Tears For Tiers!

Tears For Tiers!

We’ve always been very lucky in Norfolk in that our numbers have remained consistently lower than most of the country and our restrictions have reflected this. I haven’t felt too constrained by them and aside from proper lockdown (lockdown #1) when the whole world stopped (I mean let’s face it, in unprecedented scenes, it did) to stay at home we have largely had a lot of freedom. Not what we’re used to? Sure. But we’ve been able to meet with family and friends, have day trips… Even go on little holidays since the first sweep of staying home to save lives.

My family enjoyed camping in the summer and a mini break in Cambridge. We cancelled a second trip in the October half term as it would have meant travelling to a higher risk area than our own but we still had an absolutely awesome school holiday not too dissimilar to the ordinary. Less travelling but no less fun.

Little things have annoyed me along the way what with the rule of 6 including children (I wrote extensively about this in both of my newspaper columns) and a major lack of maternity care when our maternity department at the local hospital, by my midwife’s own admission, is running with no stark complications, has been challenging but aside from that we’ve been bumbling along nicely. It took a while to adjust and go from total lockdown to a bit of normality and it was a bit of dipping toes in the water before deciding it was safe but safe we did decide it not least because the government were encouraging us to go out, eat, drink and enjoy life!

Then numbers started to go up – who’d have thought it? A summer of indulgence and sending teens away from home off to uni to be, well, teens away from home and what did we expect? We frolicked, we had to pay the price, as proven this virus really isn’t going to go away on its own. Lockdown #2 was announced and we got it, it made sense. We could see the graphs, we understood the implications and yet somehow our mindset just wasn’t in that initial terror phase we had been sent in lockdown #1. We’d come into lockdown #2 with hindsight and experience. We’d been in a tiered system all over the country for weeks knowing our limitations and implications of breaking the rules and with a little bit of swagger we entered into “a bit more of a restricted life”. Except… Well, for me at least, it didn’t feel as though much had changed.

By now we had bubble systems in place and unlike the first bite at the lockdown cherry we had a bit of a plan and a way of doing things. We could still see my Mum, still go to the parks and, if we’d wanted, we could still get a take-away – something which took a while to establish back in March when even the golden of arches closed its collaborative doors for the first time EVER! It felt… Easy. I mean greyer skies weren’t QUITE so inviting but we weren’t scared so witless we stayed inside all the time. We felt bold enough to still pop to the shops of which many were still open and with people queuing around the block on PS5 launch day it kind of proved that “necessary shopping” was rather open to interpretation.

And then… With all this normality bound in with some rules, it finally struck me. A stumbling block to bring it home a little more clearly. Raffie was told to self isolate for 14 days on account of coming into contact with a positive case in his nursery and with that, the numbers in not just the news but in our own little patch too, soared. The big children, Jonny and I were still free to come and go which felt wrong and worrying especially when stories in our own village had started to circulate. Rumours of one of our postmen having passed away from complications with the virus, a very nice man by all accounts and not particularly old and teaching staff in many local schools testing positive while older pupils in the locality also were becoming ill and their education establishments shutting down as a result. Suddenly this carefree, it’ll be fine feeling had dissipated.

Yesterday marked 14 days since Raffie was sent to iso and gave us the title of freedom but actually… It didn’t feel so freeing when news on the same day came of the tiers we are to go into when lockdown #2 officially ends next week. We, in Norfolk, will be going into a not so carefree tier 2 when we’ve previously been a 1. Restrictions are very much in place for a reason and we will abide by them but it feels shocking again and definitely not as easy in both the practicalities or the mind. Christmas is our goal when we’ve been told we can mix with 3 households for a few days, the same 3 households and not chopping and changing and I for one really need my family around me so I’m sure the rest of the world feels the same. However, is it the right thing to do? The numbers will undoubtedly again spike and a further lockdown may ensue.

Who knows?

I pin my hopes on the vaccines and thank my lucky stars every day that we have such great scientific minds who have been working as a world collective on this for the past 8 months. We have the very best science can offer us and it makes me laugh that people are dismissing it, talking about it being a “live vaccine” (it isn’t) and wanting to put fear and doubt in the mindset of those around them so that it doesn’t get taken. BONKERS! I will be taking it and giving it to my children and encouraging everyone else to do the same. Gone are the days when we didn’t have the ability to create vaccines and children regularly died of completely preventable illnesses before their fifth birthdays. We are SO lucky to have this life line now and my hope is that stars of stage and screen, musicians, TV personalities and even the Royal Family will make a show of taking it so that it encourages others to see the safety in doing so. And I also hope the super spreaders, the 16-35 year olds who don’t get it badly but pass it on with wild fire like gumption, get given the vaccine first. Here’s hoping!

Right now the country is in tears for the tiers and I get it, I totally understand why. 2020 has been crap for so many of us in so many ways not just those of us who have had the virus either badly or insignificantly but the COVID collateral with other illnesses taking a bashing in treatments and pregnant women suffering from a lack of care but livelihoods and even relationships have felt the pressure. It’s not been easy at times for all of us, it’s been bloody hard all the time for others. I have always said that while I agree we are all in the same storm we are not all on the same boat weathering it. There are people clinging on to pieces of driftwood while others bob along nicely on luxury liners and other people’s tears over the new tiers are very valid.

We just need to keep holding on, keep floating if we can and wait a bit longer. It’s hard right now but one day we will all be out the other side and I for one cannot wait for that time to come.

A lockdown walk with my family. My boat is full but very well made and we are the lucky ones, I will try to remember that and keep my own tier tears dry. Soon everyone, it will be soon we have to believe that!