|Photo of Rob at SRSB|
Aside from walking I have an exercise bike and rower at home to keep fit as well as a safe running route which I do twice a week.
We’re lucky to have all the essential shops including a butcher, greengrocer, pharmacy and a small supermarket, a short walk away in our local village. However social distancing was still difficult as I’m not always aware of others approaching or how far away people might be, especially indoors. Shops I know well became obstacle courses as I can’t make out floor and stop markings, so I may have skipped a few queues! Masks also make it impossible to lip-read shopkeepers and other customers, which resulted in some interesting conversations! However, my red and white cane is now a familiar sight in our village and most people know to give me space and some also lift their masks when talking, which is a great help. Our routine food shop now involves Louise popping inside each shop to pick up our essentials while the bag carrier waits patiently outside to carry it all home! I know how lucky we are as it must be much harder for those living in or near busy centres like Sheffield and Rotherham.
Socially not being able to see our two daughters, grandson and Louise’s elderly parents who all live close by, was very hard during Lockdown. I also missed playing guitar with my band and with the exception of some practise in the garden late summer, we have resorted to sharing songs and chat on zoom, like so many this past year.
Like many others we enjoyed the relaxation of rules in the late summer and meeting up with our family and some friends again, not to mention resuming my swims in the local pool. One sunny afternoon in August we even managed a picnic lunch in our garden with all our family together, a memory to treasure. Despite being able to meet up with others outside, not being able to shake hands or hug is not the same and whilst I’ve been luckier than most, the sense of isolation and not being in-touch is very real for many, particularly for those who also endure sight and hearing loss.
Being in a support bubble with one daughter meant we were also able to see her regularly over the winter months and Louise continues to walk in turn with her mother and our other daughter to keep in touch, which is great too.
At Deafblind UK we’ve had a busy year video-conferencing without the need to travel to Peterborough but as with SRSB, it hasn’t been possible to keep the offices open and attend regular events.
Living a more solitary stay at home life meant I hadn’t travelled by train or bus or been anywhere busy since early March last year. When I popped into Sheffield by train over Christmas, wearing a mask was the least of my concerns as I’d forgotten how difficult it is to make things out inside the carriage. There were a lot of other passengers too so I needed help to find a seat. It reminded me of the importance of routine and how not travelling or being close to larger groups of people for a long time, really can impact on one’s confidence, particularly in these challenging times. It was worth the trip though, as Father Christmas gave me a very nice guitar Amp!
Christmas passed by pleasantly though our son was unable to join us as he lives in London and the Government announcement the weekend before meant he had to stay at home. We just had time to post his presents, so we were able to share giving and receiving gifts on-line together.
Now we are back in Lockdown again and rediscovering the quiet and a more solitary life again. The weather isn’t as good as last spring and whilst I am missing the pool again, there are some bad weather days when I miss it less!
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the vaccine and like most of us, we will follow the rules and allow the NHS to do their magnificent work.
Stay safe, well and positive everyone, we will meet again!