Back at last!
I've missed you.
For the last week or so, Pam and I have been on holiday on the Isle of Wight. We were privileged to be part of the first wave of tourists to visit the island since the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions, and it has been very interesting to witness the social and psychological effects of the easing of the strict rules that banned us from eating and visiting indoors.
It has also been interesting for me to gauge my own reactions to the extra freedoms that have brought me into a more close proximity to groups of people than I have experienced for over a year now.
Firstly, I must congratulate the people of the Isle of Wight for their adherence to the Covid 19 "Test and Trace" procedures. The NHS App is universally used and its log on my phone now contains a record of every single place we visited from the massive Osborne House to the tiny cabin where I bought a newspaper.
The Isle of Wight was one of the first places to trial the App, and they have incorporated it comprehensively throughout the Island. You will not enter anywhere without either scanning a QR code or writing down your details and a contact number - it's brilliant!
Indoor public areas, although open now, are still subject to social distancing rules. Most places had signs and floor markings, but a few had none at all. Luckily, people are courteous and polite and make way for each other as required - I guess we have all become conditioned to the new reality.
Staff were inviably pleased to be back at work and many told me that they had been busy preparing for this moment for some weeks. I must say, most places had excellent facilities in place to control entry to toilets and provide adequate hand sanitisation.
After losing my facemask early on, I wore a snood that I could quickly pull up when necessary. It worked really well for me and I recommend it to anyone living with dementia (or with lots of pockets...).
Before embarking on holiday, I was concerned that I might struggle to readapt to being in relatively close proximity to other people in an enclosed place. And while I did have a degree of anxiety due to the sensory overload noise and activity, I am pleased to say that I coped extremely well. I was lucky that Pam took on the role of ordering food and conversing with staff to save me from any awkward misunderstandings.
All in all, we had a wonderful week on the island and I feel reassured that I will reintegrate quite easily along with the rest of society. This "phased" lifting of restrictions is definitely the best path back to normality.