By Rachael Clyne

Day one: It reminds me of Christmas all over again, when I fill the cupboards and sit it out, mostly alone. Everyone’s with family, partner or elsewhere.  I call it the Midwinter bubble – nature’s time of stillness. I luxuriate in my cave for weeks, then it starts to drag, until I’m depressed or twitchy with cabin fever. Just as I sensed this spring bubbling up from the earth…along comes this microbiological swipe and stops us in our …

If I attempt to look beyond virus bubble, scenarios appear and most of them not good. This is not something we’ll tip back in a month or so. A new normal will be waiting for us. Either we descend into anarchy or a new system forms. Of course, darker scenarios lurk close by, but I’m reluctant to feed their reality. Society is potentially breaking down, the globalist sleepwalk is over.

There are benefits, communities will grow stronger by working together. We’ve grown so fat and lazy, many can’t change a plug or cook from scratch, let alone survive lack of resources and crashing economies. Local communities are realising they need each other, that their resilience relies on goodwill. Goodwill is like the aroma of fresh baked bread, you can breathe in its warmth and nourishment. Community means feeling part of a greater whole, that you are known and not alone. Ours is springing up fast and surprisingly well organised for an old hippy town. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

Day two: I’m a semi-retired psychotherapist/ counsellor with age and health risks, now working or volunteering online or phone. I’m sorry for body therapists and our tourist town of small traders. Glastonbury volunteer support network is offering shopping etc. Cafes, veg and wholefood traders are offering delivery and soup kitchens. We’re a quirky town with itinerants in campervans on the outskirts, or homeless. Free meals are available on different days, but without shoppers handouts it’s hard for them. We’re a hotbed of activism and beliefs from 5g conspiracists to Christian pilgrims and fairies. I’m with our local extinction rebellion while the planet has pushed our agenda forward faster than we knew. We were simply ‘John the Baptist’ heralds. Supermarkets like elsewhere, are being stripped and now limiting how many items you can buy.

Yesterday I learned my nephew up north, has the virus a week and is recovering in upstairs isolation, while wife, daughter and elderly in-laws stay downstairs. They all have major health risks, but being used to coping and housebound they appear calm and cheerful. I walked by our local playground where a boy played alone. He wanted me to join him, but when I said I couldn’t, he asked me to watch him climb. I cheered and suggested he run fast around the perimeter. He started swiping the fence with a ‘boy stick’ and I said he must be a superhero attacking the baddies. He proceeded to swordfight and slay imaginary fallen enemies. We waved a cheery goodbye.

Day three: Spring Equinox and my garden is flower-filled: primroses, wallflowers and masses of purple honesty. Now I’ve solved the woodpigeon bullies by moving the birdfeeder to a thinner branch, goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, sparrows and feisty robin flock to feed.  A woodpecker comes for peanuts, which I also I feed to local badgers. I’m lucky to have a fabulous view of a combe with Fox and deer, and countryside stretching to the Mendip horizon.

Yesterday I battled with my inner addict, fretting over odd items I hadn’t got and kicking against self-isolation. I went out wearing surgical gloves to post a birthday parcel to my great niece and was tempted into a supermarket for my lacto-free sheep-cheese. I had four, but the checkout lady said I could only buy two. Another customer kindly offered to buy them for me, which I accepted. The supervisor said it wasn’t allowed, but she’d already paid. We exchanged numbers so I could pay her, apologised to the checkout woman for getting her into trouble and rushed home. I fretted, feeling I’d behaved badly by accepting. Some disabled and elderly friends are ranting on Facebook about being unable to buy stuff because of selfish panic-buying. Apart from two other items it was all I had in my basket, but it confronted me with my shadow behaviour and wilful tendency. I felt ashamed until I spoke to my ‘Samaritan’ this morning. She said she did it because of my dietary needs, but felt bad for the assistant.

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Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.

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