January and February 2020. Two months I can now scarcely remember. The distant past where meeting friends for a coffee or a walk, giving grandchildren a hug and kiss, complaining about the crowded S-Bahn are all distant memories. A mild Berlin winter by all accounts. Rumblings of a nasty virus which was killing many Chinese people. But China is far away. A problem for the Chinese!
By early-March I was looking forward to a long weekend in London with my sister followed by a break in the sun and meeting my two cousins in Mallorca! The thought of some sunshine is one of the last memories of normality. In Mallorca I met up with old friends for a few long lunches, but already there was talk of Italy and the virus. Thousands already dead in Madrid! The sun was shining, summer was around the corner, but there was an uncanny feeling of the unknown around that corner. My two cousins flew in and we had a wonderful catch up! A long walk by the crystal-clear Mediterranean and a fish lunch. By the next day, whoosh! Life changed and it has not been the same since!!
British airlines flying to Mallorca were turning back to the UK. Rumours, rumours. Within twenty-four hours, we were under lockdown. A word which is now normal but seemed frightening at the time. Only allowed out of our hotel to go to the supermarket or to the chemist. No sitting outside, all restaurants, cafes and bars closed! Just like that!! The police presence was noticeable.
My cousins managed to get a flight back to the UK, and the hotel was emptying around me. The staff getting very worried about their jobs and their future. Worried guests wandering around the hotel waiting for news of flights. One of my flights was cancelled, but soon I was on my way back to Germany. Next task was to get my husband home from Nigeria. The world was changing around us. He made it and our life then changed to being one of staying at home!
How do you re-adjust to such a change? Normal routine gone! Only going to the supermarket when you must. Initially, like many of us, cleaning, catching up with jobs we never had time, or an interest to do, sorting out photos and making photo albums. Chatting to friends on the telephone, trying out new recipes. Lots of new soups – why is it that soup is so comforting?
Luckily, I live on the edge of the Tiergarten and enjoy a walk every day. Being the Co-ordinator of the BIWC Walking in Tiergarten group, I continue to send my weekly reminder. This always engages the group and lots of e-mails flow and we all have a catch up! I have taken many photographs and share the progress of spring in Tiergarten with our walkers and with you all.
Of course, I miss my little grandchildren as, I am sure, many do. This is where the virus is so cruel, but we must stay positive. I read a book every day and video it. I also prepare crafts for them to do, but at their house!! Gosh I do miss Play-Doh on my kitchen floor, paint on the walls and crumbs in the sofa!
Keeping a strong and positive mind is important. But, like many of us, I have experienced the odd weepy day. But I give myself a talking to!! We need to stay strong.
I keep telling myself that the Earth has closed itself down for a while for repair!!