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.