Culture

Regrets, I Have A Few

By Bernie Bell

Be warned – this is pretty much me thinking aloud – so if you’re not interested – there’s always the delete button!

Something that I’m pondering, is whether I’ll be able to do the things I used to do before Covid, after Covid has passed – not that I’ve  had it – thank goodness, no! – just when the situation has changed.

I’m getting old and have some health difficulties which mean that I can’t do much – not as much as I used to.  And this is progressing – slowly – but it is progressing.

I’m wondering if by the time I will feel comfortable about going among people again, will I be able to do what I’d like to, anyway?  Who knows.

We had a holiday to Skye planned for Spring 2020 – all planned, all booked – maps and books bought and a list prepared of what we wanted to do – acknowledging my limitations.  Covid hit – we thought “Maybe next year”. Then…. “Maybe next year.”  The books and maps are now in the cupboard, and I’m wondering if, when we feel able to I’ll…… be able to.

Then I tell myself that I’ve had a lot of good times – some very horrible times too – but a lot of good times, and travel. 

I’ve been to Orkney islands as well as Mainland Orkney, Kilmartin Glen, The Western Isles, over to Ireland to various places – not just my ‘home turf’,  some crackin’ places in Wales and England.  The ‘feel’ of Frenchman’s Creek in Cornwall is still with me.  When will someone make a film of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Frenchman’s Creek’, with Aiden Turner as the Frenchman?  Sigh.

Then, across the water on the other side to Paris – twice, Crete – including Knossos and the Gorge of Samaria – my lord – the Gorge of Samaria.  Seville and working at the Cota Donana in Spain.  Naples – and Rome and Capri and Ischia.  Portugal for our honeymoon – yay!

And now I live here in Orkney and the fact is, if I never go anywhere else again – that’s fine by me.

What I would like to be able to do is….go into Stromness, have lunch in Julia’s, raid the charity shops, have a look round the Museum, then meet Mike from work to come home.  Just – ordinary life.

I’m honestly not sure if, by the time I feel comfortable about doing that, I’ll be able to manage it.  But, as I say – I’ve had a lot of good times.

The world when the Covid situation clears/settles down/whatever it’s going to do – is for the young – but they need to stay healthy to be able to go for it when it’s actually, genuinely safe to do so, not squandering the little bits of ‘freedom‘ being fed to them.  Stay safe – pay attention – do the right things – so you can do more things, in a more relaxed way – eventually.

I just picked up an email from our friends in New Zealand – which has done so well, for so long……..

“We are just getting Omicron about to take off. Someone thought it was a good idea last w/e to put on a rock concert, now 8,000 people have been told to get tests ‘cos 100 people have tested positive from it and the numbers are expected to skyrocket. It may be our ‘super spreader event’.”

Think on, young persons, think on.

Meanwhile I’ll go for walks, and spend time in the garden with the frogs and the neighbour’s dogs – no’ a bad life.

Bay of Ireland, Orkney

3 replies »

  1. I’m not on Facebook, so I’ll respond to Michele Nicholls comment, here.

    It wasn’t a whole day – I wasn’t able to manage that – Mike would come home and collect me at lunchtime, take me into Stromness etc. etc.

    I ask you to read my article with more attention, and you’ll see that is pretty much the whole point – I was struggling before Covid ‘arrived’, am still struggling, struggling more – when might it be possible to even do what I used to be able to do? If ever.
    I don’t think it’s a lot to ask, to be able to have that modest pleasure. I’m not hankering after jetting away, as many are actually doing, at what cost to others? That is the point of what I’ve written.

    I don’t know if you read any of my other pieces in TON, but, if so, you’ll know that I have those concerns you mention about the world – very much so. I’m not able to do much, physically, but can participate by writing and pestering The Powers That Be, and I do so.

    I know where I am and what I do. I have faults, but complacency is not one of them.

    I get tired of this kind of sniping from folk who know nothing about me or my ways of seeing or being. It doesn’t help the struggling, at all.
    It could be said – why do I put myself forward then, and risk it? Mainly, to try to help others who might be feeling the same.

    Sometimes, admittedly, to let off steam.

    Which is what I’m doing here, now – so best stop and get on with my day – limited though that day might be. My plan for today is….to have a shower………which will tire me out. So it goes.

    I haven’t felt ‘well’ since October 2012 – I’ve adapted, and appreciate and enjoy what I can – which I have found to be more productive than bemoaning my lot. Here’s an example……

    https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/01/18/gardening-helps/

    • ‘And now I live here in Orkney and the fact is, if I never go anywhere else again – that’s fine by me.’
      Strangely, I had similar thoughts recently… sometimes when I have my philosophical moments.

      It doesn’t bugger me too much if I have to face the realities of becoming older and perhaps not being able to do a few things which would require a bit more less years on the clock… always wanted to go skiing in Greenland… but this may now remain a dream since it could well take another couple of years until I consider this to be safe(ish). At least I do not have too many regrets because I have done many enjoyable things in the past and can look back at precious memories.

      I find myself eeling for the younger generation, the ones who will have to live with the economic burden of the pandemic mismanagement, the ones who may either think twice before they embark on some activities and hence miss out life experiences or alternatively pursue them without a second thought and thereby possibly contribute to this situation being prolonged.

      My hopes concentrate around the fact that no pandemic has lasted forever… although the persistent burden of nasty endemic diseases can be very difficult too… and there should at some point be some light at the end of the tunnel, provided the next viral (or bacterial) pandemic doesn’t take off…

      But I guess there is a chance that life will not ever be exactly the way it used to be. And perhaps it should not: The pandemic has only laid bare many other issues which cause problems because the bill for the havoc we caused in the natural world and with our planet’s resources is being presented… consequences have become palpable… and will not quickly and easily be solved.
      Societies are divided, politically, economically… and solidarity with others appears to have moved to an all time low… which is the reason that many vulnerable may not really feel safe to join in at this time.

      But wasn’t hope the last thing at the very bottom of Pandora’s box?

  2. I’m not asking for or expecting life to be exactly as it was….

    “What I would like to be able to do is….go into Stromness, have lunch in Julia’s, raid the charity shops, have a look round the Museum, then meet Mike from work to come home. Just – ordinary life.”

    I don’t think it’s a lot to hope for (note choice of word) – and I don’t see how I was despoiling the planet when I was doing so. Lunch made mostly from local produce, charity shop purchases, visit the Museum. Meet my husband from work – who works in the Renewable Energy sector!

    I just don’t see how my innocent wishing for such a simple afternoon out has got me having to deal with this.

    We buy hardy anything new – we waste little – eat a lot of home grown food, re-cycle as much as we can. Donate what we can to help others.

    I don’t understand why I’m feeling beleaguered here, and feeling that I need to explain my – very modest – desire to go into Stromness.

    Maybe because on Wednesday someone called by our house, un-invited, un-announced – not vaccinated – no mask – and proceeded to question why I was wearing a mask and why I’m staying home now that restrictions are lifted. Berating me about getting vaccinated.

    I feel got at and like I can’t do right. And yet I look around me at selfishness and lack of thought on all sides. In fact, that’s something I was thinking recently, it’s as though there’s a tide of bad intent, hurt, harm and thoughtlessness washing around us. As though our little house is an island in this – a refuge, and it is – mostly – until someone turns up and berates me for living as I do – in my own home.

    I’m tired, tired, tired. All I was saying was – that I think wistfully of possibly spending my time that way again.

    One of the subjects of the argument I had with this person on Wednesday was – how long do we intend to live as we are doing now? And my answer was – as long as we believe it takes. Which is our choice. And that will be longer and longer as long as people like her behave as she is doing.

    Tired, tired, tired.

    This is when I feel like giving up and stopping writing – but I do believe that some of what I write helps some people – maybe – or so they tell me. I don’t know.

    One thing I know for sure – I’m not looking at this article again.

    I did point out to my delightful visitor, that even the plague went away eventually. It’s just a bugger to live through these times – but it’s what we have to do.
    ‘What cannot be cured, must be endured.” Another of my Mother’s sayings.

    Enough of this. I’ll now switch off this machine and catch the beginning of the 6 O’clock news. Deep Joy.

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