Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

The Corona Diaries: Chapter 4 – Lockdown

Day One of Week Two working from home. I much prefer this to working in the office. I get a lie-in, don’t have to battle with the trains and am not distracted by colleagues. And I get my breakfast made for me, Lee being on hand with the fruit toast.

On Monday morning I woke with a feeling of pressure inside my head and a dry cough. Normally I enjoy relaxing in bed for an hour before getting up but today I knew I needed to get my mind occupied as soon as possible. It was going to be a bad mental health day.

I scrolled through my phone to find some feelgood music to belt out in the shower. Ah! The Axel Boys Quartet! I first heard this band on the last day of my holiday in Transylvania. Wikipedia describes them as:

…an easy listening group led by the Danish ex-TV-host Axel Boisen. They’ve made cover versions of numerous established hits like Europe’s Final Countdown…and Aqua’s Barbie Girl.

So…you know when you’re falling in love and song lyrics suddenly begin to have much more meaning? Has anyone noticed lyrics taking on more sinister meaning since the arrival of coronavirus?

We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?

It’s the final countdown

Being at home every day means I get to wear clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear. And indeed clothes that I have NEVER worn.

This tee was sent to me by my favourite pub in Lincoln, The Strait & Narrow, following my recent trip there.

This, too, seems quite apt at the moment, while we’re home upskilling with no booze…

My dry cough continued into the afternoon and I couldn’t help but be concerned. Not about getting ill or dying. I’m not afraid of that. It’s not that I don’t think the virus will get me (although I am doing my damnedest to avoid it). I just don’t spend time worrying about getting ill or dying. I’d much rather concentrate on living. But I didn’t want to infect Lee or anyone else if I did have the virus. I was pretty sure the cough was the result of the cold getting to my chest on Saturday’s bike ride. I hadn’t really been anywhere for the past ten days where I could have contracted the virus. Plus Lee wasn’t displaying any symptoms and surely he’d have it if I had it, as we’re joined at the hip. But of course today I had the little black cloud whispering in my ear:

You know it can take ten days for symptoms to appear and it was ten days ago you were in the pub with your friend who had JUST GOT BACK FROM ITALY. And remember how you were sitting so close you could feel the droplets of his spit on your face when he was talking to you?

Of course I messaged my friend straight away to ask how he was. And he was fine.

But you know not everybody displays symptoms.

I clearly wasn’t keeping myself busy enough. I found some bills that needed paying and took to the phone. Could I get through to anyone at the council or the insurance company? Nope. I resolved that wasn’t such a bad thing. We weren’t earning enough to pay the bills at the moment anyway. The world really was grinding to a halt, wasn’t it? These really are strange times.

Despite snacking all day instead of having a proper lunch, I think our diet is improving. Being confined to barracks means we can buy in fresh food (fruit and veg), which I’ve tended to avoid historically for fear of it spoiling if I’m not in to eat it (I don’t like wasting food).

I’m also out of my lazy work routine of having a microwave curry for lunch EVERY DAY (because it’s easy and I like curries and there’s always one on offer somewhere).

When I finished work for the day I relocated from my home office (bedroom) to the lounge and set about writing my first daily blog. This took longer than anticipated (am I even CAPABLE of microblogging? I just can’t seem to stop writing!) – not least because I was interrupted by a pub quiz.

Yes, dear reader, you read that right. This was a virtual pub quiz hosted by my favourite live band (who strangely I rarely listen to at home), The Lancashire Hotpots. They are traditionally great at engaging with their fans via social media but are really stepping up their game now, with being unable to gig and, like many of us, having more time on their hands to be creative.

If you want to have a bash at the quiz yourself, see if you can better my score of 4/10 (it was HARD and I can’t remember the last time I participated in a quiz):

While I was multi-tasking on the sofa, Lee was posting his latest video. This was an interview he did with a Tranmere fan who has been photographing and filming football grounds and matches since 1971. Look out for the dad of a famous footballer in goalscoring action himself:

Tonight was Corrie night, so obvs the ‘no TV before 9pm’ rule didn’t apply. I had heard that they were cutting back to three episodes a week from this week – with social distancing eating into the filming schedule – but was pleased to see there were still two episodes on tonight. They have started factoring in scenes with characters washing their hands but I will be interested to see how and if coronavirus is incorporated into the script over the coming weeks. Having endured an abusive relationship myself in the past, I’ve been following Yasmeen’s story with some discomfort recently. How awful it must be to be self isolating with an abusive partner. Sadly filming on Coronation Street has now been suspended, so there will come a time when Corrie stops, which will be such a shame. Corrie has always been part of my life and I haven’t missed an episode since I was about four. But I do hope that, when filming does resume, they bring back the good old Corrie humour, which has been noticeably lacking in recent months. God knows we need some light relief at the moment.

At half past eight, Boris Johnson delivered a stern message to the people of Britain. We were ordered not to leave the house for three weeks, apart from for food and medicine. To be honest, after the social distancing rules has been flouted so flagrantly yesterday – and on Friday night on the night the pubs closed – it came as no surprise. We’d known this was coming for weeks and I’d been preparing for it already this past week, hardly venturing out at all.

We switched off from the world once again as we snuggled up on the sofa to binge watch yet more Big Bang Theory before my eyes – and our last day of freedom – drew to a close.

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