Donn's Articles » Unusual times

Unusual times

The kids are getting up early these days.  Well, early enough.  Breakfast at 8.30am, that’s the rule.  9.00am at the latest.  You can’t be lying in bed all day.

They walk the dog at 10.00am, just a short walk, just around the locality and keeping their distance from everybody, if they meet anybody.  Everybody else is keeping his or her distance from everybody else too, so it’s not difficult.  Just to stretch their legs, all 12 legs.  The dog loves that.  It is unusual that he gets to go on a walk with the four of them at the same time.  But then, these are unusual times.

The Premier League has been suspended until 30th April at the earliest.  The EFL have put together a £50 million relief fund to help clubs who are facing cash flow problems.  Euro 2020 has become Euro 2021.

They’re home from their walk before 10.30am and they start their schoolwork.  It says it on the chart that hangs on the wall beside the fridge, different colours and everything: 10.30am – Schoolwork.  They come in during the morning with questions that range from what does ‘anuraidh’ mean to how do you spell ‘captive’.

It’s topical.

But we are together, and that’s important.  We are all we’ve got for now.  A return from Cheltenham, from a week that got more and more surreal with every passing day and then with every passing hour, meant that it was either isolation by self or isolation by family.  They chose the latter, for which I am grateful, so we’re all here, within the four walls, drinking tea and playing games and removed from everybody else.

They miss their friends, even their friends who live down the road, so close they could probably hear them if they opened their bedroom window and shouted.  One of them tried doing nearly that on Tuesday, standing out on the road and shouting in through an open window.  It was fun but it was unsustainable and, inevitably, privacy was compromised.

They even miss school.  They won’t fully admit it, but you know that they do.  You never would have thought that they would mourn when school was cancelled.

The first four races of the Formula One season have also been cancelled, with the prospect of two more at least, maybe more.  Plans are afoot to stage races on consecutive weekends when things return, and to shorten race weekends.  Needs must.  All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until 7th June at the earliest.  The French Open has been moved from May to September.

They have technology though, they have Facetime.  Even the small ones who don’t have screens of their own have access.  They set up appointments with their friends through their mother and they book their mother’s iPad before their sisters claim it.  Needs must again.

And they have a back garden and they have a trampoline and they have board games and they have cards, and they have each other.  They have lots really.  They kill each other but they have each other, and they appreciate that most of the time.

There’s a lot of that about, appreciating each other, stories of neighbourly kindness.  Big ones like the Feed The Heroes campaign, little ones like the guy who, outside the supermarket, gave a loaf of bread to the elderly man who was upset because all the bread was gone.  Neighbours on their way to the shops call or text to know if we want anything.  Milk and fruit mainly, and strawberries for our youngest if you can find them.  The redder the better.  No pressure.

There is pressure on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Olympics.  You can see the argument: qualification tournaments have been cancelled and just over 50% of qualification spaces have been filled.  Even if everything is back close to normal by July, how are you going to qualify?  Sebastian Coe conceded on Thursday that everything was possible, including postponement to September or October, but perhaps not to 2021.  It’s too early to decide though.

The kids have down time in the afternoon.  They read or they bounce or they draw or they watch television.  Then, after dinner in the evening, we watch a movie on Netflix or we play a game.  There’s no training these days of course, no football, no hockey, no friends coming around, no drop-offs or pick-ups, so we’re all here together, in the evening.  The most arduous task is deciding on teams for Pictionary.  And 3v3 or 2v2v2?  It’s odds-on at least one heated argument before somebody reaches the finish.

If you had been betting on Wednesday’s decision about the continuation of racing in Ireland, you surely would have bet odds-on Stop, odds-against Continue.  But it continues, for now anyway.  Another odds-on shot beaten.  Behind closed doors.  We’ll learn soon enough whether or not it’s sustainable.  The Katie Taylor fight is still set to go ahead too on 2nd May.

The most important thing is that we all do our best to remain healthy and well, to curtail the spread, to look out for each other.  It looks like the road ahead is long, but some good may come out of it when we get through it, and please God we will get through it.  Humanity has been running away with itself a bit of late.  This could be a reality check.  Nothing unites like a common enemy.

Deepak Chopra nailed it, as he often does:

And the people stayed at home.

And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heel.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, and they had been healed.

Source: Unknown (via Deepak Chopra)

© The Irish Field, 21st March 2020