Staying at home 5: Is it all real? (Yes.)


“As of 5pm on 20 June, of those who tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, across all settings, 42,632 have died.”
Source:, 22 June 2020

The sun is shining once again, after a week or so of clouds and rain and the occasional thunderstorm. Looking up into the sky and watching the swifts zooming about after their insectivorous prey it’s hard to believe that there is anything wrong ‘out there’ in the wider world. I don’t know anyone who has contracted COVID-19, I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who’s contracted COVID-19.

Supermarkets have limited shoppers to one-at-a-time entry so we have a weekly ritual; her indoors, the memsahib, Kath, walks down to Sainsbury’s to do a weekly shop; she is far better qualified that I am, I’d come back with crisps, chocolate and beer but I digress. When she has finished and is on her way to the checkout, she rings me and I walk down to meet her and carry the shopping bags back. In the early days of lockdown the streets and the roads were pretty deserted and giving someone a wide berth of at least two metres wasn’t really a problem. I’d often and quite happily step out into the road, the A416 through Chesham, to give people coming the other way plenty of room. Some even smiled and said thank you.

What is wrong with these people?

In recent weeks there are more people about and more traffic on the roads so stepping into the road had become somewhat more problematic but not impossible. Meeting others on the narrow pavements though, plodding along like they owned the place, two or even three abreast and showing no signs of wanting to make room for me or anyone else has only served to reaffirm that there is a sense of normality returning.

Maybe it’s me but I’ve always been one to make way for others on the pavements. If Kath and I are walking along, side by side and we meet another couple coming in the opposite direction, I always drop back and we go single file to pass them because the pavements around here are not very wide. More often than not the other couple maintain their two abreast stance right up until the last minute when one of them will do the “shoulder pull-in” to avoid bumping into us. What is wrong with these people?

Anyway, the last time I went down to fetch the shopping back I walked out into the road to give some people on the pavement the government-requested two metre clearance. I slowed down and choosing my moment and looking for a suitable gap in the traffic, I walked out between two parked cars and into the traffic flow, which thankfully wasn’t moving too fast. I could hear the car behind me slow down but again thankfully it was driven I think by one of the more benign ones, there was no beeping of horns or engine revving.

Let’s talk about blue tits.

42,632; that’s just over twice the population of Chesham; times are not normal and we should not pretend that they are but staying at home, or staying alert as it’s been re-branded since I last wrote of staying at home, has its rewards. I wrote back in March of a pair of jackdaws building a nest between chimney pots on a house across the other side of the road, there’s always a few jackdaws coming and going and I’m guessing that by now they’ve reared their offspring but let’s talk about blue tits.

When we moved in to this house some twenty years ago there was a battered nesting box on the wall of the (downstairs) bathroom extension, these houses were built without such luxuries back in 1903. I took the nesting box down, repaired it and put it back where it had been, more in hope than expectation. Over the years we’ve seen the occasional visitor to it but nobody has taken up residence, until this year that is.

Look, I really meant to write more often about this staying at home lark but since “Staying at home 3”, the blue tits have nested, hatched and reared a small brood. Flushed with success I gathered several pieces of scrap wood that I had in the garden shed and built another nesting box, I kid you not. It now hangs on the other side of the bathroom, vacant, to let…

I grew a beard and then shaved it off, it was a lot greyer than the last time I grew a beard, some 13 years ago…
I have to admit, I quite like the look of the beard, that’s why I’ve used it on my profile photo in the “About” section; the beard itself I just couldn’t get on with so it had to go.

I’ve extended the baseboard that I put together back in March so now the trains have a slightly longer run, only slightly but it keeps me smiling.

I rebuilt the garden bird-table which we inherited from Kath’s mum many years ago. It was looking rather forlorn, not that the birds seem to mind, they still poop on it.

Is it all real?

42,632; is all it real? Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that there is a pandemic, that there is in general circulation a virus that causes a disease that there is as yet no cure for, a disease that some people will contract and think they’ve got a mild cold, a disease that others will contract and die.

Certainly watching the TV news, and yes, I relapsed and began to watch the news again, you get the impression that other things matter more than social distancing and controlling the spread of the virus. I watched with dismay the Cummings and goings; I sat outside and watched the blue tits tirelessly collecting grubs and feeding their brood.

The travel industry are moaning that their businesses are in jeopardy if lockdown continues, yes, the travel industry who fly, or used to a few months back, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, the travel industry without who the spread of the virus would have been much reduced. Makes you think, eh?

So now I’m staying alert by staying at home and, um, staying alert.

This virus SARS-CoV-2, this disease COVID-19, are they real, is it really happening out there? Well, yes, it is all real, not that I was seriously suggesting that it all might be some sort of fake news event, it’s just that as I wrote above, it’s difficult to believe sometimes.

I see Mr. Trump, has got a handle on things though, he reasons that because there is so much testing for COVID-19 in the US that therefore more cases are being found so he says he asked “his people” to slow the testing down. Brilliant and so simple. Why didn’t our mob think of that?

One thought on “Staying at home 5: Is it all real? (Yes.)

  1. love the birds and their little houses. you are so right about all the selfishness re social distancing, though I am finding it increasingly difficult. . The parks and streets are all beginning to be crowded too. I have known quite a few people who have had it and recovered; and of several who haven’t. It’s a horrible disease

    Liked by 1 person

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