Lockdown Week 7 – May 4th to 10th 2020, inclusive

Monday, May 4th

The oven needs a new thermostat, and the guy hadn’t got one on him.  So he’ll have to come back on Wednesday,  Gah!  The only good thing about this is that at least I can be in to wait for him.  My mum and dad are great and have “house-sat” plenty of times over the years, but it’s a bit much to ask someone to sit in your house throughout a four-hour time slot, especially when it’s twice in three days as this is.  We haven’t been given the option of working from home previously, and it’s so, so stressful when you only get the legal minimum number of days’ annual leave and have to wait in for an engineer or a delivery “between 8 and 1” or “between 12 and 6”, or when a family member’s not well and can’t be left on their own.  It’s one of the main reasons I ended up with severe anxiety and depression in 2013 (following a long-running saga with the boiler), and I’ve known people send sick kids into work when they’ve got no childcare.   Obviously some jobs can’t be done from home, but a lot can, and it’s going to be very difficult for employers to argue otherwise after this.  A thin silver lining to a very big black cloud!

We got an e-mail from work this morning, reminding us that the May Day Bank Holiday had been moved from today to Friday, so everyone should be working!   Like anyone wouldn’t have realised that – and, if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have got the e-mail because they wouldn’t have been picking up work e-mails!   What got me was that it was just that.  Not a word about hoping that everyone and their families were all safe and well.  Huh!

Went out for my walk early today, because of Oven Man coming.  Nice sunny day.  Might sit out in the garden for a bit later, and hope there are no horrible dogs barking!   Also went into the office briefly, to drop some stuff off and collect more.  Work is surprisingly busy: I didn’t think it would be.

Tesco and M&S tomorrow!  The .. er, excitement!


Tuesday, May 5th

We’ve now got the second highest death toll in the world.  It’s hard to remember sometimes that, whilst restrictions have been imposed almost everywhere, it’s only a small number of countries – us, the US, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, so 7 out of around 200 – which have been really badly hit by it.  I’m not even counting China, because it was nothing like this bad in China.  None of the nightmare scenarios of hospitals being unable to cope and bodies piling up have happened, and yet almost 30,000 people have died – and probably far more.  Why is it so bad here?  It’s hard to find answers, because so many of the articles are politically biased.  Is it all about testing?

Oven Man is coming back “between 10 and 2” tomorrow.  Hopefully earlier rather than later, then I can get out for my walk before it gets too late.

Nice sunny day today.  At least I can get out for walks in the park, in between work – which is surprisingly busy.  The grass hasn’t been mown for ages, so there are daisies and dandelions everywhere, and it looks rather nice.

Rafa says he can’t see tennis resuming this year.  Sadly, nor can I.  And a definite decision about the football season’s going to have to be made soon.

Three more cans of spray-on roots touch-up arrived today.   I would have kissed Amazon Man if we weren’t social distancing!   The Republic of Ireland’s been told that hairdressers there won’t be reopening for another three months.  Three months!!


Wednesday, May 6th

Oh dear, the anxiety’s been kicking in a bit today.  The oven is fixed, which is good news.  My nephews sent me a parcel of cakes which they’d made as part of their home schooling, which was lovely, bless them!

The weather’s been lovely and I’ve had a nice walk in the park.  So the day seemed to be going well … but then my printer started playing up.  It does do this sometimes, for no apparent reason, and it does, thankfully, seem to be OK now, but it just reminded me how vulnerable we all are with shops closed and so many people not working.  I am clueless with IT.  I live in fear and dread of things breaking, or doing updates which go wrong.

OK, OK, hopefully it won’t happen again.

Hair is increasingly messy.  I wouldn’t ask my hairdresser to break lockdown rules, and I’m sure she wouldn’t anyway, but I am aware of some illicit hairdressing going on in the area.  I’m not criticising anyone, either hairdressers who need to earn money or customers who are finding that looking a mess is affecting their mental health.

Coronavirus stories are going to feature in Coronation Street.  When filming finally resumes.

The Bundesliga’s going to resume soon, behind closed doors.  That’s more positive.  But there’s talk that next year’s Australian Open, 8 1/2 months away, could be affected.   And it’s hard not to get despondent about the fact that the death toll here is so high, when it’s fallen so much lower in Italy, Spain, France etc.  I just don’t understand it.  We’ve been in lockdown for 6 weeks now.  Is this about testing?  Is it to do with population density?  The population density of England is double that of Italy.  It’s very hard to get answers, because of the political bias everywhere.  But things seemed to be getting better, and now they don’t.


Thursday, May 7th

Boris is addressing the nation on Sunday evening, about the next stage.  I’m getting rather sick of political point-scoring now.  It’s getting out of hand, especially from certain politicians, and it’s not helpful.  I’m also sick of dodging kids on bikes and scooters, in the park and on the pavements.   I understand that little kids probably don’t get social distancing, but – at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old maiden aunt – their parents should supervise them.

Oven and printer both working today, hooray!!  Touch wood!!

Nice sunny day.  Had a nice walk in the park.  Needless to say, tomorrow morning’s going to be cloudy – typical Bank Holiday!  Oh well, at least I won’t have to work!

The Dutch government’s said that fans won’t be allowed to attend football matches until a vaccine’s found.  I’m trying to pretend I didn’t read that, because it really upset me.

Right.  I need to clean the kitchen.  Then read over my VE Day fanfic for tomorrow.  But, first, I am going to bite the bullet and e-mail the holiday company.  I won’t get a reply until Tuesday at the earliest now, but I can’t keep putting it off.  Then Clap For Our Carers at 8.


Bank Holiday Friday, May 8th

“VE Day 75.”  It’s very sad that almost all the commemorative events planned had to be cancelled, especially as there are now so few veterans left, but we’ve still marked the day – a warm, dry day, with sun in the afternoon.  Prince Charles and Camilla led the two minutes’ silence at 11am, there’ve been various commemorative programmes on TV, and a speech by the Queen was shown on TV at 9pm.


– posted wartime photos of my grandparents, with both my grandfathers in uniform, on Facebook.
– listened to some Vera Lynn wartime songs.
– posted a VE Day fanfic.
– made a sort of display with a Union flag and souvenirs from New York, Washington DC, Moscow and St Petersburg.
– made a VE Day morning tea/elevenses with tea, Pimm’s, a Union flag made out of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and squirty cream, and meringues with miniature Union flags made the same way.  It was my best effort, OK!  I’m neither a cook nor an artist 🙂 .

The Guardian and some of its readers think the day shouldn’t have been commemorated.  Do they wish the Nazis had won the war?  I’m ashamed to think that that newspaper used to be associated with Manchester.  I’m trying to ignore the crap going on in some parts of the media, but honestly.   OK, OK, best ignored!!  Most people have marked the day.  Some people even put up bunting and held socially distanced street parties!

Mum and Dad came round for a socially distanced visit.  Plenty of people are doing the same sort of thing.  I’m so glad I’m able to see them.  Goodness knows when I’ll see my sister, brother-in-law, nephews, uncle and cousins again.  Hopes that restrictions might be eased after Boris’s speech tomorrow have faded.  The death rate’s still so high.  I just don’t understand why it isn’t coming down.  There’s been a lot of talk about remembering that lockdown is nothing compared to what people went through during the  war, and it’s very true … but it’s like when we used to be told that we shouldn’t moan about how vile the primary school dinners were, because people were starving in Ethiopia.  It didn’t make the dinners any less vile.

Heigh-ho.  It’s not the day I’d had planned – I’d thought I might do the Windermere Walk today – but it’s been a nice one.   And I’m thinking about my grandparents, and my great-aunts and great-uncles … I’ve got one great-uncle living, but the rest of that generation have gone.  75 years.

There’s always something reassuring about hearing the Queen speak.  “Our streets are not empty, they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.”  She always says the right thing.


Saturday, May 9th

Lovely warm, sunny day.  In normal times, tomorrow’s papers’d be full of “Phew, what a scorcher!” headlines and pictures of people sitting on the beach.  Not to be, but I walked to Sainsburys and back this morning (food shopping, not daily exercise!), then sat in the garden whilst sorting out photos, and then had a lovely walk in the park.  The police were there, moving on sunbathers.  And leaving a trail of horse manure everywhere!!

Lovely colours in the park.

It does look as if this two week quarantine after returning from abroad’s going to be brought in, killing off any lingering hopes of foreign holidays this year.  *Sigh.*  I live on my own, and my holidays are the big highlights of my year.  And it doesn’t even look as if we’ll be able to go to places like the Lakes and the Dales for months yet.  It was going to be such a lovely summer – the French Open, Wimbledon, Euro 2020, the Olympics, and my week in Iceland.   Sorry to moan, but there’s no sign of an end to this, and it’s quite demoralising.

Trying to make sense of some of the local/regional statistics, but it’s very difficult.  Some care homes have sadly lost so many people that that can be having a huge effect on the figures for some areas, and you just don’t know what else might have gone on.  One family could have contracted the virus during a ski-ing trip to North Italy, had no symptoms, and spread it all over the place.  It’s worrying that Salford and Oldham are amongst the worst-affected parts of the country, though.

Oh well, at least the weather’s nice, for now!   Had my scone in the garden this morning 🙂 .  I’ve finally lost another pound … the scales were two pounds down earlier in the week, but only one today, which is “official” weigh-in day, but one is better than none!   Working from home is definitely much healthier than being in an office.


Sunday, May 10th

Bah, the rule about air travel quarantine will be coming in, at some point.  Even though there’s more risk here than in most other countries.  Anyone who can’t work from home is to be “actively encouraged” to go back to work, if it’s safe.  We can’t keep everything closed for ever, but there are going to be issues with this.  From Wednesday, you can sunbathe and play sports outdoors, which people are doing anyway.  And you can exercise outdoors more than one a day – although that doesn’t really help if you’re working!  The detail’s yet to come, though.  There was something about driving to other places to exercise.  I assume that does not mean I can go to the Lake District, but what?   And will sports clubs where there’s no close physical contact be reopening?  Dad’ll be ecstatic if the golf club can reopen.  We need all the detail.

Nothing about when we can see our families and friends again.  A lot of people are meeting up anyway – whilst observing social distancing, in most cases.  But you can only do that with people who live locally.  When, oh when, will we get to see my sister and brother-in-law and the kids again?   There are babies who’ve been born in lockdown and have only seen their grandparents, aunties and uncles through the window, or in many cases only by photos or video apps.  Those lovely pictures of family reunions in Italy.  When will they happen here?  For 7 weeks, the only physical contact I’ve had with another human being has been the blood donor nurse putting a needle in my arm!

And not a word about hairdressers 😦 .  Do they count as “shops”?  Hoping to get some shops reopen in June.  Boris has definitely had his hair cut.  Maybe Carrie cut it for him.  And I’m sure Nicola Sturgeon’s having hers dyed.  Arlene Foster, by contrast, is clearly having terrible trouble with her roots.  I do sympathise.  Some schoolkids may be able to go back in June, but not all.  Elder nephew is in Year 6, which is a priority year.  Younger nephew is in Year 7, which isn’t.

Some hospitality industry places may be able to reopen by July.  Does that mean hotels, or just cinemas and cafes?

It’s all so difficult.  A major economic depression will also have a huge negative impact on health.  It’s a very delicate balancing act.  As far as I personally am concerned, not much changes.  I’ll still be working from home – good!!  But I can go out more at weekends, which is something.

What else?  I never have takeaways, but I thought I might order something as a treat, using Deliveroo.  What a joke!  I chose what I wanted, and it then added on a small order fee, a delivery fee and a service fee.  The total was more the double the cost of the actual food!  So I didn’t bother.  Free delivery over a certain amount.  Well, I’m sure that’s fine if you’re ordering for a family of four, but not for someone living on their own.  I won’t be trying that again!

Trying to stay positive, but the media’s increasingly full of stories about businesses which will probably never reopen, not to mention comments about how social distancing’d have to go on until 2024 to get rid of the virus without herd immunity.   This was supposed to go on for a few months.  Now it seems like it’ll never end.  And then, on social media and in some parts of the general media, there are all the nasty, spiteful, political point-scorers, trying to divide the country instead of unite it.    And the same people insist that easing lockdown restrictions won’t work because so many people are “stupid”.  Who do they think they are, calling other people “stupid”?   I’m trying to ignore them, but it’s very unpleasant.

The weather’s turned today – it’s quite cool, and windy.  I’ve still been for my walk in the park, though, and I’ve also washed my car – it was covered in tree pollen.   Other than that, I’ve read, written, had a long phone conversation with my sister, and watched some of the stuff that’s been on my Sky Planner for months.   People have been putting little “kindness rocks” in the park.  They’re lovely.

Maybe, in a parallel universe somewhere, where life is normal, a parallel version of me has spent the day going out to a National Trust property, watching the Madrid Open final, and trying to do the maths ahead of the final week of the Premier League season ….

And so ends our 7th week in lockdown.  (OK, technically that’s tomorrow night, but it’s easier for me to work on calendar weeks!)

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