Let’s keep that second lockdown at bay

July 19th, 2020 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

I know I’m so lucky to be living in such a gorgeous and safe place as West Cork, but I’m craving the bright lights of a big city even for a few hours. I wouldn’t want to upset my new hero, Prof Luke O’Neill, though, whose top advice is to avoid crowds and close contacts.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Week, god only knows what, as things turn a little bit tribal after someone took ‘my’ spot at the local beach

• STAYCATION. Can we all promise to never say that word again, ever, please? And no, it’s not sour grapes on my behalf, either, because there’s isn’t a decent rental to be found for love nor money anywhere this side of December. I feel it’s just being completely over-used, and is being almost rammed down our throats from every angle. Personally, I think it’s okay to admit that summer 2020 is going to be generally, shall we say testing, regardless of whether you’re on the Wild Atlantic Way (just me, or is basically everywhere on the Wild Atlantic Way?) or the Copper Coast and that despite our wonderful scenery, fantastic food, and superb hospitality, it’s going to feature a lot of obsessive spritz-ing and sanitising, nervous social-distancing and general uncertainty. All this faux-joviality has me exhausted and I haven’t even been anywhere.

• What I have noticed, though, is that the hordes of staycationers descending on West Cork have brought out a very territorial streak in lots of us. I wouldn’t have included myself in this until a trip to the local beach revealed someone had taken my spot – yes, my spot! I mean everyone knows that’s my spot, the same way I know everyone else’s spot. I had to shuffle further up along and I wasn’t too happy about it at all, let me tell you. The fact that the sea breeze carried their non-West Cork accents right my way, only made me feel more tribal. It’s childish I know, let’s blame the lunar eclipses. For sure it’s wonderful for all the struggling business people that West Cork is a mecca for staycationers, but there are lots of us just waiting for crowds to thin out again and to get back to normal. The new normal. Oh yes, that’s another phrase that I think should be banned.

• In case you hadn’t guessed, it’s been a bit of a wobbly week. My local GAA club was one of those clubs who suspended all GAA activity after fears a player could have contracted the virus. I’m not part of the club in any way, but members of my family are, and for the first time it felt like there was a real and present danger to our ‘unit’ we had worked really hard to protect. Thankfully, everything was fine and the precautionary measure was lifted but it was a timely reminder that Covid-19 isn’t something that is somewhere else.

• It really hit me this week that young people in general are being unfairly vilified. Yes, there have been well-publicised parties, where their behaviour has been poor, but I know lots of adults who have behaved, and are behaving, just as badly. It’s just that grown-up, wine-sodden BBQs don’t attract as much attention as drunken teenage parties. Lots of people are bending the rules on the basis that we ‘all need a good night out.’ Time to grow up, folks.

• Having said that, though, is anyone craving a bit of spontaneity? I’m probably the least spontaneous person I know. Before I go some place I like to know what time I’ll be home and what will happen in between, and even I’m in dire need of a bit of ‘popping in,’ ‘heading off,’ and ‘checking out’. I’d also love a bit of urbanity. I’m so grateful for all the beautiful walks, forests and beaches we’re surrounded by, but I’d love a bit of a buzz. Something that involves a yacht and the Kardashians, maybe.

• I’m guessing at this stage we’ve all heard what I’m praying is an urban myth: that someone knows someone who is a sister of someone who is a guard who told her to enjoy herself now as we’re all headed towards a certain second lockdown any week now, but that this time it would be done on a localised basis. Time to get the loo roll stocked up again, as now that I think about it, it’s highly likely.

• Finally, I had a lovely letter from a reader this week who said she enjoys the column for a bit of light-heartedness. Sorry! I know I sound very cranky this week. Maybe I need a little staycation myself? Although one thing that did cheer me up was hearing that Professor Luke O’Neill is the lead singer in a band called The Metabollix. He’s gas, and talks complete sense. His top advice is to wear that mask, avoid crowds, close contact and closed spaces. Oh, and to steer clear of my beach spot if you know what’s good for you!

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