I have, I suspect, been quite lucky in terms of how the pandemic has affected me since March. Without the prospect of losing my job and, thanks to having had halfway decent broadband in the village since we were connected up a couple of years ago, the ability to work from home, it has been possible to function well enough.
Life is about more than work though, as those living in large towns and cities have discovered - fresh air and social interaction are an important means of dealing with the other restrictions brought about by Government efforts to clamp down on Covid-19. And again, I’ve been fortunate. The great, unpopulated outdoors is 200 yards from our door, and the longer hours of daylight mean that, whenever I’m out and about locally, I’m likely to run into another villager to catch up on events.
The challenge ahead, it seems, is how to get through the darkness of an English winter, with no end to restrictions any time soon.
I’m going to have to think about how I organise my day to ensure that I can get most of my exercise in during the hours of daylight, for example. Starting earlier, or finishing later might help for a while, but in order to find an hour to walk in mid-winter, that might mean starting work at 6 a.m. or ending after 5 p.m. - the latter seeming more attractive to this night owl than the former. Alternatively, taking a long lunch break requires a degree of flexibility that might be limited by my designated role.
It’s also going to be important to find ways of escaping the routine of work. Trips away are more challenging if you’re seeking to avoid exposure to people you don’t know - I’m increasingly uneasy in crowded places - and eating out is an increasing problem as infection rates climb. And, as the days turn wetter and colder, options for outdoor activity reduce steadily - a walk in the rain becomes ever less appealing.
Planning is going to be key, as well as a degree of flexibility - spontaneity is difficult in rural communities at the best of times, but when opportunities are limited, it becomes increasingly constrained.
And so, I’m counting on my natural curiosity, a high boredom threshold and Ros’s organisational flair to get us through this in decent shape. Oh, and remembering that there are a lot of people out there who are having it far worse than I am...