Sunday, 24 February 2008

Bag Lady

I got out to see mum today and she continues to cling onto to her independence. A bus service has started up again and although it’s very limited, it at least gives me a chance to get out to see her without depending on Jennifer. The community are gradually getting together to ensure that regular contact is kept with the elderly. A community kitchen has opened up in much the same way as our school and she makes her way along there for lunch. She has also volunteered to visit some of the older people who can’t get out of their homes. It seems like there are spontaneous support systems starting up all over the country which are quite defying those who predicted that society could not survive something like this.

We talked about Granny Browning living with us and how she felt about that. As ever mum was able to rationalise the situation and also state quite categorically that she did not want to live in the filthy city!! – mum never was one to mince her words.

On my way home I saw queues of people waiting outside shops with bags. I remember visiting Russia in the 80’s and seeing similar queues of people waiting patiently just on the chance that the shops might have something. Here we are in Scotland 20 years later and it seems exactly the same. Rumours abound of bread deliveries and I’ve taken to carrying a shopping bag with me wherever I go.

Some cities have had rioting and looting in the last few days – which I might have expected earlier in the crisis but not as things have begun to level out. It seems mainly to be young people who have survived the infection but have not reengaged in the sort of community we’ve set up at the school. It does appear that there is a discrepancy between the more middle class areas and the council estates – where death rates have been higher and law and order more difficult to establish.

The army have been taking a higher profile in the city, as they have been elsewhere in the UK, and this does seem to keep things calmer – at least in the centre of the town. Once we get back from school we never go out in the evening and although the days are getting longer we have kept to this rule.

David seems to have settled down again and he is enjoying having his Granny staying with us. I’m not so sure that Libby feels the same and she’s a bit short tempered – especially with me.

I received letter yesterday from the council's undertaking service, which in a quite matter of fact way described Graham’s burial place. They said I can’t go out there yet as it is still under severe pressure. I'd been trying to put all memories of Graham's death a private place but it was cruelly exposed yesterday afternoon and I spent most ot the rest of the day trying to pull myself together. I spent a good hour in the bath with the radio up full and crying my eyes out. It didn't help when one the records which they played had been the music which had been playing when Graham and I first started going out with each other - Lionel Richie's "Hello".

At least the death rate is slowing but many of those who hid away in the first few weeks are now having to come out and as they are exposed to the virus they fall ill. Apparently there are people who have the virus but show no signs of illness and who have been key figures in the spread of the disease.

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