As I write this blog there are only 114 out of the original 336 hours of quarantine to go and all being well I’ll be asleep for 40 of them
I’m glad it’s only 14 not 40 days as it was of old. Before we’d ever heard of Covid I was in Malta over Christmas and while there I visited Sacra Infermeria in Valletta, the foremost hospital of Europe in its day.
Somewhat presciently, while I was there the excellent guide explained the derivation of the word quarantine which originates from quarentena, the Venetian language word meaning 40 days.
This is due to the 40-day isolation used then to prevent the spread of the plague. Little did I know then that I would be experiencing some sort of quarantine myself.
As Covid infection tends to reveal itself in six days it seems unlikely I caught it in France plus I suspect my chances of spreading it must now be extremely low.
Despite not hearing anything from the three bodies – Public Health England, Border Force and the Police – who are meant to be checking whether I’m following the rules I’m going to stay the course and stick out the next 100 hours or so. Now it’s as much a test for myself as anything.
In truth I think the rules do allow me a 20 minute return journey to the shops for essential, running out of mature Cheddar must surely count but I’ll be staying at home.
Like lockdown I’ve felt a bit up and down during quarantine but slowly I’m beginning to feel a bit more human, even a little bit more sensory aware.
I’ve noticed, for example, that I’ve started hearing things but in a good way. During the first weeks of lockdown my first awareness as I woke was the chorus of birdsong.
With no traffic noise to drown it out, for the first time in my life I was able to fully appreciate the variety and beauty of the dawn cacophony. It’s a sound I’ve now grown to love but I’m glad it’s not the only sound I hear.
Now at 5.40am and then every 20 minutes or so thereafter there is the distant roar of aeroplane engines presumably on their descent into Birmingham airport.
Bizarrely this is a noise that I now appreciate because it means normal life is resuming. I think of where the planes are going and the excitement I feel at an airport looking forward to my next journey.
After nearly six months absence, the other noise I’m loving is the sound of schoolchildren chatting happily on their way to school. Then throughout the day I can hear them playing in the school fields that back on to my house.
Schools are so key, so part of all our every days, so always there that their closure was so deeply unsettling.
It’s also great to hear sports teams playing on evenings and weekends on those same fields. I hope I’ll appreciate those sounds for the rest of my days.
During quarantine I’m trying to savour moments rather than constantly working through ‘to-do’ lists and always planning for the future and to an extent it’s working.
I’ve also been better able to focus on just the one thing at a time such as watch sport without messing with my phone, read a book, even just sit quietly for a few minutes.
Maybe this second crack at lockdown is helping me change my mindset, something I hope to carry through into my future life.