Coronavirus Diaries: Week 2 – lockdown

Week 2 23rd March to 29th March

Last week’s installments

Lockdown – Monday 23rd March – 335 deaths

Lockdown has arrived in the UK – apparently. Boris – what are you thinking, man? It really isn’t lockdown if you can travel to and from work but only when “absolutely necessary” and cannot be done from home. I was on a birth workers forum and there are maternity nurses (people you can hire to look after your newborn so you can sleep) who are saying they are still going to go to work because they are essential. I mean, REALLY? Someone who keeps others alive is essential, someone who keeps the peace is essential, and someone who keeps food deliveries to the supermarket is essential. I’m sorry but a maternity nurse really isn’t keeping the country running. People DO NOT understand the words “absolutely necessary”. And it’s going to impact all of us badly.

So so shocked to see the pictures of people crammed onto tube trains during the morning commute, partly due to TFL running a reduced service and partly due to some employers insisting their employees come into work where the Government has not forced them to close. The death rate is going to explode pretty soon, I’m sure. Boris needs to go much further to ensure a much tighter lockdown but I don’t think we have a way to police this. People in the UK aren’t good at doing what they are told 🙁

Parents began a mass experiment in home education this morning. Many of them took to Facebook to tell anyone who would listen how hard it was. The thing is, you can’t expect to do something that looks like school, at home. It just doesn’t work that way for most families. I wrote a little post which I’m told has travelled to quite a few people to give them a bit of hope that they can do this. I might do a few more as time goes by. Maybe.

Tuesday 24th March – 422 deaths, not proper lockdown

It’s definitely heading in the same direction as Italy here in the UK. Other countries are also struggling – Spain has another 500 deaths today and France 240. The speed of the spread of this virus is terrifying, yet STILL there are people gathering in groups in parks and shops here in North London – they must have a death wish. The last place I want to go is outside my house, even though the sun is shining. The weather really isn’t helping – if it had been raining and gloomy these past few days, it would have made a big difference to the amount of social distancing we would’ve achieved.

In other news, the online antenatal session I’m running is fully booked and I might need to put more courses on. I’m keeping in contact with my networking group Athena who have also moved their sessions online. It’s working well to give each other lots of emotional as well as practical support for our businesses. Some of the members have decided to close for a while (caterers) or have moved as much of their face-to-face work online (yoga, mindfulness, baking and more) so we are all trying to find the best way through and hoping we will still be in business at the other side of this thing. Still no word from the Government about help for the self-employed which is very worrying for many.

Wednesday 25th March – 463 deaths

I’ve had a few different ideas for writing over the past week and am hoping to do something with a lovely, super-talented photographer called Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni at NUX Photography. She’s got a magical way with people and her photo shoots really are therapy. Things are tricky for those businesses that have to be face-to-face with their customers to deliver the service/product so anything we can do to help each other stay in business is welcome right now. Brigitta took some thought-provoking pictures in London less than a week ago and they will be published very soon, perhaps some of them with some words of mine alongside. Love you, B.

The death rate went down significantly compared to Tuesday – 33 vs 87. I really hope this is a trend that continues, but I do suspect it’s just a blip 🙁 The government is still dithering on 1) who should be working and 2) help for small businesses that don’t employ staff, like me. I know very many business owners who feel very angry about this. There are 5.7 million of us – you can’t just leave us to go under. Work has started on a makeshift hospital in the ExCel centre – 4000 beds – it’s all very scary indeed.

I’m feeling a little bit of cabin fever now. I haven’t spoken to anyone face to face (apart from my immediate family) since Wednesday 11th when I met up with a lovely woman called Hiyam who very recently opened a new cafe named Wanasa in Winchmore Hill. We were starting to work together on marketing the cafe, but unfortunately, being very new, she is not yet established enough to do takeout or delivery, so she has closed for now. Please do check out Wanasa when things get back to normal.

Wanasa Cafe in Winchmore Hill

Thursday 26th March – 578 deaths

115 deaths were officially recorded today, but I have a friend who tells me that they are not up-to-date and they are about 3 days behind with recording. No idea if that’s the same for other hospitals, but whatever the number, it’s going up exponentially. I really hope people are getting the #stayathome message now and that they realise this is not just a disease that affects older people and those with underlying health conditions. There are thousands of people in their 30s-40s on ventilators all over the world and in the UK there are stories of people in their 20’s dying of this. The best thing you can do is stay home as much as possible – make the lockdown as effective as possible. The time will come to go out again but if you can avoid going out, you have the best chance to help yourself and others. I really want to go for a walk just to get some sun on my face and a bit of exercise but I’m actually very nervous about being out and about at the moment.

I’m pretty tired right now. Migraines are very frequent – it’s the additional stress causing them and that stops me sleeping well. On top of that, I am trying to replace my income from baby first aid sessions which are obviously all cancelled, so that’s keeping me at the computer for long periods each day. Looking forward to switching off over the weekend for a few hours.

#ClapForOurCarers or #ClapForNHS was extremely moving at 8pm. We stood at the top of our house which looks out over the whole of Hadley Wood and New Barnet and the noise was amazing. Such an uplifting thing to be part of – helping us all feel connected despite our physical distance during lockdown. I heard that it might be a regular thing each Thursday during lockdown and each week we can clap a different set of keyworkers – they all deserve our gratitude in bucketfuls.

Talking of gratitude – many people find that listing 3 things to be grateful for is a helpful daily activity. It helps frame your mindeset in a more positive way which can only be good for our mental health.

I saw a post from a friend who was talking about the possible consequences for Africa if (or should I say when) this virus really takes hold. Many communities still do not have adequate water supplies (let alone soap). They do not have enough food on a good day, let alone on a day when they are being ravaged by COVID-19. They have poorly equipped hospitals. If rich 1st world countries are finding the going tough, just imagine what it would be like in Africa. Devastating. What can be done to help though? The task seems overwhelming even here, let alone over there. I feel all I can really do is be supremely grateful to everyone who is helping people in need in this country and for all the comforts I have.

What are you #grateful for today?

Friday 27th March -759 deaths

We seem to be tracking a bit behind the cumulative deaths for Italy at this point which l really hope is a trend and we are doing enough to keep on top of this.

Boris Bulletin: Two big pieces of news -BoJo, Matt Hancock and Chris Witty are all infected. Unsurprisingly. They didn’t really practice what they were preaching in terms of social distancing. I suspect there will be a lot more politicians getting this soon enough. Secondly, work is now underway to kit out a temporary hospital in the ExCel centre called the London Nightingale hospital with 4000 beds.

I went out of the house for the first time in 2 weeks, just for a walk. It was so weird seeing our neighbourhood so quiet on a Friday night. Within a 6 minute walk of my house there are 15 places to eat so it’s a busy area in the evenings. So so strange seeing all the restaurants, cafes and other shops closed. A ghost town on lockdown.

Saturday 28th March – 1019 deaths – is lockdown working at all?

A bit of a lie in this morning and woke up with a continuing migraine (had it for several days) but also dizziness and tinnitus, so really not feeling so good at all. I worked on my annual accounts as l like to get my tax return done ASAP at the start of the new tax year. Realised l’d let my expense tracking slide a bit recently so it took me a while to print off receipts and cross-check my bank accounts and PayPal etc. Must do better at that in the new year.

Felt terrible after lunch so l went back to bed for a while and postponed our planner virtual dinner party with friends until tomorrow. Hopefully, l will wake feeling less cotton-woolly.

Sunday 29th March – 1228 deaths – BST arrives and brings SNOW!

I’m beginning to think that we have warped into some perverse parallel universe. With the advent of British Summer Time today, came snow. What on earth is going on? Is this all a rebellion by Mother Nature for the havoc we have been wreaking on the planet? Is the ol’ girl fighting back?

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said that we could be looking down the barrel of around 6 months of some level of disruption to our daily lives from CV, albeit it not necessary lockdown the whole time. I also heard from some teachers I know that they are making plans for schools to return after the October half-term. Of course, it could be sooner, but they want to ensure they can give children some sort of education in the meantime so I guess they are planning for the medium rather than just the short term. Parents will probably find this news very difficult to cope with after many are struggling to balance full-time jobs, educating, and otherwise entertaining their ankle biters. I do feel for them – really not easy at all.

I also feel sorry for people whose older relatives aren’t near to them and who are finding it hard to get basic provisions due to the madness in the shops. Let’s hope it starts to work itself out soon and people stop shopping as though the end of retail is coming next week.

On the brighter side of life, I had a lovely Zoom call with one of my antenatal groups that had their babies in December. It was wonderful to see them all coping well despite the circumstances. I am hoping to help them organise some online classes for their babies with the local Monkey Music group and a baby massage teacher.

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