Posts Tagged ‘Virus’

Corona Chronicles Eight: GETTING LOST

I was reading The Guardian (30 March 2020, page 28), and was hit by the headline, “Mobiles mean children will no longer be free to get lost – Attenborough”. The article begins “Children will never again know true freedom because mobile phones mean they cannot get lost, David Attenborough has said.” Further on, he explains that this is something that those of us who are pre-mobile may have experienced, but is unlikely to be experienced by today’s teenagers,

In my most recent experience of being lost, I had a mobile with a map, but no compass. I was going to a conference in London and full of false confidence, I had booked an Uber Taxi. I departed the station and looked for a road sign, but could see none. I wondered around. On the map I could see a ‘blob’ moving, but I couldn’t work out where I was and I couldn’t orientate the map as the sun was obscured. I could feel a panic rising and decided to get a coffee and ask for help. I ordered another taxi, this time confident …. only to see it disappearing into the distance, as I hobbled after it, trying to attract the driver’s attention. I felt tearful. I gave it one more try and this time was rescued. It was a sobering moment. I might be able to navigate across the world, through forests and in mountains, but in an alien environment, the city, I am lost.

Port Quin. The Headland from the window.

Recently, pre- isolation, I went with a friend to Port Quin on the north Cornish, and looked longingly as the sunset over the headland. The next night I commented that I thought I could walk as far as that, but that I might be slow. “We must leave now, to get there and have time to get back before the light goes completely.” She was bemused that I could be so direct. She is not an outdoor person and said that outdoor people develop an innate knowledge of being on and moving through the environment. How could I work out. by looking at a map and the landscape, the time required? How would I know about the time it would take for the sun to move below the horizon? How could I judge that we would have enough ‘night sight’ to return to the cottage? This amused me.

The Headland at sun sets

I am a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition assessor, working mainly in the New Forest. I think it is this innate way of being in the outdoors that we are encouraging, along with many other things. I am always heartened when young people get lost and manage to sort out their position and put themselves back on the right track. I am also surprised at the numbers of adults I meet who seek reassurance from me, that they are on the right track, when faced with being a few metres from a carpark. Let’s hope that post-lockdown we will again be able to access the outdoors and have the valuable experience of getting lost and then finding ourselves …. and congratulate others when they experience the joy of this simple event.

The DofE group is ready to move off!

Corona Chronicles Seven: ADJUSTING

The last few days have been days of memories and reflecting on these memories as the First picture shows. In this post’s photo, I was on Braeriach in the Cairngorms . It would have been in the 1070s, probably at Easter, What adventures and what friendships!

I didn’t manage to get anything written yesterday. I had a day of adjusting! It was much like any other Saturday with shopping, joining a friend for coffee, time spent down by the sea – except I didn’t do any of these things. Shopping is only for essentials, meeting with friends doesn’t come under the social distancing and the sea front and the car parks have been closed except to the physically-able for exercise, so that counts me out at the moment. I did some laundry, but apart from that the time seemed to drift into eternity, which is the frightening thing. It would be so easy to lose track of timer and not accomplish many of the things on my to do list. I abandoned rowing yesterday and today, but will get back to it. I’ve pulled a muscle in my dodgy leg because of my enthusiasm, so I have had enough warnings that I must be more cautious. The best outcome yesterday, was making an orange drizzle cake. Baking is an escape, just as it was for my mother. I so wish i could make sponges and meringues as she did.

Orange Lake Cake (or Drizzle/ Downpou

Today has been another strange day. We’ve spoken to friends on the phone, eaten orange drizzle cake and I’ve cleaned the floors downstairs. This is always a bad sign. If the floor is visible does it really need to be cleaned? I didn’t think it was that bad but once the chore was completed, I knew it was. I treated myself to a gin and tonic. I managed to spray the tonic around the kitchen and the floor had a second wash. Fortunately there is enough of both gin and tonic for a few more days.

Dreams, memories and adventures on the shelves

The other thing I did, having read Robert Macfarlane’s Tweet about Jan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, was to look at my book shelves and the memories and dreams stored in them. I may never climb a mountain or even a rock face again. I might never be able to ski again, I certainly will never go caving again, but I can get in to the mountains to take photographs, paint, write and just wonder and I can make plans for other adventures.

The Mums climbing up from Durdle Door

Corona Chronicles Six: UPS and DOWNS

I am fortunate that I have had so many opportunities to travel, work and ‘play’. Two years ago we were in Vancouver, appreciating the amazing cityscape before setting off back to the UK. We had re-visited places we where we had been skiing some years ago and were completing our mountains to shore trip (See ‘From Summits to Shore’). I had also been here with my mother a couple of times, so it is a city full of memories. This time we were struck by the contrasts – an amazing city in a superb setting. Yet, there where some streets were the obvious poverty and social needs was so unexpected. How are those people fairing in the current situation?

Camera experiments

Just a month ago we were returning from Cardamom House, Tamilnadu, South India. Here we had had the time to read, write, paint and experiment with photography, as well as enjoying superb food and the company of our many Tamil friends. When we go to weddings and other functions I am hit by the number of people I know and the warmth of their friendship, whether we understand what each other is saying or not. I sometimes think I know more people there than I do at home, which is a sad thing to say. Life here can become quite narrow and isolating.

Sunshine and Showers, Cornish North Coast

Yesterday a friend telephoned. She had gone to the Estate where she worked. People who were self-employed had lost their jobs, others had lost their work, many could not access the Food Banks etc etc. The government, agencies and charities are trying to respond, but there are so many people in dire need and getting things set up takes time. By contrast, earlier I had received messages about how this kind of blog can prompt positive memories and raise the mood. Later, a friend telephoned to read a poem about friendship. These are such mixed times. I know I must remain positive for myself and for others. …. and I’m not rowing today. I am feeling stiff so I am having a rest day … and my yoga teacher has set up an online yoga session.