Isolation

A no-deal Brexit is looming on January 1st and on the highways here in The Netherlands, on the ferry routes from England, I saw these signs the other day…

Now in addition, with a new Corona virus strain in the UK appearing, the EU is blocking all travel from the UK and the UK is more isolated now than ever. In our family group chat my brother in London feels more locked in than ever. “For now, we’re not coming off the island” he is saying, accompanied by some dramatic smilies. My aunt replied with “The UK is now completely cut off! Very radical (as in painful). Be careful.”

For the more cynical amongst us, I guess Brexit has started early and it’s heartbreaking to see the UK become even more isolated from their neighbours now that even all goods have been halted at the borders. I hope something can be done, it was already going to be very difficult with (no-deal) Brexit, these new bans make it even more impossible. I hope my brother, niece and friends and readers in the UK will be OK. All of them/you are very much in my thoughts.

As for this new corona virus strain, which is even more infectious than the original virus, it has also been detected in The Netherlands. So far, reports say that only two people in Amsterdam (one of whom had not been to the UK recently) have been diagnosed with it. We are already in strict lockdown (no curfews as yet, but in all other aspects it’s strict) until January 19th, I wonder if this new strain will be cause for measures to become even stricter or prolongued here. This past year has already been a year in isolation, I wonder if, despite the vaccinations that are coming, the year 2021 will continue to be the same. The thought is very depressing.

Strict lockdown & Christmas

The Netherlands is going into a strict lockdown again to bring down Covid-19 cases that have been re-surging due to en masse Christmas shopping and people not adhering as strictly to the semi-lockdown restrictions that were already in place. Schools are closing as of tomorrow, non-essential shops are closing, restaurants were already closed and hotels aren’t allowed to provide any room service or restaurant services anymore, no more than 2 visitors allowed in your household (and 3 for Christmas), no more group gatherings, no travel abroad, and theatres, cinemas, museums and public buildings will be closed. All these measures will be in effect for five weeks, until January 19th. Does this mean…

Well, Christmas isn’t exactly called off but it’s certainly going to be a bit of a lonely Christmas this year. With three visitors allowed, we will be able to invite my in laws over if we are all healthy and socially distanced and we will be able to visit my mother another day and that’ll be it. No large Christmas gathering with the family on my side like we usually have, no going away for a few days during the Christmas holidays and no nice outings like to Christmas markets (which have already been cancelled). I am and will be really missing all that! So, let me wallow a bit in music.

“It’ll be lonely this Christmas, without you to hold…”

“It’s gonna be a cold, cold Christmas without you […] it’s gonna be a long and lonely Christmas without you, missing you my darling in oh so many ways…”

“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you, I’ll be so blue just thinking about you; decorations of red on a green Christmas tree, won’t be the same, if you’re not here with me…”

“Nobody ought to be all alone on Christmas…”

Let’s just hope for better days: “Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings, and designer love and empty things, just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days…”

Yes, I know this lockdown sucks but it really is for the greater good and I hope it can save many lives and spare our healthcare workers from the horrors of this past spring. One somewhat more lonely Christmas, even if disheartening, seems to be a reasonable price to pay for that…

The second wave

This is what Iman (David Bowie’s widow) said today and I’m so with her…

Corona is really on the rise again. We are well and truly into the second wave here and I think we may have one of the highest infection rates at the moment.

(Source)

At 7 pm there will be another Covid-19 press conference here and stricter measures are expected to be announced. And so quarantine life trudges on and even I, as an introvert, wouldn’t mind more social interactions by now, rather than less. It is what it is, however, and I guess until there is a reliable vaccine this will continue to be our lives and we will have to continue social distancing and making do virtually.

It is not an option for us to ignore the virus and pretend it isn’t so bad like my nephew does, who I’m told that even though he has contracted Covid-19, still thinks it’s all a hoax, as does his boss who continued to let him work (in a barber shop!) even though he had a fever. I wonder if this second wave also has to do with a growing number of people seeing it all as a hoax. It doesn’t help that some very public figures (like that US president everyone looks to) continue to downplay it all. A few weeks ago there were some Dutch young social media influencers who said they would be opting out of following Corona rules, they all thought it was nonsense. The most well known of them (I didn’t know her but my kids assure me she is very popular amongst youngsters) went on a talk show and she also talked to one of the most famous intensive care doctors here right now. He apparently later also toured an intensive care unit with her and since then she has taken down her opposition and is now working with him to highlight the importance of following Corona rules. Doesn’t sound like her change of heart (and the change of heart of many others in that protest group) influenced my nephew, however.

To counteract such depressing times, at least virtually I can still sometimes keep my spirits up, for instance with these new Colin Firth pictures taken at the premiere of the Supernova film the other day. He’s turning into a lovely grey fox.

I really want to see this movie but I know it will break my heart as well (see trailer here), so it may take me a while to get around to it. On to the very many more quarantine weeks and months to come…

Feelgood Friday?

Yesterday I heard that my older brother has Covid-19. He’s not been well for only a short time and had a fever for two days but seems on the mend again, so it looks like only a mild case for him. Now his partner and two teenage kids are tested as well and we have to wait what those results bring. This morning I hear my other nephew may have contracted the virus as well (independently from my brother), still awaiting results. Also this morning, the news comes that the US president now has Covid-19. So much going through my head on that one, so let me only share what Mark Hamill said to that and then leave that be. (By the way, since Wednesday we also have an advisory here in The Netherlands to wear masks at public indoor spaces).

I just need something to take my mind off all the doom and gloom and work is just not doing that. I’m so not motivated for work today, even though I try to do stuff here and there. So, to cheer me up on my break, and maybe others as well, here’s a really happy Miranda fan video I like…

And I’m following that by loads of fun Lucifer gifs (yeah, I’m still in Lucifer mode during my down time) that make me smile. Starting with a buttload of Amenadiel (DB Woodside) gifs…

… followed by fun Lucifer (Tom Ellis) ones…

… and go on, some Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) ones too…

An hour of looking at gifs, a video and blogging about it all has brought a smile back on my face… and now it’s back to work for a little bit before the weekend starts…

Or should I just give up and try again on Monday?

Corona hair & encouraging figures

Yay! My Friday afternoon 3.30 pm video meeting was cancelled! Of course there are a million other things I could do, but hey, why not shoot out a blog post instead, I thought?

Just before starting this post, I came out of a close to two hour phone call with someone who had all sorts of questions. She was so glad to be speaking to someone that she took the opportunity to ask about a hundred other questions as well. At least I left her happy, and that’s always good, right? I thought the call would be a short one, so was going to eat lunch after, but instead lunch didn’t happen until just a little after 3 pm (after also emptying and refilling the dishwasher). Yep, I had chocolate sprinkles on small matzoh crackers…

Not sure why I have the headphones in, probably habit once I sit down at my work laptop. Anyway, Mr Esther is growing his corona age beard and I decided to just let my hair grow as well and see what happens. Getting quite long now, which means I’m brushing my bangs a bit to the side now. Befitting the age of 50, it’s also getting greyer and greyer and I admit I kinda like the grey! We’ll look like real hermits once lock down is completely over, like this guy in Monty Python’s Life of Brian… I’ll have that hair and Mr Esther will have that beard…

This week further easing of restrictions have been announced here in The Netherlands as of July 1st as the figures of Corona containment here have become encouraging. We’ve have a few days in the past week with no Corona deaths at all, as shown in this graphic I took from the article I just referenced.

With the easing of restrictions, the 1.5 meter distance rule still holds true and work from home, if in any way possible, is also still encouraged. This social distancing thing does work when people stick with it, so we’ll be sticking with those rules a while longer. We do have a 4 week holiday coming up in a few weeks’ time and have decided to rent a self-contained holiday cottage in the south of The Netherlands for 10 days. Mr Esther jr will probably have to work at the hotel he’s interning at but may come down for a weekend to join Mr Esther, mini-Esther and myself. We can continue social distancing in such a cottage and we can nip into Belgium and Germany if possible but will still be close enough to home should things change, restriction wise.

So, all I can say in closing is: stay socially distanced, stay safe and hope that the Corona vaccine will come soon (first human trials have already started)! Oh, and get back to work Esther, enough mucking about…