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Arthur and Joy Radley
Photographed 12th May 2020 - 51 days into lockdown 


As the saying goes “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’ and so it has been for us this Spring and without doubt for many other people too.   A Spring holiday with family, and another in June were both cancelled; a house redecoration has been shelved and our 59th wedding anniversary and my 88th birthday were both spent in isolation.  And locally we have missed Rollo’s film evenings and probably Virginia’s wonderful garden party will not take place this summer.

In the context of the Corona virus all of those things are of little consequence when one considers the problems many people have and the sacrifices being made by carers and NHS staff.  We have found difficulty in reconciling our wonderful Spring weather, the cloudless blue skies and the abundance of blossom with the reality of this invisible menace.  Having lived through WWII and the austerity of the post war years our initial reaction to shut down was somewhat stoic but with time that has begun to wear thin.  We remain concerned for our children and grandchildren both now and in the future but for the present, using modern technology they have all coped well under difficult circumstances.

For us, there have been a few ‘firsts’.  We arranged a home delivery of groceries for the first time and then like others, have experienced difficulty in booking subsequent delivery slots. We have made greater use of Skype and for the first time Facetime and a newly established family Whatsapp network has strengthened the bond between our grandchildren located in the UK and New Zealand.  In some measure our use of that same technology has compensated for  the loss of social contact with our daughter and family who live in Fowlmere.

On shut down, we were immediately offered help and support by neighbours and friends and we were impressed by the speed with which the village web site was set up and volunteers listed.  In the early days we gratefully accepted help in obtaining eggs, flour and subsequently a daily newspaper.  We have dutifully observed self-isolation and so far that has not proved irksome – I have been especially attentive to the needs of the garden and I have dealt with a few outstanding jobs about the house.   Joy has knitted a woollen blanket for our grand-daughter and between times she has worked on a piece of lace that she is trying to complete as a gift for someone in July.  We have not seen the need to extend our normal evening TV viewing times.

We moved to Heydon eight years ago and we suspect that many of our Essex friends and relations thought it not a very sensible location for elderly people.  But we were made very welcome and we love it here and now especially we consider ourselves fortunate to live in such a lovely place and to be able to walk so easily into open countryside.  We fear that we are in for a long haul with this disease and for some time we may have to learn to live with it.  There is little doubt that Corona virus has brought people together and has strengthened communities and hopefully that will continue.  Whatever the ultimate outcome, the world will be a very different place from the one we have enjoyed until recently.


Written 12th May 2020


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