Saturday, 28 March 2020

Weekend Reflections / Social Distancing Continued

The weather is still sunny, and the temperature "chilly spring" - as in people still wearing winter clothes, but more and more signs of spring showing up in nature nevertheless.

Yesterday the Swedish government declared organized meetings involving more than 50 people forbidden. Still far from the total lock-down in many other countries, though. (For better or for worse, only the future will be able to judge.) Everyone with any kind of flu/cold symptoms is of course (still) supposed to stay home; and people over 70 or in a risk group are urged to keep isolated and minimize all contact with others. Little Red Riding Hood is not supposed to go visiting grandmother (or the other way round) - and everyone else as well is strongly advised to think twice (or more) before undertaking any kind of travel.

I'm still going out for daily walks (not breaking any rules) but keeping away from people. Like last week, I've also stayed away from the city centre during the week - but decided once again to go that way today (Saturday morning), to buy myself another bouquet of tulips (provided the flower shop was not crowded - and it wasn't) ... and generally check on the progress of spring.

Even the ducks seem to be practicing social distancing and "three is a crowd" just now.

Out of the twelve stone chairs in the square (a permanent sculpture art installation), only one was occupied. Certainly no crowds of 50 to be seen.

A new addition is a green mini square with colourful footprints at respectful distance from each other. And a sign saying something like "a safe place to meet". (Mostly meant as a reminder to keep your distance, I think.)

Services in the Church of Sweden churches in our city have been cancelled for this Sunday (tomorrow), in order to follow the new restrictions.

The cherry trees beginning to blossom are a reminder of new life on the other side of winter...

On my way home, after my visit to the flower shop, I passed by this place, which is a small arts and crafts shop and gallery, where local artists sell their handicraft. I recalled having seen an ad for a current exhibition, and decided to take a look through the door to see if it was crowded in there or not... It was not. The only other person inside was the salesperson. So I went in, and very much enjoyed the exhibition of colourful textile art.

(I also bought a couple of little things but as one may end up as a future present for someone, I'm not showing those. Yet, anyway.)

Weekend Reflections

Thursday, 26 March 2020

In Spite of Everything...

Spring is coming along both outdoors and indoors. 

We've been having lovely sunny weather all week (although still a bit chilly), and I've been too busy, and spending too much time outdoors, to feel isolated. On the whole, the biggest change for me so far in the ongoing drama is that I spend more time now trying to keep up with the latest news; which leaves me less time than usual for "normal" things! (Not to mention all the tips of "things to do in quarantine" that keep flooding the internet...)

Short summary:

Saturday: Long walk into town and back. Kept my distance to people, but took quite a lot of photos; and then blogged some of them. Also bought more tulips (again, my only purchase, and a very quick one, with no queuing involved).

Sunday: Blogged a Sepia Saturday post; and after lunch went out for a walk. Ran into a couple of old friends (but we stopped ourselves before we got too close!) They came on bikes, wearing helmets and sunglasses - if one of them hadn't recognized me, and called out my name, I would not have realized it was them. We stopped and chatted for a while - still keeping respectful distance, of course... (Even if three people is not yet officially considered a crowd here!) 
Monday: Payed bills and did some other "have to" things online; went for a walk; and changed curtains in the kitchen (and some other decorations too, to follow the changes in nature outside).

Tuesday: Did my online shopping order from the supermarket (to be delivered Thursday). The order took longer than usual, as everyone is still stock-piling stuff - so I had to spend more time than usual guessing what, and searching for strategic alternatives.

Guess what category had vanished completely and could not even be found on the website, neither by the search box nor any other way I could think of? Where ever you live in the world, I'm sure you guessed it. I'll just have to keep hoping that the situation will normalize before I reach the bottom of my own pile...

I also felt I had to be a bit creative about certain other things. Last time, for example, I had ordered two cartons of my standard soy yoghurt, but did not get any - which surprised me then, because they usually have more than one brand, and if they're out of what I ordered, they usually send another similar product instead (unless I have checked a little box to say I don't want that particular thing to be replaced with anything else). This time, to be on the safe side, I ordered three different kinds (two soy, one oats). Of course now I ended up getting all three - so if nothing else, no lack of yoghurt for breakfast for a while! But actually I got most of the other things I wanted as well. Except... Kitchen paper! (I suppose bought buy all the other desperate people who could not find the other kind...) 

On the other hand, there is still no shortage of fruit and vegetables from all over the world. Which I find quite surprising, under the circumstances. Grapes, mango, bananas, avocado, eggplant etc -  no problem. I got everything I had ordered of that kind.

Wednesday: Washing day in the afternoon. Just now a good thing that the common laundry room in my building only has one washing machine. That means one is usually alone down there (provided people respect the rules and keep to their time slots). And yes, I wash my hands etc - and always wear vinyl gloves down there anyway.

Thursday: Got my groceries delivered in the morning; and went out for a walk after lunch. Back home, watched the usual daily press conference with our various Expert Authorities on TV in the afternoon. How quickly one gets used to very strange things! I can't even remember now when exactly that became a daily thing. A few weeks ago, I don't think I even knew we had such a person as a State Epidemiologist. Now he's our chief guru and we rely more on him than on the prime minister (or any other politician). He seems to be on every newscast and every talk show in every channel around the clock; patiently answering the same questions over and over again. So far, Sweden has been taking a slightly different approach to things than most other countries: Here (so far), more recommendations and partial restrictions than complete lockdowns. For how long, and whether right or wrong, remains to be seen (perhaps - or perhaps we'll never know). But in the meantime, it can of course be speculated about a million times.

Phew. Enough for today. Past my bedtime already...
Keep safe! ♥

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Fading Memories of Cycling and Before Social Distancing (Sepia Saturday 512)

The Sepia Saturday prompt picture this week shows bicycle girls from c. 1925 - and I think Alan's comment deserves quoting, too:  
When I was putting together the theme prompt images for March, a few weeks ago, the last thing I thought is that we would be looking at this week's theme image and thinking "those two on the right seem to be standing a little too close together!".

This made me go back to my photo album from 1976, and some fading photos from my own one and only cycling holiday, with a church youth group - up in the province of Värmland, where I was living then. 

All my colour photos from the 1970s are in a sad condition of fading away now. They are also firmly glued into an album. I just quick-copied them with my camera and decided to leave the colouring as it is, without any attempts at digital editing (except a bit of cropping with one or two). I've deliberately chosen photos that are pretty much anonymous, but hopefully they still convey the general atmosphere. I think we were away for four days (three nights) - staying the nights in summer camp cottages and old countryside chapels rather than tents, but still rather primitive conditions. (Cooking on portable spirit stoves etc.) And certainly not involving keeping much distance - except perhaps uphill! (being more of a challenge for some than for others, depending on personal condition as well as what kind of bike you had...)

(Me sitting on the ground with my legs crossed.)

(Whether worrying about toilet paper, I cannot remember!)

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Social Distancing

I  think maybe people around here are starting to get the "social distancing" message ... It's a difficult time for merchants, though!

Can you spot the people in these photos?

Weekend Reflections

Friday, 20 March 2020


Sometimes it is really hard to predict how things will develop. That's not only true about viruses, but also tulips. Would you have guessed it's the same bouquet of tulips in both photos above? It is! Six days ago when I bought them they were pink, with an interesting greenish edge to the petals. Now they're purple or violet and look almost like a totally different kind of flower!

Whether people are still going bananas in the supermarket and keep stock-piling toilet paper, I don't know. (Maybe I'll find out next week when it's time for my next online shopping.) However, one thing that's hard to stock-pile at home for two weeks is bananas; and today my desire for bananas made me break my self-isolation for a brief visit to my local convenience store. (I know they usually have fresh bananas for the weekend.)

What's usually routine, now feels a bit like acting in some kind of ridiculous theatrical drama.

1. Watching from across the street for a while, trying to guess if the shop is full of people or not. 
2. When it seems safe, going in, and going straight for the item I'm after (no random browsing - and keeping my gloves on!).
3. Making sure to keep my distance to anyone else who was already in there. There was one other customer before me at the cash desk... I stayed well behind until they were all done.
4. Until now, I've nearly always payed cash in this shop. Now I asked if I could 'blip my card' instead (= contactless payment, see last week's tulip post). Turned out I can. So that will probably change my habit for the foreseeable future ... 
5. Deep breath outside, hoping no virus had time to attach itself to me. (I probably wasn't in there more than 3 minutes, but who knows...)

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Thankful Thursday

Sometimes we need: a safe nest, strong protective walls and boundaries, but also some gates (possibilities) kept open... 

Thoughts from a walk the other day around an old cemetery close to where I live - another good place for me to go walking without risk of running into too many people. I also find it quite a good place to meditate about Life and count my blessings, though. (Like, all the possibilities nowadays to keep in touch with others even in times of isolation...)

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Marching On

The corona virus situation keeps escalating from one day to the next. Sweden seems to be keeping a similar line to Britain when it comes to recommendations to isolate the elderly over 70 now. Since I'm not there yet, but on the other hand not working either (and having some other 'minor' health issues, even if feeling fairly healthy at the moment) I'm still left to using my own "common sense" when it comes to self-isolation. Which in my case means that I have continued to go out for walks, but keeping my distance to other people. Fortunately, that's not very hard to do just around where I live - at least if I don't go all the way into the city centre. 

Yesterday, I went in another direction, to explore some recent changes to a less frequented park down by the river. Last time I remember walking there (some time last summer, it must have been), they were digging that park up, removing a tennis court (why, I don't know), and changing the whole layout. Now it looks like it's waiting to serve as a nice place for people to gather for a picnic by the river in the summer. But on this grey Monday in mid March, it was all deserted. I had it all to myself - which suited me just fine! :)

I also found the first colt's-foot flowers (on my way there).

As for the corona situation, one of the next restrictions announced in Sweden today was closing upper secondary schools, colleges and universities. Not as in giving the students extra holidays, but arranging distance teaching so that they can study from home. Elementary schools are still kept open (so far), because closing those would involve a lot more complications (as young children can't be left unsupervised).
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