The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Marie Benoit's Diary: Communicating in times of Corona

Marie Benoît Tuesday, 7 April 2020, 10:11 Last update: about 3 months ago
“After pestilential and death have walked our streets, we shall learn to love again,” Richard England
“After pestilential and death have walked our streets, we shall learn to love again,” Richard England

Thanks to technological advances we have easy access to colleagues, friends and family and can be in contact with them and in a variety of ways even with those who live far away. We know what it was like when means of communicating were mainly 'phone and letters. We were really isolated then.

It is noticeable that people are being very creative in different ways. Videos, jokes, poetry, paintings and articles make their way into our Messenger on Facebook pages, WhatsApp and our In box.


Please take a good look at Richard England's artistic work inspired by Corona. The caption, his, is a reflection of the man himself. Let us hope he is right. He is a deep man. A spiritual man which makes a change from all the superficiality with which we are mainly bombarded.

Suddenly many have turned to religion and there are endless chains of prayers. If I had to follow each and every instruction I would have no time to do anything else. There are also arguments about religion and everything else under the sun on Facebook including whether hunters should be allowed to hunt in spring.

Both my darling girls bring me groceries and stand at the door. I put on my mask to give the impression that I am looking after myself. "Ma, if you are going to put it on at all then put it on the right way up please!"

There is always a treat accompanying the groceries: homemade scones complete with small jars of cream and jam, a delicious banana cake with chocolate chips nudging each other against all Corona instructions, soup and lovely bacalhau (salted cod) fritters.

My Qormi daughter had to be stopped from bringing me more bread from Qormi, once the bakery of the knights.  Too delicious. I eat a loaf in two days. I have to control myself but it is more difficult when too many goodies are around.

I can almost hear the fridge and larder telling me, as I open their doors: 'What do you want now?'

Shame on me, I have already eaten a big figolla. My parents must be turning in their grave as in our young days no sweets were allowed before Easter Sunday. As punishment I am not going to buy another one.

Several people have taken to their roofs. When it's sunny I meet one of my sisters who lives in the same block and we sun ourselves, two metres away from each other. I wear clothes, she wears a two piece bathing costume and already has a tan. She gives me cream to put on my face as she is a great believer in creams, oils and potions of every sort. "Here, we're already wrinkled anyway, and who cares. More sun can only do us good." I agree. Nobody looks at us anyway and fortunately I am too short sighted to look at myself in a mirror. A great bonus that.

After discussing the state of the world, and its dog and reminiscing about our childhood and teenage years we get up and take a look around and at the street below. "What on earth is that chap standing at that door doing? He should be indoors. Pity I haven't brought up my binoculars." After a while a young girl emerges from a block of flats and they hug. We have an answer and move away. We walk round the roof a few times. She wants to go and have her tea and biscuits. But I persisted for a little while more trying to make up for the hundreds of extra calories which I have been consuming over months and months.  'How did we get so damned old,' I say to my joints. But no reply.

 I take a look round. Another two Oldies are going round in circles like me on other roofs. I spot a slim arm with a dumbbell in the flats next to us. Then a pair of legs go up. Eventually she leaves. A young  girl who is not going to allow Corona to get between her and her fitness.

Another girl on the roof opposite is sunning herself with her enormous German Shepherd walking round her. I hope she has fed him well, you never know with dogs.

Goodness, I glimpse a pair of red sheets and pillow cases blowing in the wind further afield. How interesting. They are bound to have a story to tell.

I've resolved to stick to my roof for walking if I am still alive after Corona. No need to grapple with awful pavements, the traffic and people bumping into you. On the roof I can stay in my velour tracksuit and in my comfort zone. I have heard far too many stories of Oldies being followed and sometimes even mugged in broad daylight.

* * *

Allow me to share a couple of interesting pieces I received.

Here is a poem by someone called Matt Kelly which a friend in England sent me. It brought tears to my eyes. It could as well apply to our local heroes.

"I'll tell you a tale,

That's been recently written,

Of a powerful army,

So Great it saved Britain,

They didn't have bombs and they didn't have planes,

They fought with their hearts and they fought with their brains,

They didn't have bullets, armed just with a mask.

We sent them to war,

With one simple task,

To show us the way,

To lead and inspire us,

To protect us from

 Harm and fight off the virus.

It couldn't be stopped by our

Bullet proof vests,

An invisible enemy, invaded our chests,

So we called on our weapons, our soldiers

In Blue

"All Doctors, All Nurses, Your Country needs you."

We clapped in our streets, hearts bursting with pride,

As they went off to war, while we stayed inside.

They struggled at first, as they searched for supplies,

But they stared down the virus, in the whites of its eyes.

They leaped from the trenches and didn't think twice,

Some never came back, the ultimate price.

So tired, so weary yet still they fought on,

As the virus was beaten and the battle was won.

The many of us, owe so much, to so few,

the brave and the bold, our heroes in Blue.

So let's line the streets and remember our debt,

We love you our heroes,

Lest we forget."


* * *


And here is a piece of advice from a dear friend who practices what she preaches:


"Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

As long as ever you can."


I wish you all Good Health.


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