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.