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.

 

I:
– 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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Lockdown Week 6, April 27th to May 3rd 2020 inclusive

Monday, April 27th

The Virtual Madrid Open started today!  Virtual Rafa beat Virtual Denis Shapovalov.  But now has a sore back!   Surely not even Rafa could get injured playing Play Station tennis, so has he done it whilst working out or something?  Fingers crossed that it’s nothing serious.  The Virtual Madrid Open’s live on the Madrid Open Facebook site.  Heaven knows when we’ll get any real tennis, so at least this is something.

The weather’s still lovely.  It was supposed to rain today, but it didn’t.  The blossom’s pretty much gone now, but there are some gorgeous colours on some of the other trees and bushes in the park.  It’s all right for trees and bushes – they don’t have issues with their roots going grey!

And #Borisisback !  The PM spoke from outside 10 Downing Street at about half 9 this morning.  His hair looks worse than mine, except that he hasn’t got issues with the colour.  He looked fine otherwise, thankfully.  But he said that there’s no chance of lockdown being lifted any time soon.  I can’t disagree with anything he said, but … this is the sixth week already.  At least Boris sounds kind of inspirational about it, though.  No offence to Chris Whitty, but he just sounds like a prophet of doom.

The rain’s now due to come later in the week.  We’ll see.

 

Tuesday, April 28th

I’m very put out because Virtual Rafa lost to both Virtual Andy and Virtual Benoit Paire!   Computer games evidently aren’t Rafa’s forte 🙂 .  It’s good fun, though.  OK, there’ve been a few technical hitches, but there are players in umpteen different countries.  And saying Rafa had an injury yesterday was Feli’s idea of a joke … but it sort of came across wrong and stressed everyone out!  It wasn’t an injury, just some sort of IT problem.   Looks like Andy Murray could win his first title in a while – he’s well into it!

France has suspended all sporting events until September, so the Ligue season’s had to be abandoned.  Not sure yet whether it’s just being voided or whether PSG will be declared champions.  There’s talk of the Bundesliga and Serie A resuming behind closed doors, and I think Boris would like to get football going again here, but who knows?  And tennis is even more difficult, because of the travelling.  There’s talk of everyone arriving in the UK from abroad having to self-isolate for two weeks which, for anyone working, is going to put the kibosh on foreign holidays even if flights get back to anything like normal.  Hotels in Austria are reopening at the end of May, but no sign of that happening here yet, and you can’t travel anyway.

The death toll’s been well down the last two days, but was up today, and the number of deaths in care homes is horrendous.  There are fears that things are worsening in some places, notably Russia and Brazil.  We had a minute’s silence at 11 o’clock, for key workers who’ve died.

The weather’s taken a turn 😦 .  It rained this afternoon – luckily not until I was back from my walk, though.   I went out early partly to get back in time for the virtual tennis and partly because I needed to get away from the office e-mails because one person was being annoying.  It’s not the first time this has happened, although it was a different person this time.  I’m just trying to ignore them, in the same way that I’m ignoring the people trying to score political points out of the pandemic.

No queues at either Tesco or M&S this morning.  About 1/4 past 8 seems to be a good time to get to Tesco – loads of people get there for when it opens at 8, but then they all go in!  There seems to be a shortage of Bran Flakes, though!  That’s two weeks in a row there haven’t been any at Tesco, either Kelloggs or Tesco own brand.  I had to get M&S’s own brand, which I’ve never tried before!

A bit frustrated because my weight loss has ground to a halt.  Going out to walk up and down the garden steps (in the rain) as soon as the next Virtual Tennis match is over … but I’m doing the steps every day, as well as the park walks, and the weight’s still not coming off!

 

Wednesday, April 29th

The sun’s out now, and I’ve put a few new plants (bought at Tesco yesterday) in the garden, and Rafa’s won a Virtual Tennis match against someone called DJ Mario, so I feel a bit better now.  I really was feeling quite down earlier, especially when it poured down for a couple of hours.  I’ve kept telling myself that I could go to the Lakes for the week I was supposed to be going to Iceland – which hasn’t officially been cancelled yet, but, with UK tourists banned from pretty much everywhere and tourist attractions shut anyway, will be – and maybe try to get on a coach tour of the Scottish Highlands later in the year, but we’ve now been told that we won’t even be allowed to visit the countryside or seaside for months to come.  I do understand that they don’t want to risk a load of people spreading the virus into rural areas, which haven’t been so badly affected, but it’s very hard having nothing to look forward to.  No sport.  No theatre/cinema.  You can’t even go to a café.  The only concession so far is that tips will be reopening!  Hopefully it’ll stop the fly-tipping, but I can’t say that the tip is exactly top of the list of places I’m missing visiting!

I dread to think what this is going to do to the economies of places like the Lake District and Blackpool, as well.

There just seems to be no prospect of things ending.  The death toll was in the 300s for a couple of days, but now it’s been well over 600 again for the past two days.

I know that things got bad in Italy and Spain earlier than they did here, but it feels as if everywhere else is starting to come out of lockdown.  Hairdressers have reopened in some US states now.  Lucky residents of those states!  I look absolutely horrendous.  I saw my bro-in-law’s mum in the park this morning, and she took a photo of me to put in the family WhatsApp group.  I’ve been trying ever since to convince myself that it was only the breeze that made it look so bad!  And I live in fear and dread of something breaking.  And I wish I could lose some more weight – it’s just stopped 😦 .  And, whilst I’m very glad to be on my full salary, I feel kind of envious of people who’re going on about how they’ve cleared their houses out and read loads of books and done loads of craft stuff, whilst I’m trying to work in the front room!!

I’m allowed a moan.  We’re in our 6th week of lockdown, and there’s no sign of anything being eased up, and the phrase “the new normal” is now being used everywhere – and it basically means “nothing like normal”.

On a happier note, Boris and Carrie’s baby was born this morning, a boy.  They’d said “early summer” so he seems to be early, but mother and baby are both doing well.

 

Thursday, April 30th

Boris says that plans for moving out of lockdown’ll be announced next week.   It’s time.  It’s happening everywhere else.

Worrying news that there’ve been more cases in Yemen.  And Prince Charles has warned of the dangers of it spreading to refugee camps.

Boris’s hair looked tidier today.  I wish mine did!   My sister’s tried cutting bro-in-law’s and the kids’.  Mum’s tried cutting Dad’s.  He moaned that she’d cut his ear!

It’s quite confusing trying to tell how things are going, because the daily death toll’s now been changed to include deaths in care homes and at home – which is quite right, but makes it confusing to compare the figures with last week’s.

Andy won the Virtual Madrid Open.  I’m rather going to miss it now it’s finished: I’ve got very into it!  Rafa had a video call with King Felipe and Queen Letizia.  He put a suit on and brushed his hair for it, bless him!

Went for my walk early today.  It rained later on.  I could really do with going into the office, but I just didn’t feel like it today.  One person keeps having strops and causing trouble, and I really could do without it.

Oh well.  Housework done for today.  I’m going to catch up on some TV, and then have a bath after Clap For Our Carers.  And it’s Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday today – happy birthday, Captain Tom!!

 

Friday, May 1st

May Day.  Some good news this morning!  I had to go out for some milk and salad and a few other bits, and to pick up some stuff from the office, and I called into the newsagents who’d said they’d get back to me – and they said they could fit me in.  Phew!!  It would have been a right pain having to buy them every day.

We’ve hit the 100,000 tests per day target, which is good news – although no doubt the Guardian and all the other idiots who seem more interesting in scoring political points than in public health wish we hadn’t!

Found some garlic flowers today, near the frozen yoghurt shop- I went to get a takeaway frozen yoghurt on my way home from my walk in the park.  I had no idea that garlic grew anywhere near here.

STILL not managed to lose any weight this week.  It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re not getting anywhere.

And things seem to be getting bad in Brazil now.

 

Later – oh no.  This is not happening.  The oven’s broken.  I think the element’s blown.  It blew the electrics, so the internet, the telly, Sky, the computer, the boiler … everything went off.  I think I did well not to have complete hysterics.  Got it all back on, but now the oven’s not heating up.  I rang the Currys repair line, but it said that lines are now closing at 6, and to expect long waits when they’re open, and that they’re prioritising vulnerable customers.  This does not sound hopeful.  Like the toilet, why now?  Trying to stay calm, but I feel a bit scared and vulnerable now.

 

Saturday, May 2nd

Phew.  Got through to Currys very quickly, and the engineer’s coming on Monday.  He’s supposed to be texting me tomorrow evening with a four hour slot.  Let’s see what happens.

Quite nice weather today.  I did #Sconesinthegarden this morning, with my mint and sage plants, then went to the park.  I saw a gosling!   First one of the year!  Later, Mum and Dad called round.  I’m not going to feel bad about it.  They stood at the bottom of the drive, and I stood on the doorstep.  I’ve seen plenty of people out walking and cycling together, when they’re clearly not from the same household, and I know some people have been visiting relatives and going inside their homes.  I wouldn’t do it myself, but I’m not going to judge anyone, because there are mental health issues to consider as well as physical ones.

I don’t know where the time goes, but go it does.  Been sorting out photos, but I don’t seem to have got much else done.  Mind you, it’s little things.  Putting the washing away.  And reading the meters.  The electricity usage is definitely up.  The office laptop strops if it’s not plugged in all the time, and then I’ve got the lights and the TV on during working hours, which I wouldn’t usually.

Today is my cousin’s birthday.  He organised a Zoom thing, but I’m still scared to try using it.  It’s also Princess Charlotte’s birthday.

The disposable masks came.

My weight has not shifted all week 😦 .  But I’ve tried the brown hair touch-up spray.  Only a bit, because I don’t want to do too much to my hair, in the hope that hairdressers’ll be allowed to reopen soon – they have been in Austria now, as well as Denmark and some US states- but the grey roots were showing so badly that it was really upsetting me.  Nothing terrible’s happened …. yet!

 

Sunday, May 3rd

Oven Man is coming “between 12:20 and 4:20” tomorrow afternoon.

The roots touch-up spray has to be reapplied after every time you wash your hair.  I’m hoping that I’ll eventually be able to do this without either a) getting it anywhere it shouldn’t be or b) feeling the need to take half a dozen selfies afterwards to check that it looks OK!

Actually, I’m hoping to be able to have my hair cut and properly dyed soon, but it’s hope more than expectation.  Hairdressers have reopened in Denmark, Austria, Israel and some US states, but it’s going to be late July before they reopen in the Republic of Ireland, and who knows what’ll happen here?

I do think we’ll get some detailed plans next week, though.  People are getting fed up, apart from anything else.  And there’s more rule-breaking going on.  I don’t think anyone’s having any wild parties but, for example, I was forced off the pavement on Thursday by four men all cycling together, and some of my neighbours have had their children and grandchildren round for the afternoon.  I’m not one of these holier-than-thou people criticising others: I’m just saying.  There’s also the awareness that other countries are easing lockdowns now.

It’ll be very gradual, though.  Oh, when will we ever be able to go abroad again?

I’ve put a load of photos in albums today.  More albums to find a place for in the spare room!   And, at the park, one of the peacocks put its tail out!   Oh, and today was the first day with the new newsagent, and the papers duly turned up – hooray!

Lots of talk going round about getting football going again.  At neutral venues?  In Australia, even?!

And so ends yet another week in lockdown.  Watching the VE Day programmes, I keep wondering if we’re always going to be “The Coronavirus Generation”.  Or is that a stupid thing to say, given that all generations are being affected by it … and that it’s only been months, not years.  Please tell me that it isn’t going to be years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown Week 5, April 20th to 26th 2020 inclusive

Lockdown

Monday, April 20th

Rafa and Roger had a live-streamed video conversation with each other today.  Followed by one between Rafa and Andy.   It was all really lovely 🙂 .  Even if they did have a few technical hitches!  Also, Prince Philip’s come out of retirement to issue a public statement praising key workers, including people like binmen/women and postmen/women who haven’t been given much attention so far.  That was really lovely too!

Not so lovely was an article in this morning’s paper saying that tea plantations could be affected by the pandemic!  I hope not!  OK, obviously no-one should be working if it puts them in danger, but I thought most countries were classing agricultural work as essential.  I can put up with a lot of things, but not having no tea!   And I saw some rats in the park.  Ugh!!  They, the squirrels, the ducks and the pigeons were all hanging around together in the park.  I suspect that they were all looking for food – with the cafes closed, the ice-cream vans not there and no-one having picnics, the crumb supply’ll have been pretty much wiped out 😦 – but they did all look quite sweet together, like a children’s picture book with all the different animals and birds being friends.

The new toilet seat is now coming on Wednesday.  Let’s hope I can manage to fit it OK!

 

Tuesday, April 21st

Oh dear.  The number of deaths with coronavirus in the UK was well down both yesterday and on Monday, but it was right back up again today.  How much longer until we’re past the peak of this awful virus outbreak?  Bars and restaurants in Austria are reopening in May, but we’re way off that yet.

Also, the remote link to the office computer went down again this morning, although it’s working now.  And, whilst I’m having a moan, I am sick of the small minority of people who don’t respect social distancing!  It’s usually either cyclists whizzing along the pavements without giving walkers the chance to get out of the way, or little kids (who admittedly probably don’t understand the rules, but should be better supervised) on bikes or scooters.

On a happier note, there were no queues at either Tesco or Marks & Spencer’s this morning.  Tesco have started selling garden gnomes!  I think they’ve bought some stock from garden centres, which aren’t allowed to open at the moment.  I’m glad that all those lovely plants won’t be going to waste, but I’m not sure how well the gnomes are going to sell!   And it’s National Tea Day.  And it’s the Queen’s birthday – no gun salutes this year, but I hope she and Prince Philip have had a nice day.

The toilet seat came early.  I’d tried to pick one that was easy to fit, like the old one, but it’s not easy to see on a website.  It nearly had me in tears!  It clearly isn’t on quite right, because the hinge bits aren’t flat, but it’s staying in place, so it’ll do!   Let’s hope that that’s the last of the Lockdown Toilet Traumas!

And Dad’s dyed his own hair.  Mum sent a photo.  He’s braver than me!!

 

Wednesday, April 22nd

It’s interesting hearing from some of the people in my Facebook groups in other countries, about the different lockdown rules in other places.  I’m trying to keep up with what’s going on everywhere, but it’s not easy when practically the entire world’s affected.   

There was a gorgeous butterfly sat on the ground in front of my house when I got back from the park.  Annoyingly, it flew off before I got chance to take a photo of it!  I also saw a couple of bees on one of the lavender bushes.  I wonder if I’ll get a whole swarm of them like I did last year.  The gardener’s been to mow the grass, so the garden looks neat and tidy … unlike my hair!  It’s not that bad yet, to be fair – thank goodness I was able to get it cut the week before lockdown started – but it’s getting worse!

The National League season’s ending.  No decision yet on promotion and relegation.  I hope Barrow are still able to be promoted.  Our players are apparently having to report in on their weight and body fat percentage every week!!  Not sure if all clubs are doing this or if it’s just a United thing!

I filled in a survey which the Lowry Theatre e-mailed round, about how comfortable people’d feel about going to shows once theatres are allowed to reopen.  I would love to go to the theatre – not as much as I’d love to go to a football match or to the Lake District, but still – and I’m so sorry for independent theatres, and indeed all theatres, but I can’t see them being allowed to reopen any time soon.  Hundreds of people crowding together in the foyers.  I wish so much that we could get back to a time when that wasn’t an issue.  Matt Hancock says that we’re now at the peak of the virus.  Things certainly don’t seem to be getting any worse, thankfully, but I’ve got a horrible feeling that we’re a long way off being able to go to the theatre.  Or being able to go on coach trips to Iceland or Japan 😦 😦 😦 . 

Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, has said that we shouldn’t expect cases to fall quickly, and that there’s unlikely to be either a vaccine or an effective treatment within the next calendar year.  OK, I think we all knew that already, but hearing it said is rather depressing.

Helicopters have gone over several times in the last couple of days.  I don’t think it’s the RAF on manoeuvres of bringing supplies this time.    I’m pretty sure that the one I saw early in the afternoon was the local air ambulance, because it was yellow, but then a green one went over later on.  It was the wrong shade of green for an RAF Chinook … Google thinks it could have been the Children’s Air Ambulance.

And Parliament’s resumed – mainly by videolink.  It’s not that long since everyone was watching live coverage of Parliament on TV as if it were a football match.  I can’t say that I feel very inclined to do so now.  

Heigh-ho.  At least both Coronation Street and Emmerdale are on tonight!

 

Thursday, April 23rd

St George’s Day!  And World Book Night, tonight.  And Clap for our Carers night.  And the 2nd birthday of Prince Louis: some very cute photos of him making rainbow pictures have been released 🙂 .  And also the start of Ramadan.

The ancient office laptop packed up this morning.  I switched it on, and all I got were fuzzy lines – the computer bit was on, but the monitor wasn’t working properly.  I had it on, off, on, off … no joy.  Eventually, I had to take it to the office to leave for someone more au fait with IT than I am to look at.  I took it out of the bag (still switched on), fuzzy lines and all, put it down on the desk whilst I looked at some post that’d arrived … and suddenly the fuzzy lines went away and the normal display came on.  Explain that?!   I just hope it’s working tomorrow.  It made no sense at all.

Went to the frozen yoghurt shop on the way home from the park.  I usually go once a week, but it had to close for a while whilst they sorted out how to arrange things to meet the rules.  It’s now open for take-aways (as long as only one person goes in at once) and deliveries.  There was no-one else there, so I was able to go in.  It’s OK, it’s fat free!

Better go and clean the kitchen now.  I suppose I could leave the housework for the weekend, but I’d rather try to stick to my normal routine as far as possible.

I really hope that the laptop works tomorrow ….

 

Friday, April 24th

Oh FFS.  The newsagent’s closing down.  I wouldn’t have thought it was to do with the pandemic, because newsagents are pretty busy, between more people wanting papers delivering and people using them for top-up shopping rather than queue at supermarkets.  But, from next Saturday, no paper deliveries.  I tried two other local newsagents, but one said they didn’t deliver to my estate, and the other one said that they did but were already flat out … and that they’d think about it and get back to me, which, needless to say, they didn’t.  I can hopefully pick up newspapers from the garage on my way back from the park, but it’s a complete pain – and people who aren’t going out, likely to be elderly people who probably rely more on newspapers than younger people do, won’t even have that option.

Younger nephew heard my sister and I discussing this on the phone, but he just heard the “shut down” bit and thought my office had shut down, and was worried how I was going to manage for money, and had to be reassured that it hadn’t shut down!  Bless him!!  It just goes to show, though, that even an 8-year-old is aware of the risk to people’s jobs that this nightmare situation we’re in’s presenting. 

Also, I stupidly forgot to change the default delivery address, which is the office, on something I ordered.  So now I’m going to have to collect it from the sorting office, which is only open from 7am to 9am!  The sensible thing would be to wait until Tuesday and collect it when I go to Tesco … but I might go tomorrow. 

Donald Trump thinks that the solution to coronavirus is to inject yourself with disinfectant.  I sincerely hope no-one has tried this!

Oh well, at least the laptop worked today.  And it’s still warm and sunny.  And it’s Friday!!  No home working tomorrow.  And no home schooling either – my nephews are doing the most interesting-looking weekly tasks at the start of the week, so only the stuff they’re not really into’s left by Fridays!

 

Saturday, April 25th

We passed the 20,000 deaths mark today.  At the start of it all, we were told that 20,000 deaths’d be a good result.  At the time, it seemed an impossibly high number.  Only 4 other countries have had over 20,000 deaths, and one of them’s the US which has got a far higher population.  Well, that’s if we’re getting the full story from China and Iran.  Did the virus mutate when it reached Italy, and did a more vicious strain then spread to Spain, France and here?  Who knows?  But that’s over 20,000 lives lost, and 20,000 devastated families and groups of friends left behind.

A lot of people are saying that they’re bored out of their minds, but, between work, walking and housework, I never seem to have that much time left!   I retrieved my parcel this morning, then I had some house stuff to do.  Then I had my scone (lost 1lb this week, which wasn’t great, but better than nothing), this time by the Welsh poppies.  Then I went to the park.  I haven’t exactly rushed back any day, but, on working days, I’m always a bit conscious that someone might send an e-mail to the office e-mail address and then query why I took so long to reply!  So I took longer today, and headed into some of the wooded areas to look for more bluebells.  There were loads!   I was really chuffed.

Later, Mum and Dad paid a socially distanced visit – I stood at the door and they stood at the bottom of the drive.  It was great to see them.  I took a photo and put it on the Whatsapp group for my sister and bro-in-law and the kids. 

I’ve also spent ages writing!   Mostly book/film/TV reviews which hardly anyone reads, but anyway.  Enough for one day, now 🙂 .

 

Sunday, April 26th

I went into town today!!  For my blood donation appointment.  I thought about driving in, but a) I wasn’t sure if all the car parks were open and b) I was a bit nervous about walking too far if there was no-one else around, so I went on the tram.  Trams are only running every 20 minutes now, but fears that the whole system might have to be mothballed have been allayed.  There were only a few people on, so everyone was able to have a whole compartment to themselves.  I was way too early because I’d been stressing that there might be a problem with the trams, and you couldn’t go to the Blood Donation Centre early because of social distancing, and there were some people around – people who live in town, walking or jogging or cycling (cycling down Market Street!!), and people collecting rubbish – so I felt OK about walking round. 

TBH, I was delighted to have the chance to walk round town.  It did feel strange seeing everywhere so empty, though.  OK, at that time on a Sunday morning, the shops aren’t normally open anyway, but some of the cafes are, and there are usually more people about.  I saw a couple of police cars, and I was half-expecting to be stopped, but I wasn’t!

One of the places I walked through was St Ann’s Square … past the cotton bud fountain where I brought flowers three years ago, after the Arena bombing.  There were so many flowers, and teddies, and balloons.  and I lit a candle in the cathedral.  And signed the book of condolence in the Town Hall.  The Town Hall’s the one place that looks a mess, because of the scaffolding.  Albert Square’s closed off: they must be continuing with the building work.  The Christmas markets which usually go there are supposed to be going in Piccadilly Gardens this year.  Will they even happen?  Anyway, to get back to the bombing, people came together.  We haven’t been able to have any sort of public mourning for the thousands of people lost to this horrible virus.  Relatives and friends can’t even attend funerals, or observe any mourning rites relating to the person’s religion or culture.  It was just something that struck me, seeing the fountain.

I wore a mask for blood donation, but, although all the staff did too, none of the other donors did.  They’d put the chairs 6 feet apart, and you had to wash your hands when you got there.   It’s done, anyway. 

The death toll’s much lower today.  Hoping it’s a real change and not just to do with recording being slow at weekends.  This is just the people who’ve died in hospital, of course.  I dread to think how many people have died in care homes.  I was very upset to learn that 14 people have died in the care home where my grandma and two of my great-aunts lived in the 1990s. 

Cloudier today, but dry, and warm … not much breeze in the park.  It’s due to rain next week.  I suppose the gardens do need some rain, but I hope it’s not enough to make walking unpleasant!

And so we’ve now had 5 weeks in lockdown!   I think there’s more rule-bending going on now.  It’s not that people are having wild parties, and you can’t go to cinemas, theatres, pubs etc because they’re shut, but people are certainly meeting up with relatives and friends, even if it’s just to go for a walk together.   There are tough decisions to be made … and Boris could soon be the one making them again, as he’s apparently now ready to return to work. 

 

 

 

Lockdown Week 4, April 13th to 19th 2020, inclusive

Easter Monday, April 13th

A rare sunny Bank Holiday: today would have been perfect for going to the Lakes, or Blackpool, or one of the National Trust or English Heritage properties.  Oh well!  Thank goodness for Heaton Park!   And, whilst I was on my way to the park, I saw a Sikh family taking photos in their front garden, dressed up in traditional white robes, with orange turbans and shawls for Vaisakhi, which is today.  That was lovely.  Then, when I got to the park, the peacocks from the farm centre had flown up to the top of the wall.  They must wonder where all their visitors have gone!  I went to a part of the park I haven’t been to for years – decades, in fact! – today, the Dell Gardens.  We used to walk through there on “nature walks” when we were in the infants!   I’m going back there tomorrow.

I don’t know when this is all going to end.  Spain and Italy are talking about easing lockdown restrictions, but we’re a few weeks behind them.  The death figures are still horrendous – and they don’t even include deaths in care homes.  And so many different industries are calling for bailouts, and I sympathise with all of them, but I don’t know where the money’s supposed to come from.   There’s one thing I can do to help, anyway – I’ve booked a blood donation appointment,  I was due to go on Saturday, but the local session was cancelled.  However, the main centre in town’s open, and blood donation counts as essential travel.  I’ve also ordered some face masks from Amazon (one washable and some disposable) : some countries are making it compulsory to wear them, and it may well eventually happen here too.

I posted my fanfic today.  No-one said it was inappropriate, and some people have posted very nice comments, so I’m glad that I went ahead with it.

 

Tuesday, April 14th

On my way to the park today, I saw a hearse going down the road – no funeral cars, just a hearse.  This is one of the worst things about the current situation: people can’t even attend loved ones’ funerals.  My cousin who makes professional videos is organising live-streaming of funerals for free, which is brilliant of him.

Earlier, I’d had to queue for 20 minutes to get into Tesco, even though I went early.  At least it was dry and sunny!

I’m getting rather stressed about my hair.  I haven’t got the nerve to cut it myself, or even to dye itself – I keep thinking about Anne Shirley dyeing hers green! – but I can’t just leave it indefinitely.  Hmm.

On a more cheerful note, I’ve now got the Now ’80s channel on during the day, rather than any of the news channels.  I’m loving having ’80s music on.  I may even have got up to dance to a few old faves 🙂 .  And I’ve started walking up and down the steps in the garden – 20 times each session.  It’s not quite the same as going to the gym, but it’s something!  Speaking of ’80s music, though, the Pet Shop Boys concert I was going to at the end of May’s been rescheduled for next year.  As with everything else that’s been cancelled/postponed, I knew it was coming, but it’s still disappointing.  Everything people were looking forward to over the next few months, all the holidays and little treats, is being taken away.   But I do like this Now ’80s channel.

 

Wednesday, April 15th

A big envelope addressed in my sister’s handwriting came today.  Inside it was a picture of a rainbow, done by my nephews, for me to put in one my front windows.  Oh bless!  A lot of kids are drawing rainbow pictures to display on windows.  I’m really chuffed with it!

And there’ve been some new arrivals at the park – the ducks in the pond near the farm centre (I’m not sure why some ducks live there rather than in the lake!) have had ducklings!  So cute 🙂 .  Life goes on …

My £75 shopping gift voucher (for changing insurance companies earlier in the year) arrived today.  Valid at a load of High Street shops.  A lot of use that is at the moment!!  I’ll have to see which of them’ll accept it on line.

Lockdown in Northern Ireland’s been extended until May 9th.  The same thing’s going to happen in the rest of the UK: I don’t know why they don’t just say so.  Everyone accepts that it’s coming.

 

Thursday, April 15th

This morning, I watched (live on BBC 1) Captain Tom Moore, a 99-year-old Second World War veteran, complete 100 laps of his garden … which has raised over £15  million for the NHS!  His original idea was to raise £1,000 by doing the 100 laps before his forthcoming 100th birthday, but the whole thing’s gone viral, and now he’s a national hero!  He’s in the news on other countries as well.  So many people were trying to donate that the Just Giving website went down, although I did manage to get on it this evening.  99 years old.  “Captain Tom” – the nation’s new superhero!

UEFA are talking about the season ending in August. I wish! They’re being very dictatorial, saying that countries where seasons aren’t finished could lose their Champions League and Europa League places.  Control freaks are not coping well with lockdown … there was an unpleasant work-related incident (by e-mail) today, which better hadn’t been repeated.

The washable mask came.  It was made in Burnley, so I’m supporting the historical Lancashire textile industry 🙂 .  I took a selfie of myself wearing it, and sent it round the family WhatsApp group.  Mum said I looked like a gangster!

Saw my brother-in-law’s dad whilst out for my walk today.  I see someone I know pretty much every day.  It’s OK (maybe not by the letter of the rules, but it’s not hurting anyone) to stop for a quick chat, as long as you stay 6 ft apart.

Then this evening was “Clap for our carers”.  And lockdown’s been extended for another three weeks.  It’s not even that newsworthy, because we knew it was coming!

 

Friday, April 17th

The Duchess of Cornwall opened the G-Mex Nightingale Hospital today, by video link.  I was trying to see what the books on the shelves behind her were! “In creating this Nightingale hospital, you have truly brought light to a dark time.  But this is not surprising. Manchester is a past master at bringing light to dark times.”  It’s amazing how quickly these hospitals have been made ready … just so sad that they’re needed.  The NHS are coping brilliantly, though.  We feared that hospitals would be overwhelmed, but it hasn’t happened.

Virus-related hospital admissions are dropping, but the daily death figures are still very high.  Spain and Italy are still suffering badly too, as are Belgium and the Netherlands, and the situation in New York City’s horrendous.  When will this ever end?

Quite windy today.  The wind was blowing the blossom off the trees in the park.  It’s a shame, because once it’s gone, it’s gone, but the carpet of blossom petals on the ground, beneath the trees, looked absolutely amazing.

Norman “Bite Yer Legs” Hunter died with coronavirus today, aged 76.  Sad news.

I’ve sent a 100th birthday card to Captain Tom Moore!   So have tens of thousands of other people!

And tonight’s episode of Emmerdale showed Sam and Lydia’s wedding.  Such a nice, happy episode – a loving couple getting married in front of all their family and friends, and then a party afterwards.  When will we be able to have celebrations like that again?  It’s so hard to plan anything at the moment.  Strange times.

 

Saturday, April 18th

I’ve now lost over half a stone since lockdown started.  Most people are saying that they’ve put on weight, but having the chance to go on long walks every day is doing me good … and I’m binge-eating/comfort-eating far less now that I’m not going to the office, which might make an interesting psychological study for someone.

Saturday is “#Sconesinthegarden” day, and, this week, I photographed the tea and scone by one of the lavender bushes!

I went to the park mid-afternoon today, because it rained a bit late morning/early afternoon.  The sun’ll be back tomorrow, though.  I’ve never known such a long spell of good weather in April.

I have acquired some “roots touch-up” spray.  I just haven’t found the courage to use it yet!

 

Sunday, April 19th

Oh FFS.  First it was the toilet flush, now it’s the toilet seat!  The lid suddenly just cracked.  OK, it only cost £12, and that was a few years ago, but did it have to choose now to break?  I think B&Q might actually be open, but it seemed better to order one from Amazon.  Unfortunately, most toilet seats are now “top-fixing”, and mine’s “bottom-fixing”, so there wasn’t much choice, but I found one in the end.   I hope it’s not too hard to fix: it’s hard to tell just from a picture.

A helicopter flew over a few times today.  Not sure whether it was delivering stuff for hospitals or on RAF manoeuvres.  Seeing aircraft go over used to be commonplace until a month ago: now, it’s a novelty!

As well as going for my walk, I’ve caught up on some reading and film-watching, and ordered some more photos.   And opened my second Easter egg.  Well, it is Orthodox Easter today!

And I do wish certain elements of the media would STFU.  Yes, OK, if we could turn the clock back then maybe we’d do things differently, but we can’t.  You do what you think’s best at the time.  Mistakes have been made, both here and in other countries, but we can’t change that now: we’ve got to deal with the situation as it is now.  As for some of the politically-motivated things that have been posted on social media, they beggar belief.  I’m just trying to ignore them.  We all need to work together.  Pointing out mistakes in the hope of making positive changes to how things are being dealt with is one thing.  Political point-scoring is another.  And some of it’s just utter crap.  Best ignored!

And, whilst I’m ranting, some git’s dumped three mattresses, a broken vacuum cleaner and a load of other stuff in the little bit of woodland round the corner.  I know it’s annoying that the tips are closed and the public bins are sealed up, but that does not make fly-tipping OK.  It’s becoming a problem in a lot of places.  Gah!  OK, enough ranting now /rant.

And so endeth another week in lockdown!

 

Lockdown Week 3, April 6th to 12th 2020 inclusive

Monday, April 6th

Les Miserables at the Lowry, in mid-May, has been cancelled now.  They said it’d be rearranged for next year.  The British Open’s also been cancelled, and that wasn’t until … well, the week after Wimbledon.  Stuff being cancelled for July does not bode well for my holiday to Iceland.  I’ve pretty much given up hope of it now 😦 .

I tried to upload a video using the Facebook app on my phone, and it didn’t work.  It’s hardly a huge trauma, and apparently not unusual, but it’s upsetting my obsessive brain and I really wish I hadn’t tried now!

I know – these are hardly major issues, when so many people are tragically losing their lives.  Pep Guardiola’s mum’s died, in Spain.  Very sad.  City and United fans alike are expressing their condolences, and so’s everyone else.

On a happier note, I’ve joined a Whatsapp group for the people in my book group (the one for which the March meeting was cancelled).   Most people in it are on Facebook anyway, but some aren’t.   And both United and City have confirmed that none of their staff will be furloughed.  Liverpool have reversed their decision on furloughing.

Later – oh dear!   Some very worrying news tonight.  Boris has been taken into intensive care.  We’ve not been told much, but no-one goes into intensive care unless things are pretty bad.

 

Tuesday, April 7th

Didn’t sleep very well last night.  I think it was all the worry about Boris.  I wish the media’d shut up with the dramatics about what the procedures for running the country are when the PM’s hors de combat.  We’ve been told that Dominic Raab’s overseeing things, and that the rest of the Cabinet and their medical/scientific advisors are all involved.

No deaths in China today!  And Austria and Denmark are talking about easing restrictions.  Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Meanwhile, the British Athletics Championships in June, to which I was going, have been rescheduled for August.  I’m not convinced they’ll be able to go ahead in August, but let’s see.  And my blood donation appointment’s been cancelled, because the local session (on the 25th) is off, which is rather annoying because we’re being told that blood supplies are urgently needed.   Staff shortages, presumably, or maybe an issue with the venue?

Went to Tesco this morning.  Shopping is now a very complicated experience!   First of all, you have to make sure that you’re not there at a time reserved for NHS staff or elderly/vulnerable people … which at M&S is usually between 8 (when they open) and 9, but at Tesco is between 9 and 10, so I had to time it so that I was out of Tesco before 9 but not at M&S until after 9!  Then you have to queue outside, because only so many people are allowed in at once.   You now have to follow a one-way system, and then, instead of waiting at a till, you have to wait in the furthest aisle until you’re told that a till’s available.  This is the booze aisle, so you’re stood there surrounded by bottles of vodka, gin, wine etc!   I also had to go to the pharmacy for some catarrh medicine (Tesco pharmacy didn’t have any), but hadn’t realised it now wasn’t opening until 9 o’clock, so I had to wait outside there as well.  It’s all very complicated, as I said!

Public transport is now running far less frequently than usual, but there are still buses and trams about.  The  X41 and X43 buses are flashing up “Thank you NHS” and “Thank you Key Workers” – I saw some today.

More excitingly, we’ve had Chinook helicopters flying overhead today!  They’re going into Barton Aerodrome to drop off supplies for the new hospital – the G-Mex Centre (as everyone round here still calls it) is being made into one of the new Nightingale Hospitals.  I’m sort of got used to not seeing any aircraft in the sky, and I’m certainly not used to seeing Chinooks!

And the park looks lovely in the sunshine …

 

Wednesday, April 8th

Oh dear!  Every time the number of deaths with coronavirus in the UK drops, it goes up again.  938 today.  938.  I know it was to be expected, after what happened in Italy and Spain, but … 938.

Better news of Boris, though.  He’s sitting up in bed and “positively engaging” with medical staff.  He’s clearly been in a very, very bad way, but hopefully he’s on the other side of it now.

My official “Letter from Boris” came today.  They’re officially called government letters about coronavirus or something, but everyone’s referring to them as “Letters from Boris”.  They only say what we’ve already been told anyway, about the lockdown rules, but it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever had a letter from 10 Downing Street!   My Inside Soap magazine also came- it usually comes on a Tuesday, but the post’s running a bit slowly at the moment.  I’m very glad it’s running at all, though – three cheers for postmen/women!

Another lovely sunny day.  Usual routine – work, walk, work!  Well, except, today, for going into the office briefly, to drop some files off and collect others, and to print some stuff out because I’ve only got a small printer at home.

Passover started today, the first of several festivals, in different religions, this month.  A lot of ministers and religious groups are streaming services on line, for different religions/denominations.  My second cousin in Leeds is doing one every day.  Not my thing, but it’s bringing comfort to a lot of people.  Religious festivals are, obviously, a time when a lot of people like together with family and friends, but not this year.  A lot of people are organising meet-ups over Zoom, though.  Our book group’s also holding meet-ups on Zoom, a few times a week, but I’m scared to use it in case I break something: I’m not very good with technology and am terrified of something breaking at a time when I won’t be able to get it sorted .

I still can’t quite believe that all this is happening. How can our lives be turned upside down, just like that? As a kid, I sometimes wondered what’d happen if there was another world war, after two in two generations, but I never imagined this. I know some people have read sci-fi books in which some deadly virus takes over the world, but I never have done. It’s just … well, it’s unimaginable, but it’s happening.

 

Maundy Thursday, April 9th

My holiday company’s cancelled all tours up to and including the end of June.  My trip to Iceland, which is in July, will presumably be in the next batch to be cancelled.  It’s hardly as if they’ve got much choice, and it’s hardly as if anyone can go on holiday with so many countries on lockdown, and Easyjet aren’t even flying at the moment, but … I booked this holiday last September (to make sure I got a date after Wimbledon and before the Olympics!) and have been looking forward to it ever since.  Yes, I know that it’s selfish to be worrying about holidays when so many lives have tragically been lost, but don’t tell me that most people aren’t doing the same.   Final payments have to be made eight weeks in advance, so I assume a decision about July trips will come in early May.   I’m losing hope of being able to go on my trip to Japan too: mid-October seemed a long way off when all this started, but it doesn’t any more.  And who knows which trips’ll be on offer next year, after the hit that the airlines and holiday companies are taking from this?  Not to mention issues about working annual leave round available dates.

Bleurgh.

On a lighter note, Dad’s been dusting!  Mum is astounded.  They’ve been married for over 51 years and he’s never dusted before!!    He really must be bored!

“Clap for our Carers” this evening.  A lot of people are banging saucepans, but I decided to be different and blow the mini-Alpenhorn I got in Switzerland and ring the mini Liberty Bell I got in Philadelphia!

No soaps on on a Thursday.  Every other weekday, at least one of them’s on.  There are loads of films on, though, and I’m catching up on some of the stuff I’ve had on my Sky Planner for ages but not had chance to watch.

 

Good Friday, April 10th

Mum and Dad paid a semi-illicit visit today.  Lots of people are doing this with other family members: technically you’re not supposed to, but you’re still “social distancing” if the resident stands in the doorway and the visitors stand at the bottom of the drive.  And they were out on “approved business” (driving to the park for a walk – they usually walk round the golf course near them, but you’re allowed to drive somewhere for exercise, as long as it’s not far, and it’s only 4 miles or so from theirs), just took a slight diversion.  It was so nice to see them in the flesh!  I left my Inside Soap magazines out for them, and they took them and left their Hello! magazines for me to read.  I also saw my brother-in-law’s mum in the park, and have spoken to some of the neighbours, so it’s been quite a sociable day!

A four day weekend, and perfect weather for it, for once … shame we can’t head out into the countryside to enjoy it!  Thank heavens for Heaton Park … where the first bluebells are out!  That’s amazing.  I’ve never seen bluebells out in North Manchester this early in May before.  I won’t be getting to do my annual bluebell walks at Capesthorne Hall or along the western shore of Windermere this year 😦 , but, as I keep saying, thank heavens for Heaton Park!  The blossom on the trees is absolutely gorgeous.  The daffodils are dying off now, but some of them are still going, and now we’ve got the bluebells coming through.  I took another different route today, past the donkeys!  Then, later, I washed my car, again.  A lot of car-washing is going on at the moment- it’s something to do.

And the gardener’s been … despite the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday! I wasn’t sure he was coming, and was very pleased to see him. The window cleaners are still working, as well. Some people – the spiritual heirs of the sort of people who put their neighbours on ducking stools, or denounced them to Cromwell’s Puritan goosesteppers or the Spanish Inquisition or the KGB – have been whingeing about seeing gardeners or window cleaners working, which annoys me. As long as people are working outdoors, and not coming into contact with anyone else, and wearing gloves (which they are doing), what’s the problem?  Are there not enough people unable to earn at the moment as it is?  Do they think money grows on trees?!

On a different note, several local places have Good Friday traditions, which won’t be happening this year.  In Ramsbottom, it’s rolling eggs down Holcombe Hill.  In Bolton, it’s climbing up Rivington Pike.  Here in Prestwich, it’s eating fish and chips from Armstrongs!  There’s usually a queue right round the block.  I think they’re open for takeaways ordered via Deliveroo – quite a lot of places are – but I decided to make my own low-calorie version.  Battered cod and chips fried in oil aren’t really the things to be eating on the day before weigh-in!   So I had smoked salmon and chips oven-cooked in low fat spray!  I even posted a picture on Facebook 🙂 .

 

Easter Saturday, April 11th

Some very sad news today.  The man who ran the shop which is the local Hermes drop-off/collection point has died with coronavirus.  I didn’t go in there often, but I did sometimes, if I had parcels to send with Hermes.  So many deaths.

The Queen’s recorded an Easter message, talking about lighting the darkness.  She always says exactly the right thing.  It’s New York suffering the most, at the moment.  Things are horrendous here, but even worse there.

Two letters from the National Blood Service came, one confirming that the local blood session had been cancelled, and another one (why didn’t they put them in the same envelope?) asking me to rebook.  I’ll see what’s available.  Apparently blood donation does class as essential travel.

I was hoping I was getting on a roll with losing weight, but have had a setback … and this was even before having my scone, and then I’ve got my Easter egg and a simnel slice to start on tomorrow.   I did still have my scone – by the forget-me-nots, this time!  They’re doing really well: the tulips and some of the other plants are on the way out now, but the forget-me-nots are going strong.

And here endeth my career in online gambling – I bet on Dinamo Minsk to beat Goredeya seeing as I couldn’t get the money out, and they lost!

And no more Holby City, after next week 😦 .  There mustn’t be any more episodes in the can.  Apparently the ventilators they use really work, and have been donated to the NHS.

On a happier note, my second Windermere photo’s now also been included in a Windermere Lake Cruises Facebook postcard!

 

Easter Day, Sunday, April 12th

An unpleasant landmark today – 10,000 UK deaths with coronavirus.  The real total’s probably far higher than that: that’s just the figure for deaths in hospitals, and there are some utterly horrendous stories coming out about how bad things are in care homes.

Boris, who’s thankfully on the mend now, has made a very emotional speech thanking the medical staff who cared for him.  He said that, for 48 hours, things could have gone either way.

Switzerland’s beaming messages of hope on to the side of the Matterhorn, including messages to the UK and other countries.  Such a nice idea.

I’ve eaten rather more of my first Easter egg (one for today, one for Orthodox Easter next week) in one day that I intended too – oops!   And I had some of the simnel slice.  And lamb for tea.  I spend too much time thinking about food!

I’ve written a fanfic, about some of the characters in the one of my favourite book series coping with lockdown.  I don’t know whether to post it or not.  It’s certainly not intended to be flippant, but I don’t know if people might think it is.  Still pondering.

Saw some police in the park, again.  There were concerns that rule-breaking might increase over the Bank Holiday weekend, but I don’t think it has done.

And so another week in lockdown ends!  I’m catching up on books and films, anyway.  And it’s very odd that we’re having such a prolonged spell of good weather, especially this early in the year, but long may it last.  It did rain overnight, but had cleared up by the morning.   Going out for a walk/jog/bike ride is the best part of most people’s days.

 

Lockdown Week 2, March 30th to April 5th 2020 inclusive

Monday, March 30th

My payslip arrived by e-mail today.  We’re still getting paid as normal, for the time being, which is good.  A lot of people have been “furloughed”.  It’s great that the Government are running the furlough scheme, and something similar for self-employed people, rather than everyone just being thrown out of work as is happening in some other countries, but it’s only 80% of your wage, and only up to £2,500 gross per month.   I don’t think there’s much alternative to lockdown at the moment, but the economic effects are just going to be horrendous.

The chairman of Lancashire CCC’s died with coronavirus.  So has the original singer of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”.  And I’m hearing about more and more people I actually know who’ve got it.

Easyjet have grounded all their planes.  Not that my holiday in July’s likely to operate anyway 😦 .  And the Olympics have been moved until next year.  Looks like Wimbledon’ll be cancelled – it’s not like you can hold a grass court tournament in the autumn.  I can’t imagine a year without Wimbledon.  And we got tickets in the draw this year – Mum and Dad got tickets for men’s semi-finals day, which they’ve been so excited about, and my sister and I are due to go the first Friday.  I don’t know if they’ll offer people the same tickets for next year or not.  Yes, I know that there are bigger things to worry about – 180 deaths with coronavirus in the UK today – but it’s OK to be disappointed.  Isn’t it?

I went to another different bit of the park today – where the beehives are.  The bees were all hanging around with their mates.  Lucky bees!!  And there were squirrels everywhere!

 

 

Tuesday, March 31st

Fame at last!  Well, sort of.  Windermere Lake Cruises asked people (on Facebook) to post photos of Windermere, for a “postcards from Windermere” thing they’re doing.  Virtual postcards on Facebook, I mean!  I posted two, and they included one of them in today’s “postcard”, and mentioned my name.  I’m very excited!!

There’s all sorts of stuff going on on line.  Organisations are making resources available for free, and offering “virtual tours”.  And there are loads of memes and videos.  There’s one really funny video doing the rounds with a Pirates of Penzance type Major General character singing a song about how we’re being called upon to “Do Fuck All”.  Made me laugh!   At least we’re all keeping our sense of humour!  Unfortunately, there’s also a load of ridiculous scaremongering, like that we should all stock up on warm clothes and torches because the electrical system might collapse.  The powers that be won’t let that happen, but it can worry people.

The UK “with coronavirus”  death toll jumped to 393 today.  393 in one day.  Are we really going the same way as Italy?  People said we would.  I didn’t want to believe it.

I had to go to the office today, to dump some files and collect others, and also to collect all the stuff I’d printed off because it was too much for my small home printer.   This was after yet another long phone call to IT support, after the laptop somehow reset the link from SSL to PTP or something like that, and wouldn’t connect to the office network.  Hopefully now sorted.  I’ve also, of course, been to the park.  I saw my brother-in-law’s mum there, which was nice.

And I’m watching a lot of films, with soaps on ration and no live sport.

 

Wednesday, April 1st

April Fools’ Day.   But no-one’s laughing.  Wimbledon’s been cancelled, for the first time since the war.  We knew it was coming, but … 😦 .  The whole grass court season’s off, and we’ve already lost most of the clay court season.

2020 – the year without Wimbledon.

But, at least, the All England Club have said that anyone who had tickets for this year will be offered the same ones for next year.  Phew!!

The Edinburgh Festival’s off too.  And the Champions League and Europa League have both been officially suspended until further notice.

And, of all things to happen, the toilet flush broke.  I have lived here for nearly 19 years.  Why did the toilet flush have to choose just now to break?   I felt like bursting into tears … but plumbers are obviously classed as essential workers, so I rang my usual plumbers, only to be told that they weren’t working because one of them was very ill with the virus.  I felt awful, but I wasn’t to know.  I then rang a firm of emergency plumbers we deal with at work.  They weren’t exactly cheap, but they were great – the guy arrived a couple of hours later, and replaced the flush.  I posted all about this on Facebook!

Please, please do not let anything else break.  Having said that, I’ve already got another problem – the “low battery” warning for the car key’s coming up.   I’d usually just go to the Renault service centre, but it’s closed.  The local garage is open, but can’t do it because the keys are so hard to open.  You’d think you just slipped the old battery out and the new one in, but it’s not that easy.  Halfords might do it?  I haven’t really had time to think about it, because of the toilet flush.

Part of me’s stressing because things that used to be so easy are now so difficult, but part of me’s thinking that at least, with working at home, I could wait in for the plumber without the usual hassle of having to ask Mum and Dad if they could wait in whilst I’m trapped at work, and then feeling bad about them being stuck housesitting instead of doing whatever else they’d had planned.

563 “deaths with coronavirus” today.  Similar figures in France.  Well over 800 in both Spain and Italy.  Belgium and the Netherlands are also pretty bad, per head of population.  The only “good” thing is that underdeveloped countries haven’t been badly hit.  Yet?

And Prince Charles made a really nice speech tonight.  Good to see that he’s recovered now.

 

Thursday, April 2nd

Eddie Large died “with coronavirus” today.  Like most of those who’ve died, he had underlying health problems, but maybe he’d still be here if it wasn’t for the virus.  So sad.

A row’s broken out because some Premier League football clubs – not including United, I’m glad to say, nor City – are “furloughing” non-playing staff, claiming government funding whilst continuing to pay players zillions.  It’s not on.

My hands are a bit sore again, from all the extra washing.  Nothing that moisturiser won’t sort out, though.

Been driven mad by work today.  I’m doing my best, but it’s not easy without the files and a big printer.  But I suppose I should be very glad that I’ve not been “furloughed”.

I’ve got the car key sorted, anyway.  My cousin recommended a place opposite his old house.  It’s not far away, but I still kept feeling as if I were about to be stopped by the police!   I had to ring on the bell, hand the key over to the guy there, and then wait whilst he sorted it.  And he charged a fraction of what Halfords did, when I once went there when I couldn’t get to the Renault centre!

“Clap For Our Carers” tonight.  People are banging saucepans and all sorts.  My elder nephew broke one my sister’s wooden spoons by banging it too hard against a pan!   Then, there now being no soaps on Thursdays 😦 , I watched another film.

 

Friday, April 3rd

Huge queue at Tesco this morning!  I got there at 7:55, and could not believe how many people were outside.  However, it turned out that it was because it wasn’t open yet!  I knew they’d stopped opening 24 hours, but I thought they were opening at 6am, but it’s now been changed to 8am.

684 “deaths with coronavirus” in the UK today.  932 in Spain.  And things are now very bad in New York, as well.  There’s been a lot of talk about the peak coming over Easter weekend, but now it looks as if it could go on getting worse well after that.  It’s as if we’re all living in a nightmare.  All those poor people, and their families and friends.   Another of my second cousins has got it now.

The Queen’s recorded a speech, to be broadcast on Sunday.  I’m glad.  I didn’t know whether it would be possible, because of the issues of recording it, but arrangements have been made.  It’s time.  We need to hear from our Queen.  She’s the one … politicians, with the best will in the world, aren’t the same.

Prince Charles opened the new “Nightingale Hospital” at the Excel Centre today,  By videolink, obviously.  And United players are to donate 30% of their salaries to the NHS.

 

Saturday, April 4th

Today was the Virtual Grand National – yes, a computerised race, shown live on ITV.  And I got 2nd place, with Walk in the Mill!  The winner was Potters Corner.  Unfortunately, SkyBet won’t let you withdraw less than £10, so my £6.30’s stuck there.  Huh!  I’ll have to bet it on the Belarusian Premier League, which is about the only professional sport still going on.  I don’t think online gambling is for me – I’ll stick with my once a year visit to the bookies … once bookies reopen.  The whole Virtual Grand National was really good fun, though.  Loads of people watched it, and all the proceeds from betting are being donated to the NHS.

#Sconesinthegarden day (I’ve lost a pound this week, so I was entitled to a scone) – this week by the magnolia plant, which is looking lovely at the moment!   And we had a “virtual party” thing going on all day in one of my Facebook book groups.  I should be in the Lakes this weekend, though … and in this lovely weather, as well.   But, hey ho, I’m not!

 

Sunday, April 5th

Oh, what a wonderful speech by the Queen.  She always knows the right thing to say.  I was nearly in tears at the end.  “We will meet again” … I’ve found myself humming “We’ll Meet Again” a few times since lockdown started.   She spoke about the issues that lockdown’s causing, and she spoke about the situation having similarities to some of the issues people faced during the war years.  And then she said that “We will meet again”.

“We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

I’m nearly in tears again, typing this.

It was just the most wonderful speech.  And it was broadcast in a lot of countries, not just Commonwealth countries but the US, France and other places too.  No-one in the world except our Queen could have made that speech.  She’s always there.

 

I hope Boris is OK.  He didn’t look wonderful when he was last seen on TV, on Thursday, and he’s now been taken to hospital.  It doesn’t sound too good.  They’ve said “as a precaution”, but no-one’s being taken to hospital at the moment unless they’re in quite a bad way.  Very worrying.

Things’d got a bit stressful earlier, when there were problems with Facebook, but thankfully everything seems to be OK again now.  Touch wood!   Also, there’ve been threats that outdoor exercise could be banned, because some idiots have been out sunbathing in parks.  I don’t think they actually would ban outdoor exercise, but I wish people’d stick to the rules.  I do feel very sorry for people with no gardens though.  Some parks in London have been closed because the councils said that there were too many people using them, but there’s only so much green space available in densely-populated areas, and a lot of people needing to use it.  Walking round housing estates, apart from not being particularly nice, isn’t easy with “social distancing” – you can’t stay 6 feet apart on the pavements, especially when there are so many cars parked on them, and there’s still some traffic so you can’t always step into the road.  Thankfully, there’s been no real talk of closing the parks here, although I’ve seen the police in our park, looking for miscreants.

Went through all my finished books today.  We Buy Books are doing a collect from home service – I leave the books in a box in the shed to be picked up!

And it was such a lovely, clear day today – another one – and I stood at the top of the hill near “the Temple” in the park, and gazed towards town – you can see the skyline. Well, you can see the taller buildings, anyway. I felt like a medieval pilgrim gazing towards Jerusalem.

Well, that was another week in lockdown.  How many more will there be?

 

Lockdown Week 1 – March 23rd to 29th 2020 inclusive

Lockdown

Monday, March 23rd

We’re in lockdown.  Boris announced it at half 8 this evening.  No-one’s to go out except to buy food, medicine or other essentials, for medical appointments, to go to work if they can’t work from home, or to exercise once a day.  And all non-essential shops are to close.

I can’t quite take it in.  We knew it was coming, and I don’t think there’s any choice, but I thought we’d get a couple of days’ notice, as happened with schools closing.

One and half million people are going to be “shielded” – i.e. told that they can’t go out at all for 12 weeks.  That’s going to include my cousin’s wife, who’s undergoing cancer treatment, and my other cousin, who’s got lupus, as well as several friends.  Some people have heard already.

They’ve said no gatherings of more than two people in public, but how can that work if two parents are out with a kid, or a parent’s out with more than one kid?  Or does it mean no more than two people who don’t live together?  But you’re not supposed to be out with anyone you don’t live with anyway:  we’re not supposed to meet up with anyone even if we do go out … although I don’t think people are entirely going to stick to that.  As long as you stay 6 feet apart, “accidentally” meeting up with someone in the park or in Tesco car park, or just happening to drive past someone’s house, is only the same as passing random people in the street.   So I should be able to see Mum and Dad occasionally, from a distance; but heaven only knows when we’re going to see the rest of the family, and I certainly won’t be going into anyone else’s home, or having any visitors here.

I’m going to have to go into the office tomorrow, to collect the laptop and some files and stationery.  Loads of people are going to have to do the same – and to empty bins and fridges, apart from anything else!   Everyone’s a bit confused.  All non-essential shops are to close.  What classes as essential?  Are post offices staying open, for a start?  I know this is a stupid thing to worry about, but I’ve got a parcel that needs returning to Amazon, and has to be scanned, and my obsessive brain’s worrying about it.

Bizarrely, I got an e-mail with a load of information about my October holiday to Japan today.  I’m hoping things might be OK by October, even if I’m not holding out much hope for my July holiday to Iceland, but who knows?  Emirates (I’m due to go to Japan with Emirates and Iceland with Easyjet) have suspended flights, for a start.  A lot of people are stranded abroad.  Not sure why so many people are abroad at the moment, but they are.

I posted on Facebook to say something along the lines of please let’s make sure that we all stay in touch, and lots of people “liked” and commented on it.  At least we’ve got Facebook, and WhatsApp, so it’s not like being cut off from the world entirely.  I’m scared of downloading Zoom and House Party and some of the other stuff in case I break something, though.

Whew.  This is a lot to take in, especially when it’s well into the evening.  Our world’s been turned upside down.

 

Tuesday, March 24th

Well, that was an exceptionally bad start, as Bridget Jones would say, to home working!

I retrieved the laptop etc from the office this morning.  The post office near the office was open – the lady in there said she wasn’t sure what was going on, but it does now seem that post offices will be staying open – so I sent the Amazon parcel back!   I’ll have to go into the office from time to time, to drop files off and collect others, and also to print stuff out because there’s no way I can print great long ledgers on my home printer …  but you are allowed to go to work if you can’t work from home, and I’m only talking about a few minutes at a time.  At least the office is near home, and, although I don’t usually drive there, I can park outside.  It’s going to be very difficult for people who work in town.  And public transport’s being scaled right back.

Anyway, I managed to connect it to the wi-fi, but then I tried to connect it to the office network, and the remote link thing just wouldn’t work at all.   It took me ten billion attempts to get through to IT support, and then they said that they couldn’t do anything because their remote link thing was down due to the surge in demand.  I had some stuff I could do without access to the network, but I hope they can sort it tomorrow.  So much for the wonders of remote working technology!!

As far as everything else went, I just had no idea to expect today.  Who’d be working and who wouldn’t?  The papers were delivered, although by one of the adult staff, not one of the paper kids.  The postman came – so I’ve got my Snapfish order, and my soap magazine! – but the binmen usually come at about 8 o’clock and, by early afternoon, there’d still been no sign of them.  However, they did turn up eventually.  Only the black (general waste) bins were emptied, though.  The brown (food and garden waste) ones weren’t.  Apparently they will be at some point, though – but other councils are suspending certain collections “for the duration”.  I keep using that phrase.  It sounds like something from the war.   My dental appointment for next week’s been cancelled, though: they’re only opening for emergencies.

I’m going to try to stick to my weekly routine as far as possible.  Washing on Wednesday and Friday.  Ironing Wed/Thurs and Fri/Sat.  Upstairs cleaning on Thursday morning.  Downstairs cleaning on Thursday evening and Friday morning.  I’m like Ma Ingalls 🙂 – everything on a particular day!   I usually go to Tesco and M&S on a Friday evening, and nip into the Sainsburys Local near work for top-up shopping, so that might change, but I’ll have to see how it goes.

One big change – and this is a welcome one! – will be going to the park for a long walk every day.  We’re supposed to sit by the computers (if they work) during normal office hours, but I need to get out, and we’re allowed out for exercise once a day and I’m not going at 1/4 past 5 in the evening.  I went today.  And I saw my uncle, which was great!   I suspect that I’m going to be seeing a lot of people I know.  It’s nice to have a proper “in person” chat, even if it is at a 6 ft distance, and it’s also nice to see that people are OK.

The Olympics have been postponed.  New date to be confirmed.  The year’s just falling apart.  No news on Wimbledon yet.

On a happier note, the BBC have made all 13 episodes of the new adaptation of Malory Towers available on iPlayer at once!  I’ve watched some already.  It’s really good.

 

Wednesday, March 25th

My cousin’s husband’s got the virus.  It sounds like it, anyway.  Thankfully he’s not too bad, but it’s obviously not good.

And Prince Charles has got it, as well!   Fairly mildly, thankfully.  Even future kings aren’t immune from the horrible thing.

Things are becoming a bit clearer now, and new things are being announced.  For example, MOT periods are being extended by 6 months.  Mum’s car’s due for an MOT soon, so at least that’s one problem fewer.

I went to Tesco this morning, for a “top-up shop”. You now have to clean your trolley handle with sanitiser, and stand behind a marked line at the checkout.

Then, hooray, IT support sorted the remote link out!  It’d been set up with the wrong password or something.  And, thankfully, it hasn’t done anything terrible to the wi-fi … although I dread to think how much electricity it’s all using.   So I’ve done some work.  I had Sky Sports News on – on the TV, not on the office computer!   They’re interviewing sports players, and it’s all a lot more cheerful than Sky News.  It’s now a “thing” to do keepy-uppy with a toilet roll – the Toilet Roll Challenge – and a lot of professional footballers have tried it!  So have my nephews.

Loving the Malory Towers adaptation!

Also loving being able to go for a long walk in the park every day.  I’ll go mad if it’s closed because of a few idiots breaking the rules: the police had to go in today, to break up a few large groups.  The weather’s absolutely glorious: it’s hard to believe that it’s only March.  I kind of like working from home as well, now that the link’s working.  No-one coughing, sneezing or bellowing down the phone on hand-free, and no queues for the kettle!  So there are some positives.  OK, not having to queue for the office kettle doesn’t exactly make up for not being able to see your family and friends, having no sport, not being able to go for days out and having to accept that your holidays will probably be cancelled, but I’m trying to be positive!

 

Thursday, March 26th

We lost over 100 people with coronavirus today.

Spain lost over 700 people with coronavirus yesterday.

The football season’s being abandoned at all levels below the National League North and South.

On a happier note, at 8pm today, everyone went out to clap for NHS staff and care workers.  I wasn’t sure whether or not people’d bother, but they did – there were loads of people at/outside their doors.  Amusingly, an Asda delivery van went round the street just as everyone was applauding, so it looked as if we were all applauding the driver – but, hey, delivery drivers deserve applauding as well!

And I met up – only briefly, and a 6ft distance!! – with Mum and Dad in the park today.  It wasn’t for long, but at least we were able to see each other in the flesh.  They seem fine, thankfully.  And the family Whatsapp groups are beeping all the time, so at least we’re all in touch.  People in general are being great – I’ve had people tagging me in Facebook posts about things they think might interest/amuse me.

One fly in the ointment is next door’s horrible dog.  They leave it out all the time, and it barks its very loud head off every time anyone goes past. That’s quite often at the moment.  Some people are having stuff delivered.  I had a parcel from DPD, who, unlike Amazon, won’t just leave it without a signature.  They can’t ask you to sign their little gadget things at the moment, so the guy took a photo of me holding the parcel!  Also, a lot of people are going past.  Lockdown has turned us into a nation of fitness fanatics!  People are out walking, jogging and cycling!  That’s great, but the bloody dog isn’t.  And, if I or the people on the other side are in our gardens, it lurks menacingly by the fence and barks its head off.  I’ve mentioned it before, but they don’t seem to care, but it’s different now we’re at home all the time.  I don’t want any unpleasantness, but I can’t be expected to put up with that all the time.  I might have to say something.

 

Friday, March 27th

I don’t believe this.  Boris has got the virus now.  So’s Matt Hancock!    And so has one of my second cousins.

Hopefully they’ll only have it mildly, but I’ve been really shocked and disgusted by a small number of vile people saying they hope Boris is really ill with it.  What sort of person wishes illness on another person?

On a more positive note, I went a different route in the park today, and I found this huge bank of daffodils!  I knew about the bank of daffodils by Heaton Hall, but I had no idea about this one, near the tramway (the historic tramway, not the Metrolink) station.  I always go to Chirk Castle, Biddulph Grange and the Lakes in daffodil season, and I don’t spend that much time walking around locally.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.  It’s so lovely in the park … especially as people can’t hang around in one place, so there aren’t barking dogs and screaming kids everywhere!   It’s actually lovely everywhere: I do not miss the traffic noise.  Traffic stresses me out: it makes me feel trapped.  So does being in the office.  I do not miss either of them.

You can hear the birds tweeting.  Birds don’t have to observe social distancing!  And there suddenly seem to be a lot of butterflies around.  It really is gorgeous.  I don’t understand why so many people seem glued to their phones all the time they’re out.  You’re only allowed out to exercise once a day – can’t checking your phone wait till later?!

On a less positive note, you now have to queue to go into Tesco, because they’re only letting so many people in at once.  Well, it’s good that they’re being careful, just a bit of a pain.  Still, it’s not as stressful when you aren’t trapped by working hours and looking frantically at your watch every two seconds if you go in the morning, or tired and fed up by the time you get there in the evening.

I went this morning.  They had most stuff, but no milk, for some reason.   None at all. What’s that about?!  When I came out, I couldn’t go into M&S immediately because they’re now only letting NHS staff and carers in between 8 and 9 (Tesco, M&S and other supermarkets are now reserving certain times for NHS staff, and certain other times for elderly/vulnerable people) so I tried FarmFoods and a smaller shop, and they did have milk but no skimmed milk.  Thankfully, M&S had skimmed milk!  And at least the toilet roll shortage is over!

 

 

Saturday, March 28th

259 deaths today.  259.  I keep telling myself that we won’t go the same way as Italy and Spain, but … we keep hearing about “flattening the curve” and “trajectories”, but at the moment it’s just going up and up.

I’ve lost some weight, anyway!  The walks are doing me good.  And I don’t seem to comfort eat or binge eat as much when I’m away from the office environment.   I always have a jam and cream scone at the weekend, at whichever National Trust house or other place I’m at, so I had one in the garden today, by the daffodils!   20 people “liked” the picture on Facebook 🙂 .

Watched the last episode of Malory Towers.  I’ve got loads of other stuff to watch, though, and loads of books to read.  So there was plenty to do today, as well as going to the park.  And I even cleaned the wheelie bins!!

I also put a note through next door’s letterbox about the bloody dog.  Enough is enough.  I’m pleased to say that they’ve been keeping it quiet ever since.

 

Sunday, March 29th

Fed up of annoying people whingeing about the government, mostly just trying to score political points.  This is on social media: Opposition politicians are being pretty supportive, so far.  Trying to ignore the whingeing, but it really is annoying, and some of it’s really quite spiteful.

My cousin’s husband’s doing much better now.

Put a load of photos in albums today, and had another nice walk in the park.  I saw two mounted police looking for miscreants.   Fair enough, but I wish they wouldn’t leave a trail of horse poo all over the place!

And so endeth our first week in lockdown.  How many more will there be?