My usual day off Monday was forsaken to attend and facilitate a truncated induction for newly qualified Doctors to start 3 months earlier than the official start date at the end of July. With the lock down and staying at home when they would otherwise have been on electives and holiday, I suspect that they have been bored and answered the call to volunteer their labour. The crisp morning saw fields of dew and rabbits aplenty frolicking around the hedgerows. Dry again, with rain looming for the rest of the week, I lamented my tardiness at the breakfast table that prevented me getting out earlier to get some more distance in. I have given up counting cars on my commutes now. I’m seeing ~10 for the first 10km and getting bored with it so I started counting the number of people out on bikes instead. This requires far less focus and more attention on my morning thoughts and the sights of the world around me. I counted 14 others which seemed to be more than usual but I don’t have a baseline. Most looked like commuters or those new to riding or both. There was even a family out at 07.30 which is impressive. I thought that I recognised the Dad and hooked up later through Strava. Judging by the ride that he did later that afternoon, I think that he has the bug and did the family ride early to get out again later. Not strictly according to the lock down ethos but the PM announcement did state “one form of exercise per day”. Reading into this, as long as you run or walk or ride, you can do one of these disciplines as many times as you like but everyone, including the media understand this as once per day.
After 20km, I was at work but lacked any motivation to be there. Induction was weird for only 6 people but I did it albeit without any verve. The Director of Medical Education told them that in effect, they have been given a battlefield commission, graduating early. Yet another war metaphor used to liken this situation to a crisis. I have always hated the use of war metaphors to draw parallels with this situation or any in healthcare. The “frontline” is one that has gained popular use to describe the attrition of clinical working these days. We have been described as “heroic” and “brave” in this “fight” against this unseen “enemy”. I don’t remember volunteering to fight anything nor do I feel heroic or brave. I just feel scared for my wife and family. If this was a war, I would not be volunteering, I would be staying out of harms way. I am just unlucky enough to have been working in the health sector in 2020. Just as a person with cancer does not lose their battle with the disease, they are unlucky to have drawn the short straw. Marina Hyde writes something about this far more eloquently than I can here. Not that I am avoiding anything as such. There is a lot more to be done to support clinical staff and enable them to keep doing what they’re doing well and that is my role and where my skills lie for now. With just 8 ventilated patients at our place today (down from 29 a couple of weeks ago) we are nearly back to our original capacity. I am not sure whether we have become used to our new “norm” or have weathered this thing for now. Things appear to be better organised locally and truly hope we are seeing things settle down but am by nature cautious so won’t believe it until I am playing cricket again (sometime in 2021 probably).
On the way home, I stopped by a queue free supermarket to get some food for master12s neglected fish and decided on some exploring. I headed down a farm track indicated as a bridleway. There were no more signs once I got to the farm buildings so I followed a concrete road down to a barn and then around to a motorway underpass-the same motorway that I rode over minutes beforehand- and eventually up to the Sheering suicide. While it added another 5km on to my route, I was unimpressed. Farmers don’t seem to like bikes on “their” land despite the Countryside Act allowing them on bridleways so they poorly sign post these to prevent those other than locals who know what’s allowed to use them. Sneaky but not illegal as such. So I detoured through the closed Hatfield forest keeping to the woods to avoid being seen by an over zealous park warden. It’s not just the farmers who are sneaky. Apart from being startled by a herd of equally startled deer, I made it without being seen and stopped on the Flitch for a slug of water before returning to what seemed to be an empty house. Apart from an over eager dog happy to lick the sweat off my face in a show of affection. It’s about the only sign I get when Mrs B2W is not around, the boys preferring their pit to welcoming their rebellious father home.
Total UK deaths: 21, 092 (360).