u3a - u3a

8TH – 14TH June

Monday 8th June 

Today I took my usual walk to the beach.  A quiet, cool day, no swimmers.  A number of crows were waiting silently for the tide to turn; to find small molluscs on the shore line.  Endless bad news on the radio, T.V. and in the papers.  I have been feeling more despondent lately - ever since the Dominic Cummings affair.  When I realized that Dominic Cummings had broken the Lockdown by driving to Barnard Castle, I regretted having defended him for the drive to the North. Now the Lockdown has been shattered by mass demonstrations.  It seems the infection rate is down; so perhaps there will be no new outbreak as a result of the crowds.  Which begs the question:  why don't we start lifting the Lockdown?  It's beginning to happen - shops are stirring into life and there was a light on in the dental surgery.  But it doesn't feel like a release.  I think a lot of people feel burdened by all that has occurred.  I sometimes have the vivid and vaguely threatening dreams that many others have reported.     

Jane, West Sussex 

Tuesday 9th June 

Before lockdown my husband and I were enjoying our retirement in Northumberland in a converted farmhouse with a lovely view towards the Tweed and coast.  We had a weekly routine of conservation work (for  our native population of red squirrels), various U3A activities including short tennis, hill walking, and an environmental group, as well as visits from relatives and friends.  We very much wanted to volunteer during the Covid-19 crisis but were dismayed to discover we were classed as 'too old'.  This seemed ridiculous as we still compete in running events in the 70-plus category and are faster than many younger runners and have no underlying health conditions.  We are left feeling useless and unappreciated, but that may in itself be a sign of getting older!  We have tried to establish a workable routine - long walks, bike rides or runs in the morning, reading/writing/learning Spanish in the afternoon, and far too much tele-watching in the evening.  But there is nothing specific to look forward to (no Park or trail runs for the weekend, meals out, antique-shop browsing etc).    We don't yet know if our holiday to the Faroes will go ahead in September.  It is depressing to be left in the dark as to when 'normal' life will resume (and of course it may never).  How I wish I had some sort of job to 'bring me out of myself'.    

Hilary, Northumberland 

Tuesday 9th June

I am 68 and live alone except for my dog and cat. I live in Leicester City. Now that the lockdown is easing, it is not so peaceful. More cars are producing fumes again. I think I will wear a mask to go down one of the main roads near me! I am not noticing the birdsong so much, which is a pity. I am coping pretty well but have my down days when I'm not feeling so good or haven't spoken to anybody for a couple of days, so I get on the phone then or WhatsApp. I miss seeing my two daughters who live in London and Devon and their young grandchildren. This is where WhatsApp is very useful. I hope to see them next month. I meet two friends on Victoria Park sometimes and will invite them for a coffee in my garden soon. I'm also a member of a local poetry group. We meet and share our work on Zoom twice a month. 

Stella, Leicestershire  

Friday 12th June 

This Covid makes me think of previous crisis. Post war children like me are not used to being suddenly threatened by events beyond our control, here in our own country. We have allegedly known nothing but peace, even though it has sometimes been a bumpy ride. There was always something to fear, but the trouble was invariably ‘over there.’ The first crisis I clearly remember was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Our form was in the biology lab the morning when it seemed we were all about to be annihilated. My abiding memory is of the formaldehyde smell of the lab mingled with slight gassy-ness, pickled kittens in jars and an unpleasantly murky tank of water boatmen. It always made me want to get out, and that morning it seemed a bit pointless having to learn about respiration if we were all about to expire anyway.    

A year later, the handsome John Kennedy was assassinated. I was sitting up in bed with glandular fever, applying a honey face-pack as recommended in ‘Woman’ magazine, a towel across the bed to keep the honey off the sheet. I don’t remember whether the facepack made much difference, but I do remember the awful shock. By the early 70s my then husband was serious about planning for ‘the bomb.’ It was surely going to drop, maybe with 4 minutes warning and we would have to drive immediately to the hills with the children. The word ‘nuclear’ was so often in the air. It frightened me that the horrid, spidery old Anderson shelter in my grandmother’s garden would apparently not be enough. 

Later following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident he withdrew from a possible dream job in the Lake District for fear the pollution blowing that way would damage our asthmatic 4-year-old. Years still we had learned to live with the threat from Saddam Hussein, but several coaches in town were lined up, marshalled by a woman with a clip board and very loud voice shouting, ‘Who’s for the demonstration?’ We talked about it in the office, at home, with friends, but somehow despite the alleged 45-minute warning there seemed more anger than alarm.  The fear of biological warfare was always theoretically there, but so was the feeling that all would be well in the end, ‘whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches’ etc. So far the cost of Covid in human lives and finance is very considerable but apart from closing the beaches, there doesn’t seem much we can do to actually fight it other than hide at home.  

Mr Brown may have gone off to town on the 8.21 And come home each evening to be ready with his gun.  In this world war, Mr Brown would be very lucky if he found the 8.21 was running, and ready or not, sadly he cannot shoot Covid. Nor can we flee to the hills. The Lake District, Peak District and Wales are virtually shut and the Anderson shelters were demolished decades ago. This invasion arrived with no warning, 4 minute or 45 minutes, yet I still cannot quite believe Private Fraser’s warning of ‘We’re all doomed.’ I hope I am right.   

Angela, Gloucestershire 

Week One

23rd - 29th March

Week Two

30th March – 5th April

Week Three

6th – 12th April

Week Four

13th – 19th April

Week Five

20th – 26th April

Week Six

27th April – 3rd May

Week Seven

4th – 10th May

Week Eight

11th - 17th May

Week Nine

18th - 24th May

Week Ten

25th - 31st May

Week Eleven

1st - 7th June

Week Twelve

8th - 14th June

Week Thirteen

15th - 21st June

Week Fourteen

22nd - 28th June

Week Fifteen

29th June - 5th July


Week Sixteen

6th - 12th July

Week Seventeen

13th - 19th July

Week Eighteen

20th - 26th July

Week Nineteen

27th - 31st July