It has been a lockdown of two halves. On the one hand there are lucky folks like Jackie and me for whom it has been an overwhelmingly happy and revelatory experience. We have enjoyed countless exhilarating walks of great benefit to our physical health and during these expeditions we have discovered numerous enchanting spots, many within a stone’s throw of our house, which we would otherwise not have found. We have learnt through necessity that we are still capable of doing all our own housework and ironing, tending our garden and doing jobs around the house. In the process we have saved money and benefited from yet more exercise! And we’ve had time for many other things: sitting in the garden and marvelling at the birdsong, Jackie getting back into knitting after a gap of many years, reconnecting remotely with friends that we sadly seldom see, and more recently enjoying a number of ‘socially distanced’ barbeques in our garden. And what amazing weather it has been! Imagine what a cold, wet lock-down would have felt like. We have barbequed most evenings since Easter and normally you are lucky if you can flip the burgers six times every year. We spent a long while wondering where all this extra time had come from and then the penny dropped. We have not been away at weekends or on holiday – and we have saved a fortune! Other friends have likewise noticed a dramatic drop in their cost of living. But we are the lucky ones.
And then there is the other half. All those who have suffered financially because some of us are not eating out, not taking holidays, not having our houses cleaned or our gardens tended. Then there are those who have been self-isolating or shielding and those who live on their own and have suffered desperately from 12 weeks of isolation and dependency on others to provide them with necessities. There are all those who live in flats and shared accommodation, in small crowded spaces with no gardens to escape to, and often with bored and restless children to educate and entertain. And above all we must not forget the “key workers” – of course all those in health and social care but also those working in food stores, driving buses, collecting the garbage and in countless other vital roles where they are exposed to risk so we can carry on living.
Whichever of ‘the two halves’ you fall into we hope you have managed thus far to survive the crisis in reasonable health and with hope and anticipation of better things around the corner.
During the lockdown your committee has held regular Zoom meetings to work on future events, albeit with great uncertainty and obvious limitations. We are hoping to arrange a couple of picnics, possibly one at the end of July and the other, as you may have seen, in September in Richmond Park. We are also hopeful that in August we may be able to organise a socially distanced Thames Cruise for which there is considerable interest from frustrated boaters. And then there is our Bath and Bristol trip and our annual dinner – plus a possible pre-Christmas event – all of these totally dependent on how things develop over the coming weeks and months.
We hope you have enjoyed the postings on our TSCC Facebook page and, if you have not already joined, it would be wonderful to have you as a member. On a sad note, many of you will have known Ian Smith of Byfleet Boat Club who has tragically succumbed to Covid-19. Our thoughts go out to his wife Betsy and to his family.
We all look forward greatly to the time when “We’ll meet again” and we are keeping our fingers crossed it will be sooner not later. We will keep you posted.
Stay safe and keep smiling Mark