Coronavirus Diaries: Week 5 – the new normal

Monday 13th April to Sunday 19th April 2020

Previous installments

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Monday 13th April – 11329 deaths – new normal?

New normal – this phrase is being bandied around freely in the press right now. A quick Google shows 40 new articles quoting “new normal” posted in the past hour. But what does it really mean?

New normal of social behaviour could mean commonplace mask-wearing in public and the extension of some types of social distancing even once people return to their workplaces.

Changes to workplace behaviour could include the banning of handshaking and a lot more video conferencing instead of travel and face to face meetings.

Adoption of home working as the preferred location rather than wasting precious time commuting.

An adjustment in consumer and purchasing behaviour and a raft of new businesses focused on delivering products and services which are required during subsequent lockdowns. is likely.

What do you think your “normal” will look like?

What will you change about the way you live your life or conduct your business?

I’m keen to hear from others about what they envisage.

Today I was focused on making headbands and laundry bags for my local hospital. I’m a beginner when it comes to sewing so I am slow, but hey, better than nothing. Still need to do some of the topstitching, elastics and buttons.


Tuesday 14th April – 12107 deaths – nothing is normal

Today I worked on a blog about marketing and an accountant’s website.

I really love writing; the creative process of thinking about how best to capture the essence of the person because, especially for service businesses, it’s all about having a solid connection between the provider and the purchaser. I want to know, like and trust the person who I am buying from when it comes to hiring an accountant, a lawyer, a financial adviser. To connect with the photographer so they can bring out the true me in the photo. I want to trust the yoga teacher to provide a quality session and I want to know that the cake maker uses only the best quality ingredients.

I want to do more writing for other people; but I am enjoying my own writing a lot right now too. I still feel I could be reading more, but that’s the fault of 1) ER and 2) Spooks – the two series I have watched recently. Once I am through with Spooks, I will do some more reading.

That all sounds so normal, right?

But nothing is normal. I can’t fathom right now how we get back to normal. Or indeed if the world we knew was ever normal. I saw a quote from Frankie Boyle today which summed up in a couple of sentences that there is no normal to go back to. That’s how I feel too. This is a massive opportunity to use this re-set for a greater purpose. To make a fairer, more equitable society. If we squander that opportunity that would be the biggest tragedy.

Today was an almost normal day. I wrote, I met new people (online before you jump up and down), I felt the sun on my face, I cooked, I had a glass or two of wine. All normal things.

But it’s getting to me a bit now. I don’t mind staying at home – I actually quite enjoy not having to make an effort to physically go somewhere to have a meeting. I’m more productive without the travelling. I just miss the option – the freedom to go out where and when I like. It’s a bit like being a teenager again – well, my life as a teen growing up in the 80’s. My teens pretty much go out when and where they like because they are sensible and aren’t into parties and staying out all night (yet!) Kinda dreading that part of parenting to be honest. Give me a newborn over a teen anyday lol.

Wednesday 15th April – 12868 deaths

I don’t have a lot to comment on today because I’ve had my head down ignoring social media and the news, except to say Captain Tom Moore – you are awesome. Total currently standing at £8,862,277.25 as of 19.25 today but racking up at a rate of around £1000 a minute!

I’ve got the chance of a children’s book project, so that’s very exciting and there are two amazing photographers that I would love to work with on other books.

I’m interested to know what projects other people are embarking on right now. Do let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 16th April – 13729 deaths – far from normal

The death rate moved up again today – into the 800’s. Lockdown continues – no surprise there. We could be in this limbo for a good while yet.

Trying to get to a lot of online networking meetings to meet new people some of whom I might be able to help and some of whom might be able to help me. It’s all about getting and giving support right now, although that’s always been my main reason for networking. There are so many benefits to joining a strong supportive network. I actually prefer online versions of the meetings to face to face ones – I think they are more productive and I don’t have to do the small talk/chitchat at the beginning of meetings, which I’m really not very good at. I know lots of other people think online meetings are strange and would not want to embrace them as the new normal once we are out of lockdown.

What I’ve also observed is a huge amount of enterprise and lateral thinking from people looking to move their businesses online. One of the best ideas I have seen recently is from my lovely friend and talented photographer Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni who now offers Facetime Photography Shoots. What a brilliant way to have fun and to be able to provide her photographic therapy remotely. I love it.

Friday 17th April – 14576 deaths – normal weather service

Well, something finally came back to normal – the UK weather. I was starting to worry that we’d lost our trademark rain, but it’s finally back this afternoon. Since the schools kicked out on 20th March, in London it’s been unseasonally sunny, which is lovely but somewhat frustrating. Now that the rain is back, I’m not so bothered about staying inside. Not that I have been anywhere AT ALL. In fact, I’ve not been further than my doorstep for 2 whole weeks now. As the saying goes, I really need to get out more! Here’s the view from my bedroom this afternoon – a bit soggy and grey.


On a brighter note, we have Indian vegetarian on its way – yummy.

Until tomorrow…

Saturday 18th April – 15464 deaths – new normal for new families

Today I did a postnatal session via Zoom with an antenatal group that I ran back in January. It was very strange (and of course lovely) seeing them again – it feels like a whole lifetime ago that we came together in the church hall for 5 evenings to talk about labour, birth and early parenting. The last baby in this group was born on the 16th March, so things were ramping up but not yet at the levels we see right now.

They are coping reasonably OK with lockdown and meeting up regularly on Zoom to support each other – which makes me happy.

I’m struggling a lot with the level of intervention in labour and birth. It’s not a new thing, of course, but it’s been growing rapidly in the past 2 years. So many women are being told “you’re having a big baby – we must induce or give you a caesarean” and this creates so much anxiety antenatally. Of the 8 couples in this January group, 6 ended up with a caesarean (2 of which planned in advance) and the other 2 had assisted births. Not one straightforward birth among them 🙁 3 were directed to have induction/caesarean due to their “monster babies” – my mouth dropped open when one couple told me that’s actually the term the consultant used! Needless to say, none of the babies were over 7 and 1/4 lbs at birth (3.3kg).

When will the meddling end? 🙁

I need a break from the emotional fallout from these high intervention births after teaching for 7 years, so I won’t be teaching this summer. My next course is scheduled for early October – I’m really hoping it will be face to face.

I’m very much enjoying writing at the moment, so that’s my plan for the summer. Perhaps I might even have enough headspace to start my book. Apparently, everyone has one book inside them – I’m still waiting for the spark of an idea to strike though.

Sunday 19th April – 16060 deaths

Today’s new deaths are lower, which is great of course, but it could just be a blip and it’s too early to say if we have gone past the peak yet. I truly hope we have because it needs to start improving, especially for our front line medical workers out there putting themselves at risk every day.

The ongoing debate about PPE is very frustrating – yes we hear what the Government are saying about “unprecedented levels”, “global shortage” etc. but the bottom line is that the UK’s pandemic preparedness has been severely compromised in the past 10 years by decisions made by the Government to run down stockpiles and reduce funding – I don’t think there is any getting away from that fact. Whether or not a different colour Government would have achieved a better result is frankly irrelevant – we are where we are and the powers that be have to take responsibility for that.

BoJo bulletin: Is he really simply recuperating at Chequers or is this a soft exit for the PM?


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