As my wife and I returned to Jersey from a pleasant family Christmas
in the UK, we contemplated what we had planned for 2020. A visit to
Paris in January to see the Francis Bacon exhibition at the Pompidou,
followed by a series of concerts around Europe to see favourites such
as John Prine, Elbow, and the exceptional Nick Cave, followed by the
late summer wedding of a nephew and his bride in Sorrento.
Perhaps it was an omen that our year started badly. On our first night
in Paris, and a mere 100 metres from our hotel at which we had recently
arrived, my wife tripped over a hidden bollard on a badly lit street and
broke her kneecap. This resulted in both a somewhat restricted visit and
an interesting journey home. However, everything is relative. John Prine
has to cancel our concert due to ill health and return to the USA, shortly
after which he died of COVID-19.
My overriding view of the pandemic is to reflect that despite the many
upsets, such as being unable to visit my elderly mother in her locked
down nursing home or my sick brother-in-law in hospital, we are so
much better off here in Jersey than if we were living in the UK. Blessed
with fantastic weather and a wonderful coastline, lock-down still
allowed us to take advantage of what Jersey has to offer, albeit on a
time restricted basis.
We constantly compared our situation to that of people in the UK living
in cities. Imagine living in a high rise flat in the east end of London with
all local parks closed. Once the lock-down rules were partially lifted,
we looked in horror on TV at those crammed and crowded beaches in
Brighton and Bournemouth, contrasting it with a near empty Archirondel
beach basking in the late morning sunshine.
I adjusted well to the new normal. I tried not to buy too much toilet
paper, but if everyone else is doing it, why take the moral high ground?
I coped well with social distancing, and whilst out walking, didn’t mind
very much at having to step off pavements to avoid three abreast
teenagers staring intently into their phones. I had no trouble with
supermarket queues, I just got there early and read a book until they
opened. I easily managed the wearing of a face mask. In fact, a friend
of my wife told me it suited me. However, I drew the line at elbow bump
greetings. How naff is that?
Finally, my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered a bereavement
or adverse economic impact over the last few months. Let’s all hope it
soon gets better.