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2020: vulnerability, SUP and rediscovering your own backyard.

Based on a true story –

‘If you’re medically vulnerable then 2020 has possibly been considerably tricky. Illness that isn’t seen, unlike physical disability, isn’t often thought about by those not in similar situations. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. For anyone with ongoing medical issues, however, it’s never too far away from your thoughts. Having had a year to adjust and begin a new way of life, post-hospital period, 2020 was to be a more relaxed affair. COVID obviously had other ideas. Living life at distance before the pandemic, because of vulnerability/susceptibility, has simply continued – and then some!

Whilst being extremely careful, pre-COVID/post-op, some things I could indulge in. For instance, dining out and visiting the local was an often chosen pastime. It’s always been a love rocking up to a pub with a roaring log fire, ‘orrible weather outside, making it all the more cosy once through the door (I’m an old romantic at heart). You may not see it but ‘proper pub’ ambience was something I enjoyed immensely. It’s a similar story with eating out at restaurants and such. That is currently all on hold as even with measures in place it’s an unnecessary risk I can’t/won’t take. It isn’t the fact I may get COVID (although that’s certainly a risk). It’s more about picking up another bug resulting in a hospital visit and therefore bringing me into contact with all manner of infections.

Holidays are another exercise off the agenda. I’ve travelled extensively, for various reasons (not just recreation). But COVID has halted this – even in the UK. At times there were possible windows of opportunity to get away this summer. And even now, as autumn rolls on and winter looms, there’s temptation to get gone – if only for a change of scene. But upon reflection it just isn’t worth it. The angst, fret, worry and possibility of not being able to make the most of even short sojourns makes it a non-starter. So my own backyard it is – at least in the short term.

This all may sound quite depressing. Yet whilst I’ve been confined to barracks it’s not all been doom and gloom. Fortunately I live next to a few different bodies of water. On top of this there’re are some great outdoor spaces that have been ripe for the picking. As this is my home it’s easy to choose times when less people are going to be about and actually get a window with nobody around. It’s also been chance to rediscover my own backyard – it’s surprising what you don’t even know is there or forget about.

Stand up paddle boarding has been epic this year (the irony). With great weather on offer plenty of opportunity for SUP sessions have been made use of. And, again, it’s surprising the amount of paddling routes you can find within a few miles of your house – even if you think you have all of them in your knowledge bank.

As it stands things don’t look like they’re about to change in the short term. But that’s OK as long as I can keep stand up paddling boarding in my own neck of the woods and getting about in the outdoors (locally). I’ll not lie: it’d be super nice to head off on a SUP/surf trip and get amongst decent surf this winter. It’d also be nice to enjoy a family meal out at a local eatery – even nabbing a takeaway coffee. But none of these things are essential in the grand scheme. I and my family have come to realise you don’t need to be schlepping round shops (not that I liked this anyway), or anywhere else like that to be honest. 90% of the places we used to go for supposed ‘essential reasons’ are not missed. It’s more the ‘nice to haves’ if you will that’d bring a nice change to the (sometimes) monotony of COVID Times.

For now doorstep SUP sessions are ‘it’, keeping my head down the rest of the time. I feel for anyone who’s in even more of a tricky situation than this and hope for everyone’s sake that things improves soon. In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy your home and surroundings (if you can) and try not to let it all get you down – sometimes hard I know…’

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