Lockdown: Day 1-3 of ERROR! Unknown Range.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-26 at 18.38.19
Look! A park! Allowed Exercise!

Toilet roll situation: new loo roll. Still 19 in stock. Feel secure. 

Pasta stocks: actually ate some pasta! Now feel morally better about owning so much, even though this is just apparently how much pasta I own, rather than stockpiling (except all that stuff I swapped for coffee and kidney beans). As such, now own:

  • A unopened packet of impracticality large pasta
  • ½ pack of date lasagne sheets from the Foodbank
  • One packet of spaghetti 
  • One open packet of macaroni 
  • That other pasta that housemates says she owns if I run out.

(Am I going crazy, or does that not feel like much pasta? Feel uneasy. Wish I hadn’t counted)

Oh, plus ¾ of a cooked roast veg and lentil lasagne.

Human contact: 

Day 1 (Tuesday)

  • worky things
  • Video Lunch with work colleague. Usually, we go eat Thai food every Friday at this restaurant. They know our orders and our table and always say ‘see you next week!’ at the end of lunch. Went day before my self isolation started and we did say this would probably be the last for a while. Highlight during this lunch was when he says “It must be dreadful to be a drug dealer or house breaker at this time. Will nobody think of the drug dealers?” Had not thought of this previously. Feel moved and humbled.
  • Video prayer type meeting with small group. Lead this group with housemate, and felt like given I was shook,  others might be and want to pray
  • Video call with beloved besties, where we played Psych and chatted and I may have told one of their parents’ beloved besties’ nickname, which may include reference to beloved besties dating preferences. Whoops. 
  • Phone call with dad & sister (and sort of my mum, but it was clear we were interrupting her TV watching) while playing ticket to ride

In the end, this was 6pm-11:30pm worth of phone calls. 

Day 2 (Wednesday)

  • worky things 
  • Neighbour walked past house on her allowed outing. She called me just before she walked past and then I came and sat on my front step and she waved and I got to see her 1 year old son, and I did not get to give 1 year old son cuddles, due to remaining the government recommended distance apart. Seeing babies and not being able to give them hugs is V. Hard. 
  • Socially distant bible study! We were supposed a study the next chapter of a book that we’ve doing for a while, but the commentary I read was entitled “serving god in the last days: attitudes for end-times believers”. Ultimately decided that this was not appropriate and changed direction mid session (a good learning point here: always plan the day before!!) 

Day 3: (Thursday)

  • Remote lunch with work friend. V. Lovely, but have concluded eating tacos on a video call is a bad call. I mean, not with friend, but it’s not a good remote first date food, if we do this for long enough that people decide to have remote first dates 
  • Called school friend on my Allowed Walk and I showed her the park that has now become my Walk Place (turns out all anyone had to do to make me exercise was say that I could only do it once a day; my innate British desire to get the best value out of a deal has meant that I have cashed in daily)
  • Organised family call! Scotland sister, “Awesome sister”, grandma, parents and niece!!!! Grandma now video chats. Niece is 2.5 years old and shows us the pictures she’s drawing on the camera and tells us about putting seasoning for dinner in the pan. Niece is so cute I sort of want to cry, because I also cannot hug her.

(Although to be fair, Niece is quite vocal about her physical boundaries, so I don’t get to hug her that much anyway)

Mum’s top tip of the day: told mum about mum’s top tip for the day. Asked her to give me some advice for my blog and she was v. Confused, and later mildly disgruntled and not forthcoming with advice. 

The next day I got this, which has left me mildly scarred for life, but I suppose means we’re even again. 



Mixed reviews for lockdown so far.

Keep having really lovely moments, then moments of piercing sadness when I realise things that I’m not going to have for a long time.

Like, seeing beloved besties.

We usually meet up once a month, which I think is pretty damn good given general adult friendships and the fact that we’re all living in different parts of the country. We’d intended to meet next weekend with all of us, then the three of us go away the following week (Sheffield beloved bestie’s girlfriend had uni essay so she couldn’t come with).We knew holiday wasn’t going to happen, but we thought that maybe we’d just semi-self-isolate some place together for the week we all have off work, and play games and hang out anyway. Sheffield beloved bestie had started stockpiling sangria (correct type of panic buying, I think). 

The three of us have gone away once or twice a year since our second year of university (six years?? Is that right?) and I know this makes me V. V. Privileged, but please never think I am not aware of this. FULLY understand that my middle class existence of lockdown is an entirely different and more internal focused hot bed of pressure, but not financial. Am INCREDIBLY blessed to have secure income and enough wider security that if it all went tits up I could call my parents and they could help me. The lack of fear is the real definition of social class, for me , and I would hope to never walk into a room without an awareness of how my privileges and advantages has led me to a place of living confident that I can be self sufficient.

That being said, I really flipping love our holidays. We read books and swap books and drink cocktails and make iced coffees and do puzzles and watch tv in the evenings all hauled up under blankets. We play card games and sit on the beach and I burn like a crisp, despite commitment to factor fifty, so each holiday they take pictures of my sunburns for prosperity. They have like six different pictures of my burnt arse. 

Anyway, the point is, am completely gutted about not seeing beloved besties. Thinking about not seeing them for months makes my soul ache. 

I get migraines and I have done for a very long time. I’ve just lived with it due to my mild phobia of going to the doctors and because I kinda figured they couldn’t do a whole lot about them. In our November meet up, I had a SUPER BAD migraine. Wound up throwing up five or six times and spent about two hours of the day out of bed. Was staying at Sheffield beloved bestie and girlfriend’s place and sharing a bed with other beloved bestie, and at the point we were all going to bed I just cried, and part of it was because my head hurt so much every time I moved my head that I kinda wanted to cut the damn thing off my neck, but also because I’d lost the whole Saturday that we were gonna spend together. I cried into one of her pillows (while keeping head v. Still) and decided that I was going to freaking well deal with these migraines, because they were not going to cost me my monthly weekend with beloved besties again.

(Booked first available doctors appointment online the following week, which was in eight weeks time. I think I could have got an appointment earlier if I had called them. Obviously I did not do this because phones.) 

There have been some more tears since BJs announcement. I am a cryer, anyway. I once cried at a Tescos ‘food love stories’ advert. I’ve cried at the song ‘Rockabye’ and I have cried at that bit in Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging (this reference is depressingly retro) where she turns up at the party dressed as an olive and then runs away. 

Most awkward tear-fest of the past few days was in work check-in, a new daily occurrence where each member of the team talks about how they’re doing. Well, I thought I was fine, and then people starting talking, and I Was Not Fine. Cue tears. Cue trying to suppress tears. Cue internal battle as to whether to leave virtual meeting for a moment. Cue my turn to share how I’m doing. 

I say hi. This means that everyone now gets a view of my face on their laptop. My voice cracks. I see myself on the screen. I do not know what to say. Am now crying on video chat in front of all my work colleagues. Panic. Commit to PEAK DRAMATIC EXIT, and shut laptop and leave the room. Now start to sob like teenagers do in films when they’ve been grounded: throw myself into my bed, hug pillow, and sob. Can hear meeting going on in background because shutting laptop doesn’t actually remove me from meeting. Head of Department awkwardly moves the conversation on. They pray for me (we’re a Christian bunch, we pray for everyone, not just people who run out of virtual meetings to cry, although you should always pray for people who run out of work meetings to cry) while I sob on my bed. Am still half wearing my PJs and have a meeting with all of them immediately after check in.

Compose self. Make coffee. Get properly dressed and put on lipstick. Seamlessly join meeting like nothing has ever happened. 

As soon as I start work, feel completely fine again. 

That evening, really enjoyed praying with my church group and then had the best time with the besties from afar, and it all felt like it could be a fun kind of challenge again. 

Plus, we have another distanced meet up scheduled for this weekend!!

Got to that point during Tuesday evening when I started losing a little of my tunnel vision and really feeling, instead of knowing, that this isn’t an IDEAL situation for anyone. There was a few moments before that when I wanted to scream BUT I’M ON MY OWN. YOU’VE GOT YOUR SPOUSE OR YOUR KIDS OR YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR HOUSEMATES AND ALL IVE GOT ARE MY PLANTS AND I’M PROBABLY GOING TO KILL THEM ALL SOON. 

But, I am an introvert, and I think I’m going to do a lot better with this than I would with a fictional other half and kids, and I don’t really think it’s worse to be on your own, it’s just different.  Then I started thinking about friends who just about get on with their housemates, and friends who love their housemates but, you know, appreciate the evenings they go out A LOT, and I started thinking about those poor extroverted outdoorsy types, and I more or less got round to being back to ‘this time is a gift. Freaking well use it’ when I had a sudden moment of like is my mother okay???

Parents visit my sisters a lot. Not me so much, but that’s because I haven’t produced a grandchild / don’t need any decorating doing. I live close enough to “Awesome Sister” that I nip across when parents are visiting them, and that’s… not going to happen for a while. Started to become concerned that the fact that we didn’t play a family Ticket to Ride Game last night was symbolic of my mother not being okay. 

Was on a group call with “Awesome Sister” and dad, so asked how mum was. He called her into the room by saying we were on the phone and she didn’t come for twenty minutes because she was watching a TV program about funerals.

My mother is fine.

I, too, will be fine.

Really, we need to be thinking about the drug dealers and the house breakers.

And —— I found this shed key!!!

Woke up Wednesday, looked at the pile of PJs on my bedroom floor and had a moment of extreme clarity: that I needed to get over myself and do my bloody laundry.

This was very grounding and helpful. 

And, shed key was in the little pot hanging off the washing line with the pegs in! Shed key has been missing since my birthday party (September) and now I have an almost memory of someone telling me they put the key there, but I could just be filling in a blank. It hasn’t really been warm enough to dry clothes outside since then, though, so poor keys have mostly been chilling with my pegs in a puddle of rainwater for 6 months.

(Thus the rust conversation, thus my mother’s tips about purchasing lubricants. Hope I never have to write that sentence ever again). 

Also, may have tried to break into shed using a screwdriver before using the screwdriver to unscrew the hinges on the door, so there was a hairy moment when I thought I’d broken the lock, but no!

Have access to my shed!! This would never have happened without lockdown!! 

(Until I did laundry that I hung on the line, at least). 

Also, there is a 83 acre park opposite my house, that I have been in twice before lockdown. 

It is B e A u t I F u L 

So, new routine is my Allowed Walk after work. Still spending breaks painting and drinking nice, slow, ground coffees in my conservatory. Still starting most days at 9:30 and eating breakfast. Probably feel more relaxed than I ever have in my life (if you ignore the crippling fear that I’ll never be lawfully allowed to hug anyone else again) and am looking forward to spending the weekend reading a book in my garden. 

Spent an embarrassing amount of money on more Harry Potter Lego. Don’t really regret it.

Top 5 things about lockdown:

  1. I have spent so much time in my conservatory that I legitimately have freckles, which is the very pale person’s equivalent of a tan. I’ve never really understood the fascination with tanning because it is an unachievable end goal for me (well, there was that one time I accidentally got after sun with fake tan in and had been dutifully fake tanning my burnt arse and the back of my knees for a full week before I realised what was going on. I thought it was some weird super problematic serious burn and all my skin was about to fall off, but instead I just had v. Strange streaky orange patches. Until, as is the way with bad sunburn, my skin actually did fall off. Anyway), but it seems like the acquisition of skin pigmentation is usually celebrated, so let’s go for it 
  2. Feel better about spending money on things like Lego or potential coffee subscription, as saving money on things like going out for coffee and actually having fun 
  3. Parents ordered me and “awesome sister” a crate of tiny wines, so now I can feel mildly judged by my tiny wine bottles when I drink two in one night
  4. Have been an advocate of drinking alone for many years, but feels more socially acceptable now my aloneness is government mandated
  5. It’s really loud when they test the fire alarms at work. I am not legally obligated to test my smoke detector every Monday, so won’t have that awful moment when you jump out of your skin then quickly realise that they do this every week.

Worst 5 things about lockdown: 

  1. Every year my mum organises an Easter egg hunt for us, and I am the undisputed champion of the past decade and a bit. Last year I was sure that I was going to go up against my niece to protect my title, but she’s so small and cute that in the end we teamed up. This was at my house and probably the moment that I actually won her over. She actually likes me now and it’s all because of that Easter egg hunt. Cannot think of a way to do this virtually. We have done this for at least the past twenty years, and I am sad. Don’t care that am in mid twenties, those Easter eggs are the best. 
  2. Low key feel like this is a ploy to get everyone to leave the house once a day to exercise, and I have fallen for it 
  3. The ‘Psych! Outwit your friends app’ keeps crashing because so many people are trying to play it 
  4. Crippling insecurity about what counts as ‘essential’. Tomorrow I’m going to run out of milk and will only own courgettes and cheese (and everything in my freezer and cupboard stuff, such as half a ton of rice), is this an essential trip? Do I need to wait until I have spent the last four days eating only housemate’s frozen gluten free bread with garlic salt on?  Unused to critically assessing supermarket purchases. 
  5. Been embracing JOMO for a long time and it’s not as subversive and good at feeding sense of ‘I know who I am, and it’s a person who likes to stay in and build Lego’ superiority when everyone is being forced to do it. Maybe I would have chosen this life anyway, huh? You ever think about that??

Need to put the other twelve screws back in the shed door not that removing hinges isn’t my access route. 

Maybe next week. I’m swamped right now. 


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