Lockdown Notes

Our Secretary Tony shares his experience of lock-down.

Lockdown – how was it for me? Well, I’ve certainly not been bored & I’ve also not put on an extra stone, both of which, so I’ve read, seem to be characteristic of the current situation. 

Maybe I’ve been lucky. We have quite a large garden & the spell of good weather has prompted my wife, who is the head gardener, to tackle the backlog of work that has been accumulating over recent years. That means that I, as garden labourer and freed from the chore of lawn mowing by the very dry weather, have been busy with saw, secateurs and mattock pruning bushes & rooting up saplings. Our garden waste bin has been ready for the council to empty every week. 

Having had to cancel all our external commitments we’ve had plenty of time to choose from the cornucopia of plays, films, concerts and operas that is available online. I’ve been impressed by the ability of performers, particularly musicians, to creatively exploit technology and form performing groups of all shapes and sizes. The results have been impressive and very entertaining. 

What, if anything has changed as a result of the lockdown? It has certainly forced me to examine the balance I try to maintain between external activities that I commit to and internal activities that I can enjoy at my own pace and time. My wife says that less rushing around meeting deadlines has been good for us both. The enemy, of course, is laziness – it would be easy just to stay in bed all day! 

I’ve also had to extend my risk management. We all do this all the time – is it safe to cross the road? should I eat those leftovers that have been in the ‘fridge for a week? To these must now be added: how do I protect myself from the virus? As a good humanist I do not believe that I am naturally exempt, nor that some supernatural being or some unproven quack remedy will protect me. I have to manage two risks: first, how likely is it that I’ll catch the virus and, second, how likely is it that, if I catch the virus, I’ll be seriously ill? The answer to the first question is now, I believe, pretty low provided I stay out of confined and crowded places, don’t engage in long and close conversations with other people, and be careful what I touch. The answer to the second question is pretty high, since I’m in an ‘at risk’ group. Taken together, I figure that my risk of getting seriously ill is quite low provided I behave sensibly. As the lockdown regulations are gradually relaxed everyone will need to make similar risk assessments. It’s called common sense. 

Tony Brewer, May 2020 

Tony also shared with us his top example of the ingenuity of musicians during the corona crisis – this is the International Opera Choir of Rome coming together to “revive our minds and days” with Va pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco. Enjoy!