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?