The social isolation diaries — week 3
I have now got to the point where the days all roll into one and I am struggling to really know what day of the week it is. There’s a meme going round about how those pants we all had as kids that have the days of the week printed on them would be really useful right now. They are not wrong.
This week saw the heartbreaking news that over 4000 people have now died from Coronavirus, the youngest just five years old. Strict rules on hospital visiting now also mean that people who are suffering from the disease must do so alone on wards, they are not permitted visitors. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering of all the families who have lost loved ones in the past few weeks. Nor the mental anguish that will follow in the weeks to come.
There is going to be an enormous mental health crisis in this country in the months to come. Along with a huge spike in instances of domestic abuse (some studies suggest that there has already been a 30% increase in cases). If you do happen to have a spare few pounds then maybe you could consider donating to Refuge who help women fleeing domestic abuse. They have some “emergency parcels” on their website that would really go a long way to helping women and their children right now.
Yet despite all the warnings in the media people still think this is a massive bank holiday and are gathering for picnics in the park. For barbecues on the beach. Birthday parties in the back garden. One person even decided that the tape saying “do not cross” on an outside gym in a park didn’t apply to him and after he was caught doing pull ups the council arrived to dismantle it all so he, and others, couldn’t do it again. I really don’t understand what goes through people’s heads sometimes.
It all continues to feel surreal though. As I sit at my desk and look at the hedge and the sky above, it feels like nothing has really changed. The view is the same and my day to day life now just involves thinking more about food than before, and having to properly plan a week in advance what it is we will be eating in the next seven days. It is only when I turn on the news that I reminded of what is going on outside, or when I venture out. Above is a photo I took when I went shopping this week, it is outside our local train station (where you can’t get a parking space after 7.30am on a normal day). All the spaces on the left are ones that people pay for annually, not one being used at midday on Wednesday, and the only cars that were parked were two hopeful taxis. A stark reminder of how people are taking seriously the instruction to stay at home.
As I said, I did venture out in the car this week as we had run out of fresh stuff again and getting online delivery slots is nigh on impossible as they are, rightly, being reserved in the most part for the vulnerable. A very cheerful chap was wiping trolleys as people took them out of the ranks, and with a smile wishing people a happy day. I wanted to give him a hug to say thank you for coming into work and doing his best to keep us all safe.
Never have I been more terrified of shopping than on that visit this week. Shopping is usually something I enjoy but half way around the shop I felt like I was beginning to have a panic attack. The shop felt like it was far too busy, despite the theory they were limiting the number in the store. I was leant over to get to an item in a fridge and people seemed to think that brushing past because we were all wearing coats was in some way acceptable. I am not ashamed to say I sat in the car and cried after I got out. The enormity of all of this has really started to sink in and its only the end of week two.
And so I leave with you some positives, as those are what I need to focus on more than anything else, and maybe you can enjoy them too:
Zane Powles is a deputy head from Grimsby who packs up lunches for families (made by the Head in the school kitchen every day) and walks 5 miles a day delivering them. He says without them many of the families would struggle to give the children lunch and so this is his way of helping.
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged art fans to post photos of themselves recreating their favorite works of art from the safety of their homes. I urge you to click on the link and see them for yourself, they really will make you smile.
And finally here is a tweet I shared this week, of what a teacher in Holland has done:
These are the stories we need to be remembering, right?
Do let me know if you come across anything similar that I can share next week.
If you want to read the other diaries I have written, then do click below: