If I come out of this with only one thing, it’s going to be that I got my writing habit back.
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These posts are in reverse order — so scroll to the bottom of the page if you’re new here.
Day 14 — 29th March 2020
Lingered outside my flat after my run this morning, enjoying the sunshine and the empty street.
Consider making a cake but then realise I don’t have any eggs. Make soup instead.
Day 13 — 28th March 2020
My nephew has his first birthday party on Zoom. Watching other people eat cake on video chat is a new form of torture. Another Houseparty drinking session in the evening.
First day that cabin fever has set in. Find myself gravitating towards the windows and staring outside, hoping to catch the eye of someone else doing likewise, and maybe get a wave. Nothing.
Day 12 — 27th March 2020
Social distancing. Furloughing. PPE (personal protective equipment). Houseparty. Zoom.
The new vocabulary.
Day 11 — 26th March 2020
Another busy day at work. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t working. Working works for now.
The supermarkets are enforcing 2m gaps in the queue now, and there’s a one in, one out policy, which means people are lining up outside to get in. Not planning another big shop until Sunday morning though. Wish I had more snacks to eat.
Situation in the US looking very bleak. And the new field hospital at the Excel convention centre in London is like something out of a disaster movie — 4,000 beds.
Not sleeping well still.
Day 10 — 25th March 2020
Woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so another early start today. Went for a bike ride along the river and into town, then left my bike in the studio and got a taxi back with a proper office chair.
Worked late on some tweaks to Forward Journal which relaunches as a dedicated website tomorrow.
Have watched less news today, and have done less doomscrolling too.
Two thoughts from earlier this morning…
(1) Not sure how many weeks/months it’ll be before I can safely get a hug from someone :-(
(2) When that hug does happen, I know it’s gonna be the best damn hug of my life :-)
Day 9 — 24th March 2020
Another busy day at work. Clients are starting to react to what’s happened, change plans, update their websites.
Outside is quiet though, I went running at 6am and only saw a handful of people. The joggers have already started running on the street instead of the pavement. Exchange wisecracks with a woman who was smoking on her doorstep several metres away as I ran past, which is a first.
Last night I didn’t get much sleep, so I had to catch up on my zzzzzzs by taking an afternoon nap. As I was defuzzing my head afterwards, I discovered a message on my phone from the UK government:
GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info & exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Day 8 — 23rd March 2020
Start of lockdown week two, although already it feels like much much longer. I think the goverment is about to announce much stricter measues.
We had our first online Monday morning meeting at work today. It’s starting to feel normal, and my living room is now as much an extension of work as it is my home.
Lunchtime bike ride, trying to keep 2m from other people at all times. But there were a whole load of kids hanging out in the skate park, people casually chatting right next to each other, shoppers casually strolling along Dumbarton Road. Contrast that with the video footage coming in from Spain of people lying gasping for breath in the corridors of hospitals - what the hell is everyone in the UK thinking?
Long video chat with my brother in London. He’s in a much smaller flat than me… and is also an exercise fanatic. We chatted about his options… could he travel to my parents house and use their garden via the side entrance? Maybe, but even that has its risks.
Positive thoughts for the day. Maybe our planet will get a breather from the shutdown, and maybe we’ll start to realise how fragile our environment is. Maybe Brexit will get cancelled. Maybe humanity will come out of this with a little of our humanity restored.
Thinking about a new mantra.
Pragmatic realism, audacious hope.
We need both combinations to get through this.
Day 7 — 22nd March 2020
Woke up early and decided to clean my fridge. Don’t tell anyone but it REALLY needed it. I can recommend cotton buds if you find yourself in a similar position and needing to do a proper deep clean.
After that I restarted my weekly Sunday newsletter. It was hard to find the right tone, and I was more aware than usual that a lot of people were going to read my thoughts. My new mantra is something along the lines of “Pragmatic realism, audacious hope”.
By this point it was still well before noon, amazing! I’d arranged to go for a bike ride with a friend, after chatting through the risks and agreeing we’d stay a bike length apart. When I got out on the roads I realised this would have to be my last long ride for a while… although the chance of an accident is tiny, the thought of falling off or breaking bones and ending up in hospital is even less appealing than usual. So no more bike rides on busy roads from now.
I made it home just in time for a scheduled video tea & cake session with my family for mother’s day. We got there in the end with the technical stuff, although my parents ended up balancing an iPad on the table instead of a laptop for the entire call. It was so good to see eveyone’s faces, including my wee nephew Eddison who turns 1 next week.
When I have time I’m planning to start adding photos to this blog post. Just the odd snap of things that are happening to help bring the situation to life.
Stay home, stay safe, stay together x.
Day 6 — 21st March 2020
I got up early and walked along the river into town to collect essentials from the studio: my glasses, notebook, some coffee, and a few beers (bonus!). And then I cycled back on one of the two bikes I’ve been storing in the cellar to make space in my flat for renovations earlier in the year. Planning a bike ride out of Glasgow tomorrow.
People aren’t taking this seriously enough yet. I messaged my family to urge them to visit the shops as little as possible. One positive from all this is that I’ve been in daily contact with them, and even heard from a cousin who I’ve not really spoken to properly for a decade or so.
Tested a door-handle-hack so that people can open the main door to our block without using their hands. The thought of eight flat’s worth of people all using the same metal door knob seems like something we should avoid. Basically the hack is one of the u-shaped metal legs from my laptop stand with the fittings stripped off. Tomorrow I’m going to screw it onto the door… and put a note through my neighbour’s door to say hi… it’s weird that I’ve lived here three years and not found out their names.
From tomorrow I’m planning to wear a face mask when leaving the house — because even if I’m keeping a safe distance from people, I realised I can’t count on them to return the favour. Wondering how long it will be until face masks are normalised here. Only the Chinese students in Partick have been wearing them up until now.
Lack of sleep caught up with me today, and a long afternoon snooze turned out to be a highlight of the week.
Stay home, stay safe Xx.
Day 5 — 20th March 2020
Today I removed the studio address and telephone number from my email signature and replaced it with just my mobile number. UK pubs, restaurants and clubs are closing for an unspecified amount of time as of tonight, and schools are now closed too. The government made an announcement behind lecterns with the slogan “STAY AT HOME” in capital letters. No-one can quite believe this is happening.
Earlier I saw a chilling graph which puts the UK on a steeper mortality curve than even Italy had at this point in the outbreak. I am worried we are going to be as badly hit as the Italians, or worse.
Googling face masks before bed is probably not a good idea but that’s where my head is at right now.
Day 4 — 19th March 2020
As I write this, Question Time is playing in the background — but there’s no audience, and the panelists are sitting twice the distance apart as usual. They are also answering questions properly for once too.
Still feeling tense. Heart has been going like crazy all day. Right hand is red raw from all the washing.
But, it was good to speak to people (on the phone obviously) today, much more than I usually would. Plans are afoot for online beers tomorrow night, and online tea and cake on Sunday.
There are rumours of the army being deployed to the streets of London, and I’m glad to be up north, although I think Glasgow is in trouble too. We all are.
On Question Time the government is under fire for not acting to protect the most vunerable in society first. What did we expect though? It’s the Tories after all. They might have been claiming to get the job done on Brexit, but who would trust them with a pandemic that hits hardest on the very services they have stripped back over the past decade.
Day 3 — 18th March 2020
Spoke to my brother in London this evening, and he told me about the friend of a friend who was 39 with no underlying health symptoms… who has just died from coronavirus. His girlfriend’s flatmate also has fever/cough symptoms. This has suddenly gotten much closer to home.
Bigger picture: UK schools are closing from Friday, but we still have a voluntary code of conduct in place in terms of freedom of movement. Don’t think this can/should last much longer, and it sounds like any lockdown might start in London first.
Went to a local shop at lunchtime, a few types of foodstuffs all gone (pasta of course), people seemed fairly calm on the surface but there was a hint of something else under the surface as people found they couldn’t buy all the things they usually did.
Time for a night walk now.
Day 2 — 17th March 2020
Went for a run at 7am even though I’m not feeling 100% at the moment. Followed by a hot then cold shower. Ooooooft. I can stay in the cold water for at least a minute longer than when I started doing it. Can’t work out if I’m feeling a bit off-colour, or just nauseous from watching and checking the news constantly.
It struck me that our country is run by someone pretending to be a blond idiot when it suits him, rather than an actual blond idiot, so that’s something.
Anyway, this is going to be a short entry because it’s been a long day (see start of yesterday’s update). Working from home was fine, although I instantly regretted having a visible mess in the background for video calls. Not that I’ve tidied it up yet.
I’m glad I have job that hasn’t been instantly shut down. I’m glad I have a wee cat to keep me company. I’m glad I’m in a flat of my own with pretty much everything I could need.
Stay safe everyone.
Day 1 — 16th March 2020
It’s 5am the morning after the UK government announced people should drastically reduce social contact because of Coronavirus Covid-19, and I have woken with a clear thought after a day of confusion: it is time to start writing again. I’m starting now because I don’t want to forget some of the things that happened yesterday.
I know that writing will help me make sense of what is going to be a crazy few months, and that one day I’ll want to look back and read these posts, and maybe writing everything down will help me or someone else feel better.
One thing that’s not helping is the news — I can feel the anxiety ratcheting up as I watch, and it’s been hard to separate paranoid thoughts (“Is that sticky feeling in my throat the beginning of a dry cough?”) from reality. (“I am clearing my throat much more than usual”). The rolling coverage is addictive, and I’m conscious that I need to wean myself off before it takes over.
When the news came out the first thing I did was call my parents, who were due to visit me from London this weekend. They’re in their late sixties, and in good health, but it’s hard not to feel concern about their health over anyone else in my family. We’d already spoken about a train not being the best place to spend time right now, so I’m glad the decision not to travel has been made for them officially now.
Yesterday at work the company plan was announced — “we don’t want you to work from home yet”. We had a sobering reminder of how the last recession impacted the economy, and there was talk of hours being cut. I pointed out that we had decided to follow government advice the previous week, but that I wasn’t sure any more that this could be trusted given the UK seemed to be on a different path from our neighbours in Europe.
The new government advice was announced right at the end of the working day, and I’ve not heard any updates from work since, but I’m assuming we’ll all be working from home now. In any case, I made an early morning trip to Ikea on Sunday to buy a huge desk, as I had a feeling I’d need it sooner rather than later. So at least my home office setup is fairly decent, apart from the lack of a proper chair.
What else to say?
It looks like it’s going to be me and the cat for a while. (I’m not too worried about being isolated just yet, as I’ve gotten pretty good at that living alone the past few years). I’ll tell you about our routine another day, but for now let’s just say it starts with me getting a lick and my paws chewed.
Posted to life in 2020.