Jilly: Independence Daze

Happy Fourth of July to the other Ladies, and to all American readers of 8LW. It’s been a year like no other, but I hope you found a suitable way to celebrate.

Here in Merrie England we’re also enjoying a very special weekend. The Prime Minister announced an easing of covid-19 lockdown measures, beginning yesterday, and suddenly all kinds of socially distanced fun and games are back on the cards.

Now that so many suspended activities are possible again, it’s been interesting to see which ones I’m desperate to return to and which ones I’ve decided can wait a little longer.

Home Visits
We’re allowed to receive visitors at home now, though outside is better and social distancing is de rigueur. We’re expecting an in-person visit from a real, live friend this afternoon. We’ll sit in the garden and keep our distance, but the idea of an in-the-flesh social interaction is thrilling. Humans are social animals, aren’t we? Zoom, Skype, and Facetime are better than nothing, but they don’t come close to a face to face catch-up. We’re expecting visits from another friend, maybe two, before the end of next week and I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t feel tempted to check out smart city center restaurants, but we’ve missed our weekly visit to the local Bangladeshi eatery. It’s part of the fabric of our neighborhood—everyone goes there. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s tasty and consistently good. The people who run the show are great—smart, hardworking, and kind. Dinner there is part of my routine, like taking a grocery delivery or writing a blog post. We like to eat early, when it’s nice and quiet. I’m looking forward to getting into that groove again.

It’s been four months since I had a haircut. Normally I get fretful if I hit the five-week mark. I’ve been going to the same stylist and colorist for around 20 years. I’m good friends with both, and with many other people at their salon. My stylist is a great supporter of my writing. He loves to talk creativity and gave me the germ of the idea that became the elan stories. My colorist usually works with celebrities around the world and is a great person to quiz for the latest ideas, trends and insights.

I can’t wait to see them, but I’ve been checking up on the covid-secure rules for running a salon and don’t envy them the task of putting the necessary measures in place. They’ll be trying to do everything right, delivering their best work while keeping their staff and clients safe. Balancing a waitlist of demanding clients while keeping the salon half-empty and adhering to their long list of protocols. I’ve decided to give them a few weeks, maybe a month. If the salon has settled into a new normal by the end of August, that will do nicely.

Our dental surgery re-opened. Whoo! My husband and I have appointments next week for check-ups that were canceled months ago. The experience is likely to be weird. Our dentist is chatty. His practice is friendly and informal. It’s going to be strange to see him kitted out in PPE and talking through a visor. I like him a lot, but I’ve never before thought of a dental check-up as a treat. I snapped up the first appointment I was offered and am feeling ridiculously excited about it.

From today people in England are allowed to travel for pleasure and to stay overnight in hotels, campsites and B&Bs. That was a popular decision—yesterday there were huge tailbacks on roads heading to the coast and well-known beauty spots.

We’re also starting to relax quarantine rules for arrivals from various countries. Airlines are scheduling flights, and apparently optimists are rushing to book holidays before their children go back to school (in September, assuming that goes to plan).

I’ve always enjoyed travel, and dear lord I’d love a change of scenery, but right now I feel no inclination to buy a train ticket or book a hotel, let alone hop on a plane. It’s partly the health risk, but at least as much the knowledge that the world could change again in the blink of an eye and we could find ourselves stranded, far from home, possibly for a very long time and potentially uninsured. I’m glad we’ve taken some very special trips over the years, because I can’t see us straying far from home unless/until the dust settles, and I’m guessing that may take years rather than months.

It’s exciting to feel that we may be returning to a kind of normality, though as I’m watching the rest of the world I have a sinking feeling that this may just be a lull before the next storm. I hope I’m wrong.

So…how’s your weekend going? And have you noticed a change in your priorities during these crazy days?

7 thoughts on “Jilly: Independence Daze

  1. I’m having trouble keeping up from week to week with what’s open for business, open for curbside pickup, open if it’s outside only, just open because it’s essential, or not open, so mostly, I don’t go out. I feel like I’m being irresponsible if I get in the car and go anywhere, even if it’s legal, when coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging in California, where I live. So Since Feb. 20, I’ve been to the grocery store four times, the pharmacy twice, and the hardware store once, all for essentials, and that’s it, except…

    a friend invited me to a socially distanced, mask-wearing, outdoor, four-person-only cocktail party on the Fourth, and I went. We discussed whether we feel safe. Who knows? It would have been safer if we hadn’t gone. Was the risk worth the opportunity to get together? Yes, if we don’t get sick. No, if we do.

    No country has handled this pandemic worse than the U.S., so for me, as happy as I am that England (and many other countries) are easing restrictions, it infuriates me that we are not in a position to be doing the same, having taken precautions early and often. Oh, well. At least I enjoy being at home. Have a good time at the dentist!

    • Well, the best laid plans and all that…

      Around noon on Sunday my husband had a horrible vertigo attack–he’s never had one before–and had to go to bed forthwith. So we cancelled our friend’s socially distant garden catch-up on Sunday afternoon. We didn’t make it to the dentist on Monday–he because he couldn’t get out of bed, me because I was too busy phoning our doctor. We cancelled the friend who was due to visit today (Tuesday) and I doubt we’ll make it to the Bangladeshi restaurant this week either.

      Good news is that he’s much better today. Still in bed, but on the mend. So hopefully all those good things can be rescheduled within the next week or two.

      The figures coming out of the US are scary and I can imagine it must be infuriating. It’s good that you enjoy being at home, because I don’t see this changing any time soon. Hope I’m wrong!

  2. Jilly, glad your husband is on the mend. I’ve had vertigo attacks from time to time and they are no fun at all.

    As for the loosening of restrictions, as Kay has mentioned, we’re on again / off again here in the US. For now, I’m staying at home with my head down. I’d love to be able to go out to a restaurant and browse through the aisles of a store, but for now it’s a quick dash to the grocery once a week for milk and other essentials and infrequent takeaway to help my favorite local restaurants/cafes remain solvent, but other than that, I’m continuing to shelter-in-place here.

    So glad to see other countries have gotten things under control and are slowly beginning to open up. I hope that positive trend will continue.

  3. We’ve got older people in the family (my MIL and an uncle and aunt who eat dinner and breakfast at our house), so we try to keep things down to essential trips, but it’s so hard.

    My MIL’s weekly stretch class started up again, so she’s been going to that and also shopping for groceries on the way home. We’ve had people in the house for the ceremonies for my FIL’s death anniversaries. (July 5th was the last official one; we’ve got another one for Obon holidays, and then it’ll be the one-year anniversary next March.) My husband has to take the trainees shopping, and I go shopping twice a week. My daughter was going to driving school, but now has her license, so we’re trying to plan people-free drives to beautiful places.

    I’ve somehow, despite handwashing and mask-wearing, managed to catch a summer cold with a sore throat and sneezes. (I’m hoping it’s not Covid. It’s probably not Covid. Please don’t let it be Covid!) So, I’m trying to stay away from other people until the symptoms go away.

    My district, Tokachi, has recently had a bunch of cases. For weeks and weeks, we’d had a total of four, but a family got sick, it seems. The priest who does the death anniversaries also carried along the gossip that one of the kids went to X elementary school, which is close to Y Department Store (where I bought flowers and snacks for the ceremony). So, I think we’re up to nine people with Covid all of a sudden.

    I’m really, really tempted to go to Costco to stock up before the Tokachi Wave, but Costco is in Sapporo, and they’ve got it worse than we do. So, I’ll just try to buy cheese here in Tokachi, and hope for the best.

    Going a bit Defoe, a bit Robinson Crusoe, a bit zombie apocalypse, but if worst comes to worst, we have liters and liters of milk and loads of garden veggies, so we’ll be fine until the first frost comes, at least.

    Stay safe, you guys! I know you are, but just saying it feels like I’m doing something . . . .

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