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  • chris walsh

SEEING THINGS A BIT DIFFERENTLY FROM FAR AWAY

I have now travelled down to the Cevennes - which is a remote forested and hilly region in the South of France between Montplelier and the coastal plain and the mountains of the Massif Centrale. This was quite a decision after spending 4 months largely isolated at home with 3 other family members. However as we were self shielding we felt we were not a risk for others and as we went by eurotunnel in a sealed train compartment in our car - which you are not allowed to leave during the journey - there was little contact. However as it is a very long drive ( total around 15 hours) we had to stay at a motorway hotel. That was quite worrying but the hotel had most everything computerised and kept separate with sanitizers andwe everyone had to wear masks. So after cleaning everything we could find that we could touch with wipes we hoped for the best and actually only met people also masked as they went past about 1 meter away.

As we had brought food with us we only needed to stop at motorway stations to get petrol and coffee, again masked and socially distanced, and most everyone else seemed to take the same considerate approach it seemed like a reasonable level of risk.

I think that like many others once you take the plunge and go out again into the world you do seem to feel a little more liberated, while at the same time trying to make sure that you still keep ALert ( as someone seems to have said) and considerate of your own and others health and safety.

So now the news from the UK, with the lock downs in the North and the ongoing government confusion and incompetence, centralisation and deceit, seems for the moment a little less pressing but no less appalling.

Now the first thing on coronavirus I look for is France and then the UK. Here there is a similar worry about a second wave with increased numbers testing positive, increased numbers going into ICU and more pleas from government ministers for people to obey the basic safety rules. What is striking however is that the numbers while worrying are less than in the UK where the government still seems to be saying everything is under control and will get better and making more and more disjointed and confusing messages - all seemingly aimed at deflecting attention from their abject failures up to now and desperately following the mantra of getting the economy back on track. It seems that every right wing leader is pursuing instinctively the Malthusian approach of preparing to sacrifice the vulnerable for the money - in the USA, Brazil, India, Russia and of course the UK.

However that said the same opposition from the selfish and ignorant and alt right ranters is appearing everywhere, across Europe and the globe.

. Here in a small market town the number of people wearing masks in a public space is still a minority - with a lot of people going to the street markets and in the cafes not just without masks but with little social distancing. As the area experienced few cases of Covid 19 before they seem to have relaxed their guard despite a large number of tourists now arriving. We are j keeping as far away as possible and meeting friends ( my wife is French and this is her local village) at a distance, in the open air and with a mask when necessary.

I hope that we and you all are able to keep up the wariness and stay safe

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