, but not yet managed to meet up with Vitek (tennis coach) as, of course, tennis is out of the question at the moment.   The gym was interesting – the receptionist, as I would have expected, was wearing a mask, but otherwise everyone else was working out as usual (to the point that I noticed several people getting off the machines and not bothering to clean them (which annoys me at the best of times)), men in gymplus a couple of guys (Americans) did have masks around their necks… not quite sure of the point of that…  Plus I had my first tram trip yesterday, which I didn’t much like (partly as it was crowded and people were coughing and sneezing a lot (but masked), and partly as getting on and off proved a challenge with one leg not very operational!)

It is all a bit odd.  As I have mentioned before, I used to be a very brave girl, and I absolutely don’t like being a bit of a ‘pussy’, but those 100 days have changed me a bit, and I can see how easy it could be to slip into almost agoraphobia – especially if we hadn’t had the last few weeks of ‘freedom’ in Spain.  I also can’t help but think that even though the CR handled everything so well and had so few cases, this may just be happening a bit too quickly.   Which leads me back to the Adria Tour.

I think I mentioned in my blog last week that we were surprised to see the whole tournament in Belgrade taking place as if there had been no virus (which, in Serbia, is almost true as they had very few cases), with packed crowds, lots of interaction between the ball boys, umpire and players, etc.   When they all arrived in Zadar, it looked pretty similar, although there were many fewer people in the crowd, and I suppose that you can’t really blame the players and their teams for going out and partying every night since Croatia, too, had very few cases.   But when we watched Dimitrov fall apart on adria tour 2court on Saturday afternoon and heard that he had returned home that evening, I started to get a nasty feeling, which was proved right when it was then announced that he had the virus… and over the course of the next few days more announcements of positive results came out (the majority of the players), with the biggest of all from Nole himself…. what the ramifications will be on tennis for the coming months and sport in general, who knows…. but it certainly proved that the virus is still about, even in countries that have low numbers, and, despite what is generally thought, it can strike the young and very fit…. so maybe a bit more caution is still needed… we shall see.

More from me again soon!