Monday, March 30, 2020, Day 15, Week 3, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 787,438
Global Deaths 37,846
UK Cases 22,141
UK Deaths 180

So, they’re saying that the deaths rates are stabilising. We have been on a steady 200’ish for the past few days. Will this stop it though, or just drag it out? I suppose dragging it out is what they are aiming for to prevent overwhelming the NHS.

It’s really proving hard to get an online shopping slot. As the word it that there is wait of a few weeks for a delivery, I thought I’d plan ahead and get one in, well in advance of when we will run out of things. We have already run out of fresh vegetables. I’m going to try and get these from the butchers again. They have been brilliant and they know us too. If I phone between 1 and 3 and place an order, I can collect it the next day.

All the other online delivery services say they are prioritising vulnerable people. How does that work? how do they know you are a vulnerable person? How do you access priority delivery slots?

It seemed like time to find out why M never received a “very vulnerable person” letter. Maybe that’s the key to unlocking all these priority services? I rang the GP and was asked to email the practice manager with the details of his condition etc. 5 minutes later he got a text telling him he is a very vulnerable person and that a letter is in the post. We will wait in anticipation to see what that brings.

Horrible dull, rainy day. Neither of us felt like going out so I did 30 minutes on the exercise bike while watching the Great British Menu.

EasyJet have announced that they have grounded all flights which promoted me to try and get in touch with Ryanair again. Very unhelpful and, frankly, rude interaction.

“Because your flights have left already we can’t help you.”

“But we tried to change them before they left. Because we had checked-in they were locked. The website advised us to contact someone to unlock them. We couldn’t get through to anyone by email, phone or on-line chat.”

“Unfortunately, because your flights have left already, we can’t help you.”

“But that’s not my fault, I did everything I could to contact you before they left. I even submitted an online query/complaint, dated before they left, as evidence that I had tried to contact you.”

“Unfortunately, because your flights have left already, we can’t help you. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”


We still have EasyJet flights booked for May. If we want to change them without a fee, we can do so until tomorrow. Trouble is we don’t know when the rugby will take place now, if ever. So when should we re-book them for? I’ll have to make a decision on that tomorrow.

On a cheerier note, M had a go at making bread today with the flour F got us. Brilliant result!


Mindful Chef box arrived with four meals this week, so dinner’s sorted until Friday.

My internet is still playing up! Very slow and dropping out all the time.

The days seem very long when I look back and try to recall what happened, but they also seem to go by very quickly. I’ve not once felt bored or had nothing to do. In fact, sometimes I don’t seem to be able to make the time to do what I said I would do each day. What does that mean?

In the evening, I tried out my first virtual choir session between 8 and 9. I’m in a Pop Choir and we usually meet on Monday evenings. For me, sadly, it just didn’t work and I left after half an hour.

First, my internet kept dropping out and the screen kept freezing. By the time I reconnected I had no idea where we were. So, I switched over to my phone and 4G. Better, but by now I had no idea where we were. Also, getting the phone in the right position was a challenge, especially when the battery ran out and I had to plug it in. Looking down at it, as it lay on my desk under the constraints of the charging lead, was not great for my self-esteem. Seeing my saggy features and droopy neck hanging down over the screen was bad enough, but the thought that this was the view of me that everyone else was seeing was way too much!

It wasn’t just that. It was hard to sing on your own when learning a new part.  Usually there is an element of safety in numbers, when you are surrounded by others singing the same part as you. Having heard my part once I subsequently had no idea if I was singing the right notes or not.

I’ll have a practise in the week and get myself set up better next Monday.

We had salmon and pesto bubble and squeak for dinner. After the failed attempt at virtual singing, we watched the series Ozark on Netflix. It was so gripping we watched all the remaining episodes and stayed up till way after midnight! Wow, dirty, dirty stop-outs!

The news is getting very monotonous now. Nothing really new to say or to hear. There was an interesting story about some of the police being a bit “over-zealous”. Could explain my sister’s experience the other day, which did seem a bit harsh.

The Jack Grealish story has made the national news and he’s issued an apology.

I’ve decided to go alcohol-free Monday to Thursday from now on. Trying to curb some of the unhealthy quarantine behaviours.  Succumbed to a small Bailley’s last night. Does that count? It’s more like a slightly alcoholic dessert in my mind.

My friend is still struggling with the virus. Every time she feels better she gets worse again! Worrying times!

M heard about the first death in our family. His cousins son died last night. His cousin, M, is an elderly lady with dementia, who lives in Barbados with her husband, E. Their children all live in the UK. E reached out to M last night when they heard that their eldest son was dying in hospital form the virus. He passed away during the night. We don’t know the man who died, but we do know his parents. So, so sad to know that they are in such pain on the other side of the Atlantic with none of their family with them.


Sunday, March 29, 2020, Day 14, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 731,446
Global Deaths 34,655
UK Cases 19,522
UK Deaths 1,228

I’m very conscious that these posts are in danger of being even more uninteresting than I imagined they would be when I first started this!

Nevertheless, I’m going to persist because, as I’ve said, this is not so much about writing to entertain, but writing to record.

I’m also having trouble posting because the internet is playing up.

M organised another yoga session by following a supposed beginners class on You Tube. Bloody Hell! It made me feel like a stiff, fat old woman, which is fairly accurate description of me, but I don’t need to be reminded of it in such a painful and humiliating way!

Needless to say, I gave up after five minutes and did some housework instead. Cleaned the spare bathroom and hoovered the second flight of stairs. That got me puffing, panting and perspiring far more than the yoga did!

Spent the day doing the usual COVID things; reading, writing, talking to friends and family, watching the BBC news on TV, cooking, eating and drinking. I’m less and less motivated to do anything worthy or important, like work or household chores.

Highlights of the day were our bike ride, followed by Sunday lunch.

We did a longer circuit today – just over four miles. Building up slowly. It was cold today! Cold fingers and cold wind headache, but still enjoyed it. I really hope they don’t stop us being able to go out an exercise. There is still talk of stricter measures.

Sunday lunch was Roast Pork, Roast Potatoes and Broccoli followed by Delia Smith’s Self-Saucing Citrus Pudding.

Todays TV included lots more Ozark and Race Across the World.

Big news was that this could go on for 6 months.

A consultant died of the virus in Leicester. Three doctors have tragically died now. In complete contrast the police had to break up a karaoke party in Derby of 25 people! #COVIDIOTS.

Italy and Spain are still going through the worst of it, with 756 and 821 deaths respectively in the past 24 hours.

Oh, and Jack Grealish, the Aston Villa captain, crashed his gigantic white Discovery into some cars and vans in our village. He was apparently the “worse for wear”. We know on one the guys who’s van was written off. #covidiot!





Saturday, March 28, 2020, Day 13, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 665,985
Global Deaths 30,935
UK Cases 17,089
UK Deaths 1,019

We decided to have a fairly lazy day today, to make it feel more like a Saturday. We stayed in bed late, reading and writing. I made us breakfast in bed.

My daughter dropped off the shopping she picked up for us yesterday. She had added a surprise mango!

I played for a bit on my PS4. My Play Station is my slightly embarrassing, guilty pleasure. I’m easily bored and I find it more absorbing and more interactive than watching TV. I first got into it 20 years ago, when my son introduced me to Tomb Raider, and I still only play this type of game. Big worlds, big stories, missions, puzzles etc. I hate driving games, football-type games, and fighting and shoot ’em up games. My favourites are the Assassins Creed series and anything apocalyptic or zombie related. The Last of Us was my absolute favourite of all time, and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out in May. I’m almost finished Assassins Creed Odyssey.

Very indulgently, we watched a movie in the afternoon. We watched Joker, the DVD my friend dropped round during the week. Very, very good. Very dark but brilliant. Joaquim Phoenix was fantastic. By the end I was feeling as though the Joker and his underclass followers were the “goodies” and batman and the privileged were the “baddies”.

We went for another long walk in late afternoon.

The news is all about Italy and Spain still, where deaths rates are truly terrifying. We are waiting to see if this will be us in a couple of weeks time.

Daily briefing was all about further support for businesses and the relaxation of some competion and insolvency rules and regulations.

My sister was stopped by the police today in Harrogate. She lives 15 minutes outside the town, and was driving in to get my dad’s prescriptions sorted out. Her 22 year old son went with her for the drive. He didn’t get out of the car. On the way home they were pulled over and given a serious reprimand for having more than one person in the car. Apparently, only one person is allowed in a car at a time, unless it is for a valid reason. This does not include shopping!

I didn’t know this. I’ve seen loads of cars locally with two or three people in them. Maybe the police in Yorkshire have got less to do and are dealing with different problems than the police in Birmingham and the West Midlands?

For dinner, I cooked a couple of lamb chops and made some pepperonata with what was in the fridge. Made a couple of delicious mango daiquiris with the mango!



Friday, March 27, 2020, Day 12, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 598,318
Global Deaths 27,373
UK Cases 14,546
UK Deaths 759

So, today saw an extra 181 deaths in the last 24 hours in the UK. The words just trip off the tongue but the meaning behind them is deeply disturbing. Italy saw 919 deaths in the past 24 hours. 919 in 24 hours! It prompted me to have a dig around in the numbers on a website my sister recommended, worldometer.

USA are leading the way with the number of cases with 104,126 followed by Italy with 86,498.

China sit third at 81,340 followed by Spain with 65,719, Germany with 50,871, France with 32,964, Iran with 32,332 and the UK with 14,543.

In terms of deaths Italy is way ahead with 9,134. There is a serious catastrophe occurring in that country. I can’t imagine what they are going through.

Spain is next with 5,138, then China with 3,292, Iran with 2,378, France with 1,995, the USA with 1,69 and then the UK with 759.

If the deaths in relation to the cases don’t make sense, it’s all about the testing. The UK has been lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of our testing. Rough estimates suggest that if you use the death rate and multiply by 1000 you will get a better estimate of the actual number of cases.

So – I did a little bit of playing around with the numbers:

COVIDWhat this shows is the populations of the countries expressed as millions.

The number of deaths in each country and the death rate per million.

An estimate of actual cases based on death rate x1000

Estimated cases per million population

Reported (tested) cases and reported cases per million.

So, what does it tell us:

Death rates and estimated cases are really high in Italy and Spain.

On the other hand rates in China are surprisingly low. Is this because they locked down so quickly and prevented spread? Have they underreported? Have they got more to come when it hits the rest of the country?

More importantly, what is coming our way? Italy is at the peak now and the numbers are terrifying.

We are currently converting exhibition centres like the ExCel and the NEC into giant hospitals with thousands of beds and oxygen and ventilators. Birmingham Airport is being set aside for an emergency mortuary!

The big news is that the PM Boris Johnson and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock have tested positive and the CMO Chris Whitty is self-isolating with symptoms.

On a personal note, I had a good night sleep again. Might be calming down about our new normal way of life.

Did a bit of writing and reading. No yoga today as  M had a virtual coaching session for most of the morning. Steady stream of remote social interactions today. FT with son from Sweden. Constant phone calls from my daughter who was doing a shop for me in Waitrose. More about that in a bit. A friend dropped of The Joker DVD for us to watch over the weekend. He dropped it on the doorstep and I disinfected it and washed my hands of course! We had a brief chat 2m apart. I hung a bag of novels on the fence for another friend to collect. She’s desperate for more things to read and I had loads of books that I have finished on the bookshelf. We had a chat 2m apart when she came by to collect them. No bike ride today but we went for a walk in the afternoon. It’s going to be the last sunny day today for a while.

About my shopping list for my daughter. I gave her a list of things that I couldn’t get (or carry home from) at the local shops or on Ocado. Apparently, she and her brother were hysterical when she read it to him.

“Mum’s COVID-19 Essential Shopping List:

San Pellegrino Water

Pearl Barley

Cans of Diet Coke and Sprite

Bread Flour

Rapeseed Oil”

I can’t understand why they found it so funny. Oh well, at least it entertained them for a minute or two.

I have been cooking a lot and baking too. Food has become very important. Might need to calm it down a bit though as my jeans are feeling a bit tight today. I need to wear them more instead of the indoor obligatory loose fitting track suit trousers. I haven’t dared get on the scales. It would be very ironic to survive COVID-19 and die of a stroke or a heart attack!

Talking of food, cooked an amazing Halloumi Tikka Curry last night with spiced cabbage and onion biryani! Yum. We watched the new season of Ozark before bed.

I did feel a bit achy with a slight sore throat before I went to bed – I’m sure its hypochondria though …



Thursday, March 26, 2020, Day 11, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 537,017
Global Deaths 24,117
UK Cases 11,811
UK Deaths 578

Woke at 4am again but managed to go straight back to sleep until 7.30am Great! It makes such a difference to how the day pans out if I get a decent nights sleep.

We had another yoga session. I enjoyed it a bit more this time because I was more psychologically prepared.

Spent the morning writing. I worked on this journal and my biography project again.

I did a bit of reading. I’m reading a Dean Koontz at the moment, called Breathless. I haven’t read a book by him for many, many years. I used to love his work when I was young. I’m not sure now. He’s clearly very successful but the writing style is very “best-seller” and not my cup of tea to be honest. The plot is interesting however, and I’m going to persevere.

My friend messaged me in the morning to say that, just as she thought she was over the virus, it seems to have come back with a vengeance. She’s having chills and aches and pains again and has had to go back to her bed. There are lots of accounts like this circulating. People who have had it for a week and seemed to get better before being hit again and again by waves of new symptoms. One guy in our village, who has been sharing his experience in social media, is on day 16. He’s had good days and bad days and now seems to have lost his sense of smell and taste. When people get it badly, it seems to be a really nasty little bugger!

M has still not had a letter saying he is in the “highly vulnerable” group. but, as his nurse said, we shouldn’t put any store on that and carry on doing what we are doing. I’m not sure I’d want him to be “officially” in that group anyway. The guidance is far more stringent than what we are doing. It suggests that we should be living in seperate rooms, using separate bathrooms and cooking separate meals. No way are we going to do that! I’m confident that what we are doing is enough to protect him.

I popped round to our local Tesco for a few bits. Things had improved considerably since my last visit. A lady at the door was regulating who came in and out and making sure we all kept 2 metres apart. They provided alcohol and tissues to clean basket handles and there was a security guard outside. At the counter, the floor was marked out with tape to ensure the cashier was protected. I put my basket down and stepped back behind the line while she put the stuff through and packed it. Then she stepped away while I paid with contactless and picked it up. It all felt very calm and well-organised. Still no bread so I bought some yeast to go with the flour I got from my Ocado delivery!

When I got back I used some of the yeast and flour to make some cinnamon buns!


It’s yet another sunny spring day! We went out for a bike ride again in the afternoon. I can feel myself getting fitter already! We’ve only been doing a couple of miles or so, down to a nearby pub and back. Next week I’m going to ramp it up to a five mile circuit.

M cooked and after dinner we went outside the front door for the NHS Clap.

At 8pm, the country was encouraged to go outside onto doorsteps, balconies or at open windows and clap and cheer to show our support for the NHS, and all the carers, working so hard and putting themselves at risk for the rest of us.

I was dubious about whether people would do this in our street. Our neighbours on the left, are both hospital doctors with a young family. A divorced GP lives opposite us with his children. They weren’t going to come out an clap for themselves? The couple who live on our right keep themselves to themselves in normal times. He chats to M from time to time and, by all accounts, she has been in lockdown for weeks. She is a diabetic and has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over the past few years. She’s very fearful of catching the virus. I haven’t set eyes on her for weeks. Another hospital doctor and his family live further down, and next door to them are a family who only moved in a few days ago.

So, when we opened the door and stepped outside at 8pm on the dot, and the sound of clapping and cheering echoed round the village, my skin tingled with emotion. Windows were opening all down the street. People were hanging out of them, cheering and clapping. As expected, our immediate neighbors didn’t come out, but a lot of people did.

Yes, it was for the NHS and the care workers, but it felt as if it was about more than that. We are all shut up in our houses and generally only speaking to people on the phone or by video call. When we go out shopping and to exercise, other than a smile, we tend to avoid interactions of any other kind. We are all dealing with this situation pretty much in isolation. This felt different. It felt as if we were all in it together somehow, all connecting emotionally for a moment, in the middle of the most bizarre and frightening experience we have ever had, and hopefully will ever have, in our lifetimes.

For me though, clapping for the NHS was a tad ironic from a country that has failed to support the health service and its staff for years, happy to vote in governments time after time,  that underpaid and undervalued its staff and underfunded the service. It’s not enough! Just saying.

The big news of the day was that the government has announced its support package for the self-employed. My basic understanding is that, through HMRC,  people will be paid 80% of their average profits of the last three years, if these profits are under up £50,000 if their income from self-employment is their main income. I probably won’t get anything, as I only set up as self-employed a year ago and my pension (although small) has been my main source of income as I have tried to build up my business. M on the other hand should be eligible for some support.

London hospitals are reported to be experiencing a tsunami of COVID-19 cases. It sounds as though the worst is very much still to come.













Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Day 10, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 472,529
Global Deaths 18,890
UK Cases 9529
UK Deaths 465

Woke at 4am again today. Early, but not as early as 2am!

Went through some emails, to try and distract my mind from COVID-19, and discovered one from Ocado (our online grocery delivery service), saying that they were back in business, but with a few changes and restrictions.

I decided to have a go at placing an order, after hearing about accounts of people breaching social distancing rules in our local Tesco Express.

I was placed in an electronic queue for less than 5 minutes, then I was in! New rules state only one order a week and only one interaction – that is, no facility to go back in and modify your order once it has been placed. I didn’t have a list to hand, in bed at 4am, but placed an order for a few essentials and a few treats that I couldn’t carry from our local shop, such as cans of diet coke. When I came to check out, around 50% of what I had ordered came up as “out of stock” but I was still happy!

The only delivery slot I could find was 9.30 to 10.30 the same night! Exciting!

Got up then and did a bit of writing until around 9am, when M had scheduled an isolation exercise session. He had promised a little circuit training session but had changed his mind and gone for yoga instead. I arrived in the kitchen, sorry yoga studio, to find mats laid out on the floor, gentle music playing in the background, a waterfall image on the TV and glasses of iced water on the counter. You have to love him! But I hate yoga!

Putting the lid firmly on the can of my swelling negativity, I stood on my mat and awaited my first instruction. It was ok I suppose. I have arthritis in both my shoulders and the left one was replaced about 8 years ago, when I was in my early 50’s, so it was a painful experience, but I gritted my teeth and got on with as best as I could.

I spent the rest of the morning at my desk for the first time in weeks. Today I did some work on a biographical project. On behalf of her mother, I’m writing the story of a girl who was severely brain damaged at birth and is now in her early 30’s. Her mum is a fellow writer but was struggling to write the story herself as she was too emotionally invested in it. It’s a story of love and loss, legal and physical battles and strength and sheer determination. I hope to finish and publish it before the end of the year.

It was another lovely sunny day and the neighbours were out again in their car park. This time, as well as their deck chairs, they had a little table laid out with a picnic to go along with their wine and beer. It does make you think about how hard this must be for people in apartments without a garden or balcony. Good for them for making the best of the situation!

My 4am start eventually caught up with me and I took a nap for the rest of the afternoon.

M went out for a bike ride while I slept.

He cooked tonight. The last of our Mindful Chef meals for the week, stuffed peppers. Yum! I think we’re drinking more than we would usually. Well I am. M has to be careful as if he gets dehydrated it makes his chest worse. I opened a bottle of pink prosecco telling myself that it was lower in alcohol than most of the alternatives in the house.

After dinner we watched some TV until the Ocado order arrived. Whoho!

Receiving a food delivery isn’t without it’s own challenges. The food has been handled by who knows how many people, as well as the delivery driver himself. But, its got to be safer that being jostled by covidiots in Tesco, hasn’t it? It sounds ridiculous, but after I put the shopping away, I wiped down everything I had touched with disinfectant and washed my hands. I also suggested to M that we don’t touch any of it until the following day. Overkill? I just don’t know, but, as they say, better safe than sorry.

The main news today was as follows:

The response to requests for volunteers to help the NHS was amazing. Over 400,000 people have signed up and they are still coming!

Lots of stories and videos of workers crowded into tubes trains sparked a discussion about who should be going to work and who shouldn’t. The construction industry has been the subject of particular scrutiny after videos of building site workers crowding into canteens on their lunch breaks, were posted on social media.

The guidance is to work at home if you can, and only travel if absolutely necessary. Lots of people on zero hours contracts and contractors are in a confusing limbo at the moment. If they don’t work they won’t get paid, and the government still haven’t sorted out a satisfactory way of  helping the self-employed. Apparently that will be announced tomorrow. We will await this with interest, as all of our own work has pretty much stopped dead and we have no income from the business coming in for the foreseeable future. We do have our pensions, so we won’t starve, and we paid off our mortgage a few years ago, so we’ll always have a roof over our heads.

There has been some panic buying of beer and wine and off-licenses have been added to the list of essential retailers! What does that say about us as a society?

Prince Charles has tested positive but only has mild symptoms. This has prompted some outrage around that fact that he got tested when nobody else can! Apparently, they’re working on that too. When they initially went for the “herd immunity” approach they decided not to test anyone unless they were admitted to hospital. However, when they back-tracked on that they failed to increase the testing as well.

The UK is at the bottom of the pile as far as testing is concerned. They say they are increasing the numbers of tests done, but anyone I know who has requested a test has been refused. Key workers are arguing that if they develop symptoms, however mild, they can’t work unless they know for sure whether they have the virus or not. There is also talk about an antibody test that will tell you if you have had the virus and developed some immunity to it – that would be really helpful when we start to descend the other side of the curve. But, we haven’t reached the peak yet!

Finally, a local guy posted on Facebook asking whether, or not, he should organise a retirement do on the village green for one of his employees who is retiring next week. He was proposing that a few people took chairs and drinks down and sat on the green 2 metres apart. When I read it I was sure it was a wind-up. Apparently he was deadly serious. He’s a really nice guy and I’m sure he meant well, but it’s safe to say he was shot down in flames.












Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Day 9, Week 2, of Self Isolation.

Global Cases 422,522
Global Deaths 18,890
UK Cases 8077
UK Deaths 422

I had my first decent nights sleep in days. I’ve been waking at 2am, head swirling, unable to sleep. Then, been exhausted all day and barely awake by 8 or 9pm. Asleep by 9 then awake at 2 again!

Last night managed to stay up until 10. Woke at 4 but managed to drop off again around 5 and slept till 8.30.

In the morning M phoned the Respiratory Nurse Team at the hospital. We’ve (correction, I’ve) been worrying about a few things:

Q: Is he on “the list” or not and does it matter? The government has put together a list of very high risk people who need to be “shielded” from the virus for their protection. Severe Bronchiectasis may be on the list but Mike was told he had moderate to severe disease. They will be sent a letter this week outlining what they should do (which amounts to 12 weeks isolation) and giving them a link to a hub where that can get support with this such as food and medicine deliveries. If M is on the list should I stop going out at all or should we be sleeping in separate rooms and using different bathrooms. He’s not had a letter yet.

A: They have no idea how the list is being complied or who will be on it and why. Basically, don’t put to much store on it, whether we get a letter or not, and carry on doing what we are doing.

Q: M has just finished his course of tobramycin and submitted all required sputum specimens to see if it has worked and eradicated the pseudomonas. But, his appointment with the consultant which should have been on the 3rd of March had been cancelled due to the virus. Previously, he has developed another chest infection within three weeks of finishing a course of antibiotics. We don’t want him t get another infection before he can start his long-term prophylactic antibiotics. I have also been concerned that his chest seems a little worse since the tobramycin. His chest is “noisy” when he breathes out and he seems to be coughing more but doesn’t seem to have an infection. Could be that his asthma was aggravated by the tobramycin, that his disease is progressing or an early infection.

A: They will look out for the sample results next week and email the consultant to arrange a telephone consultation. If all is well, she will arrange to start the long-term treatment remotely through the GP.

Q: The long-awaited immunology appointment has come through for May when we will still be officially in isolation. Should M attend or not?

A: Hang fire and see wat happens. It may be cancelled by them anyway. If not, we can cancel ourselves if necessary. Best to discuss with consultant on the telephone consultation.

All in all, a very reassuring conversation. The Respiratory Nurses and the Consultant, Gemma Hawthorne, have been FANTASTIC throughout!

It was a beautiful day today. Warm with clear blue sunny skies. I spent most of the day at my desk writing up my crazy long summary of the story of COVID-19 so far. A bit obsessive of me I know but I just wanted to get it all down for completeness and feed my need for completeness. Now, I can relax and focus on my daily diary entries.

I put the bins out today – usually M’s job. It’s amazing what some people will do to get out of their chores! Get a long-term lung condition and start a global pandemic.

I also did some housework. I hate housework. Always have. Always will. It’s so BORING! The irony about that is that I like to have a really clean and tidy house. For that reason, I have always had a cleaner. Well, that and because I am fundamentally to lazy to do my own housework and resent spending any of my precious time on it. There are so many other interesting and pleasurable things to do in a day. I’m awful. I know.

Anyway, my cleaner wont be coming during our 12 weeks isolation and I’m going to have to do it myself! Horror of horrors! Life can be so tough sometimes. Sob!

Well today I cleaned the ground floor including washing all the bins.

Today we both got the government text telling us to stay inside. We’ve got the message and so have the majority but there are still some idiots out there who think they are above it all. The term being used to describe them on social media is #COVIDIOTS.


A group of 20 people of all age groups in Coventry had a BBQ broken up by the police! People are crowding onto tubes in London. Even here in DH people are complaining that people are crowding the aisles in our local Tesco Express, makin it impossible to keep 2 metres apart. We walked round to the doctors and on the way back a couple of women and their kids crossed the road to our side for no reason at all!

In the car park behind the apartment next door a couple got out their deck chairs and sat and enjoyed a bottle of wine in the sunshine. A couple of neighbours joined them but stayed on the other side of the car. They chatted out there for ages without breaking any of the rules (I think).

We went out for a bike ride for our permitted exercise session. It was glorious!

The government briefing was all about recruiting volunteers for the NHS. They are converting the EXEL centre in London to a 2000 bed hospital and need people to help run it, along with other task like deliveries food and medicines to people in isolation.

The Olympic in Tokyo have been postponed until 2021.

Death rates in Italy are horrific still but new cases seem to be declining.

New York has seen a massive surge in new cases. Trump wants it all over by Easter!


COVID -19. The facts so far.

Today, I just want to summarise chronologically, for the record, the facts so far, mainly from a UK and personal perspective.

Apologies, that it’s a bit of a marathon read. It’s mainly for me and posterity, you don’t need to read it.

From now on, I will report facts and developments as they occur on a daily basis.


December 31, 2019
WHO notified of first cases of unexplained pneumonia- like illness in Wuhan, China.


January 3, 2020
44 suspected cases reported. All centred around Huanan seafood market.

January 4, 2020
We fly out to Barbados for a 3 week holiday.

January 7, 2020
New coronavirus 2019-nCoV identified as the cause.

January 9, 2020
1st death reported.

January 13, 2020
1st case in Thailand – unrelated to the seafood market.

January 15, 2020
2nd death in China

January 16, 2020
1st case in Japan – unrelated to seafood market.

We begin to follow the situation from Barbados – half-joking about what we will do if we get trapped in Barbados is a world pandemic is declared.

January 17, 2020
2nd case in Thailand.

January 19, 2020
204 cases and 3 deaths in China.

January 20, 2020
1st case in South Korea – unrelated to seafood market.

January 21, 2020
WHO confirms human-to-human transmission.
220 case worldwide and 4 deaths in China.

January 22, 2020
580 cases and 17 deaths in China.

January 23, 2020
China introduces some early lockdown measures in Wuhan and two other cities.
1 case in Singapore and 2 in Vietnam.

January 24, 2020
New cases in Japan, US and Nepal.
1287 cases in China and 41 deaths.

January 25, 2020
Cases reported in Australia, France, Malaysia and Canada
1975 cases in China and 56 deaths.

January 26, 2020
2801 cases in China and 80 deaths.

January 27, 2020
Cases reported in Cambodia, Germany and Sri Lanka.
Worldwide 4580 cases of which 4515 are in China. 106 deaths.

We return home from Barbados.

January 28, 2020
5974 cases in China with 132 deaths. Over 6000 cases worldwide.

January 29, 2020
Finland and United Arab Emirates report first cases.
Global cases 7816 with 170 deaths in China.

January 30, 2020
Cases reported in the Philippines and India.
9692 cases in China with 213 deaths.

UK risk level raised from low to moderate.

January 31, 2020
Cases reported in Russia, Spain, Sweden and UK.
2 cases reported in visiting Chines citizens in York.

Public Health information campaign launched advising “Catch it, bin it, kill it” and handwashing.


February 1, 2020
14,380 cases in china with over 300 deaths.

February 2, 2020
1st death outside China in the Philippines.
Global cases 17,386 with 362 deaths.

February 3, 2020
Global cases 20,625 with 426 deaths.
UK develop prototype specific laboratory test.

February 4, 2020
Global cases over 24,000 with 492 deaths.

February 5, 2020
Global cases over 28,000 with 565 deaths.
10 cases reported on a cruise ship in Japan, the Diamond Princess, giving Japan the second highest total after China with 35.

February 6, 2020
China 31,161 cases with 636 deaths.
Elsewhere, 310 cases with 2 deaths.

3rd UK case in Brighton. – Super-spreader contracts infection at a conference in Singapore, then travels to France on a skiing trip, where he infects 5 others that he shared a chalet with.

February 7, 2020
Diamond Princess in Japan reports 61 cases.
Unconfirmed reports of cases in North Korea.
Wuhan doctor, Li Wenliang, who first tried to raise the alarm in December, dies from 2019-nCoV.
1st contact from French chalet tests positive bringing UK total to 4.

We have some new blinds fitted that were made in China and the fitter’s wife has just returned from China. They give us a complementary pack of Jelly Beans. M won’t eat them so I do!

February 9, 2020
Global deaths exceed 800, surpassing those from the SARS epidemic in 2003/2004.

February 10, 2020
UK declares 2019-nCoV an imminent threat to Public Health giving them the power to forcibly quarantine people.
Global deaths exceed 900, surpassing those from the MERS epidemic in 2012.
4 new cases in UK bringing total to 8 – all 4 are contacts from the French chalet. 2 of whom are healthcare professionals.

February 11, 2020
WHO names the virus as COVID-19.
Deaths exceed 1000.

M starts a month-long course of inhaled tobramycin, twice a day every day.

February 12, 2020
175 cases on the Diamond Princess.

February 13, 2020
Spike in cases in China to 14,840, but thought to reflect increased testing activity.
9th UK case – a woman in London who was infected in China.

February 14, 2020
China reports that 1716 health workers have been infected with 6 deaths.
First African case reported in Egypt.

February 15, 2020
France reports 1st death.

February 16, 2020
1st death in Taiwan, 5th outside China.

February 18, 2020
92 cases in 12 countries outside China.

February 19, 2020
Iran reports 1st case.
Global deaths exceed 2000.

February 20, 2020
Iran 5 cases with 2 deaths.
South Korea 104 cases.
1076 cases in 26 countries outside China with 7 deaths.

February 21, 2020
Rapid spread in Iran. 18 cases and 4 deaths in 2 days.
500 cases in 4 prisons in China.

February 22, 2020
30 Britons brought home from Diamond Princess and placed in quarantine.

February 23, 2020
340 cases reported in South Korea related to a religious group.
Italy reports the largest outbreak outside China.
4 of the people from the Diamond Princess test positive bringing the UK total to 13.

February 24, 2020
Cases in South Korea exceed 700.
Cases in China begin to slow.
Cases reported in Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Oman.

February 25, 2020
2nd African case in Algeria.
Cases reported in Switzerland, Croatia and Austria.

February 26, 2020
First South American case in Brazil.
Cases reported in Greece, Georgia, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania and Pakistan.
More new cases outside China than inside.
Every continent affected except Antarctica.

I develop the start of a mild virus. Headache, joint pains and dizziness. I don’t even think for a moment that it might be COVID-19 and still don’t, but who knows? It lasts about a week.

February 27, 2020
3,474 cases in 44 countries with 54 deaths outside China.
Cases reported in Denmark, Estonia, San Marino, and the Netherlands.
3 more UK cases bringing total to 13. Two travelled from Italy and one from Tenerife, where they contracted the virus.

February 28, 2020
Cases in Nigeria, New Zealand, Belarus, Mexico, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Ireland, and Iceland.
WHO raises risk of global spread to “very high”.
38 countries have initiated travel restrictions.
UK cases jumps to 20, including the first person to catch the virus within the UK.

February 29, 2020
Cases in Ecuador, Qatar, Monaco, and Luxembourg.
UK cases 23.


March 1, 2020
South Korea and Italy have the most cases outside of China, with
3,736 cases and 1,128 cases respectively.
Cases reported in Czech Republic, Iceland, Armenia and The Dominican Republic.
UK cases 35.
1st case in Scotland.

March 2, 2020
Cases in Indonesia, Senegal, Portugal, Andorra, Latvia, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.
March 3, 2020
Cases in Ukraine, Argentina, and Chile.
UK cases 39.

March 4, 2020
1st case in Poland.
UK cases 87.

March 5, 2020
Cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, South Africa, and Palestine.
UK case 116 with 1st death.

I think it was around now that we started to think about this more seriously. I remember that I took out some travel insurance for our forthcoming trip to Marseille (for the European Rugby Championships), in case we were not able to travel.

March 6, 2020
Cases in Slovakia, Bhutan, Peru, Costa Rica, Columbia, Cameroon, and Togo.
UK cases 163.

I went to the dentist today and was very conscious about handwashing. I remember thinking seriously for the first time about the risk of catching or transmitting the disease and what this might mean for M.

March 7, 2020
Global cases exceeds 100,000.
Cases in Malta, Moldova, Paraguay, and the Maldives.
UK cases 209 with 2 deaths.

M goes to the rugby with his daughter’s partner. I stay home as I’m still feeling the effects of the virus and want to rest before I go away with my daughter and granddaughter the next day.

People are talking about “panic buying”. I try to book an Ocado delivery for when I get back from my trip but no delivery slots are available.

March 8, 2020
Over 100 countries affected.
First cases in Bulgaria and Bangladesh.
UK cases 273 with 3 deaths.

I go for a two-day trip to Peppa Pig world with my daughter and granddaughter. We forget all about COVID-19 for a couple of days. Looking back, it was probably not a great idea!

M does a small food shop while I am away. He gets what we need with no problems.

March 9, 2020
WHO says threat of a pandemic is becoming a reality.
Cases in Albania, Cyprus, Burkina Faso, and Panama.
UK cases 317 with 5 deaths.

March 10, 2020
UK Health Minister, Nadine Dorries tests positive.
UK cases 373 with 6 deaths.

I have a couple of days at home before going to Scotland for a family funeral with my two sisters. M finishes his course of inhaled tobramycin. We are starting to talk about whether we will still be going on our celebratory trip to Athens the following week to visit M’s granddaughter.

Apparently, shops are selling out of toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. We haven’t been shopping as we are planning to be away the following week.

March 11, 2020
WHO declares pandemic.
Cases in Turkey, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Guyana, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
UK cases 456 with 8 deaths.

My sister arrives from Sussex to spend the night before we go to Scotland the next day.

March 12, 2020
Cases in Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, and Gabon.
UK cases 595 with 10 deaths.

My sister and I drive to Harrogate to pick up sister 3. We visit our parents in their warden controlled home on route but don’t kiss them and pay attention to handwashing.
The three of us then drive to Edinburgh where we stay with our cousin and his frail partner. We don’t kiss them despite having not seen them for several years.

March 13, 2020
Europe declared as the new epicentre of the pandemic.
Cases in Kazakhstan, Sudan, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Uruguay, Guatemala, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Mauritania.
UK cases 798 with 11 deaths.
London Marathon cancelled, and Premier League football suspended.

The UK government is talking about going down the “herd immunity” route.

My sisters and I go to the funeral. No kissing or hugging. Lots of jovial elbow bumping.
We decide not to stay an extra night as planned but head back to Harrogate that evening. We spend the night there. M and I cancel our trip to Greece – largely because our granddaughter contacted us to tell us Athens is “closed”.

March 14, 2020
Cases in Namibia, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Eswatini.
UK cases 1140 with 21 deaths.

My sister and I head back to my home. We don’t visit my parents this time. My sister carries on home to Sussex.

M gets a bit of shopping as we are now not going away. Again, he gets what we need and no more without any problem, but says there is a mild sense of anxiety in the air.

We are babysitting our 2-year old granddaughter overnight as her parents are going to a wedding reception.

March 15, 2020
Cases in Uzbekistan and the Bahamas.
UK cases 1372 with 35 deaths.

The government appear to back-track on the “herd immunity” plan – apparently prompted by the catastrophe occurring in Italy who were also slow to impose “lockdown” measures.

Elderly and vulnerable advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks for their own protection.

M goes out planting trees in the village in his role as a Parish Councillor. I wait for him in Costa Coffee with our granddaughter as its pouring rain. I’m really thinking about the virus all the time now and when we get home we sit down for a serious talk.
We decide that as M is at high risk of a poor outcome if he catches the virus, we will self-isolate for 12 weeks from Monday.

Day 1 of Self-Isolation, March 16, 2020
Cases in Somalia, Benin, Liberia, and Tanzania.
UK cases 1543 with 35 deaths.

1st government daily briefing – PM encourages social distancing, self-isolation if sick or vulnerable, and working from home.

I think it was today that the “panic buying” started in earnest. People are behaving ridiculously!

We spent the day going through our diaries, cancelling and postponing what we could and re-arranging some things to be delivered remotely.

Day 2 of Self-Isolation, March 17, 2020
Cases in Montenegro, Barbados, Gambia, and Montserrat.
UK cases 1590 with 35 deaths.

We have enough food and essentials for a few days. We are NOT going to get drawn in to “panic buying”!

M went out for a bike ride. It really helps with his chest.

Day 3 of Self-Isolation, March 18, 2020
Cases in Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, Zambia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
UK cases 2626 with 104 deaths.

I went out for a walk with M and he waited over the road while I went in to our local Tesco today and picked up a couple of little bits. Sour cream and chives to make some scones. Very bare shelves. Tried to touch as little as possible and washed my hands as soon as I got in.

Government announces school will close on Friday the 20th until further notice.

Day 4 of Self -Isolation, March 19, 2020
Global cases exceed 200,000.
Cases in Mauritius, Fiji, Chad, Niger, and Haiti.
UK cases 3229 with 124 deaths.

Many people are ignoring government advise on self-isolation.

M and I went out for a walk together. Met a few folks and talked to them keeping 2 metres away.

My best friend is ill with what she believes to be the virus. She has underlying chest problems.

Day 5 of Self-Isolation, March 20, 2020
Cases in Papua New Guinea, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar.

UK PM orders all restaurants, pubs, gyms and social venues to close.
Chancellor announces it will pay up to 80% of workers wages if they are at risk of being laid off.

Another walk, this time with a friend who is working from home – we kept 2 metres apart throughout – and another visit to Tesco to try and get bread – picked up one of last of 2 packets of crumpets. No bread or flour but got a few fresh vegetables.

Day 6 of Self-Isolation, March 21, 2020
Cases in East Timor, Angola, and Eritrea.
NHS leader tells public they should be ashamed of “panic buying”.
UK cases over 4000 with over 230 deaths.

I went out at 7am to fill the car with petrol. Called in to our local butchers and had the shop to myself for 10 minutes! Bought some meat and fresh vegetables.

Day 7 of Self-Isolation, March 22, 2020
Global cases exceed 300,000
1st case in Uganda.

As the Ocado service appears to have died, decided to reinstate our Mindful Chef account. They send all the ingredients and recipes for meals for two in a weekly box. Ordered 2 meals for next week.
Lovely day. Went out for a bike ride with M.
Slow roasted a leg of lamb for lunch and tried to make a Bakewell tart with rice flour, cranberry sauce and dark brown sugar.
Face Time with my friend and her partner. She is feeling a bit better. She still has the cough though.

Day 7 of Self-Isolation, March 23, 2020
Global Cases 339,259
Global Deaths 14,706
UK Cases 6650
UK Deaths 335
UK PM orders “partial lockdown”.
People to stay at home and only go out once a day to exercise, to shop for food or medicine, or to go to work if absolutely essential.
Shops selling non-essential items to close along with libraries and playgrounds.
No gatherings of more than two people in public, unless they are from the same household.
This will be enforced by the police with fines as necessary.

I stayed in today. I’ve not been sleeping well. Keep waking up at 2am unable to get back to sleep. Knackered.

M delivered his first remote workshop. It was hard! He went out for a bike ride later.

My daughter brought round a card and some flowers for Mother’s Day. We had a chat, with me at the door and her on the pavement outside. She couldn’t bring the granddaughter as she wouldn’t understand why she couldn’t come in!

It felt weird. I washed my hands and cleaned the worktops after I sorted out the flowers. I gave a her a little shopping list of things I can’t get in local shops.

Apparently people are queuing for miles for their final McDonalds!

We’ve been Face Timing our family fairly regularly. Our son “tuned in” from Sweden for the PM’s announcement – we stuck the phone in front of the TV so he could watch. He struggles to follow the news in Sweden as he doesn’t speak much Swedish.


12 weeks isolation … week 1.

My partner, M, and I went into self-isolation last Monday for 12 weeks, as advised for his protection from Covid-19. He has bronchiectasis, diagnosed a year or so ago.  A proud strong, and muscular, 62 year-old ex rugby player, he looks fit and well, so it’s an invisible disease to the unaware onlooker. The reality is, that he has had recurrent chest infections for the last two years. Every time he finished a course of treatment for one, another one would start two or three weeks later. He is currently battling a nasty infection with a notoriously difficult to treat bug, pseudomonas. For the past month he has been inhaling super-strong antibiotics twice a day, every day, through a nebuliser. He finished this treatment on the 10th of March and we were due to go to Athens the following week, as a little celebratory trip to visit his granddaughter who lives and works there.

Instead, we cancelled the trip and hunkered down at home for the start of a long and bizarre period of isolation.

I’ve been struggling to write about anything over the last couple of weeks. I have a long list of writing projects that I could be working on, but I just can’t seem to settle down to anything. The irony is, I now have more potential writing time on my hands than ever!

My head is full of thoughts about Covid-19 and what it means for my partner and I, our families and friends, and society and the world in general. Big stuff with no certainty around any of it! Big questions with no real answers to any of them! It’s a tough one for an over-analytical control freak like me. Last night I was awake for most of the night as it all swirled round and round in my head.

And so, today, I decided to write about it. To write about our personal experience of living in self-isolation. To write about my thoughts, feelings and observations. Maybe, by getting it all down, it will stop consuming my thoughts and I’ll finally be able to get on with something else? Of course, it might be bit self-indulgent because it’s essentially a diary and why would anyone want to read the diary of a middle-aged couple stuck in the house together for 12 weeks. Let’s be honest, its not going to be a riveting read! So read it if you want, and don’t if you don’t.

I hope it will also serve as record of what happened and how we all got through it, that we will be able to read it in happier times in years to come and say,

“Remember when … ?”

So, tomorrow we will have been doing this for one week.

1 down only 11 to go, – we hope!

Things have moved so quickly it’s crazy!

The week before we were getting on with our busy lives as usual. I went to Peppa Pig World on the Sunday and Monday with my daughter and A, our two-year-old granddaughter. On the Thursday, I went to Scotland with my two sisters for a family funeral, returning on the Saturday. We looked after A overnight on the Saturday, while her parents went to a wedding reception, and, on the Sunday, M was out planting trees in the village, in his role as a Parish Councillor, while I waited for him with little A, out of the rain, in Costa.

We were due to fly out to Athens at 9am on the Monday morning, but had cancelled the trip on the Saturday as our granddaughter had told us Athens was “closed”, so there was no point in coming. We sat down alone together for the first time that week, and properly talked everything through. I’ve lost track of how and when everything happened, but I think, by now, social distancing was being encouraged, people were being asked to avoid pubs and restaurants, and high risk and vulnerable people were being advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

M was reluctant at first. As well as my writing, I now work with him in our brand new training and development consultancy, Key Ways Consulting. We launched in February, in an expansion of his existing coaching business. We had our first few contracts lined up. A workshop in London in March and a very exciting project in June in Barbados. Sadly, we then spent the day going through our diaries cancelling what we could and arranging to do things remotely where possible. We only work part-time, as we have both taken out a couple of small pensions to allow us to ease off a bit now that we are in our 60’s. Our main pensions will kick in when we are 65, we hope! Fingers crossed that they, and our savings, are not decimated by the financial impact of the crisis.

That done, we tried to settle down to our new way of life. M has been working on re-doing his workshops for digital delivery and liaising with his clients on this. I’ve been going out on little shopping trips to our local small Tesco buying what we need on a daily basis. I’ve tried to touch as little as possible and wash my hands the minute I get in. We’ve avoided the crowds at the big supermarkets and so far we’ve been ok. I flirted briefly with a plan to bake scones and bread, as we couldn’t buy any, but I couldn’t get any flour. We try to get out for a walk every day, weather permitting, and today we went for a little bike ride in the sunshine. I’ll be honest though, I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time on social media, lazing around in my PJs, watching a lot of rubbish on the TV and indulging in my guilty pleasure, my PS4. I’m currently close to completing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. (I know! It’s a weird pastime for a 60 something – more on that later maybe?)

On Friday, the government announced that pubs, bars and restaurants were to close, and lots of financial support has been generated to help people get though this.  It’s not perfect but they do seem to be trying. Ideology seems to have been put to one side in a genuine attempt to implement, what amounts to a series of fundamentally socialist measures. I am usually the most ardent anti-Tory, and would generally never have a good word to say about Boris and his gang of merry men, but I actually do think they are trying to do the right thing on this occasion! All credit to them!

We may, or may not, go into full “lockdown” next week. I really hope not, as M needs to exercise outside every day to “clear” his chest. It’s the people who have, and continue to, defy government advise to socially distance, that may force this extreme step. These are the people who have really made me cross so far, along with the selfish panic buying idiots!

So, a bit of a top-line romp through the story so far. Now I’ve got started it feels good.

Stay safe everyone and please stay at home if you can!