Our prime minister’s full formal lockdown instruction didn’t come until Monday 23 March. However, we suspected it was on the way and so we did our regular shopping early, ensuring we had sufficient – or so we thought – stock cupboard items and anything else we might need to keep us occupied for however long it takes.
I work from home anyway, but the poet was still working as usual right up until Friday 20 March, although unnecessary travel for work had already been curbed.
The week before, on the Thursday, he arrived at one of his factories near Manchester and was advised to turn around and go home as one of the managers was self-isolating. The firm’s knee-jerk reaction was to put that site on immediate lockdown to outside visitors. It took the company another week to decide that further measures were necessary. And it took them another week to properly close down, and to furlough the staff.
We *did* think this would be an ideal time to get back on top of the garden. And then they closed the garden centres. Fortunately, the supermarkets still sell limited gardening provisions, so we were able to pick up what we needed while we were also getting fresh provisions.
We also thought it would be an ideal time to build up our (read as “my”) walking fitness for our next Alphabet Adventurers visit, as outdoor spaces were initially still open. And then they closed the outdoor spaces, despite telling us we should still exercise every day. Fortunately, we are still allowed to walk the dog from our own doorstep, and we are surrounded by beautiful walks along the canal and the river where we hardly meet another soul.
And we thought it would be an ideal time for the poet to restock his fishing tackle that was nicked back in October, as he’s finally saved enough to replace some of it and the insurance has finally come through. But now, for the time being at least, he’s not allowed to fish.
I believe the Angling Trust (or similar) are in discussion with the powers that be to allow fishing, as it’s a form of exercise, can be solitary – so long as you don’t have to make a special driving trip (we don’t, we have fishing on our doorstep) – and is excellent for mental wellbeing. For now, he’s going to just try and pick up some bargain gear and have it all ready for when he *is* allowed to fish again.
When the supermarkets started to sell out of fresh food quite rapidly, we made a visit to one of our local markets. However, fortunately, food supplies are still eventually getting through, but at least the markets are nicely busy now too.
Fortunately, our usual shopping hasn’t been affected too much. We still have toilet roll, for example, and tissues and kitchen towels, but we thought this might be an opportunity to reduce our usage of paper products when the tissues started to vanish from the shelves along with the loo roll.
So we’ve been doing a lot during our first week of isolation. We’re lucky in that we can both cook. We’re lucky to have a garden and a greenhouse. We’re lucky in that we’re both creative and have a sewing machine. And we’re lucky that the poet is quite good at, and actually enjoys, DIY.
The poet was going to have a go at making handkerchiefs from old pillowcases as the supermarkets don’t sell hankies. But then he found somewhere online that sells them. He’s also going to make our own hand sanitiser, and has ordered the necessary ingredients, also online.
Right before isolation struck, the element went in the main oven. But we still have a top oven. We still have a slow cooker. We still have a bread machine, a toaster, a microwave. We’ve just have to be a bit more creative in our cooking while we await the necessary part (due Monday afternoon).
We reckon we’ll be here until perhaps the end of April. My work hasn’t dried up yet, but it still may. So I’m ramping up the writing again, starting with the next (late!) self-published writers’ guide due in June.
I’ll also be blogging about what we’re doing in case there are some useful ideas for you to try too.