Do you know, sometimes I so wish I was an island!  My days should be relatively tranquil, at the moment, but, routinely, they morph into something quite different to that which I had intended.  Thus, while I had planned to, quietly, write, instead I have been all over town looking for printer ink and, I assure you, printers do not like me!  Throw in the problematic internet connection and one starts to share a great empathy with Basil Fawlty!  Excellent.  Reasons for Exclamation Marks, Part II.  The fact that nobody under the age of – well, my age, really – will understand any of the above is neither here nor there.

Page-filling.  I have never really required such a skill but my head is all over the place, now, and I have no topic in mind.  Dangerous.  I continue the endeavour to lead a gentle life writing and walking on the beach of an evening, returning home to a large gin and tonic – and talking of G&Ts I have just emptied the recycling into the umpteen bins outside and, forget Alexa, be in no doubt that one’s bins are the blueprint to one’s life!  Funny, I grew up regarding the aforementioned very much as a lunchtime drink, a favourite of Pop’s, but then it became fashionable.  Bamboozled by choice, it is no longer a case of just Gordon’s!  I had to get that in after the hilarity invoked by my, randomly, remembering Gordon Stewart’s Birthday – and, laughingly, telling everybody.  Oh, well, as they say, little things.

I nipped into the local Tesco in my search for printer ink, earlier.  No ink but I managed to fill a basket and ignore both the tanoid and the arrows instructing a one-way system – not deliberately, I might add.  Soon we’ll all be wearing overalls!  It is interesting, though, observing people’s behaviour.  There are those who react as though a rabbit in the headlights if one even attempts to walk in their direction.  Now, I know it is a scary sight – no make-up, unruly hair and roots – but is there any need to behave as though I have the plague?  This is exactly what I mean by scaremongering and the effects of.  It is damaging for those who seem unable to maintain perspective.  All too easy to listen to the news, watch the news, ingestthe news.  It is constant.  Figures, warnings, threats, footage.  I happened to check Facebook, last night, as I went to bed and up on my newsfeed came an item from the BBC – footage of an ICU ward at night.  Seriously?!  Am I missing something?  Please enlighten me as to the benefit of watching such harrowing film?  It frightens people!  Yes, one needs to be aware of the heinous threat of this invisible enemy but the truth is it is not going anywhere and, whilst each of us must exercise caution, one cannot live in fear.

We went for a wander by the castle on Sunday evening.  I revelled in the smell of the sea, strong as I remember it from childhood, at once invoking the excitement of summer and swimming in the outdoors.  That natural pool has been there forever, nestling among the rocks overgrown with seaweed and harbouring pools of hidden treasure.  It is the exposed seaweed which creates the familiar aroma and proves a lure to the seagulls, above, who seem to float, effortlessly, in the sky.  I never tire of their call.  That being said, were they always that big and isn’t there anything they can do about their diet?!  The seagulls, I mean … no hint of ambiguity.

We walked down the hill past the ancient ruins of the cathedral towards the harbour.  Strangely, there were other people around and the reticence of some to pass by their fellow man was clear to see.  I found it quietly amusing in light of the fact that we were in the great outdoors, in the freshest air and several feet apart!  Furthermore, in the distance, one could see the West Sands – vast and devoid of people, as it has been for the past seven weeks.  Long may it continue but, were I prone to panic at the sight of another human being (for different reasons), I would endeavour to find a more deserted location (as I do).

Continuing, we walked to the end of the harbour wall, scattering all in our wake with the exception of the seagulls sunbathing plonk in the middle.  They showed no fear as though reclaiming their territory.  Nature is revelling in its rebirth as are its creatures, suddenly free from the shadow of man.

It was a beautiful evening as we walked back up through The Pends, passing the familiar boarding houses and grounds of my old school.  Daring to continue past St Leonards Chapel into the Quad, an old lady appeared who, literally, clung to the wall to get by.  I jest not.  She was terrified!  One of the many who, regardless of any relaxation of lockdown, will continue to live in fear.  Is there any prospect of a normal life?

One cannot avoid news of the impending COVID-19 tracker app which commences trial in the Isle of Wight today.  For one who balks at the mention of the world ‘app’, I am, understandably, sceptical and, immediately, averse to carrying a tracking device of any sort.  Technical, it may be – and subject to far-reaching misuse – it demands, as ever, access to private data.  Should its success be guaranteed, it may justify a leap of faith; however, its triumph lies, ultimately, in human hands.  Yes, we can all acquiesce and download the app but it can only be effective if those with symptoms a) recognise them and b) request a test.  The scope for error and abuse is immense.  Not impressed.  Seven weeks on, it would seem that the life which awaits ‘beyond the bars’ is anything but free.

The future belongs to those who believe the beauty of their dreams.’   Eleanor Roosevelt.

This is Trish, signing off.