New Monkland and Greengairs Parish Church

Karen is a sailing friend of mine she's not really a "God botherer", but here is her COVID experience from Blyth in Northumberland...

I live on my own in a small town in Northumberland. I’m self-employed and I work from home. My parents and my partner live within a mile of my home and my close friends are nearby.

I don’t watch the news. I read bits online – BBC/The Guardian – that’s my “balance” of views. I skim. If I go too far into it all I will tip over the edge into hysteria. I try to keep it contained.

The first few days of lockdown were strange. I live in an upstairs flat, on a busy road, which is one of the main routes out of the town I live in. I saw people walking at 4 and 5am in the morning, I watched buses go by, with no passengers on them. Hardly any other traffic. I watched my mam walk past my window every day. We waved to each other, a thumbs up and a wry smile. My partner communicated via text. It was lonely. Enforced.

A while later, I went out again, for my “allowed” hour of exercise. There were a lot of people exercising in previously quiet places. Lots of people avoided eye contact – even people who had previously said hello.

Then it all became “normal”. Although I couldn’t see my friends in the traditional sense, we chatted online or walked with each other – at a distance. No hugs.

Then it was a bit more relaxed. I managed to escape to Scotland a couple of times. I was lucky. Good times and lovely friends. But it was still not the same. Masks in shops, distancing, just… weird.

And then – having the door opened and then shut again. Frustrating, annoying, accepting that this was the way for now. Quiet Christmas and New Year, get it over with, let’s move on, next year will be better!

Well it’s January. Bit bleak, but, there’s light on the way. There is!

Throughout all the Covid hoohar, I’ve been fortunate enough to have enough work to keep me going. Parents to worry about (no need, as they’re as strong as anything). Friends to keep me from going mad. A crazy partner who motivates me to go out and run through mud and climb hills in the snow.

Nature has helped me through this. In the early months and throughout the summer I was up before the sunrise and appreciated the stillness. Listening to birds and the sea and the quiet time before the buses and the traffic.

Even though I can complain and think I’m badly off, I’m not. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. We just need to be brave and say if we’re struggling to cope.
Don’t give up.
Don’t suffer in silence.

Karen :o)

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