Lockdown -The New Normal
So we have now been in Lockdown for over 8 weeks, Dave has been furloughed for almost 7 weeks and Angela's temping work has just dried up.
On one side of lockdown we have shops closed with the exception of "Essential Items". Fuel prices have plummeted to less than £1.00 which has not been seen since 2009 this time caused by a lack of demand. We are becoming more of a cashless society with many places that are open not accepting cash and most shopping now being done online. Worldwide pollution is down with the result the ozone is repairing itself and there is mention of wildlife returning to areas that previously pollution or industry kept them away.
Neighbours and strangers are more involved, speaking to each other during daily exercise, looking out for each other and local groups such as Veterans-In- Action are supporting their local communities.
As is often the case from adversity you find heroes stepping in to help and support. The NHS is finally getting the recognition it deserves and suddenly we are now clapping for the nurse in your street, the care worker along the road and the reality that the footballer or film celebrity are not heroes and the true heroes are the ones that actually live amongst us going to work daily without fanfare or recognition until now.
But how are we Dave and Angela coping?
Well initially I guess the novelty of the extra free time with the lovely weather meant we could get on with some of our long lost plans for the garden. Allowing us to finally make progress on projects that have been on the list for years, in the case of clearing the waste ground and painting the back fence for about 20 years if we're honest.
So with chainsaw in hand Dave set about clearing an area so we could get in to paint the fence. But what started as a cut and burn suddenly turned into an search and destroy slash and burn where 75% of the trees were cut down and all the waste ground cleared. 20 years of dumped garden waste was dragged from the fence and burnt or used to level off the area. The result was a much brighter sunnier garden that gave the impression of being much bigger.
However like the limited cut and burn of the waste ground the fence painting grew arms and legs and increased to include the sheds and then after Dave cut down the out of control fir trees we were also left with another fence to paint. Luckily by now after the initial restrictions of lockdown were understood the local DIY Centre was allowing click and collect and we ended up with another 5 litres of red cedar.
Next up came the decking. Previously it was decided to only use a clear oil and that is what we had. So we went ahead and cleaned and oiled the decking only when finished for Angela to state we should have used a colour. Dave agreed on the condition that the next time was in about 5 years.
Work has been completed on the VW Van (Still no name). A new awning was fitted, wind deflectors and a bonnet bib to protect against stone chips. Despite having drilled many holes in Wilson to mount lockers, jack mounts and cable access Dave approached drilling the VW with some trepidation but after measuring numerous times, watching youtube videos and speaking to experts the van was drilled and the awning mounting without too much drama.
We also added homage to our start in independent overland travel by adding the original Cyprus registration plate to the VW.
Wilson has also been getting some promised TLC with the front bumper removed to get refurbished and welded, the winch given a service and a clean up and the rear cross member cleaned up and painted. Still to complete are the roll cage and to fit a new snorkel. The original one was still held on solidly with Jubilee Clips fitted back in Turkey on the Big Trip in 2017 but rust in the mushroom intake meant reviving it wasn't an option or even financially beneficial.
For us the lockdown has been relatively easy to cope with when the weather is good and there are jobs to be done or by enjoying exercise in the fields and the cliffs / coastline over the back from us with Angela hitting her daily steps target no problem.
But when weather is miserable and we are forced to remain indoors it does become difficult. Angela is much better at keeping herself busy indoors whether knitting for the grand kids or deciding to paint and decorate the bathroom. For Dave painting and decorating are right beside shoving red hot pokers up your nose on the list of things to keep you occupied but ultimately got involved resealing the bath and shower area.
Dave did however create a 3-in-1 First Aid Kit for us to take on trips that covers everything from booboo injuries to trauma and is based on a kit the Overland Bound Medical Director created for members.
Throughout the day we try to spend as much time out doors as possible, Dave has been photographing some of the new feathered visitors or just sitting reading a book. Angela continues with weeding and planting in the garden.
With family there have been Facetime and Zoom get togethers and Dave has also been enjoying a few virtual campfire meets with members of Overland Bound. He even arranged for Michael and Corrie the founding members of Overland Bound based in California to jump into the virtual meet and chat to some of the members which was a great success.
Last week in England the lockdown was relaxed but not for us up here in Scotland. There is hope that the lockdown here will be eased to allow us to at least meet up with other family members and especially our grand kids but I think relaxing the rules to allow camping is still some way off.
In reality the affects of Covid 19 we think will continue throughout this year into next year maybe longer with restrictions and much of our freedoms constrained whilst they try to control the pandemic which we realistically think will only be finally lifted once a vaccine is in place.
So overlanding as such no longer exists whilst the world is in lockdown meaning for the time being we can only plan trips, prepare our vehicles and when allowed go on small adventures and meets. There is also a rural backlash against visitors to the countryside or beauty spots whether they be in a motorhome, hikers / campers or overlanders and despite the various governments repeated assurances and reducing restrictions many rural communities have genuine concerns about the true safety of large numbers of visitors coming into their communities despite those political assurances. So we think the recovery and return to hopefully a new better normal will take some time. Until then we will remember some of our past trips, continue to prepare for future trips and try to keep not only ourselves safe but also the people we come into contact with. Then hopefully this will be over, never forgotten but we will be able to get back to the lifestyle we love travelling and overlanding.