Liddington – Remembering COVID

Several villagers got Covid recently, none badly. Vaccination works. In conversation, everyone harks back to 2020 and their faded memories of insisting we followed the rules. My recollection is that we stretched them – a village of elderly anarchists.

I loved the innovation. The Village Inn closed which meant the end of morning papers. A 6:30am run to Chiseldon (for exercise) got the paper-round back again. Often it was the only time elderly villagers had a conversation outside their home.

And then there was Zoom – a first for most of us. The Wine Group had monthly sessions on Zoom. Six wines were re-distributed in “clinical conditions” into six numbered bottles which were left outside the houses. It worked, and we continued to imbibe.

We catered for drinkers with a running problem. The local running group organised sessions from the Village Inn car park. Six people were allowed to meet in a bubble. Every ten minutes a bubble would arrive and head out on a pre-marked trail.

There was also the serious side. Villagers shopped for seniors and had phone sessions with people who couldn’t leave their homes. The Surgery used Zoom to diagnose illnesses and volunteers delivered prescriptions. One old boy compared it to the Blitz.

Our good luck was to live beside so many paths in Liddington. It was touching to watch people pat Rocky, as if they yearned for the physical contact.

It was a period when we couldn’t see family. Zoom helped but what I took away was the importance of village friendships as a local family substitute.

The real victims were the children. The damage to children lacking contact with playmates is now recognised. I’ve seen it with my own grandchildren. It was also tough for teenagers and young adults who missed out on dating and fooling around.

There’s a lot there that’s not discussed. Maybe we’re not ready to collect everyone’s story on Covid as a historical record for the village web site, but we should. Here are a few lines from a Covid poem:

I don’t know why the blue bird sang

but her song soared where bells once rang,

over empty pews, doors closed, the blue masks

like stop signs, over the days of repetitive tasks.

First published in Lyden magazine

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