2020 November

Jan Groover studio objects
From the studio of Jan Groover

Yes, it is month 9 of living with the pandemic, and it seems that the promised winter ‘second wave’ of COVID is here.
Once again we are struggling to contain the impact on the NHS as the numbers hospitalised and in intensive care rise. The naive view of the ‘experts’ that somehow older people could be ‘careful’ and not be infected by younger members of their families has been revealed to be the nonsense we always knew it to be! Grandparents were called upon to undertake childcare, and free up younger adults to return to work, while also being exhorted to protect themselves as they are the most vulnerable group. Square that circle if you can!!

Here, we find ourselves sitting on the fringes of the medium to high infection areas, and quite well able to continue to ‘self-isolate’ together. For us the problems are all practical. Adjusting to not doing our own shopping, adjusting to so many functions of daily life moving online, and finding ways to keep active and engaged with the world beyond our gate!

Winter is really closing in, and we have had some wonderful misty nights and mornings to shoot.

misty morning
A misty November morning as the sun breaks through.

They can be difficult to shoot, as the camera struggles to find a focus in the misty morning.

night street lights
The ghostly street lights in the night mist.

Night shots can be very intense with big light contrasts

night mist
The night-time mist makes the world mysterious.

One area that has gained massively in importance is the technical. So much has moved online this year due to the pandemic, the lock-down, and the need for physical distancing in shops and work places.
Living in rural Aberdeenshire we do most of our shopping online, and have for many years. Grocery shopping in winter months moves online every year – so it is not so strange to move all our local grocery shopping online. But I miss being able to see what is available in the shops – to choose fresh vegetables, fruit and meat – and to buy luxuries such as flowers regularly too!
The pandemic has brought into sharp focus just how important internet connectivity is for everyone! Many people relied on the local library for internet connecivity, but the libraries have been closed here since March. And now banking, booking recycling slots, dental appointments and much more are reliant on the internet and smartphones.

Our biggest technical development has been in mobile phones. I’ve had a ‘smartphone’ for a while, starting with a neighbour’s old iPhone 5. Being a long time user of the iPad and Touch (which is really an iPhone without the phone) I was familiar with the computer system, so it was not a big adjustment. Even before the impact of the pandemic we realised that more and more functions depended on SMS messages to a mobile phone (for verification, identification and information).
In our village we have very poor mobile coverage, mainly intermittent 3G which is affected by massive wind turbines across the howe. So adjusting to the new reality has been a bumpy journey. Also an expensive one! Smartphones are not cheap – especially if you don’t want a contract attached. I wonder how older people, like us, are managing to learn not only the PC and laptop, but also the world of the smartphone.
[photo?]

next? missing out on poetry – time to read and relax
so much happening with US Europe and UK politics!
Jan Groover
Bruce PercyEVF for Canon 70D