Tuesday 12th May 2020

>>  Monday, May 18, 2020

This is the extract I wrote for the Mass Observation entry for Tuesday 12th May 2020, I hope in the future in a school room somewhere, someone reads it:

I am fifty years old, I have 1 daughter from my first marriage, she is now 21. She has come home from university whilst we are in lockdown. She’d rather not be here but has a large bedroom and her own TV and gets out for a walk at least once a day.

I am an IT professional at a large company. I have been told I am a critical worker as I look after online payment systems. People need to be able to pay for their things at this time of increased online shopping and home deliveries. So am I working harder than ever but all from home. I rarely leave the house, I used to run a lot around the local countryside before lockdown. Just before our lockdown started Spain had had all outdoor exercise banned, in panic I bought a treadmill and now I run at least 3 miles on that every day – I’m using an app/game called Zwift and I’m levelling up fast!

I didn’t sleep so great last night, I got about 4 hours, I seem to be waking up very early in the mornings and not getting back to sleep, I’m having vivid dreams about social distancing and crowds, I wake up stressed.

I was looking for a small TV online whilst I was eating breakfast to put above my treadmill, so I was a few minutes late starting work. At lunch time I did a group run of just 3 miles on the treadmill (the people are all online not on the one treadmill!!!) There seemed to be a lot of runners from Thailand, it must have been right for their timezone. Mo Farrah also ran this virtual route this week so I don’t feel too silly doing it all online rather than getting out into the lovely sunshine and fresh air. There are too many people about, running the first few miles out of my village I have to keeping crossing the road or run in the road and some people just don’t care about social distancing at all. It’s really stressful trying to avoid people so I stay inside. Maybe on Friday I will go for an outdoor run, maybe.

Because of a huge change to a system I was working on, I had to work right through to 11pm today. Which means it is the first time in a few weeks I haven’t bleached down all my kitchen surfaces, cupboard doors, door handles, stair rail, light switches. In fact anything that is touched regularly I bleach wipe every day. Tomorrow I will go over them twice.

2 years ago my daughter was very ill from scarlet fever and was in intensive care for a long time with sepsis. She is still weak from it. My husband came back from Australia in March with a DVT and a blood clot on his lung so neither of them can risk getting Covid-19. We aren’t self isolating completely but we are doing our best to avoid any risk.

I am a Girlguiding ranger leader and I’ve been running virtual meetings with the girls in my unit weekly. A lady from the village paper rang today to ask me if they would write an article for the next (online) publication, I put the request into the Whatsapp group we use and will talk it over with them at the virtual meeting (on Zoom) next week. One Ranger posted some photos of her making a pizza oven camp style out of a tin foil wrapped cardboard box placed over a grill and embers. That means she’s completed a badge she was working towards.

I’ve been buying a lot of old guiding badges off ebay. This week I bought a 1980s style queens guide badge and a brownie promise badge from 1939. The postman leaves the parcels on the door step, and then rings the door bell. All delivery people do that. Put the parcel on door mat, ring the bell then quickly leave the driveway in case we actually open the door! We just stand at the glass panel and give them a thumbs up. Once they leave the drive I always open the door and shout ‘thank you for coming’. These delivery drivers are my heroes! The delivery drivers, shop workers – they don’t get the thanks and praise the NHS workers are getting but they should. I feel a complete fraud in my comfortable home with my comfortable job and running on my comfortable treadmill. This lock down isn’t so hard for me.

We normally have our food delivered by Hello Fresh, 5 meals ready to cook – it didn’t turn up this week, the first time in years. So tea tonight was cheese on toast. We’ve been eating too well anyway, a few lighter meals won’t hurt. We have enough basic food in the cupboards to cover us for a week anyway and my husband rang a local shop for a delivery of fresh fruit, vegetables and bread. Husband has suggested Fish and Chips tomorrow. The chip shop in the next village do home delivery so we have them delivered to my friends house who lives there, and then I drive to hers and pick them up off her doorstep. I know it’s cheating but I have no shame about it! Some of our neighbours have had lots of family visiting them; we haven’t done anything like that.

It doesn’t feel like life can ever truly return back to what it was before, I wonder about how people felt during the plague years. The poor got on with it and died, the rich fled to their country homes and hid. We aren’t so rich, but we aren’t poor and we are definitely hiding. I can’t imagine sitting in a theatre or cinema ever again, let alone a plane. I guess at some point we just have to get brave and start to take the risk and hope our lungs are strong enough to deal with it.

I never imagined there would be a day when the tea-time conversation went “Seen the daily deaths dear?” “Yes it was only 627 today” – ONLY, ONLY, yes we used that term. How quickly we get used to people dying in large numbers. Which leaves me wondering again if the second wave is coming (lockdown is relaxing a bit tomorrow) will we look back at 627 and think maybe that wasn’t so bad, will the numbers soar as everyone starts cramming into trains again to go back to work.

No, I can’t imagine how we will ever feel how we used to about going out. This reminds me that the 3 washable masks I ordered from a factory in the north haven’t arrived yet.

I thought maybe the world order would be shaken by what was happening, that the leaders like Trump and Johnson would finally be revealed for the charlatans they are but everything seems to carry on in a downward spiral of doom and despair. From the disaster of Brexit, the Australian Bushfires, the massive floods in the north. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse this nightmare of covid happens. It’s like being in a bad dream you can’t wake up from.

No, I can’t imagine how we will ever feel the same again.

It is predicted there is a massive recession coming, it will get worse before anything gets better.

I wonder if I might catch myself feeling truly happy again one day.

Maybe tomorrow.


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