I ‘met’ Liz after she had listened to me on Radio Norfolk, talking about tea towels. Liz currently lives in Austria, but originates from Norfolk, so tunes in daily. I convinced her that she and her husband might become a Guest Tea Towel 2020, which they did. And now she has written something for ‘We’re all in this together’. Here is her story:
“My husband, Rob, and I moved to Austria in 2016. Our life is pretty secluded, at the best of times, as we live in a forest where there are only 5 full-time residents (including us).
Due to the Coronavirus the whole of Austria was put into a ‘Lockdown’ status from 16 March. What does this mean? We can only leave the house for the following reasons:
- To go shopping – but only pharmacies, supermarkets and other food stores are open and we should avoid unnecessary trips. We will limit our outing in the car, three kilometres down the mountain to the nearest town, to just once a week.
- For medical reasons – we went to the Pharmacy this week to get Rob’s pills. There were markings, one metre apart, on the floor, to show where we should queue. However, there was only one other customer so we were seen immediately. Staff are behind Perspex screens. Got the pills with no need for a prescription (which we do usually need) and an agreement that we would return next month
- We are currently allowed to go for walks. This is not the case in some other countries where people are confined to their own properties. We are very lucky as we live right on a forest path so we can walk several kilometres without seeing anyone!
So, how have we spent our first week?
- I have walked every day and clocked up a total of 27 kilometres
- We have filled our chest freezer with homemade bread, blanched vegetables and Rob’s homemade sausages
- I am an arts and crafts fanatic so it’s no problem for me to spend time making things. In particular, I love knitting and have started making the ‘Innocent Smoothie’ hats for Age UK’s 2020 Big Knit.
- As Easter is not far away, I took the opportunity of some rather nice, warm, sunny weather in the week to decorate the front of our house with Easter Egg Trees. As the Garden Centres are closed we are unable to buy bedding plants. Instead, I filled a planter with some knitted flowers and intend to knit more flowers to put elsewhere. Our house now looks lovely and colourful. Even if no one else sees it, it cheers me up.
We feel safe here in Austria. Things are very well organised. We have had a letter from the Mayor telling us what services are available and where to get help if we need it. The local government also provides several updates on its website daily on the virus and any changes to the rules and regulations.
So, as the UK now faces a similar situation to us over here, I would offer the following advice
- Please restrict your social interactions. Only go to places when you really need to
- Plan your meals weekly so you know what you need to buy
- Make a list of jobs for the week or just things you intend to do to fill your time
- Exercise – even if it’s just doing some indoor walking or an exercise class on YouTube
- Read some cheerful books
- Eat well – plenty of fruit and veg – hence my Tea Towel
- Look after yourself and your loved ones – appreciate what you have
Thank you Liz for some really good ideas. It is reassuring to know other countries are taking strict measures to ensure, eventually, COVID 19 is eradicated. This is exactly what I meant about ‘We’re all in this together‘