… so wrote TS Eliot in my favourite poem, The Waste Land. How prescient that poem seems right now, consider these lines:
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
At the end of each month, as part of my retirement transition journey, I try to set myself a few challenges. With the lockdown taking away not only life – but also the joy of travel, socialising, sport, eating out – my aims for April were very different to a typical month.
I gave up my 30 day ab challenge – which also included some exercises to ease my aching arthritic shoulder – when it started getting difficult on day 12! Nor did I stick to the cycling I’d planned. In many ways I find it physically harder than running and it’s just not pleasant- even on the lockdown’s quieter roads – when a lorry roars past just a little bit too close. I also had this bizarre idea I’d practice some dance moves so I was ready to party when the time came but just didn’t feel in the party mood.
One thing that has been a success is our new meals plan. With restaurant meals no longer being an option we’re now making more of an effort to vary our cooking. We started planning our meals on a fortnightly basis rather than rotating the same few dishes week after week. Now meals such as superfood salads, moussaka, halloumi and chorizo kebabs sit alongside our normal staples of stir fry, jacket potato and Sunday roasts.
I’m still managing to keep fit and keep my weight below the all-important 12 stones mark. I put this mainly down to my running which I’ve upped from the 5k jog I used to do on the gym treadmill every other day to 10k runs twice a week outside. I always used to feel a little anxious about outdoor running, I found it harder and was less confident about doing the distance without stopping. I don’t feel like that anymore and now enjoy jogging in the great outdoors.
I’ve done great things to the garden, really proud of how it’s looking now – shame no-one can see it! With the weather turning bad I’m improving the inside of the house now, just about to start painting a couple of bedrooms which will give me some all-important focus for the next few days.
At the beginning of April, I was dubious about whether the virus really would really have the impact many feared. Deep down I thought governments were over-reacting and death counts would be not be that dissimilar to those brought about by a typical flu. How wrong I was and how sad it’s been to watch some of our Government’s mistakes particularly as we tragically see the death counts spiral in our care homes.
Goodbye and good riddance April, I say, and let’s hope May brings happier days.