This is the second week of our holiday so Chris and myself are in sunny Devon whilst Lesley “mans the shop” for us. It is also a time for Jamie, (our grandson), to spend his 14 days quarantine at home while we are away, as he eventually managed to return home from California, where he went to visit his girlfriend and had been stuck since the middle of March– little did we know that would turn into a 6 month visit!
By this time next week, we should all be back to normal and that in itself will be something to look forward to. I say normal because I think after 6 months, we feel as though we have now settled into an alternative way of living our day to day home and work lives. This may be different to pre-lockdown but through the familiarity of current routines, the wearing of masks in public places, the frequent hand washing and sanitising, I really feel this is the normal we will be living with for the foreseeable future and in reality, it is not so bad.
The bigger frustrations come from the continuing inconsistencies and in particular with the travel restrictions – mind you, with the way that numbers of cases are on the rise again throughout mainland Europe, we are clearly a long way from being out of the woods anytime soon. Along with the increase in the number of cases, we are not as yet seeing the same spike in hospitalisations or deaths as yet, which is rather more positive but then again, those statistics by their very nature take longer to catch up – time will tell.
Like so many people, our travel plans have been curtailed this year and I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to visit Spain in the Spring but just at the moment, even that is not a certainty. With the schools having eventually gone back, there are very few children around, but everywhere we have been in Devon is very busy with staycationers and so I guess the home economy from that perspective is a clear winner. Mind you, the average age leaves us feeling relatively young which is an unexpected bonus!
I had wondered whether the negativity of the BBC reporting was limited just to the South East & London regions, but I can report that the South West are no different with one of the reporters looking as though she is about to burst out crying at any moment. Why these people cannot find a balanced way to report, rather than dwelling simply on the negatives I really don’t know. It’s time for a quotation from Oprah Winfrey I feel! “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
I was thinking about this as I was watching the TV this morning and there was an historical piece on about the sailing of the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers, which was 400 years ago today. Who in their right minds would set off to cross the Atlantic Ocean in September with all the potential Autumn storms to battle with and battle they did for 66 days before eventually dropping anchor near Cape Cod in New England. 102 passengers and 30 crew made that world changing journey and even though half of them did not survive the first year, we all know what their enterprise led to!
Another quote - as Aristotle once said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
On the financial front, there seems like little to comment on, other perhaps than the drop in inflation in the UK, largely attributed to the “eat out to help out” initiative in August which has now come to an end.
The stock markets have continued their daily swings in values, reacting to Trump or Brexit and depending on which politicians are hitting the headlines – the latest being the UK potentially breaking the law in regard to the EU withdrawal agreement, (which I don’t profess to really understand myself) – it all leaves me feeling that what is going on is like a giant game of snakes and ladders, just when you think we are making progress, up pops a snake and back down we go again! With that analogy though, at least we know with perseverance, someone will make it to the finish to win the game.
We are off for a day on Dartmoor now, (not trekking but sitting and enjoying the sun) to enjoy the views and hopefully to escape from the crowds.
As always, stay safe and take care.
With our best wishes
Richard Chris and Lesley