Monday, 23 March 2020

Quieter Than Quiet

There is a strange new hush all across Skye.

In an attempt to stop, or at least slow down, the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 virus, government advice is not to travel un-necessarily, to work from home where possible, and although it is OK to be outside, people should not crowd together. There's very little traffic on the roads. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are all closed, as are camp sites and paid-for visitor attractions like the Talisker distillery and Dunvegan Castle. All of our cottage holiday bookings are cancelled - at least for the early part of the year.

On a calm day, the only sound is birdsong. Possibly the most surprisingly noticeable difference though, is that the very distant and almost constant roar of high-flying aircraft is gone. I had never even noticed that the sound existed until it was gone.

There's a few other things we won't have noticed we have until they are gone... well-stocked supermarkets spring to mind... and the freedom to go out... meet friends... hug an elderly relative.

I don't feel optimistic for the future. Until our wonderful scientists produce an effective vaccine against the virus - which is forecast to take many more months yet -  all we can do is hide behind our closed doors, keep washing our hands, and hope we don't fall ill. Can the world's population cope with holding its breath for half a year or more? From pictures and reports I have seen today, people in many parts of the globe are already ignoring the advice to keep isolated. Total lock-downs enforced by police patrols are in place in a number of countries, though even in those places, the infection-rate, and death-rate,  from the virus continues to climb almost unchecked. And then - if lock-down measures DO eventually begin to work - what will happen when the lock-down is removed??

As for how the world's finances will cope with it all - I simply cannot imagine. I am no financial wizard, and personally, we are thankfully able to cope without any cottage visitors for a season. But so many people will be frightened of how they will manage without work or income. Various governments seem to be finding spare cash from somewhere to make grants and hand-outs. Is that going to mean future tax-rises?

It's a scary time.

I fear 2020 is going to go down in history as the year the world changed for ever.


Floyd said...

Hi Richard and Sue, please take care and stay safe.
All the best Floyd and Gwen xx

Richard Dorrell said...

Thank you both. You stay safe too.

Jayne said...

Well said Richard. I just cannot take it all in at present and am feeling very unsettled, adrift, uncertain.

I was planning on heading your way in a few weeks - my campervan and I were going to have a slow bimble around to celebrate 60 years since my arrival on this little rock. Guess we are staying at home now 🥺.

Do take care.

Richard Dorrell said...

Thank you for your comment, Jayne. I'm afraid visitors in camper vans are being chased out of the Highlands by very anxious and sometimes aggressive locals just now - definitely not a good idea to try to visit that way - or at all. It is so sad to see human nature breaking down under the worry and strain.

Jayne said...

Thanks Richard, and I completely understand how/why motorhomes are so unwelcome in your area at present.

I live on the edge of the Lake District . . . Cumbria Constabulary have asked people to stay away, it will be interesting to see what further measures are introduced this week.

Andrea said...

We shared all of our ups and downs with you when we lived on Skye as did you with us ... we were became good friends who just clicked and we miss you dearly.
In these most difficult times we wish we were nearer to offer support . We will keep in touch and will always be ready to listen if you should ever need someone to talk to.
Be safe and keep well Richard &Sue , always in our thoughts . xx

Richard Dorrell said...

Aaah - Thanks A! We are here for you, too. Love from Skye xx

WillD said...

Hi Richard,
I've been an avid follower of your blog for many years as long as we've been visiting Skye and the NW Highlands! I think it's at times like these that really make us all reflect on what's really important in life and hopefully when we come out of the other side of this COVID situation I'm thinking it maybe time to realise a long held dream to make the move,
Thanks for all your informative blogs, all the best for the future, stay well and safe!

Richard Dorrell said...

Thank you Will.
I am delighted to learn that you enjoy my blog posts.
Having heard some stories from friends around the UK, I am well aware that here on Skye we are indeed most fortunate to be far-distanced from the worst of what is happening elsewhere. Life here is certainly not 'normal' just now, but there can be few better places to social-distance than Skye and the NW Highlands.