Covid grief hasn’t touched me yet. I thought of someone particularly vulnerable yesterday and I desperately hoped I’d see them again. It’s getting closer to all of us. Friends of friends have passed on now. Ireland is a small country:

The lockdown is taking its toll on the Polish upstairs who have started early drinking, banging metal kitchen utensils and shouting ‘kurwa’ and ‘dupek’ a lot. Which would be fine if they closed the windows. I wonder how everyone else is?

My heart felt heavy this morning, I dreamed of a large box – inside that box was another box, and then another and another like a Russian doll. Some boxes hold burdens that need to be dropped, others hold truths to be accepted and others still hopes, stifled by weight. I hadn’t planned to use this time for spiritual voodoo, but it’s happening anyway. If you hadn’t realised, by now, that plans mean nothing, what hope is there?

I decided to shake off the dream by taking a walk. There is a cross on a hill nearby I haven’t seen up close. I turn out of my courtyard and negotiate the main street. It’s as busy as ever. I’m paranoid of people’s infection status. The footpath is tight and zig-zagging through the slow-moving townsfolk is frustrating, so I step onto the road to maintain distance. The SUVs can wait. I diplomatically suppress a cough till I round a corner and leave the crowd behind.

I take a dirt track behind a row of townhouses. As I distance myself from the town’s epicentre I see how the quality of lock-down increases with the size of the patio. Paddling pools, trampolines and flower beds tease me with their promise of children’s laughter. Pretty soon I’m into the townlands where road frontages border half-football-field sized gardens. I decided to leave ‘the boy’ (Harry’s son – ed) with his mother’s garden a while longer.

It’s a lot warmer under the bright blue sky than it is in my dank flat. Now I’m left carrying a jacket I don’t really need. The morning’s heaviness lifts as I absorb the light. I wonder how far away from the fire-station I am. I check with Google maps – 2 kilometres, it informs me, the limit of the curfew.

I’m less worried about that. I have travel documents on the phone and I’m more of a danger to old folk 10 metres outside my front door than I am here. It would be safer for all concerned if I pitched a tent on this spot and sat out the crisis. Rules are always arbitrary. I am concerned about missing a fire-call though. Running 2 km in five minutes is at the limits of Olympian ability and I came last in my latest fire training course.

I head back and pop in to Aldi for a loaf of bread. I see a retro style popcorn bowl for sale and wonder who would need one. Heavily-discounted Ireland RFU apparel is testament to the cancelled sports season and there are rows of Easter eggs. Usually, they have sold out by now and, most years, my kids go without. This time there are loads at reduced price. I pick up three to keep Jesus happy.

Size matters, the biggest eggs are for the children you love the most, decreasing in size to represent the smaller amount you are willing to spend on the crotch goblins who are just annoying obligations. They need to know where they stand, right? There are deluxe eggs aimed at adults, possibly for significant others. Just as well I don’t have one – she wouldn’t get an egg anyway. I spend 99cents on one for ‘the boy’ and the same for his Mum’s other two kids… All children are equal.

As evening drew in, the crew from the fire station gathered, carefully maintaining social distancing, to pay tribute to fallen comrade Dublin fire-fighter Dave Mcloughlin. It was the first time we had been together in more than a month. So far we’ve had a walk on part in this crisis, which wasn’t what I had expected. The sombre nature of the occasion gave me pause to reflect on other frontline staff who will be exposed to danger on a continual basis and may lose some of their own.

Covid grief hasn’t touched me yet. I know I said it wouldn’t, but I thought of someone particularly vulnerable yesterday and I desperately hoped I’d see them again.

It’s getting closer to all of us. Friends of friends have passed on now. Ireland is a small country.

I think we are doing well as a nation overall, but then again how can I tell? It’s just the various media that tell me that and they’re not going to say otherwise are they? But I think we are doing well. I also think we are in it for the long haul. If they lifted the restrictions on schools in a fortnight would you send your kids back? I wouldn’t. I don’t see the Government taking any big risks. I wonder what the exit strategy for this is?

Theoretically, you could keep a country on complete lock-down and minimise all deaths of any cause indefinitely. There has to be a certain amount of fatalities per day/week/month that is acceptable, the price for freedom and a functioning economy. Somebody has that figure in mind. A decent journalist should ask.