June 2020

Self-isolation A miscellany by Derek Jones  First things first. Newspaper, radio and television reports have been full of stories about caring for each other during the lockdown. Non-intrusive enquiries—how are we doing, anything you need?—have been the order of the day pretty well everywhere from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands. It’s been the same here in Graigfechan, and we, like many others, have good friends and neighbours, who have done our shopping, collected prescriptions as well as stopping for a brief chat at the required distance, putting the world and the government to rights! Self-isolation definitely has its positive side.   At the same time, it’s been very noticeable how often people mention the difficulties of families elsewhere who live in tall blocks of flats, and who, until relatively late in the progress of the pandemic, have not been able to take the air, let alone having to keep small children indoors. I can’t help feeling that the Civic Association, more than any other organisation concerned with the quality of life, might think more regularly about life in tower blocks. I can already hear it being said ‘but there aren’t any here’ and of course there aren’t, but the word ‘civic’ points us to a wider concern for the places in which some of our fellow citizens are forced to live.   Paradoxically, the pandemic may have made it possible for all of us to look sky-wards and be pleasantly surprised by a new sharpness of light. Such are the benefits of the reduction of air and car travel. Will it last? Or will we, as soon as we possibly can, revert to our polluting ways?   Meanwhile, I hope people managed to see the ‘Super Moon’, absolutely huge, and, it seemed, close at hand, as if resting on the top of the Clwydians. On the other hand, we may perhaps recall what is now becoming a rubbish dump up there, littered as it is with several generations of discarded spacecraft, and no civic association to ask the Council to take any of it away!   Self-isolation has meant that, as I write this, I have not seen Ruthin for seven weeks. It is, I gather, very quiet, and peaceful, but shoppers have seen the return of the queue, as people wait patiently and safely to be allowed into the supermarkets, food shops, the hardware shop (where the shopkeepers come to the door and bring what you need without your crossing their threshold). Perhaps the prize for ingenuity ought to go to Castle Bell Newsagents who, although having closed the shop, have not only hugely expanded their round of deliveries, but more than tripled the range of goods that they have available and will add to your daily paper—from toilet rolls to soap, from toothpaste to kitchen rolls. While many have been in enforced idleness, Castle Bell has described their daily output as ‘manic’. They deserve a medal! On May 22nd, Castle Bell announced that this service would cease, as other supply chains returned to normal. It also enabled Castle Bell to re- model its shop.
Archive from 2013 Historic Interest