This week the UK went into lockdown stating:
“People may only leave home to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items, and to fulfil any medical or care needs. Shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited”.
Since my last post two weeks ago the confirmed number of cases in the UK has increased from 150 to over 11,500, and sadly the death toll increases daily. The NHS has a website with clear advice for the population. The John Hopkins University interactive map is a good resource for statistics on this pandemic plus there is the WHO situation dashboard. Public Health England also has a good link.
Here in Cumbria, the town of Whitehaven is eerily quiet. Usually in the mornings we hear cars rumbling by on nearby roads as the smell of coffee and bacon butties steam out from nearby cafes. Now, nothing except screeching seabirds and barking dogs. People out for exercise are practising social distancing as they walk their pooches along the waterfront. The dogs are the clear winners at this time.
Over the past week I’ve gone out couple of times to get some fresh Irish Sea air and sunshine as I walk along the daffodil strewn cliffs, maintaining a visible distance between other walkers. Unlike a house we can’t walk around the boat so it’s nice to get out for an hour a day in the fresh air to clear the head.
The winter storms have eased and the past few days have been delightfully sunny and warm – it reached 13degC today! The light breeze blowing over the Irish Sea is teasing my senses – I’ve never wanted to sail away as much as I do now!
Last weekend I popped into Aldi and their shelves were bursting with groceries – no problem there. Tesco’s shelves have run out of many items. Yesterday I went to grab a few ‘essentials’ at Tesco located next to the boatyard. They’ve now introduced a maximum limit of customers within the store at one time and others waiting to enter must line up outside leaving a 2m buffer between each other. Shop assistants wear rubber gloves and ask that customers stay clear of them at all times. Contactless payments in the UK are being increased to £45 from £30 to make payment easier without having to touch anything.
The cruising community, people like us who live on a boat, are uniquely suited to living in isolation for weeks at a time. Not only are we fully provisioned (as we had planned on sailing away next week for the summer season), we can find a multitude of ways to keep ourselves entertained or busy. We have also fine-tuned the art of doing everything slowly – perhaps reading a book, researching or knocking off a few jobs, which there’s always plenty of. Yesterday Wayne fitted some new outdoor speakers, and today I think I’ll polish the topsides…
I keep in contact with many sailors who are also in lockdown throughout the world. The Ocean Cruising Club as well as Noonsite and other Facebook sailing pages for various sailing locations are adding details of the lockdowns around the world. Some we know have passed through the Panama Canal only to now be stuck on the Pacific side as many Pacific Islands are no longer allowing entry by foreign vessels. For now at least we are thankful to have structured our lives to live simply, but who knows how long our luck will last.
This week the Whitehaven Marina closed with only a couple to run the marina. Yesterday the female and male shower block and loos were closed leaving one unisex toilet/shower open for people to use. With the majority of users being male, I now have to share my morning ablutions with stubble trimmings and vertical toilet seats. Clearly an opportunity for everyone to pitch in and keep shared spaces clean. My hands have never been so clean!
A big thank-you must go out to the real heroes of this pandemic – the health professionals, police, ambulance, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, cleaners, etc. – all putting themselves at risk for the sake of others. Also, a special thanks to the paramedics and health professionals in Bendigo who only last week saved my brother’s life – so thankful Australia has a great health care system.
So grow your hair, clean your stove, read a book, clean your fridge, do some sewing, stop hoarding, take it easy, if you can.
For the sake of others, follow the rules, #staysafestayhome.