Social Isolation diaries week 2
I cried over chicken breasts this week. I found three packets of two in M&S and literally cried. Seems as people started to realise that lockdown might become an actual thing panic buying is now a reality. Not just for Christmas and incoming snow, but for the entire population on a weekly basis. Fresh food of all types are now up there with loo rolls and pasta on the impossible to find list. Never before have we walked into a supermarket to find it decimated.
Looking back on this week it feels like so much has happened, it is hard to believe that it is only a month since the first UK citizen died from Coronavirus. Just four weeks and how our lives have now changed. Schools were closed on Friday (though many had already pulled their children out) and the news finally came when Boris Johnson addressed the nation on March 23rd that we are no longer to go out unless it was for essential supplies like food or medicine. 27 million people watched as he outlined the rules we must all now live by, and how we are now only allowed out for exercise once a day and all non essential shops would be shutting. Some shops tried to deem themselves essential and there was much chatter on line about the meanness of bosses insisting their staff work when it was neither essential nor safe to do so.
Furlough entered the conversation. Previously a word we thought was only used in the US it is now something that every family is discussing and wondering if it will affect them. Our days now stop at 5pm as we all sit down in front of the TV for the daily Downing Street updates from various ministers telling us what will happen to the employed, the self employed and the NHS. By the end of the week journalists were asking their questions of the Ministers via video link, and we even got to see ITV’s Peston exclaiming “oh shit” as he realised it was his turn and he wasn’t ready.
By the end of the week we learned that both the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer had all tested positive too. The numbers who have died from the disease make for grim reading, we passed the 1000 mark at the same time we heard the peak won’t be until late April and various exhibition centres are being turned into field hospitals.
On a personal level I have tried to focus on the positives through all of this. The blossom on the trees, the blue sky (despite it being -1 some mornings) and the fact we have a relatively well stocked larder and fridge. Getting an online delivery slot with a supermarket has been nigh on impossible and I was thankful I had thought to book one earlier in the month for collection this week. Shame I got the day wrong though and went on Thursday instead of Friday, something that left me wondering if I would be questioned on where I was going and if our neighbours would report me for leaving the house twice in as many days.
We have also found ourselves being entertained in different ways too, with a definite spirt of “if you can’t come to us, we will come to you”. Chester Zoo have treated us to a day at the zoo and via video link have shown us various animals being fed, the National Theatre is living streaming popular plays every Thursday (available for a week on YouTube) and the Guardian published a list of 10 art galleries and museums around the world you can visit from your sofa. Joe Wicks has also declared himself the nation’s PE teacher and is doing a daily exercise class, the YouTube ad revenue proceeds then being donated to the NHS.
There has been an explosion of local businesses doing what they can to help, restaurants forced to close are sending their food to food banks, butchers that used to supply the restaurant trade are now selling to the public who can’t get to a supermarket and our local greengrocers is delivering. I truly hope that when all this is over we remember these shops and companies and continue to give them our business.
Our local Facebook groups have been awash with people offering to help out, we even had a note through our door from people offering to help with shopping if we needed it. I signed up to be an NHS volunteer as soon as I heard Matt Hancock ask people to do so if they could (they needed 250,000 and within 72 hours over 700,000 had done so) and once the vetting process has been completed will be able to help deliver things between hospitals and visit pharmacies for those that can’t do it themselves
I even found myself waving to a lady a few doors down who missed waving to school children every day and whose daughter had posted in our Facebook group asking if anybody could should they be passing by. Rather than driving to Sainsburys on Saturday morning I walked just so I could wave and also so I could make the most of my permitted outdoor exercise. We have lived here for 15 years and I have no idea who our neighbours are yet there we all were on the pavement on Thursday night as we clapped to show our appreciation of the NHS.
We even took part in a virtual pub quiz this week, along with 170,000 other people (can you believe the previous World Record for participants was 1600?) and on Friday night held a drinks party across five houses using Zoom.
These positive things have gone some way to alleviating the sadness of having to cancel so many events over the coming months, and of now trying to get through to various companies to reclaim airport parking, theatre tickets, flights and more. We had to postpone Caity’s baby shower this week, something we were all so looking forward to and have vowed that we will now do it later in the year with the baby being the star of the show
So that’s the end of our second week of isolation (you can click here to read the isolation diaries week one Diary,
See you next week!