When the news started coming out of China in December and January about a new virus I was very dismissive. It was thousands of miles away, in a city I had never heard of. It was a media storm in a tea cup trying to distract us. As it spread and got closer I was still dismissive. It was just a type of flu, most people won’t even know if they have it, it was nowt to get hett up about.  My boss got increasingly worried and I told her not to, that it was all being blown out of proportion. How wrong was I!  In fairness to myself (because if I can’t be fair to myself, who will be?) I don’t have access to the scientific and medical advice and not in charge of making any decisions. I’m barely in charge of my own bodily functions.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started to take Coronavirus aka Covid 19 seriously. It may have been when Italy lockdown. It may have been when the politicians started to say that there was nothing to worry about and it was just like the flu, I’m always suspicious when told not to worry. It may have been when we got a phone call from a relative telling us stories of what was happening in the hospital they worked in. All I know was I got very concerned and scared very quickly. I was desperate to go into lockdown.

Three weeks of lockdown turned into six weeks of lockdown turned in to 12 weeks of lockdown turned into probably not much longer. I consider myself to have won the lockdown lottery as I’ve not been too badly affected and I’m so very grateful for that. So this is how lockdown has been going for me…

Good Stuff

I have been very lucky so far, me and most my family and friends have not had Covid 19. I know of one family member who had the antibody test and found out they had had it, and one friend who we believe has had it. Neither required hospital treatment for it and both have fully recovered. I’m keeping everything crossed that no one else I know gets it; from all accounts it’s not very nice even if you get a mild dose.

I am also very lucky to have a garden, I cannot imagine how those without outside space are coping being cooped up. There have been some very warm and sunny days throughout lockdown and it has made a world of difference being able to sit in the sun, rather than just being inside. When I can spend the day out in the garden my mood is so much brighter. A glass or two of wine in the sun helps too!

I have discovered Tiktok! (although not dared to do any of my own videos… yet).

Another, huge, positive is being locked down with my wonderful husband (can you tell we’re still in the honeymoon period?). Lockdown has spurred him on to do a bit of DIY and decorating, he’s very handy like that. It was well overdue a refresh… I say refresh because I’ve made him paint it the same colour it was. Why change the colour when I still love it? The husband is also a very good cook, so he has been in his element making some delicious meals. He is constantly feeding me; every evening is like that Monty Python sketch in the restaurant – him being John Cleese’s waiter and me being Terry Jones’ diner, except I don’t blow up. We’ve kept up with date night most Saturday’s. I will be leaving lockdown substantially heavier that when I went in.

While we are on about food, we have taken advantage of our favourite restaurants doing takeaway quite a few times. This means we not only feast on our favourite foods, but I also get to feel smug about supporting local businesses, especially during a time of crisis. Yes I am one of those irritatingly smug people who go on about the virtues of supporting local and/or small businesses and have continued to buy things I’ve needed to (and a few things I didn’t really need but couldn’t resist), via the internet, from small businesses where I can during lockdown.

One of the most positive things that happened to me during lockdown has been work. A few weeks into lockdown my boss put me forward to be part of a team to provide a shopping service for vulnerable people. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I had only been in a supermarket once since lockdown, I’d left the food shopping to the husband as I was not comfortable with being in shops or the long queues. Also, while I love food shopping, when I shop for myself I always go to the smaller supermarkets. I don’t like the big supermarkets, there’s too much choice and too much hassle. But when you’re getting shopping for other people there’s more of a chance of getting what’s on their list at the big supermarkets. I soon got over my apprehension and I absolutely love providing this service. At risk of sounding like a Blur song, it helps my wellbeing enormously, giving me a sense that I am doing something worthwhile and making a real contribution to the community. On days when I’m too busy in my day job to help out with the shopping, especially when I haven’t been able to get out the house and been sat in all day working from home, it really lowers my mood and I feel a guilty. The shopping service has really been a big bonus to me in the lockdown.

Bad Stuff

I’ll start off with the frivolous…

We were planning a couple of holidays this year,  one for the husband’s birthday, and then also our dream summer holiday, finally going to a place that I have wanted to go to for decades. Luckily we held off from booking to see what would happen with the coronavirus. But while I know that we can go away another year, and we’ve not lost any money, it’s still a disappointment. I’m so annoyed not to get any holiday sun! I’ve got everything crossed that we get there next year.

Although the weather had been glorious on and off throughout lockdown it just so happened that the glorious weather was off the one week I had annual leave, the week we should have been going away for the husbands birthday. Leading up to annual leave I had envisaged us making the best out of a bad job by sitting in the garden sunbathing and drinking like we would have been on the beach. It was going to be wonderful; we weren’t going to even remember that we were supposed to be away. And the first day was, we had one hot day and I got tipsy living my best lockdown life and then the weather took a turn for the worst. The bad weather meant we were stuck in the house with nothing on TV. Oh yes, I forgot to mention my disappointment with TV. While I expected the TV channels to put on loads of films and re-run outstanding dramas, they haven’t. TV has been poor. We’ve even spent hours watching the must see TV series and were disappointed with that, very much the emperor’s new clothes syndrome.

I’ve been scorched by shopping too. I’m not a fan of internet shopping, I like to see and feel what I’m buying in a shop and I don’t like paying for delivery or the faff of sending things back. Internet shopping is my last resort. However, just before lockdown I had ordered a dress and skirt online. I was going to a party and hadn’t seen anything I’d liked in the shops. I’d spent twice as much as I would normally on them, but loved the shape, pattern, and colours so splashed out. When they came, a few days before lockdown, I absolutely loved the shape of them both and the patterns were gorgeous. However, the quality of the material was terrible for the price. If I’d seen the items in the shop for a quarter of what they were charging I would have thought it was too much and not bought them. Like I said, I don’t like faffing on sending things back and as we went into lockdown it was going to be even chewier. So I’ve ended up keeping them, with the view that two out of three positives isn’t bad. I’ve worn them on our date nights and they look lovely on the photos…

I miss restaurants so much. No matter how good the home cooked food it, it doesn’t replace the atmosphere of being in a restaurant. And I miss going to a gig to see live music. And I miss the cinema.

Then theirs exercise. Or the lack of it. My main source of exercise – in fact my only exercise – is walking. In the summer I walk to work most days and I have a weekly walk with my bezzies. Seen as I can’t go in to work or see my bezzies both of those have gone out the window. After my initial reluctance, I took up the governments sanctioned daily walk offer and I’d go for several walks a week with the husband. But that has gone by the wayside. We’re both busy with work and can’t be bothered to walk afterwards. I’m now down to one walk a week which does not, in any way shape or form, compensate on the increase in my food intake.

But that’s only the frivolous stuff, the stuff I know isn’t important in the long run. The stuff that is annoying but I will get over, I have gotten over. Things could be so much worse. I keep telling myself this when I have one of my moment. Moments when I get scared, or angry, or just overwhelmed.

I get scared that someone in my friends and family circle might get it. I’m told that “we’re made of hardy stuff” and if we do get it we’ll shrug it off. It doesn’t help, as I’ve heard of cases where the person was hardy, had no underlying conditions, were young, and they ended up in hospital with it, or worse. And even if you don’t end up in hospital it’s still meant to be pretty nasty. For the first four days of lockdown I did not go out, not even for my government sanctioned walk, and when I did I didn’t much like it.

Then I have days were everything about the whole situation gets me so angry: people not taking it seriously and not following the rules; people defending the indefensible; the horrific news stories coming out daily. I know I should let it go, and usually do. I stopped watching the news quite early on because it was getting to me, and come away from social media when it’s getting to me too much. But some days I just can’t help being angry.

The overwhelming feelings can last moments or last days. Anything can reduce me to tears, people talking on the radio about losing their loved ones, that New York Times front page listing the names, ages, locations, and a personal detail of people who had died, when BBC Radio 2 plays Tomorrow by Marisha Wallace. Some days it can even just be thinking about the tasks I’ve got to do at work, or what we’ll have to do in the upcoming year at work. It’ll feel like it’s a huge mountain in front of me to climb, I can’t see how to get up and over it, and I just want to turn away and run. I obviously don’t, I just whinge to my colleagues for a while and get back to normal. Actually that’s not much difference than before Corona…  I don’t know when I’ll start feeling overwhelmed or what will trigger it and most days I’ll be absolutely fine. Every now and again, though, everything seems too sad.

I’m one of the lucky ones that haven’t been affected by Covid 19 and the whole lockdown, so if it is affecting me like this I can only imagine and feel for the ones who have had a harder time.

I don’t think working from home is as wonderful as those who already work from home were glorifying it to be either. My works have always had the option for people to work from home on occasion but I’ve never thought it was for me. When I lived alone going to work was a lifeline, being around people and stopping me from getting as lonely as I could have done. During this period of enforced working from home I have missed my work colleagues and the conversations, both about work and bouncing ideas off each other and general chit chat. I miss my work family. Video conferencing, emails and messages are not the same.  It may work for some people, but not for me. Although I’m not rushing back to work in the office just yet.

Video chats and messaging don’t make up for seeing family and friends, who I’m used to seeing on a regular basis. Although I’ve been in touch with a couple of friends via house party more than I would have usually seen them as they live so far away. I’ve seen most friends/family a few times during lockdown at a social distance as per the guidelines. But it’s not the same, I miss this human contact. At the same time I don’t want to go near them and put them at risk. My niece and nephews will be grateful for the social distance, they never appreciated my hug.

I really miss hugging my mam.

I remember when all this started there was talk of how it would change our society for the better, how we would find more environmentally friendly ways to travel, we would transform the focus of our working lives, what/how we teach in schools would change, how we will realise the importance of community, how we would value the true key workers. But I don’t see it – society is just eager to get back to how it was before March regardless of the consequences, some people seem to think Covid 19 has gone away just because they are bored of it and are ignoring the lockdown and social distancing rules. But I’m not. I have not been to any shop other than a supermarket since they reopened and I will not be one of the ones rushing to the pub come 4 July.

Ugly Stuff

Home waxing. I really miss my beauty therapist.

 

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