The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 11

Thursday Thank Yous

Nice to get out onto our doorsteps again at 8pm this evening to clap and cheer the NHS, and all the other fantastic keyworkers keeping the country going at this strange and scary time. It was a bit strange on my street; I didn’t see as many people as last week but it was definitely louder with even the odd firework let off.

Maybe then, this will become a weekly occurrence during lockdown. A way to boost the community spirit and get out and see each other, if only from a distance, to remind ourselves that we’re all in this together.

And, after receiving news today that my job is being furloughed as from tomorrow, I imagine I’ll enjoy getting out and interacting once a week, if only from my doorstep.

I’ve actually taken the news better than I thought I would. I think I knew on Tuesday that this was coming when the live lectures stopped so did my crying and getting upset then. Today I’m actually okay with it – feels like the 6-week summer holidays for grown-ups! I’ll still be getting paid most of my wages under the scheme and don’t have to work. It could be worse!

Given that the kids would be breaking for Easter as from tomorrow as well, I even get 2 weeks off homeschooling. I’m already planning what I can do with all this unexpected free time, whip the guitar out and take that up again, knitting and crocheting, finish off some decorating I’ve started, wash the cars.

The best laid plans…

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 10

Wimbledon 2020 Cancelled

The daily death toll figure reaches its highest yet – 563 in the last 24 hours or so, according to Sky News. One of those being a young boy of just 13 years old with no known underlying health conditions.

These sad and sobering facts and statistics remind me of studying the Great Plague of 1665 at school and learning about those employed to push a cart around the streets of London crying, “Bring out your dead”. Most of us probably know that phrase better now from Monty Python of course. Maybe a very British humour, a gallows humour, is just what is called for at a time like this.

Wimbledon is the latest sporting event to be hit by the pandemic. It has now been cancelled this year for the first time since World War Two. This I’m sure hasn’t been all that surprising for most of us on the back of Tokyo 2020 being postponed last week. There simply wasn’t room in the tennis calendar to postpone Wimbledon as well as all the other tennis tournaments already vying for a space.

Some might wonder why bother to write a daily journal on such a sad time. Assuming that I do get out of this alive myself, I think it’s going to serve me well to look back at a time when our usual lives were thrown into chaos and nothing could be taken for granted. It’s a reality check for my future self. For me in the present, it’s also a good space to get my thoughts, fears and anxieties out, instead of bottling them all up.

In better news, not had a wobble yet today! I think yesterday was just my way of dealing with the shock of the last few days and reality setting in. Now I’m starting to realise the horror of the situation we find ourselves in, not just the virus, but its reach and affect on all of our lives, hopefully I can come to terms with it and make the best of a bad job.

After all, isn’t that too part of the British way? To “keep calm and carry on”, no matter what the situation.

I’m pretty sure that popping the kettle on and having a nice cup of tea is also the patriotic thing to do if you’re British at a time like this so I’m off for another cuppa!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 9

Not Okay

For those of you familiar with the music of My Chemical Romance, it will perhaps be telling that tonight I find myself comforted by listening to their back catalogue. In the words of one of their better known songs, “I’m Not Okay!”

Today has been the hardest so far with some of our services at work having to be reduced. I shouldn’t complain. I’m getting paid full wages for doing less work in that live remote lectures are being suspended for the foreseeable future on the basis that exams have been postponed. I don’t know why this upsets me so much. Maybe it’s because up until now I’ve been able to pretend that it’s business as usual.

My heart goes out to everyone who cannot do their job at all because of the nightmare that is Coronavirus. My 18 year old works at McDonalds and hasn’t been able to work for over a week now but I haven’t once seen her cry. But tonight here I am, twice her age and crying like a baby because the fortnightly live remote lectures with my students are cancelled. I am clearly not coping with this situation as well as I thought I was!

I’m trying to find the positives – I feel more tuned in and connected to the collective tonight than I have in a long time. On a personal level, I will have time to mark more coursework than I would otherwise have had. And, both me and all those that I love and care about are safe and well. I’m almost angry at myself for being upset over a work issue which, in the grand scheme of things, is something and nothing.

I always say that I’m not religious as I do not follow just one faith, but I am spiritual in that I do have faith that things happen for reasons that I do not always understand, but that always seem to somehow work out for the best. As heartbroken, sad and afraid as I feel tonight, I know that these feelings will pass and all will be well again. I guess I wouldn’t be human if this situation didn’t affect me at all from time to time:

โ€œBran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’

‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.โ€

George R R Martin, A Game of Thrones

In that case, I guess at least I’m brave tonight then because I am quite terrified in this evening’s mini-meltdown!

I’m sure that I’m not alone. Everyone, all over the world, regardless of nationality, colour, sexual orientation, faith, gender or class, is going to be affected by Covid-19. It is, if nothing else, non-discriminatory in its reach.

But we are brave, even in the face of fear and frightening statistics and realities.

I’ve had a wobble tonight but I know I’ll be fine tomorrow. I guess I wrote this in case anyone else is feeling the same to let them know that they aren’t alone.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay sane – we got this ๐Ÿ™‚

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 8

Back to School

Monday morning here in the UK, being the start of the working week, saw many of us returning to work – remotely. For kids, it was back to the homeschooling started last week. For keyworkers, back to saving the world. For everyone, it’s trying to carry on as normally as possible as we start Week 2 of Lockdown.

In the news today, there is a glimmer of hope that the number of deaths in England, although high, have been relatively stable over the weekend, so at least they haven’t continued climbing for a few days. Can’t count our chickens too soon but maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that things may not be as apocalyptic as feared. Maybe some of the measures enforced are beginning to work.

It will no doubt be one step forward, two steps back though for some time to come so I don’t want to give anyone false hope. But hope itself can be a powerful thing:

โ€œThe world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.โ€

 J R R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

When I first read The Fellowship of the Ring, I highly doubt that I truly appreciated the significance of that particular statement, but its relevance to our current circumstances is remarkable.

The world is, and always has been, full of danger; it’s just that now it seems more dangerous than we have, perhaps, become accustomed to. The challenge is to find that which is fair in it – even when it seems surrounded by the darkness. For in that is Hope.

Doesn’t Hope become more “precious” in times such as these? What can you find in today to be “my precious”?

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 7

Lockdown: The First Week

Has it really only been a week since Lockdown started? It feels twice that. I’ve not seen the news much today but, when I have, I was pretty surprised actually to see that the Prime Minister has written to every household in the UK, apparently indicating that tougher lockdown restrictions may soon have to be introduced.

A letter from the Prime Minister to every household? Probably not unheard of ever but almost certainly a rare occurrence.

Tougher lockdown in other countries has meant people in some places not being allowed out at all, heftier fines and an increased military presence. Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of time before these tighter restrictions have to be introduced here too.

And no sign of Lockdown lifting anytime soon either it seems, with even the most optimistic estimates suggesting that they’ll last throughout May at least.

In case you’re running out of things to do, I’ve added a couple of videos to our YouTube channel under the playlist, Learn to Read Tarot Series. Even if you’re not thinking of learning to become a reader yourself, you might find it interesting to check the series out as there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what tarot cards are and how they work. And who knows, you might discover a new hobby:

Want to Learn More About Tarot Cards?

With 78 cards to get through, it should keep us going for a while!

And don’t worry if you don’t have a tarot deck of your own. Why not make one? Get a piece of paper and a pair of scissors and cut 78 “cards” out. For now, just write the names of each of the cards on each of the cards you’ve cut out. The first 22 cards will be your Major Arcana, as follows:

  • 0 – The Fool
  • 1 – The Magician
  • 2 – The High Priestess
  • 3 – The Empress
  • 4 – The Emperor
  • 5 – The Hierophant
  • 6 – The Lovers
  • 7 – The Chariot
  • 8 – Strength
  • 9 – The Hermit
  • 10 – Wheel of Fortune
  • 11 – Justice
  • 12 – The Hanged Man
  • 13 – Death
  • 14 – Temperance
  • 15 – The Devil
  • 16 – The Tower
  • 17 – The Star
  • 18 – The Moon
  • 19 – The Sun
  • 20 – Judgement
  • 21 – The World

The rest of the cards are divided into 4 suits of 10 cards numbered one through 10 plus 4 Court cards in each suit, Page, Knight, Queen and King. The suits are:

  • Wands
  • Pentacles
  • Swords
  • Cups

You won’t really be able to shuffle in the traditional sense but you can “stir” the cards round and round, face-down and select your cards that way. And now you’re all set to learn how to read tarot!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 6

First Weekend under Lockdown

Truthfully, today’s been like pretty much any other Saturday for me as I love nothing more than pottering about the house and garden on my days off, enjoying the peace and quiet in my own little kingdom where (mostly!) I am the boss.

I imagine it will have been much harder for those who like to maybe hit the shops at the weekend, catch up with friends, maybe watch a football match and have a few cheeky ones down the pub. Or for those that would normally be at work on a Saturday or visiting family.

This could be a real opportunity for us all to find different ways of entertaining ourselves, indoors for a change, if we’re not used to doing it. So far today I’ve cleaned out the garage, watched the live-action Lady and the Tramp Disney film, played a board game, played a bit of PS4, had a few rounds of German and Spanish on Duolingo and knocked out a blog post. Maybe time to just chill in bed for a bit and watch the Netflix documentary series everyone’s talking about, Tiger King.

I’m actually feeling really grateful today that, even in the middle of a global historic event, the like of which I don’t think I’ve seen before in my lifetime, it is still possible to have a normal, relatively uneventful day. Yes, there is still this awful virus sweeping the world, harming and even killing those it comes into contact with and sadly, it’s likely to still do so for some time yet. We cannot change that – other than by following government orders in an effort to minimise its reach.

For now, I’m happy to take the quiet, uneventful days where I can as it’s in doing so that I hope to have the strength to face the harder days that I’m sure are to come, if and when this disease affects me and those I care about on a personal level.

Now, if only I can remember how much I’ve enjoyed this family time today the next time they are all driving me mad!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 5

Coronavirus Infiltrates Downing Street

Breaking news today was that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, have both tested positive for Covid-19 after displaying symptoms of the illness, with England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, also said to be symptomatic. Probably not a great sign for the rest of us then.

On a personal level though, today was a far better day with it being results day for the further education law students I teach across A-Level and Degree Level qualifications, all achieving a 100% pass rate and a good portion of those actually obtaining distinctions. Proud tutor moment!!

Today was the first day of the year when I actually took my yoga practice outdoors into the back garden to make the most of the glorious sunshine. Feeling the warm sun whilst listening to birds singing makes it such a different experience to indoor yoga that I’d quite forgotten how much I’d missed it through the colder months.

Finished knitting the Easter Bunny for my eldest, Chloe all ready to make another one for Mia tomorrow.

My husband, Lee, went and did the weekly shop and had to do the whole queuing outside and being restricted to a certain number of items once inside. Nothing over the top mind – it just seems having chicken nuggets and chicken burgers is frowned upon currently! All in a good cause so I’m sure we’ll make it through the week without the burgers!

The lockdown restrictions are now noticeably being enforced with someone Lee works with having a family member fined for being outside inappropriately. Hopefully, the message starts to get through but I don’t know. Unbelievably people are still having BBQs on Winter Hill in Bolton, leading to a fire up there today, which our already overstretched emergency services had to then deal with. I’m almost praying for a change in the weather just to keep the selfish ones in.

We’ve big plans for tomorrow – clearing out the garage! To be honest, one of the real positives of this situation is that it’s forcing us to crack on with jobs we’d normally procrastinate about just to stave off the boredom. I’m a real homebody anyway with too many hobbies to fit into one day as it is, but I think Lee and the kids are already starting to climb the walls.

Myself, I’m quite ready for the Rise of the Introverts…

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 4

Clapping for our Carers

Yesterday I said that I hoped today would be quieter and it was. When I went for a walk this evening after finishing work, it was eerily quiet. I don’t know if it was just because I didn’t take the dog with me tonight (who, frankly, is starting to look as though she’s been walked within an inch of her life), so it was just me and my thoughts, or it genuinely was quieter than it has been the last few days.

As I started my walk, I saw a police car doing the rounds which isn’t that common a sight where I live. And even though it was my one and only time out of the house all day, I felt nervous and guilty to be out – especially without the dog. Whenever I did see anyone else out getting their daily dose of exercise, we were crossing the road to keep our distance. I even saw a delivery driver dropping off food at someone’s house, gloved up, mask on. It all made me feel incredibly sad. This lockdown thing suddenly feels real.

But there were positives in my day too. On my walk, so many children (ours included), have painted or drawn rainbows and put them in their windows as a symbol of hope. Then, just now, as part of the Clap for our Carers Campaign for our fantastic NHS workers, looking after so many of us now in our hour of need despite the significant risk to themselves, all my neighbours, me and my girls, everyone up and down the country on our doorsteps or at our windows/balconies, to say a heartfelt thank you and to stand in solidarity with them as they work tirelessly to pull us through this crisis.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/26/thank-nhs-tonights-clap-carers/

So whilst the novelty of lockdown wears off and the serious reality of the situation begins to dawn on me, I do feel very emotional this evening. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by this feeling so as I type I’m listening to Disney songs and planning on knitting a bunny – it is almost Easter after all.

If Disney’s finest and bunnies can’t cheer me up, maybe there is no hope!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 3

On Lockdown – with a Mouse!

If I thought Day 2 started strangely with a text message from the Government, Day 3 of Lockdown was about to knock my socks off. One minute I was sat chatting away to my 8-year old daughter, the next minute she was screaming “Mouse, mouse!!” as we both screamed and jumped on the couch – talk about a wake-up call.

Luckily, later on when we checked some traps we had put down when we thought we might have a little visitor a few weeks ago, there it was, large as life, ready for the husband to be a hero and release it safely into the wild. I’m still not 100% comfortable being sat in the living room on my own – just in case it had a friend!

The good run of weather has continued so after getting the usual times tables, Education City app, reading and spellings out of the way, the kids were more than happy to sunbathe in the garden. Time for a science lesson – I know they’ve been studying vertebrates and invertebrates so we made a list and they poked about the garden together looking for different bugs. It was on the list of things to do sent home by the school so she can build on this topic tomorrow by drawing and labelling a poster about her findings. Still learning but keeping it fun.

After school, a couple of parents had come up with the idea of a video call between the children in Year 3, using Zoom. It was actually really nice to hear how excited they were just to touch base with each other again. For the first 5 minutes or so all you could hear was them shouting “Hi!” to each other ๐Ÿ™‚

Then, finished work to find out that the Prince of Wales has been diagnosed with Coronavirus – this thing really could alter the course of history now the heir to the throne is infected. Crazy times.

So what with mice, plagues and historical moments all happening at once, today had something of a biblical feel to it to say the least.

I’m looking forward to a quieter day tomorrow…!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 2

Limited Trips Out Only

The irony is not lost on many of us for a second, I would guess – the warmest day of the year so far here in the UK, with the toughest restrictions yet on our ability to leave our homes.

It is all in the best cause though so we will all just have to man-up, grin and bear it.

Today has been much the same as yesterday but rather than taking the dog for a walk before and after “home-school”, me and the youngest took her out this morning, with my eldest out with her now, following carefully the latest government guidance/instructions.

Similar home-school programme to yesterday too, more times tables, reading, maths and adding to our rocks and minerals topic before revisiting our spellings and rounding the school day off with some PE (aka skipping and running about the back garden whilst mummy conducted a remote assessment with a student over the phone!).

Today was easier on the home-school front as we had a bit more of a routine.

On the other hand, come lunchtime the last few days, I’ve had a blinding headache so I think it’s going to be a case of being careful not to try to do too much each day. We’re not teachers; just parents trying our best to keep our kids safe and occupied whilst minimising the ongoing effect on our children of this whole sorry situation. I always start the day with a bit of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, even before all this, (which is something I highly recommend for anyone interested https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene) so maybe tomorrow I mix things up a bit by swapping my morning walk for an evening one to better spread my active time throughout the day.

So overall, Day 2 of Covid-19 lockdown was a bit of a non-event for us – the day did start slightly strangely though, with a text message from the government(!), which I’m fairly certain is a first here, setting out the new rules. It would all feel very 1984 if I didn’t agree with it all so strongly. Maybe if the UK creates its very own Room 101, we’ll have folk less inclined to flout these very necessary rules without good cause. I always thought I’d be more like Winston or Julia to be honest, but with the daily death toll steadily rising, I feel no shame in following the government’s advice.

More of the same for Day 3 planned but, at this point, I’m not sure there’s much point in planning anything! Let’s see what tomorrow brings…