#Writephoto – Together

This is not my usual response to a write photo prompt. Usually, I write a story inspired by the word or picture or post an extract from my WIP that ties into the prompt. Today, however, I thought I would write a stream of consciousness piece about togetherness.

South Africa went into lock down at 12pm on Thursday, 26 March for 21 days until Thursday, 16 April. Our lock down is overwhelming as it prohibits walking your dog, jogging, purchasing cigarettes or alcohol or going out of your garden for any reason other than to purchase essential items such as medication or food or visit the doctor. We are now half way through the 21 days. Has it helped? I don’t know. Our numbers of infections are not high, just over 1 500 and we have had 9 deaths. Our minister of health is telling us not to think we are out of danger because of the relatively low new infection figures. He seems to think this may be the calm before the storm and I tend to agree.

With regards to togetherness, lock down has resulted in constant togetherness. I have my boys here at home, all day long, everyday. They need help with their home schooling work and they are continuously hungry or thirsty or bored. My husband is also at home with us which means that my dining room, where I always work when at home, is full with four of us all spread out over our 16-seater table. Everyone has at least one computer [I have two] and Terence and I have an additional large screen each. Everyone has an ipad and an iphone [I have two]. All of these devices require power so the floor is full of cables. The table is heaped with school books and my research as well as my work manuals and legal books. I find it quite cloying as everywhere I go, every time I turn around, I seem to trip over someone. First world problems I know, but I still find it difficult.

My parents are also here with us and they spend quite a bit of time in our house [they have their own cottage down the pathway] and have all their meals with us. If I want to film a video, someone will come in half way through and the interruption will have to be edited out. It feels like Park Lane Railway Station. If I make a cup of tea, everyone wants one, if I bake, someone wants to help; even cleaning the house has become an event that everyone becomes involved in. Everyone is trying to be helpful and it is wonderful, but I am finding it a bit overwhelming. To much togetherness. My husband and sons are taking turns at waking up early because they are not sleeping well. This means that even my peaceful early morning blogging and writing time is interrupted and I have to stop and listen to the overnight Corona virus statistics and everything else that relates to this virus while trying to kill my ghosts and save my main characters.

So there is a lot of togetherness at the moment. Quite difficult for an introvert like me who needs time out to recharge. It is better to be together than to be alone I am sure and I love having time with my family, it is just adding to this general feeling of weirdness I have. The knowledge that everything in the world is not right.

How are your dealing with lock down? Are you enjoying the togetherness or are you alone? Tell me in the comments.

This post was inspired by Sue Vincent’s weekly write photo challenge. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2020/04/02/thursday-photo-prompt-together-writephoto/

69 thoughts on “#Writephoto – Together

    1. No, it isn’t easy when everyone is so anxious. Better than being alone, I do appreciate that, but still not that easy especially when you are in finance and can work out that if the economy remains locked down, government will run out of money for pensions and social grants.

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      1. I had to laugh at a headline on Nick’s homescreen… “new car sales fall!” … well, honestly, if so many cannot work, the economy of the world turned upside down, let alone the fact that no-one can consider shopping for a new car an ‘essential item’… what on earth do ‘they’ expect?

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  1. We are on lock down also, although can still walk the dogs, go for drives. My husband does the grocery shopping. My children are away from me and this separation is hard. My oldest daughter is sick with the virus – although they do not test for those who are at home sick. So the numbers definitely do not reflect the truth. The illness is brutal. She is a single mom of one child. Very scary for us all. Stay safe and hug your loved ones.

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  2. There is just me and my hubby and the dog, but I can feel your pain. It is hard to get things done when others are around. We are giving each other space and i have an office to write. But our house is small and hubby watches TV all day which I find distracting and often annoying. We have never spent this much time together! Thank heaven we like each other!! We are allowed to walk our dog so we take turns. She is getting more walks than usual. We will get through this. Sending hugs. xo

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    1. You are fortunate that you can go out to walk the dog. We cannot. I believe it is for our own safety as there is a huge risk of looting and rioting here with our people not being able to work and having no food. People don’t understand what it is like in Africa. I wonder what is going to happen when the governments run out of money and social grants and pensions can no longer be paid. At this rate, that is on the cards.

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  3. As an American, we barely believe in lockdowns, and all this prepping feels useless while you watch ads for the ice cream parlor down the road. Things have slowed, but I doubt we’ve done nearly enough… S.A. sounds like they’re getting it right, though.

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    1. Look at our infection rate in the US. The highest in the world as of now. Our federal government has failed us choosing the economy over lives until absolutely forced to declare shelter in. This is a catastrophe. Things have not slowed here and we are just now closing down shop in many places.

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      1. We did an early shut down here because we knew our poor people were vulnerable as they live in tin shacks and share food, water and toilets. It has only slowed the infection rate and we are being warned it is going to be a catastrophe here within the next few weeks. I do appreciate that the infection rate in the US is the highest in the world but you also have to look at the infections versus the population. The population in the US is much higher than in Europe so if you do the maths, it is about the same as for some to the European countries. The problem with crashing the economy is that you could end up with mass poverty and starvation at the end of the lock down. It is a very difficult time and whatever our leaders do will have dire side effects. Stay safe, Holly.

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    2. I don’t think so, H. We will have mass starvation here and Covid is spreading anyway. You can’t lock down people who live in a tin shack and share with a whole family. Don’t have running water or toilets. This virus is a far bigger problem here than anywhere else in the world except maybe India.

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  4. It’s hard here too, we are on lockdown. We can walk the dog, shop only for essentials, we go about every 10days. There is just Hubby and I and Ruby. Our three boys do not live with us and it’s a worry because the too eldest have health problems. The eldest lives too far away for us to help but keeps intouch on social media. He is working from home so is keeping busy. Our middle lad is close enough for to drop his shopping and medicine round he lives about 30 minutes away, our youngest lives 45 mins away and is married with to beautiful boys luckily they have a big house and garden. We keep intouch by video calls usually 3 or 4 way calls usually funny and chaotic!
    Sadly some people are flouting the exercise rules if they don’t behave we will have that removed from us! We must all pull together. Be safe Robbie all of you, we are in for the long haul šŸŒˆšŸŒˆšŸ’œšŸ’œ

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    1. Thank you, Willow. I think we are in for a long haul too. It is fine while the money lasts and government can continue to pay pensions and social grants but those are going to come under threat even in places like the UK with prolonged lock down of a large chunk of the economy. Perhaps I am worry to far ahead with all of this.

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  5. Challenging is the first word that comes to mind, Robbie. I saw a humorous post on Facebook the other day that went something like this: “After a week of homeschooling you are finally ready to admit that maybe the teacher isn’t the problem…” I know it is hard for parents to have the kiddos not only underfoot, but dependent on them to help them continue school lessons. Add the husband and parents to the mix and you have your hands full! Hugs across the oceans! Hang in there!

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  6. I wonder if I’d be so sanguine with the low number of deaths/illnesses. I suppose so. There are so few countries that haven’t locked their economies down. Good luck, Robbie. Everyone take care!

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    1. The US hasn’t locked the economy down completely so people can still make some sort of a living. Our economy is in total lock down and 50% of our population live hand-to-mouth. These people have not earned any money for 11 days now and have no food. The disease is spreading in our townships and squatter camps and that is probably going to be a huge catastrophe. Already the hospital in Durban is overwhelmed. SA is a very different environment to the US and this lock-down is going to cause starvation. Our crime was massive before the lock-down with 50 murders a day and even more rapes. Increased poverty and job-losses is going to make life here even more unsafe. This is why our defense force is on the streets, because hungry people loot and riot. It isn’t really a workable solution but there is not other solution either. It is overwhelming. I have all of these anxieties and worries and it is made harder by being in a confined space all day with 5 other anxious and stressed people. Oh, well, people have lived through plagues before and what doesn’t kill strengthens so we just keep going.

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  7. Robbie, your “new normal” was thrust upon you with ZERO time to plan and prepare. Imagine how we live our lives in such disparate ways, and to suddenly have them all put into one confined space with NO warning…my wife spends 12-15 hours a day on the phone, in meetings or trying to film her show using Zoom and digital files edited together…she hasn’t left the house in 19 days, and we just got word that LA will remain on lockdown until the end of April…it’s like a Stephen King novel!

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    1. Yes, that is quite true, John. Poor Alex, I did wonder how the TV and movie industry was managing. It is rough for everyone. School holidays are looming and, while I won’t need to home school, keeping these kids occupied is going to be a challenge. Oh, well, onwards and upwards.

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      1. If you go to Kelly Clarkson’s Facebook show page, you will see updates from her from her ranch in Montana, where her family has been staying while this pandemic sweeps over us. They are shooting original material to share every day, right now highlighting #GoodNeighbors who are helping their community…trying to showcase positive stories!

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      2. Hope you are making it through Robbie…your post about life in quarantine is fascinating and speaks to what we are all going through in our own way!

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  8. HI Robbie – I can’t imagine all of us working at the same table! We don’t have a large house, but we’re finding different corners to work in. I think if my children were younger and I was trying to work, and help them with online coursework, that would be very difficult. I was a stay-at-home mom while they were small, so I never had that experience. I will say that I’m cooking larger meals and the dishwasher is going twice a day. I’m afraid to keep that up because we have limited dishwasher detergent and even less dish soap! Great post šŸ™‚

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  9. It’s all a bit challenging even for those of us who are retired and use to spending a lot of time at home. Wishing everyone health and good tidings for all as we embark on this new journey together. We can and will rise to the challenges–together! ā¤

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    1. Thank you for your lovely and uplifting comment, Bette. It would be easier if I wasn’t having to work at the same time. It puts a lot of strain on me right now, but, on the other hand, I am lucky to be working and earning.

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  10. although my wife, son, and I spend a lot of time together, we also manage to find our own space and time to ourselves, such as right now while I write this comment, alone, from my bedroom…

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  11. We’re not under lock-down, just a shelter-in-place-if-you-please order–despite the number of cases doubling every day. My husband retired a couple of years ago, and I’ve been working a remote job since July, so not that much has changed in my day-to-day. I know that I’m more fortunate than many, and I’m grateful for that.

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    1. Yes, the US shelter-in-place is a good approach. Yes, your infections are increasing but at a slower rate than it would have but you are keeping your economy going which you have to do. Shutting it down like our government has done crashes the economy entirely and the poor risk starvation now.

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  12. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably feel the same way. I know when our house is full of people, sometimes I miss my privacy. Now that the house is empty (just my wife and I), I miss the company of my friends. I’ve decided that it isn’t so much if we’re introverted or extroverted, it’s that we usually have the freedom to choose whether to be surrounded by others or alone.

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    1. You have nailed it, Pete. It is having the freedom to choose. I just find the continuous need to uplift others a bit tiring. I am always counselling people actually, they come to me with their problems, but usually I get some downtime to recharge. That isn’t happening right now and I feel wrung out.

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      1. We’d feel better if we knew when this whole thing would be over. Part of the struggle is a prolonged story without knowing when the end will be here. Much luck trying to find some peace of mind in the interim.

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    1. Yes, I agree Audrey. It is quite draining have to calm fears all the time and uplift people continuously. I am naturally an up-beat and positive person but I am discovering that this isn’t the case for most people.

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  13. I’m living alone, but my daughters and I have a call together every night. They say their work colleagues with young children are having an especially difficult time. They are lucky to have work they can do remotely, so they still have jobs at least. I’m not getting any more work done than I used to, but I’m getting to know these 2 rooms very well. (K)

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  14. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Robbie. I do understand the frustration at not getting your own space and to do the things you want or are used to doing. I would feel the same way. I guess I am lucky because I have little to interrupt my daily routine. Hub is still out to work each day and I sit at my desk and write all day. I get sad when I think about my family and not being able to see them. My son and his family are half an hour away and I’m used to seeing them every week. I haven’t seen them for 3 – 4 weeks now. Thank goodness for Zoom. My daughter and her partner are over 1000 klms away. She was to come up for Easter as I was organising a big family reunion, which has had to be cancelled, of course. So I’m disappointed to not see her as well. What makes me especially sad, though, is the thought of all the people who die alone and all their families who are unable to farewell them because of the virus, families who are unable to offer each other support in the usual ways. It’s a very difficult time. Those of us who will come through will be very lucky, but we will all be changed in some way.
    I think your lockdown rules are more strict than ours. We are allowed out to walk the dog and exercise, at the moment. That might change. There are almost 6000 positive coronavirus cases here in Australia and there have been 39 deaths. You seem to be doing better than us over there, though I think we are doing quite well too.
    Stay safe. Stay sane. Find enjoyment in each moment.

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  15. can’t imagine being in such a busy household when you are used to alone time … I am alone! Yea ā¤ But great they are being so helpful, or bored šŸ˜‰

    Wondering if you could relocate to the cottage for some space and install your parents in the main house? Just an idea, take care and know this does have an end date … we don't have one yet!

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      1. glad of that but maybe spread the workstations out a bit too, not all at the dining table … that would be way too busy for me šŸ™‚

        Good luck with it all and take care Robbie xx

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  16. Your lock down is more severe than ours – and perhaps only until the 16th may not be long enough. Ours has just more or less been extended because school has been canceled for the rest of this school year… though some are computer schooling (some started later than others…)

    We are aloud to walk about with 6 feet of distance and mask up if going into any stores. But I do know what you mean about not having space – even with just my Hubby home. As we too are sharing the same table. When he is on conference calls he wears his head phones but I still hear his side of the conversation.

    Just do what you can to stay safe and sane. ((Hugs)).

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    1. I am trying, Jules. Everyone needs a lot of bucking up right now too. Our lock down has been extended until 30 April but our government is not providing the financial aid that the US and UK governments are so people here are very worried.

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      1. There are some here too who are hurting… It would be nice if all governments actually cared about their citizens. To that end in some places their may not be any citizens to boss around or collect taxes from. I read where some places think they are beyond the curve now and are opening things back up… Could be too soon. But we’ll all have to learn from each other how to deal with our future.

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      2. The regular guy/gal working out of a job is a big problem. Just found out a family member lost employment because of Covid. Might be able to retire early – with less benefits….

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  17. the one thing that keeps me from getting too upset is knowing that the whole world is in the same boat – alas, misery loves company lol. I am so grateful to have a little office ā€” I can hear everything, but a few months ago was overjoyed to find that if I just keep a little fan going, it swallows up so much noise!

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