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 (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 stricter 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 Bournemouth 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 brought 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 infection, 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!