The social isolation diaries — Week 1
My granny was a hoarder. When she moved down to Hampshire from Lancashire 11 years ago the removal company said they had never moved so much stuff for a single person in all their years of business. When it arrived the boxes had to be stored in the garage and the shed until my parents could get them all unpacked there was so much of it. In her defence she had lived through the war, having very little money when she was a single parent bringing up my mum, and lived in fear of being housebound for weeks on end if anything happened to her dodgy hips. She liked to think that she could feed herself for months on end without having to do go out and the fact my mum and I were both under an hour away in the past ten years did nothing to kerb her love of a tin or a special offer in Sainsburys.
When my granny passed away last year we found tins stored in the garage that must have been there for years. Enough cleaning products to give Mrs Hinch a run for her money and for some inexplicable reason five unused shopping trolleys.
And it would seem I have inherited that hoarding gene too and so our usual store of loo rolls comfortably gives us at least ten each before needing to shop again (in my defence it is because they are sold in packs of 24 in the cash can carry and they generally do a BOGOF on them for a tenner. Soft they are not, but they are plentiful and as it transpires, beggars cant be choosers).
So as the Coronavirus story has unfolded I haven’t been too concerned about a lack of loo roll or pasta because I am my granny’s grand daughter and we have a stash of both. I am also married to a man who was convinced that post Brexit food supplies would dwindle and so we panic bought pallets of tuna, long life milk and pitta bread (again from the cash and carry, we were mindful to never buy more than we needed from supermarkets). I have also been working at home for the past few years and have been relative isolated with a small but perfectly formed group of friends so it feels like I have been training for this event for years.
I have been able to focus on the good that has been unfolding online and keep my spirits buoyed by generosity of others. Hotel Football in Manchester for instance giving over all its rooms to NHS workers; people rallying round in Facebook groups to find supplies for people who need something; Rod Biddulph a children’s author teaching people how to draw with a different subject each day at 10am; Joe Wicks doing a PE lesson at 10am from Monday morning. The list is endless.
It did make me laugh seeing people sharing stories of what their “co-worker” (read child or pet) is doing now they are all working from home. Such gems as
My co-worker is currently lying on the floor screaming because I cut their apple the wrong way
My co-worker refuses to shut the door when she goes to the loo
My co-worker fell asleep in my cleavage
These are the stories that are going to keep all our spirits high over the coming weeks so I want to make sure I remember them. I also want to remember the things I am grateful for every week too. I am grateful that we live in a house large enough that we can all still have some space. Space to work at our own desks and to find some personal space for half an hour with a book. I am grateful for the garden. And whilst it might look a bit of a mess at the moment we can sort that out, the dog can go out into it and we can enjoy being outside without having to venture too far from home. I am also grateful for wifi. I cannot imagine how we would be coping right now without it. Without the ability to be able to work from home, order groceries (or at least try), stay in touch and be entertained by old box sets. Thanks Tim Berners-Lee!