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Covid's cruel blueprint for a better world

The big read: The coronavirus has taught us to slow down and appreciate life again, and empowered us to change the system for the first time in a generation, writes John Connell

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Lives reduced but also expanded: John Connell on his farm near Ballinalee, Co Longford. Photo by Frank McGrath

Lives reduced but also expanded: John Connell on his farm near Ballinalee, Co Longford. Photo by Frank McGrath

Working from home: John's wife Vivian

Working from home: John's wife Vivian

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Lives reduced but also expanded: John Connell on his farm near Ballinalee, Co Longford. Photo by Frank McGrath

The summer is here, the days are hot and I am out putting up sheep wire on our hill farm with my father. Fencing, that ancient act, is nothing new to us, but in the time of the coronavirus it has become a strange and novel thing. As we work, we must keep our distance from one another like strangers.

The erection of this fence has come to symbolise our new life.

Our latex gloves are tight and firm as we affix the wire to the fencing posts. Our 100 sheep have been brazen in their attacks on the sweet grass of the front fields of late and have broken through the old wire. The sheep wire will put manners on them, we joke.