On Being A Hermit…………………

By Bernie Bell

I’ve had asthma all my life – grown out of it to some extent, and, I think just as importantly, have learnt to deal with it – I know what ‘triggers’ me, and try to avoid those things  A very long and sorry tale of mis-management of medication by medics, has left me with various other health problems. The main one is what would be called Fatigue Syndrome – I fight the label, and refer to it as a ‘tiredness thing’. Also, bad back and various other bits & pieces are amiss.

All this, plus my age – 64 – 65 next month! – means that, much as I resent admitting it, I count as a high risk person.

So – Mike came home from work as he wasn’t prepared to risk my health.  Others there with health problems, or partners with health problems, did so to.

On the way home, he did a lot of shopping, so, here we are, and here we’ll stay – ‘for the duration’ as they used to say in the war.  We haven’t stock-piled toilet roll!  Whatever is that all about? Coronavirus doesn’t give you the squits!

We had a holiday planned, on Skye in early May. The Skye holiday is cancelled – advice is to avoid unnecessary travel, and to head off to Skye and back,  in the present circumstances, would be irresponsible madness. So, we had a discussion, and we have cancelled the holiday.   The response we’ve had from the places that we’d booked to stay – who will be losing money hand over fist this season – has been understanding, supportive and generous – full or partial refunds all the way.

Worse things happen. The plan is there, so, when ‘normal’ life resumes, we’ll re-assess and maybe go in the autumn, or next spring.

It’s like a science fiction story, where a deadly virus attacks the earth, and the only way we can defeat it, is to stay in our ‘bubbles’ – not have contact with each other until the virus has no-one to feed on, and it fades away.  Though, we don’t have to actually stay in the house all the time, we can walk out.

We live on Orkney, and we can walk in beautiful places, and, if we meet people, greet them with Namaste https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/03/14/letters-a-very-short-letter-re-meeting-greeting/ , sending good vibes both ways, and carry on our walk.

I have sometimes toyed with the idea of being a hermit, but knew I’d never manage it – too much of a chatter-box/gob-shite (depending on your point of view!) – I need to interact with people. Now – I am a hermit – inter-acting through the Internet.

Could be a lot worse.

Where we live, is out in the country side – we describe it as being on the road to no-where, as no-one comes here, unless they live here, or are visiting.   We have neighbours who are near enough to keep an eye, but not too near!  That’s how we, and they, like it. Good neighbours – we keep an eye out for each other, are friendly, but not on top of each other.

People right in cities, might find it harder to get out, but, as far as I can tell, there isn’t a total ban on going outside – as long as folk don’t congregate or inter-act with each other.

That’s one good thing about the Internet and modern technology – people can be in contact that way, so, though we may have to be isolated, physically, we don’t have to be isolated, socially.  I received this, from Amnesty International  https://www.amnesty.org.uk/ , and I think it sums things up well….

“To play our part in response to Covid-19, I made the decision on Monday to send our team home and shut our office space. Thankfully, we are flexible and are all set up to work remotely and have various ways to stay in touch using the technology available to us.

This process has reminded me how we don’t want social distancing, just physical distancing. Right now, being socially connected is more important than ever. 

Think about the things that make you smile – a perfect cup of tea on the deck, your cat’s hilarious sleeping pose, the latest wisdom from your 7-year-old – and send it to someone who might need some joy. Take a photo so they see your face. Video-call people. The most important thing we can do right now is to ensure our shared humanity shines through and that we look out for each other…with care and with kindness.

The ways we have to work may be different. But together we will keep standing with humanity. We just might have to make sure we’re standing 2 meters apart!

Please get in touch if you have any thoughts to share, I always love hearing from our diverse and caring supporters.

In particular, if you have any ideas to keep spirits high, send them our way! It would be wonderful to hear from you. 

Take care,

Meg De Ronde
Executive Director

P.S. Where there are people, there’s always hope ❤Because our common humanity unites us all. You might like this video our team produced with 5 moments of hope from the Coronavirus crisis. 

A concerned cousin, who lives in Ireland, emailed me asking how we are, and I answered…… “I will do the things I’m supposed to do – being careful. If I catch the bug, I will, if I don’t catch the bug, I won’t. If I catch it and die, I will, if I don’t die, I won’t. That’s about all there is to say about it really. As always, worrying won’t achieve anything, so – I’m not worrying.  I’m behaving myself, hoping other people will also behave themselves ( some hope!), and getting on with life.”

That’s what my mother would have called ‘the top and bottom of it’ as far as I can see.

Strange days indeed – but we’re looking ahead.  That was our toast, last night, with a glass of wine – “The future – six months from now.”

To quote John Lennon – “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”

We keep on keeping on!  ‘East West  – Home’s Best.’

Bernie's House

credit:Fiona Hunter


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