I’m not even sure what day it is. Saturday, I think.
With the best of intentions, I wanted to update this diary daily, but life has taken over and it’s been the best part of a week since I came here.
So much is happening in the world, so much is happening right here on our doorsteps.
People are sick. People are dying. People have died.
In the UK, the death toll to Coronavirus is 233. Worldwide it is estimated to be over 12,000. Those numbers are probably a fraction of the infected population as testing is not widely available unless you require hospital admission. We know it is going to get significantly worse.
Life is completely different to the life I wrote about on March 14th, just eight days ago.
Yesterday, our schools and nurseries closed their doors for the foreseeable future. I spent a ridiculous amount of time running to the bathroom to cry. I can’t even articulate why or what for other than to say it was just because all of this.
Friday also brought in a closure of pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, leisure centres. All around us we are seeing our local businesses shut their lights off and publishing messages of both heartbreak and hope. People are being laid off whilst the Government scrambles together a financial package unprecedented in our history just to pull us through this mess. Good job they found that magic money tree after all…
These are the things that are well documented in the media. Factual things that will be forever ingrained in our history but they aren’t really why I came here to write.
My head is in such a tangle.
I’ve been at home with my family since Monday when the cough began. Persistent and dry, followed by a mild fever.
I must add that nobody here has been severely unwell – more off colour than anything. However, self-isolation for 14 days is the mandate and so we have dutifully closed our doors and shut out the world.
Working from home and managing a four-year old, has been interesting to say the least. Bone-crushingly exhausting is probably more apt.
I spent the best part of the week squeezing my usual 40 hours into early mornings and late nights, whilst simultaneously “shushing” the kids during my partners near-constant conference calls.
That’s not to say it has all been bad.
There have been moments of light relief, such as the time I realised my seniors at work could hear Sophie’s full-throttle rendition of Into the Unknown from Frozen 2 on a conference call.
Getting down on the floor and properly playing again has reminded me how quickly kids grow up and how lucky I am to be getting this time back with her. I realise with some shame that I virtually never do this whilst my head is up my arse working.
It’s also been nice not having to rush here, there and everywhere for work, school and nursery.
The weather has mostly held up too, so we have been able to get out to the beach and the lake most days. Fresh air may be our saviour and I know we are really lucky to have such a beautiful beach, lake and forest right on our doorstep. I wonder how awful it must be for those who are hemmed in, away from all of this.
In a way, it feels like we have taken a time machine back to a simpler way of living. We joke that it feels like we are back in the 1950s now, except for the mod-cons like our washing machine (thank god). What we mean is that there is simply nowhere to go. There is nothing to do but take a walk (away from people) or stay at home.
That’s it. The only two options.
We can’t even go out to get a coffee or visit the library or visit each other now. First world problems, I’ll admit but perhaps we don’t realise where our social anchors are dropped until they’re dragged up and away from us.
Weirdly though, there has been something slightly freeing in all of this constraint and restraint. Our bank balances are certainly a bit happier, our worries feel a bit lighter (aside from the killer virus obvs) and people seem kinder and more considerate of one another both on social media and in our communities. I’ve stopped worrying about “the state of my house” or the size of waistband. I don’t care that I can’t dye my hair this month or wonder how I will fit time in to see/do/watch the next big thing. The only thing that matters now is that we stay home, stay healthy.
It’s not an understatement to say that this is our war. We are at war to an enemy we cannot see and theres nothing like a war to unite people I suppose.
It still feels like we are in limbo though, waiting for something utterly catastrophic to happen, feeling like we should be out fighting a battle for the sake of our way of life but knowing the only thing we can really do is wait, just sit at home and wait.
Honestly as I write this I wonder wtf I am even talking about. Every so often you just sit and wonder what the hell happened and question can this even be real?! Self-isolation, social-distancing, no food in the shops, random altruistic kindness to strangers, closure of businesses, no Calpol anywhere and daily No.10 press conferences have become a norm but occasionally, when there’s a gap in the matrix, it can suddenly feel so unbelievably surreal that you feel you’ve been spun 360degrees and can’t quite get your balance for a second. Usual sharp focus is replaced by blurred lines as the ground shifts uncomfortably and we all cling to a familiar point of reference.
This virus, the Coronavirus, the one we casually took note of on the news a few months ago, has flung us into a world that, in all likelihood, will never be the same again.
Sounds dramatic? I think at this point, we all know it to be true.
For now though, the drama unfolds and the waiting continues.