Exercising Lockdown

I am intrigued with the surge in exercising during our various lockdowns in Ireland and I presume it is pretty much the same in many other countries.

Could it be that when Covid is finally under control that kids especially will continue to play outdoors and go for cycles, sea swims, surfing, cycling, walking, running, roller-skating ….

Could this possibly be a long-term benefit of the whole Covid horror or will there be a revert back to screens and indoor play dates.

It is such a change to see so many people out in the fresh air. I’m just not sure, though, if it’s the fit getting fitter or if there are new recruits who will have gained a love of outdoor exercise and its benefits and keep it up.

What do you reckon?

On Holidays

There’s a humongous amount of talk swirling round about holidays here in Ireland at the moment and it seems to have become a national obsession about whether foreign holidays will be allowed or whether it will have to be holidays in Ireland due to Covid19.

The latest effort to go away on holidays that has been reported is Irish people booking in for dental work in sunny climes – essential travel in their eyes – but not showing up for their appointments.

Holidays are not important to me at all, at all. I used to enjoy them as a kid when we took family holidays in Ireland but since adulthood, I have never been too pushed about them and certainly don’t feel that 2 weeks in some sun spot or in some busy city is anything special.

Maybe, it’s because I live in a beautiful place which offers delights all around me and because it is on the coast has that ever-changingness about it.

I often wonder if holidays are a sort of expectation and will never forget my first day back in College after First Year when all the talk was about Summers in the US or Greece. I had spent a blissful Summer coaching tennis in Ireland and playing in a host of tennis tournaments mainly around Dublin. I didn’t feel deprived at all but was always a bit surprised that holidays or the lack of them were among criteria for defining poverty.

I know that there is the view that travel broadens the mind and refreshes one but is this blown out of all proportion and driven by social media, travel industry and so-called celebreties and influencers?

If I were to identify my dream holiday, it would be to some remote parts of coastal Ireland that I have never been to and that includes a few of our little islands. I don’t care if it rains or not as I see tremendous beauty in rain, raindrops and rainbows.

Copper Coast, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Another Duet

I have no idea why it is that Lockdown has re-opened my love of duets. It’s like I can’t quite cope with bands or choirs but want to hear more than one voice.

Here’s one that brings me back to an evening many moons ago when I uttered a version of the main line from this song and in so doing kept a friendship alive that I have no doubt would otherwise have fizzled out without me ever realising the potential that it had and the joy which it would ultimately bring.

The Vaccine

The whole issue of vaccination against Covid19 seems to be dominating every news outlet I hear, see or read.

I wonder to what extent vaccination is being perceived as as the silver bullet against this virus. Or is it gold, bronze, an also ran or a non-starter.

Here in Ireland it seems to me that it is being played down a little in case people get ahead of themselves and drop their guard in terms of the hand-washing, social distancing, going for testing etc.

Things are Different – Goodways

Hi,

Puppy Stan here. It feels like ages since I got my paws on the computery thing but thought I’d grab this chance when no one is looking.

Me

What’s most different is that the house is all changed cos my Dada is here everyday now cos his job isn’t on with the virus thing. I don’t really understand what’s going on but all I know is he’s here and, you see, I’m his pet. He adores me and I adore him too.

He told me that he never had a dog when he was growing up and that I, yes, I am the first dog he’s ever really got to know and had a chance to be with and see that dogs can be great friends.

He spoils me rotten and Jean is always giving out when he gives me yummy bits to eat. She’s cut down on my food to compensate. I hate that word.

Anyway, there’s a whole new routine and I’m down at the sea every night with Dada and Big Bro. I just love being out in the dark with them cos I feel safe even if the sea is wilder than wild.

That ankle episode with Jean is still a mess cos I can’t seem to stop pulling on the lead and her ankle is STILL wibbly-wobbly with me yanking her all over the place.

But, you should see the way my Dada even let’s me out into the front garden and he doesn’t seem to mind if I walk on the flowers. I try not to cos I know from Jean that I shouldn’t but I kinda get carried away especially if he throws a ball for me.

It’s hard to explain but him and me have been through a lot together. I minded him when he got a new hip. Just sat with him really but he says he owes me one now after all my attention then. Sure, I was just as glad to have him there and he let me lie on Jean’s side of the bed when he was having rests. I don’t think she knew cos I did my best not to leave paw marks or hair or mucky tennis balls.

So, this virus thing has an upside for me anyway. I just hope Dada doesn’t get it or any of the others or anyone cos it sounds rotten. But, will he forget about me when he eventually gets back to work and will Jean keep compensating?

Love,

Puppy Stan xxx

Thought Processing

Ever since I was about ten or eleven I had a thing about taking time to think about what was going on in my life – all dimensions of it – and tended to get very unsettled if I wasn’t able to step back and process what had been happening. I had life categorised into key aspects like: family health, my studies, tennis, friendships, money, peace in Ireland and the world. It was unusual to find that everything was going great at the same time but it was also reassuring to find that it was highly unusual to find that all aspects were in a complete mess.

I used to write a lot back then in big notebooks and always felt much better when I had caught up with myself- so to speak.

I remember asking a few friends who were a bit older than me if they felt the need to do the same and they looked at me as if I was totally mad. I haven’t mentioned it to anyone since in case I get the same reaction ( I’ve learned not to give a damn now if people think I’m daft) but thought processing/ or the lack of it has been playing on my mind of late as I know I have been dodging a lot of what has been going on because it can all be a bit hard to take in and deal with.

However, I kinda know it’s time to face up to unprocessed thoughts when sleep is all broken and my greatest desire is to walk faster than the speed of thought. The latter is definitely good for fitness and for de-stressing in the short term but it’s no way to be carrying on day in, day out, as I perceive it.

I suspect that half the world is grappling with trying to come to terms with the multiplicity of changes that have occurred in the last year or so. The pandemic is one huge matter but clearly everyone has additional things going on in their lives and the pandemic is most definitely not impacting on everyone in the same ways.

So, how are you all doing in terms of thought processing? Was it something you felt the need to do before these strange times or did you simply live, live, live?

Also, how are you dealing with thought processes now in the midst of the pandemic especially if your ‘normal’ round has been turned upside down and inside out either directly or indirectly by the virus or by something else entirely?

Thinking Time

Learnings from the Pandemic

The biggest thing I have learned from the pandemic so far is how different people are. I always recognised this but it’s become more and more obvious as layers of life have been peeled away.

Clearly, people have been affected very differently by the pandemc in terms of suffering and that has to be fully recognised. Also, some have gained in economic terms, at least, whilst others have been hit very badly.

But, what I am really talking about is the way in which the pandemic has revealed very real differences in how we deal with adversity and uncertainty.

What is important for one person, such as physical appearance, make be entirely irrelevant to another. Big divides have emerged in relation to those who put self-interest and freedom above collective interest and concern for global wellbeing.

Coping mechanisms vary hugely. Some are keeping busy busy to try and stay afloat while others are treading water and just going with the flow.

Some find that their identity is almost under attack whereas others are more confident about who they are.

Some have to read every single piece that is written and spoken about every aspect of the virus while others have switched off.

Some are full of hope while others are much more cautious.

Some are enjoying the lockdowns while others are living in dread of every moment.

Some are suffering desperately because of the extent to which the virus has pretty much taken over the health services; others are oblivious.

Some are living in the moment while others have wandered to the past or into the future.

In other words, we have to get to grips with the fact that people, including people we thought we knew well, may be perceiving and experiencing the pandemic very differently to us and we somehow have to find a way to cope with that or else the divisions could get dangerously deep.

Who knows how much this pandemic will change lives and perspectives forever or will society return to where it was as if by reset button and trundle on.

It seems important to me that we learn from this time, if only to leave a legacy for those coming after us who may well have to go through something similar.

Little Ireland

I worked on the last census of population here in Ireland and am acutely aware that Ireland has a population of just under 5 million people.

We’re in the news for all the worst reasons at the moment as we have shot up to first place in the world in terms of incidence of Covid 19.

We pride ourselves on being leaders in things like banning smoking in public buildings; getting rid of free plastic bags; having world class sportsmen and women like Katie Taylor, The O’Donovan Brothers, Sonia O’Sullivan; producing great poets like W.B. Yeats, musicians like U2 and, of course, having the most magnificent scenery imaginable.

This current Covid situation is awful and is something we didn’t ever expect as we had been managing pretty well up to the start of the year.

Being a small country may be an advantage in terms of trying to get a grip on things as there is still a reasonably strong sense of community and people tend to be fairly connected to each other. We have had tough times before and come through thanks, in part, to our sense of humour and deepseated ‘it’ll be okay’ attitude.

We just have to pull together more than we’ve done in a long time and become leaders in the very best sense in this Covid morass.

A kite needs to be tied down in order to fly. I learned how important restrictions can sometimes be in order to experience freedom.

Damien Rice, Irish Musician