Stretching out…….

By Bernie Bell

Now that regulations on movement have been lifted a bit  – someone suggested meeting up – not in our houses – but coming round, and us going for a walk.  This is someone that I do want to meet up with, but….. her suggestion kind of caught me on the hop a bit.  I’m not sure I’m ready to meet up and go for a walk with someone, just yet.  At the same time, I don’t want to be unwelcoming – I do like the idea of meeting with people again – I think it’s that – I have been so cautious, for so long, and have had very little contact with people apart from t’Internet – it seems a bit sudden.

I think I’ve got into the mind-set of how our life is now. I see our next-door neighbour and his dog in the garden, see other neighbours and their dogs when they’re out for walks.  I hadn’t realised I’d got so set into this way of being.

Mike and I have both liked him working at home, and our way of life now.  Exchanges and discussions by email, plus some real-life chats with people I know, and who know me and know how I am.  I was aware that I like living like this – a comfortable way to be.

Maybe I needed to be shaken out of the comfort-zone acquired in lock down.  But also, maybe I need to take a bit of time to adjust – see how to proceed.

Plenty of folk are possibly feeling something similar.

The suggestion of meeting someone I don’t know, and haven’t met before,  gave me something to think about.

It’s like when I had been very ill, was starting to recover, and starting to meet with people again.  I was a bit daunted by the prospect,  then decided to just go for it.  If any outings, or meetings, went well, fair enough.  If not, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

That’s something like how I feel about stretching out from the safety of my lock-down cocoon.  It’s a bit daunting, but I’ll go for it, bit by bit, ‘baby steps’,  and see how it goes.

When  movement first became less restricted, we went for a walk to Brodgar – it was the last place we went before lock down, and it seemed fitting to go there, first. While walking round the birdy walk, we met one of Mike’s work colleagues out from Stromness walking his dog, and, keeping our distance, we had a chat.

All round, that outing helped me to stretch out a bit.

After going out and about, I  definitely felt more comfortable about …outside contact.  That makes my prospective walking companion sound like an alien!

Meanwhile – apart from Mike’s careful trips to Stromness Co-op once a week, we won’t go to shops, not even the garden centre, or cafes and restaurants, until we’re absolutely sure that it is safe to do so.

I keep reminding myself  of the people of Eyam . It took 14 months for the plague to clear from the village, and they didn’t have t’Internet or phones or the telly to occupy them.  Or, for most of them – books – literacy wasn’t high among the population in those days. However, they will probably have had a different general attitude. Today, folk have a tendency to think that everything should be/must be there for them, all the time – well, sometimes that can’t be so, for one reason or another.  The people of Eyam may have had a more straight forward, resilient, self-reliant approach to life, as their way of life made that a necessity.

I hope it doesn’t take 14 months for the coronavirus to clear.  Apart from the obvious implications for …life in general,  I would like to be able to go to Stromness for a haircut before too long – my hair is getting out of control!

This reads, even to me, like I’m making more of a big thing of it than necessary, but, I need to feel my way – work with how I am, and do what I can, when I can. That how I manage my life, anyway.  Self-preservation.

Possibly a reasonable approach to life and it vagaries, generally.

My Mum used to say “Just because everyone puts their hand in the fire, it doesn’t mean that you do, too.”

With coronavirus, I read that as – just because others take big leaps, doesn’t mean that I do, too.

I would like to meet with people again –  circumstances will dictate when.

Bernie Bell

Maybe yes….maybe no?

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5 replies »

  1. Bernie, for those of us who are fortunate to have an easy-going relationship with our partners, have after getting shopping deliveries sorted, animals first of course, and a perfect location, lockdown was a dawdle. Last Friday we took our first trip out to our local Co-op and apart from fewer people about on a Friday it was all pretty normal.
    Going back to your mam, mine had a similar question, “If I jumped off the pier would you (me) do the same?” I’m sure all our parents had similar questions.

    • Well, Charlie, the lucky ones had parents who encouraged them to think for themselves. Many, many parents did, and still do, their best to instill in their children the need to ‘fit in’. Think like everyone else, be like everyone else – whatever you do, don’t be ‘different’, don’t ‘stand out from the crowd’. And we all know where that gets us.

  2. Bernie you go at your own pace otherwise the fretting you’ll do will be worse than the lockdown itself. Having asthma I too am in lockdown and have settled into a routine, so when Nicola announced it was being extended until 31st July I barely blinked, I know it’s for my own good. X amounts of weeks, months out my life just now are nothing compared to the weeks, months we have ahead to continue on our travels etc. I am very mindful that we are so very much luckier than some because of where we live and that it makes it easier in some regards but I believe we shall know when our hibernation ends. Just like the hedgehog et al we shall venture out when ready. Take care both. Hxxx

    • Thank you, Helen, for a very understanding response.

      As to the hedgehog, and hibernation? Well, I am a bear!

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