Saturday, 21 March 2020


I’ve been wondering if blogging is still appropriate in these uncertain times but, maybe now more than ever, we need to keep in touch with others ? And as we are no longer free to meet up in person, whether family, friends or neighbours, digital contacts are becoming more and more important? In good times we consider each other friends here in blogland, how much more need do we have of a friendly comment in fearful times. That’s what I think, anyway, and if you are still around, maybe you do too.

Although Valley’s End has no cases of coronavirus yet it is coming closer and closer and, no doubt, our tiny backwater will sooner or later fall prey. The village is preparing itself, the Good Neighbours group is recruiting under 70s to help with shopping, picking up prescriptions and keeping an eye on the vulnerable by phone. Over 70s are urged to avoid all social contact, stay at home except for walks in our beautiful countryside and, if meeting other walkers, to stand well away during chats. Naturally, stop and chat we will, a friendly place like ours prides itself on its networks of social interactions. Sadly, only at a distance now. Friends and acquaintances ring each other up - I’ve never had so many phone calls! - which helps a lot. Nobody must feel lost and forgotten and lacking assistance.

Personally I have been in isolation for a couple of weeks already, only Paul and the cleaner come. I still go to the village corner shop while we are free of the disease. The supermarket delivers to my door, as does the butcher. I read, garden a bit (it’s still rather chilly for longer hours outside), watch TV and DVDs,  go for solitary walks and speak to people on the phone. I have started to cook proper meals again too. Yesterday, for the first time in ages, I cooked meat and potatoes and vegetables. I even had gravy! I ate it at the kitchen table, poured myself a glass of wine to go with it and enjoyed the food like I haven’t ever enjoyed my quickly thrown together, cooked from frozen, dishes. My regime is not really all that different from ordinary days and still quite bearable. I have relaxed my routine, get up later and go to bed later, often reading into the night. I find that exercise is very important, sometimes, on a really lazy day, when I’ve not been outside at all, by bedtime my bottom and back hurt from all the sitting and I stagger up the stairs like a very old woman.

Now that we have passed the vernal equinox the days are longer than the nights and we welcome the warmer months. It should help with staying positive.

What really makes me very angry are people who say : “Well, if I get it, I get it.” People who take no notice of others’ vulnerability, who continue to go out and about without having a valid reason, who congregate in large groups. People who party regardless. I want to say to them : “It’s not about you, I don’t care if you get it, I don’t care how ill you get, I care about the people you infect, who might be somebody’s loved one, the valuable hospital space you take up, the health workers you might infect. Stopping the spread of the disease, that’s what's important, not your personal convenience.

So, dear friends, take care of yourselves and your loved ones and good luck to all of us. Back soon.


  1. I think that blogging becomes more important than ever at times like this. I have been fortunate to meet and become friends with three fellow bloggers, but countless others have become friends without us ever meeting. Thus a kind of support network is created, and I find that helpful, and rewarding too. So far, other than for the absence of socialization, our life has not changed much, and we are still able to get out and about. We will get through this.

  2. It is good to hear your days are good. It is much the same here. We have been home for a little over a week now. Our church is having services online. My husband works from home. Youngest son meets his friends online for his Wednesday night bible study. It's been okay. Like you, I want the cavalier people to stay home. It could burn itself out if we just stay put.

    I think blogging right now is very appropriate. 😊

  3. I totally believe blogging is appropriate at this time. We learn from each other, how we've coping, if we've coping and tips to keep ourselves from getting bored or feeling isolated. The state I live in went from 7 cases of the virus to 334 cases in just a week. If will grow faster now that they are testing. I'm hoping the statistics will get younger people to take this seriously.

  4. I think blogging is vital now. Some of us live alone and have little family,and the current crisis has closed all our social groups. So I'm paying attention to internet friends, taking care of them that way, and very happy when they reciprocate.

    It's a big part of sharing and is good for everyone's mental health! So please keep on.

  5. So far we don’t know anyone who has actually gotten the virus. My wife says she feels like we’re sitting around in our upper-middle-class bubble, with all our older, white suburban friends, safely protected from the storm, while others lose their jobs, suffer the economic consequences, or work in medicine or in the food industry and are forced to expose themselves to the danger for our benefit. She asks: Is this fair? And she wonders if, for us, this is just the quiet before the storm -- waiting to see if it will rumble past with no damage, or hit us full force and throw our peaceful protected world into chaos.

  6. Greetings from Alberta, friend Friko. Glad everything is well. Same here and the family over in Europe. I'm extra careful as am working in a hospital setting. Love, cat.

  7. I think it is important to keep on blogging. It gives us a life line to other people in the same situation. We are in isolation also. We are doing okay. Hopefully Minnesota will get an early spring! Just being outside helps! Stay safe!

  8. Blogging is most important for those who can still participate, especially as other social avenues close down. One thing I notice is that people in EU and beyond seem more cognizant of both the danger and the needs of elderly or vulnerable persons.It is slowly sinking in here, but not fast enough. Many younger people here are not observing the suggested distances between themselves and others, even as things close down around them. I hope you stay well and enjoy your cooking and other routines.

  9. I've taken the odd beach walk this past week. The stretch of sand I walk on is large enough for us to keep our distance. Some observe the rule of 'social distance' and some don't.

    The no. of cases in SF county, where I live, is now above 70. The neighboring county has registered 100 cases so far.

    I live on a normally bustling thoroughfare. As I write this comment, the street is absolutely silent.

    Be well, Bea. x

  10. I also think that blogging is, if anything, more important at the moment.
    As a confirmed introvert, social distancing suits me just fine. I know that it is a struggle for many.
    I have a cough and a cold (a different virus) and am doing my best to stay clear of people I may frighten.
    And, fortunately, it is still warm enough (and finally not too hot) to play in the garden. Ripping and tearing weeds can be remarkably therapeutic.
    Stay well.

  11. I agree with you Friko, people need to think about others and how they will cope if they get the virus. I'm in my sixties and in very good health but I have people in my family who do not have good immune systems, some older and some younger than me. We all need to remember the vulnerable and do what we can to unknowingly spread the virus through our unnecessary socializing with one another.

  12. Hi Friko, nice to meet you! We seem to have 'swapped' roles - I grew up in London, studied in London, Lincoln and Nottingham and then moved to Düsseldorf when I married a German. I was planning on returning after I retired, but I could never afford to live in London these days from my pension, so I'll stay here in Kaiserswerth, a little town I love.
    Good that we have blog contacts just now, as it is lonely at home alone, and I am somebody who likes to be outside - I have no 'Sitzfleisch'. All the best, hope to hear from you again, Valerie

  13. Like others, I find blogging a great connection, especially during these strange days. I sometimes feel like I'm on a beach, unable to get away, waiting for a tsunami to roll in. We are staying home, other than for essentials. I went to pick up groceries this morning and was shocked to see line ups outside the store - only 50 people allowed at a time.
    Stay well, Friko, your home-cooked meal sounds like it was delicious!

  14. Your last paragraph? I couldn't have said it better myself. I have never seen such an group of obviously self-centered people in the face of crisis. I suppose I should expect it but I'm too much of an optimist to really expect it.

    My routine is much the same and like you, in isolation, apart from Rick, though we stay the recommended six feet apart. A friend came by today and we talked through a crack in the door for a few minutes. While it feels odd to not have the freedom, I am in no way sorry I am staying in and am grateful that others are too, for their protection and for mine.

    I am glad you are blogging and as the others have mentioned, I feel it more critical than ever during a time when our other interactions are severely limited. Bloggers offer a wonderful kind of support, even if they can't bring food to the door or help with errands. But we have a great capacity to listen and that is so important these days. So please, don't stop.

  15. I don't know why younger people have such a blase attitude to the virus. Can't they think things through? How they can spread infection to the elderly through family contact at the very least. Stay safe and you are right about keeping in touch via the www.

    1. Young people tend to be very self centered and have a feeling of invulnerability. I do hope that they think it through and realize that casual contact affects dozens/hundreds of people that they don't know.

  16. blogging is one of the venues we have left to connect to others.

    i'll tell you how it's going where i am: there are very few actual cases near us, but we KNOW we aren't far from new york, and we KNOW that the cases there are all community transmissions so we know the virus is out there.

    it makes me sad and angry when i hear people talking about how it's not important to isolate, because "only the old and unwell will die" which is quite firmly a lie, but also because it's like they don't realize we can HEAR them when they tell us it's ok with them if we die, and it would pain them too much to interrupt their party.

    it burns my butt to hear people say "if i get it, i get it", because probably if i get it, i die. it's a simple fact of math: there are not enough ventilators to go around. health care workers are getting it, and they are dying at higher rates than the rest of us. medical supplies are running low, because nobody anticipated needing so much all at once.

    recovery times are long. if we don't slow the spread, there will not be any well people left to care for the sick. the sad thing is that some people will think all this is too much fuss unless they themselves cannot get care or their loved ones die.

  17. everything shared is so true
    and your last words do say it all.
    I have grandchildren in New York, my oldest granddaughter with a 2 1/2 year old and 4 month old baby
    Husband and these three have gone to his parents about an l 1/2 hours from N.Y. Also a grandson and wife live or did in New York. My son could not make it home from Thailand to be with me, also a granddaughter is a chef in Nantucket and her restaurant has closed.
    Scary times and I wish so there was family near me in my country cottage

  18. We keep home and go out to get groceries with sanitizer, wipes. We live in a different world. Our children will see their lives with a whole new view.

  19. I value all my friends, including those I only know online. Glad you are coping and I so agree with what you say about some other people's cavalier attitude.

  20. well, yes, blogging seemed to be on the decline but now it is a good way to stay connected. no confirmed cases in my town of less than 9,000 people but the next town over 12 miles down the road has a confirmed case. so it is creeping closer and closer. I'm a homebody anyway so things aren't so different for me so far but I am fortunate to be retired and my children are grown. I'm afraid there are a lot of people who are going to have to be up close and personal with the virus before they will believe it is a serious threat.

  21. Blogging is our safety net. It can be done completely safely. We can reach out to our blog buddies, some we have known for years, and it can be done on our own schedule and they can read on theirs.
    I live near a tiny town in Arkansas and I heard yesterday that we got our first case. Guess no where is safe. You are so right about the phones. I have never had so many phone calls in my life (well maybe when I was a teen) but I am not complaining.
    Sadly those who feel immune will make this last longer than it should.
    One day at a time.

  22. Of course we should keep blogging! There could be arguments made for blogging even more! (Hint, hint!) Just because the dastardly virus has decided to punish us, there's no reason we should punish ourselves further. Being connected online is a blessing in my book -- especially for people like you and me who aren't in the middle of a houseful of people. Every situation has upsides and downsides, and while I'm just as glad not to be trapped in a house with a dozen folks, it can get awfully quiet. I especially miss Dixie Rose now, but at least I have bird feeders up and can watch the birds and squirrels from my desk.

    I was lucky enough to spot the trend early on, as far as supplies go. The day I first heard about Costco being emptied by the ravening hordes, I got with it, and have all the sanitizer, tp, paper towels and general supplies I need. I'm well supplied with enough food to last for a month, and this morning I actually found things that had been missing for days: fresh veggies, cheese, yogurt, orange juice. Well, and Oreos. If I can stay out of the Oreos, it'll all be good.

    Work's a two-sided proposition. I've lost a good bit of work already, because even well-off people who hire boat workers are holding on to their cash. On the other hand, I have a couple of jobs that will keep me busy for the next month, and as long as I can leave the house, I can work. I'm generally more isolated out on the docks than anyone's being advised to be, so that's fine.

    I do think the hammer's about to drop on some of the young'uns who still are insisting on being out and about. They should have closed the beaches before our spring break, but at least they're doing it now. And New York's Governor Cuomo seems out of patience -- I'm not fond of all his policy positions, but he surely is emerging as a competent leader during this fraught time.

  23. Hi Friko - such wise words here - thank you for those. It's good people are contacting us and making sure we're all safe and well and if we need things. This is why I started a blog all those years ago ... thinking I might need something to do later in life to keep my brain active ... perhaps not quite anticipating things to happen this way.

    I'm pleased and reassured you're feeling more able to get on with things ... love the idea of the Aga supper - sounds just too delicious. Take care and all the best - Hilary

  24. In these troubling times I am happy I have blog friends far and near, such as you. Take care.

  25. Absolutely agree with you! They need to care about somebody besides themselves. I'm so glad to have blogger friends and email to keep in touch with all the people I know and family. Miss my grandsons and am grateful for video chats. At least there's no better time in that respect to be isolated. Stay safe!! :)

  26. Within spitting distance of eighty years, I'm living especially close to the ground now. I have no near friends or far; they're all beyond reach and out of sight. Our proximity consists of our words to one another, which nowadays can travel swifter than our thoughts.
    Thanks for your marvelous, honest, thoughtful, compassionate, vulnerable blog.

  27. Blog write call FaceTime etc. we need to be apart yet together.

  28. Dear Friko,
    I completely agree with you. Young people get this virus easily, but also infect others. As you know, I live in a big city, more than 5 million people. Already there are patients in the infectious diseases hospital. There is always a danger to the elderly in public transport or in the store. I try to walk more, away from people, rarely go to the store. If the elderly are not allowed to leave the house, I will order food from the store. There is enough food there, there are medicines in the pharmacy, but no masks.
    It’s so good that your neighbors are helping lonely and sick elderly people, that your friends are constantly calling you. You’re doing great work little by little in the garden with the gardener. But try not to catch a cold, the weather is still not warm.

  29. You are so right about exercise, Friko. Like you, I feel stiff and like a very old woman when I have spent the day without getting off my chair much. Thankfully, the weather has been mostly beautiful here, with the exception of Saturday, and so I have been out walking every day (even on Saturday, taking a spot of shopping to my parents and to my neighbour who is 88 and should not run the risk of infection by going to the shops herself).
    I am used to working from home, so the change is not that big to me - and I definitely do not miss having to use our unreliable public transports for the trips to and from my clients!

  30. Why shouldn't we use any (non-corporeal) means of saying, at the least, "I'm still here"? True, as so often, one's only saying much the same as others, but the meaning of communication often isn't on the content so much as the simple fact of communicating - anything. My life hasn't changed much, being a bit of an introvert, so I fit the official recommendations, quite easily: quick trip over the road to pick up the morning paper, occasional walks or local bike rides (at the due distance!), as few trips for groceries as I can manage, otherwise, stay at home and catch up on all those books, little projects, and accumulated recordings of TV programmes. And now there are apparently more and more online streamed (free!) concerts and plays: I wonder if that's going to herald a permanent shift in people's habits? I bet the CofE will be taking note of the fact that - if my paper has reported correctly - online "congregrations" for livestreamed services have been anything up to ten times as many as in real life.

  31. So agree with you, Friko. Keep safe xx

  32. I'm glad you are making use of blogging to help everyone keep in touch -- maybe it is as with the social distancing, not about me, whether I get the disease, but about the well being of the other people, which ends up meaning All of Us... Some of us may not feel the need for extra virtual togetherness in the absence of real hugs, but I notice just now, in myself, happiness to see that you have written some blog posts :-) Why should I care, I who don't really know you? I don't know, maybe it is just that you have become part of my Blog Town, and you are part of that community of mine. Thank you!!


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