During Dutch lesson, which of course, in these times, is being done through teleconferencing, the subject came up on what we’re doing more of and less of during the coronavirus lockdown.

I’m doing less:

  1. Watching football comes first. It’s one of the things that I miss most. You could include tennis in this, so I’ll just rename this item as: watching sport on TV.
  2. Driving. I’ve almost forgotten the last time I filled the tank and the fuel guage has hardly moved at all since then. Not surprising, given that I only drive for five minutes each week to the supermarket and back.
  3. Travelling. The borders are closed for non-essential travel. Leaving the house is only allowed for exercise, shopping, trips for health reasons or going to work. In my case, I work from home. I’ve already missed a trip to Croatia, a biking weekend on the island of Texel in northern Holland and a visit to the family in Malta.
  4. Eating out. I miss going to several favourite restaurants in the neighbourhood. They miss my custom and that of thousands of others. I doubt if they can all survive this crisis. So sorry for them. We’ve been lucky up until now. We’ve kept our jobs and our incomes and have not been infected by the virus, as far as we know (unless we’re in the no-symptom category of victims).

In the ‘more’ list:

  1. Why not… blogging. Could, should be even more, actually. But you would be surprised how full the day remains, given that we’re still doing a full time job. Still, my blog post count in the six weeks or so since beginning of lockdown is one per week, more or less. In the previous nine weeks it was zero.
  2. Exercise. This may be one of the most positive secondary effects of the lockdown on society in general. Less watching sport on TV, more physical activity of the population in general. Many people have taken to going out for an hour’s walk or a bicycle trip around the neighbourhood, once a day. The weather has been favourable, and we all need this foray outside the house to get a breath of fresh air and help keep our sanity. Who knows, it could be a new habit that will be kept up whenever this crisis is over. Hopefully, many will also ditch their car in favour of their bikes. Let’s just enjoy the cleaner air while it lasts. While we’re looking at the positive side, I wouldn’t be surprised if many others who haven’t been infected are also living the happy experience of feeling actually healthier than pre-lockdown.
  3. Food. I’ll include barbecues in this. Once a week, on the terrace at the back of the house, taking advantage of the generally good spring weather. The fact I’m exercising ‘entitles’ me to eat more. This, also, seems to be a secondary effect on most of the population in general. When you’re bored, you cook food and then eat it.
  4. Use of social media. It’s the only way we can stay in touch with friends and loved ones. The internet has really proved itself to be one of the best of all human inventions.

From tomorrow, 4th May, the lockdown in Belgium will be officially over, but there will still be a lot of restrictions. Restaurants will remain closed, non-essential travel out of the country will still be prohibited. But we can drive around the country. Finally, walks and bicycle routes can take place anywhere in Belgium, even though we’ll need to take a packed lunch with us, which is a real pity as a good part of the fun is entering some sort of brasserie or whatever and having a croque monsieur, an ice cream and a beer or a coffee. But still, it’s the beginning of the long road back to normality. Hoping we won’t have a second surge of infections and a return to an ever stricter lockdown.

I’ll focus on the bright side and look forward to at least some days, possibly weeks and (dare I hope?) indefinite enjoyment of scenery similar to the following…

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