Started to feel a bit unwell yesterday. Had a high temperature this morning so after checking the NHS website realised I had to go and get a Covid test. Our nearest site was just 40 mins away and meant a very pleasant drive in the autumn sunshine. Had to do the test myself which wasn’t awful, but not very nice either. Just got to self-isolate now, at least until we get the result back.

Have been finding it difficult to write anything of a personal nature at the moment. A few days ago I started writing about how, since the start of the lockdown, I have finally reached a kind of equilibrium. Adaptation to the new normal, at least, the current new normal.

It almost feels like emotional numbness. Maybe it is. While here in the SW we have experienced little of Covid itself, living with the lockdown measures has been a strain, as it has for everyone else.

While I was able to continue working and so maintain something of the old normal, seeing my family dealing with much greater restriction was hard to do. Wished I could have done something to ease the difficulty of it.

At the moment I have an appetite for stories. Am listening and watching and reading in far greater quantities than usual. I’m sure this is a reaction to everything that has gone on. Think I have read somewhere that this is a Thing.

Living a socially paired down existence means there is less pressure to deal with the social anxiety. This is not such a good thing, as what momentum I had gained through doing the CBT has somewhat stalled.

Maybe I shouldn’t be to hard on myself. Maybe accept that right now is a time to take a breather and recharge. Enjoy time with my family. Enjoy the stories.

Thoughts have not come easily for the last few days. A flatness in my mind, probably induced in part by a lack of sleep, which in turn is brought on by the short nights and hayfever.

Having finally developed a sense of stability around The Situation for the moment, a kind of ennui has settled in. Not a frame of mind I particularly go for.

This is neither thoroughly unpleasant nor very enjoyable.

Nonetheless, a relaxing weekend meant I caught up on some reading. Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that has long been on the list.

A nice bit where a discussion around photographing the prairie occurs. Or the difficulties thereof.

You need a three-hundred-and-sixty degree lens, or something. You see it, and then you look down in the ground glass and it’s just nothing. As soon as you put a border on it, it’s gone.

Put me in mind of our trip through Canada back in 2002. Driving west through Alberta with the prairie all around. The sight of the Rockies appearing on the horizon stretching as far as you could see in either direction.

Took photos. That never did it justice.

We try to squeeze every sight, sound and experience into a box, a frame, a screen. But some just won’t fit.

I should finish reading Susan Sontag’s On Photography. Started it about a decade ago but never finished it for some complicated reason.

Some apprehension today, as I am expecting it to be busier out and about, on the back of the government’s announcement encouraging a return to work.

I hope, I really do, that people will be considerate and make the effort to social distance themselves in busier places, with more of us around. Most people are considerate, but I’ve seen enough of the small number who aren’t to think it a legitimate concern.

Here in the UK, the guidance on what constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the house includes ‘driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving)’. We took this at face value yesterday and drove to a local spot for a 3 mile walk in woodland. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed bluebells and the fresh green of new beech leaves. There were a few other walkers about but everyone was considerate and sensible.

When we got back to the car we found the police had stuck a leaflet under our wiper, as they had also done with any other cars around. Of the advice it gave one sentence stood out: ‘You should not be driving to a location away from home’ for exercise. So despite the guidelines being endorsed by both the CPS and National Police Chief’s Council there is still disparity in the advice being given. Ho hum.

On Saturday I took my son for a 10k ride on the hills near us. He has just moved up to a bigger bike and I wanted to give him the chance to get off-road for a bit. I was really impressed with how well he did, as it was a big step up from what he is used to. Not that I can describe myself as a ‘mountain biker’ per se, even if I own one.

All this makes me appreciate all over again the opportunities we have locally for fresh air and exercise.