Sunday, May 10, 2020, Day 56, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

268 new deaths taking total to 31,855. We are now 3rd in the table with only Spain and the USA reporting higher numbers of cases than us.

The News

The PM gave a statement tonight at 7pm to outline the “road map” to the end of the lockdown.

Essentially, no dramatic changes but they have said that people who can’t work from home should try and go back to work tomorrow. They should not use public transport and either walk, cycle or drive to work.

The public can take more exercise outside the home from Wednesday, and maybe go and sit in parks or travel away from home to exercise.

Schools might open from the 1st of June and bars and restaurants might be able to open in July or August.

The 14 day quarantine for people traveling into the country has been confirmed, but no details on how this will be enforced have been given.

They have changed their slogan from Stay at Home > Protect the NHS > Save Lives to Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives.

It’s all a bit vague and peppered with IFs. It has been announced alongside a new alert system with 5 stages. It will reflect the R numbers and the rate of new infections. 1 will represent no virus in the community and 5 the NHS completely overwhelmed. We have been running at Level 4 since March and are moving towards 3.

The devolved nations, and Scotland in particular, have been adamant that they are not easing any restrictions yet. There is evidently considerable discord developing between the different country leaders.

Each stage of the exit plan will be tested and if R or the number of infections, and therefore the alert level, goes up restrictions will be re-imposed.

It’s worth noting here that infection rates have risen in Germany and South Korea since they have eased some of their lockdown restrictions.

Clearly, none of this is relative to the “shielded” and M has started to receive almost daily text messages reminding him about what he should be doing.

The New Way of Life

We had a quiet day today to try and make it feel like a Sunday. The weather has changed. It’s wet and cold so I read in bed in the morning. I finished The Testaments. I really enjoyed it. I love the way Margaret Atwood writes. Unpretentious style, good stories, great plot and brilliant characters. I enjoyed finding out what happened to some of the characters from the Handmaids Tale.

I ordered a couple of other books and they arrived today. I had told myself I should read all the books in the house that I haven’t read before buying any more, but I just couldn’t make myself do it! I really wanted to read the sequel to a book I read a while back called The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker. It’s a post-apocalyptic story (meteor strike) about a man who has to get from Scotland to Cornwall to catch his wife and kids before they are evacuated by ship. He basically runs all the way. The sequel is called the End of the World Survivors Club and picks up the story with the wife and kids. I bought that!

I also bought a book by Dean R Koontz called The Eyes of Darkness. It’s purported to one of his better books and the one in which he accidentally predicted the current coronavirus outbreak back in 1981! I bought that too!

We went for a walk in the afternoon and had roast chicken for Sunday Lunch. We watched a slightly irritating movie about a group of old women rediscovering their sex lives called The Book Club. It was what they call a gentle romantic comedy. It didn’t blow me away I’m afraid.

 

Saturday, May 9, 2020, Day 55, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

346 new deaths taking the total to 31,587.

The News

The main news is that the government is planning to introduce a 14 day quarantine for people arriving into the country. The aviation industry is in uproar. They argue that it will be the kiss of death for air travel. Who is going to come here on business or holiday if they have to quarantine for 2 weeks? They say it would be better to test people before they get on the plane and then practice safe social distancing.

Frankly, I’m surprised that we didn’t do this from the beginning, but I can see the logic behind reducing the risk of the reintroduction of the virus into the community WHEN we get to a point where it is low enough for this to be effective.

There is a discussion going on about how and when bars and restaurants will reopen. If they practice rigorous social distancing it could reduce their customers by up to 75% and probably render most businesses unviable.

Little Richard, aka the father of rock and roll, has died at 87.

The New Way of Life

Last night, after our curry and “some” wine, we ended up watching a little bit of the VE Day celebrations on TV. We turned on the TV upstairs about 9pm just in time for Queen’s speech and then watched some footage of the celebrations 75 years ago, and some of the background stories of celebrities who remembered the day. It was really quiet interesting and moving at times. I felt more interested than I usually am when old footage the “the war” comes on.

I think our current situation created a new sense of connectivity for me with what people went through back then. What we are going through now is almost certainly going to be the biggest challenge our generation has faced. It is different of course. Very different. We are not facing the same physical dangers, death rates and hardship as they did, and we have only been in this situation for a few months, not years.

The one big difference that stands out for me though, is that back then they had each other. Friends and families could be together to support each other emotionally and physically. When it was over, they celebrated together in mass street parties all over the country. I doubt very much whether we will have a single special “day” that we can celebrate when this all comes to an end, if indeed it ever does.

We’ve had  very lazy day today but its been a good lazy day. Other “lazy” days have often been due to apathy and lack of motivation causing us (well mainly me) mooch about feeling miserable. Today, it was a choice and we’ve enjoyed it.

Shopping in the Time of Covid

It’s going to be the last good day, weather wise, for a while. We got up late. M had a long chat to his son. We ran out of bread so I went round to our local Tesco’s to get some so that I could make bacon sandwiches for breakfast.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have been in there since the 16th of March. It’s fairly well organised. Only two people are allowed in the shop at one time. There is a member of staff on the door allowing one person in as another comes out. Outside, crosses of black and yellow hazard tape on the pavement mark out where people waiting to get in should stand, to ensure that they are 2 metres apart.

This morning there were about 5 or 6 people ahead of me, and the queue snaked around the side of the building. It does move quite quickly though. I think I only waited for about 20 minutes or so.

When you get to the door there is a trolley with tissue paper, hand sanitiser and disinfectant spray for cleaning your basket if you wish to do so. As I only ever go for one or two items I try not to use a basket. Less things to touch!

Inside, arrows on the floor indicate the one-way system, and stickers and more hazard tape divide the aisles into sections. As it’s a small store, the aisles are narrow and it would be impossible to maintain a good social distance if you had to overtake someone or pass someone coming in the opposite direction. So, by moving from section to section  in one direction this is theoretically avoided.

It can be a bit slow, and mildly irritating, if you just want bread and you have to slowly follow the person ahead of you until you get to the bread aisle. But it does feel safe and I don’t feel I am taking a particularly big risk when I go there. Still, its not 100% safe. Some people, especially the staff, do squeeze past from time to time. Some people don’t follow the one way system. The biggest problem is staff restocking the shelves. Of course they have to do this, but it does mean passing them at close proximity. I personally think it might be better if they just closed for a while when they have to do this.

When you reach the check-out, again spots are marked out to indicate where you should stand. A perspex screen has been fitted across the length of the counter with a small opening to pass the products through and pay. The etiquette is that the assistant stands back while you pass your shopping, and your bag if you have one, through the gap. Then, you stand back on your spot again, while they check the goods through. When they are finished, they stand back again and you step forward, pay and take your shopping. I try to only get a few things at a time so that I can pay with contactless and avoid touching the key pad.

Despite all this, by the time I am done I feel as though my hands are contaminated. I have touched multiple items that have been recently touched by other people, be they staff or other customers who have picked them up and put them back. My shopping, my bag and my debit card are potentially all “dirty”.

When I get home, either M lets me in, or I come in through the back, having left the gate and the back door ajar. I wash my hands before I touch anything, then clean everything I have touched, put them away and wash my hands again.

Phew!

I’ve written this extremely tedious account of a simple shopping trip with my grandchildren in mind. It’s not a riveting read I know, but I’m imaging them, in 20 years time (assuming everything will have returned to normal by then ha! ha!) reading it and marvelling at how crazy the world was in The Time of Covid!

We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing together. I didn’t go for a bike ride today as we did 25 miles over the last two days and my knees are complaining a little bit!

 

 

Friday, May 8, 2020, Day 54, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

Still over 4000 new cases are being identified each day and that is only people who have been tested. The total death rate has risen to 31,241, a rise of 626 since yesterday.

The News

Today is the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. It does put a bit of context around what we are going through now.

In the UK, 449,700 people died over the 6 years of the war. 382,600 were military and 67,100 were civilian.

The war killed largely young, healthy people and lasted a very long time. The enemy was real and visible.

Covid-19 is an invisible enemy which is killing largely (but not exclusively) older people and people with health conditions and the pandemic is unlikely to last more than a year or two.

The big questions is what happens next? Will the economic impact last as long and be as severe as that which followed the war. Rationing persisted in to early 1950’s. The post-war period was a time of enormous social change. How will out society change in the wake of the Coronavirus? We will see …

Wales have allowed people to exercise for unlimited periods of time and have allowed Garden Centres, Libraries and Re-Cycling Centres to open. Oh, but the changes don’t apply to people who are shielding.

Scotland have announced that they are making no changes to their lockdown except to allow people to exercise more than once a day.

We will hear from Boris on Sunday.

The New Way of Life

It’s a glorious day again! We both got up reasonably early. M had some bits of work to do. I made some egg sandwiches for our planned big bike ride. I also cooked a lamb curry for tonight.

We set off on our bike ride around 1pm and got back about 4pm. We did a 15 mile wander around the countryside using the Bikemap App. We stopped for a break in a Business Park, assuming it would be deserted. It was, almost, but there were still a few construction workers on a big building site, and a couple of people walking through. We sat on a couple of benches and ate our sandwiches.

Lots of bunting and Union Jack’s everywhere and even a few socially distanct “street parties”. A few flags of St George – did I get it wrong? Did England win the war? I thought Scotland, Wales and Ireland were involved too! Sorry, not sorry, for the cynicism.

No quiz tonight because of VE Day but I’m going to have my big weekly wine session nevertheless!

 

 

 

Thursday, May 7, 2020, Day 53, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

539 new deaths taking the total to 30,615. It feels a little bit as though there’s been a little kick up?

The News

The Bank of England is predicting the biggest recession on record after the lock-down is over.

It seems that the transmission rate is rising. Could be due to care homes? Could also be due to selfish and irresponsible covidiots.

Evidence has shown that black British people are almost twice as likely to die from the virus than white.

Globally, they are predicting multiple famines of biblical proportions all over the world.
Brazil has seen the biggest daily death rate in the Southern Hemisphere, of 615.

The government has begged people to carry on following the rules to prevent a lethal wave. We haven’t seen much evidence of that. There seemed to be more cars than ever on the road when we went out for our bike ride.

The New Way of Life

Last night we finished watching Normal People. We really enjoyed it! Very well-observed and well-acted complex love affair. Definitely recommend.

I contacted the people who we have booked the house in Barbados with for next April. I asked them if we could move our booking forward by 6 months so that we would go out in October to April instead of April to October for the same price, even though it will be high season then. They said yes, as they have had so many cancellations. Now, we have to consider this very, very carefully. We don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fires! Things to consider are:

  • Flights – Will we get one that we can afford? Will it be safe?
  • Quarantine – At the moment anyone entering Barbados is required to stay in their quarantine centre for 2 weeks. Will that be safe?
  • Finance – Can we afford it? Will our savings and investments that we have put aside for the trip still we worth the same? What will the exchnage rate be doing if we are in a recession?
  • Barbados – What will Barbados be like? If they are in recession too will there be more crime? Will prices be high? Will there be shortages of power and water etc?
  • Another Global Crisis – If there is another wave over the winter could we get stuck there if more travel restrictions are put in place?
  • Health – I was hoping to get my gall bladder out before we went next April – could it wait until next Spring? If we got the virus out there, how good would the healthcare be compared to the UK?

So, lots to think about!

M got a text from the government today, advising him to continue to shield until the 30th June. A week longer than originally requested. Not really a surprise.

I had a bit of a pamper today. I normally get my eyebrows done at a salon. I struggle with them these days. Doing them with my glasses on is tricky and I can’t see what I’m doing without them. So, I got M to do them! It went fairly well to be honest. I did my toenails as well and exfoliated in the shower.

The monkeys for the cake arrived today. I’ve selected the best 5 (on the left) to go on the cake and she can have the others to play with.

I also looked up some tips for making the perfect Victoria sponge. Apparently, it’s all about being quick and ensuring that all the ingredients are at room temperature to keep the air in. Going to practice next week!

It’s 6pm, we’ve just got back from a bike ride and I’m going to cook a chilli for dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Day 52, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

The new total number of deaths is now 30,076, an increase of 649. A big number again, so we are not out of the woods yet.

The News

One of the government experts on Covid-19, Professor Neil Ferguson, has resigned after he breached lockdown rules by receiving two visits at his home from his married lover. Ho hum. Covidiot.

Deaths in care homes continue to rise despite an improving picture elsewhere. Kier Starmar has challenged the PM on this and he apparently “bitterly regrets” what has happened in this sector. Oh, that’s alright then!

They are predicting that he will be announcing the start of the easing of lock-down on Monday. I wonder what that will look like. People are nervous. Many don’t want to go back to work and don’t want their kids to go back to school yet. Can they be forced to do so?

The New Way of Life

I’m definitely feeling better today. We actually had to set the alarm and get up early! M had a conference call and I had a virtual local business network meeting.

While I was in a business mindset, I took the opportunity to do some work on Key Ways Consulting. I shared a blog on Linked In and Facebook and sent some new dates for some additional online seminars to our website guy. I started an article on Resilience.

After lunch I finished my homework for Writers Group. I just need to proof-read and edit and polish it up before the meeting. Feeling pretty happy with it now, even if was like getting blood out of a stone at one point.

M had a virtual consultation with an immunologist this morning. His respiratory consultant is concerned that he may have some sort of immune deficiency. He has to have a blood test, but at a special “clean” off-site location. I wonder where that will be?

The weather is much better again and we went for a lovely long walk in the afternoon. We explored the open countryside between our village and the edge of the city.

We spoke about what some of our options might be for the future and some of the things we will be able to do, rather than focusing on what we won’t. We will be able to go to for long walks and bike rides and take picnics. We will be able to drive to lovely places for days out and picnics. We could even have trips away in a camper van if we could borrow or hire one.

We are seriously (well, maybe were just fantasising) considering moving to Barbados. If we can’t be with our friends and families here for months or years, we might as well just go if we can get there. Being away from family and friends has been the one thing that has stopped us going in the past – if that is no longer a reason, then what is stopping us?

We saw a bus go by today and more than half the seats had red bags over them. How can that be a viable option? I heard about a restaurant that had worked out it would have to take £300 per cover just to break even, if they reduced their number of tables to comply with social distancing.

When I was walking up the main street a bike toppled over and fell on me. I had grabbed it before I could stop myself and spent the rest of the walk home feeling anxious that I had TOUCHED SOMEBODY’S BIKE! A lot of handwashing and sanitising followed. How strange our lives have become.

We’ve only just found out that it’s a Bank Holiday on Friday! We thought we’d had one on Monday, but it turns out that it was moved to Friday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. We are all being encouraged to have our own individual street/back garden parties with tea and scones. To observe a 1 minute silence at 11am, watch the Churchill speech at 3pm, decorate our homes with Union Jacks and bunting and join together in a communal rendering of “We’ll meet again” at 9pm.

Sorry! No disrespect to our amazing war veterans, and we will be observing the 1 minute’s silence at 11am, but we won’t be taking part in the rest of the celebrations. It’s a shame, but we just can’t stop ourselves from associating this type of thing with the jingoistic, flag-waving, Jerusalem singing, far-right who frequent the likes of the BNP and the EDL. I’m afraid we’ll pass … it all makes us feel very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, Day 51, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

Another 693 deaths taking the total to 29,227. The usual weekend dip and subsequent rise on Tuesday, but overall still very slowly going down. We now officially have the highest death toll in Europe and we are still behind most of them in terms of where we are in the course of the pandemic.

The News

Virgin Atlantic have announced that they have cut 3,000 jobs and pulled out of Gatwick Airport.

A new phrase has emerged in the plethora of Covid related  alliterations. “Segment and Sheild” would involve strengthening protection for people who are currently shielding and easing restrictions for everyone else. People would be segmented into 3 groups, the vunerable (M), people who live with them or care for them (me) and everyone else. It’s depressing but not a surprise and fairly logical. I just hope that the “shielded” would be first on the list for a vaccine.

The New Way of Life

I think I’m feeling a bit brighter today.

My daughter has asked me to make a birthday cake for my granddaughter’s 2nd birthday to try and help me feel involved as I won’t be able to see her on the day.

I’m not a very good baker but I’ll have a go! I think I could rustle up a simple Victoria sponge, sandwiched with raspberry jam and buttercream. How hard can it be?

I’m going to try and decorate it in the theme of the 5 Little Monkeys (jumping on the bed) – her favourite song at the moment. I’ve ordered (online) a square cake tin, some ready to roll fondant in white for the sheet and pillows, blue for the bedspread and brown for the headboard, as well as a pack of 6 plastic monkeys.

I’ve made a good start on my homework. The first line has to be, Calvin once thought that there were not enough (blank) in the world. I have an idea now and I think I should be able to finish it tomorrow.

M is busy with all sorts of stuff and didn’t have time for the long bike-ride we had planned for today. Disappointing, I was really looking forward to it but it is what it is.

I went for a long walk with a writer friend instead. Well, not with, exactly but we walked the same route at the same time, always a couple of metres apart. We were able to chat as we walked, and we ran into a few other people we know and so had a few other little socially distanced chats. The weather is great again. I really enjoyed it. I definitely felt better by the time I got home. I even felt motivated enough to write this blog for today and yesterday!

M is cooking tonight so I can put my feet up now and have the night off!

 

Monday, May 4, 2020, Day 50, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

288 new deaths bringing the total to 28,734.

The News

The have announced the pilot of an official contact tracing app in underway on the Isle of Wight. All part of the build up to the track and trace strategy that will make up part of the next phase of the “War on Covid”.

However, John Van Tam said during his briefing that the rate of new infections is still to high to consider ending the lockdown. The PM is going to update us in this respect on Sunday

The New Way of Life

Still haven’t got my mojo back. Can’t really comment on other people’s moods in case they read this, but I suspect I am not alone. Indeed. a few friends have confessed to feeling a bit down over the past couple of days.

I’m even finding it hard to motivate myself to write this blog.

I read an article in The Huffington Post about the reasons for our fluctuating emotions during the crisis and some tips for how to keep going when you feel down. They describe “dip days” as days when it all gets too much. Our longing for normality overwhelming us and causing sadness, loneliness, anger, boredom, fatigue, lack of motivation and anxiety and depression.

I can confirm that I have experienced all of these emotions and this journal is a testament to that.

Apparently, we have all experienced a significant and unexpected shock and, now that the initial shock and novelty of the whole thing has passed, we are having to knuckle down and get on with it and it is completely normal to have good days and bad days.

Oh well, at least I’m normal.

Its been hard to motivate myself these last two days, but I baked a Turkish Yoghurt Cake, we went on another long walk and we had a quiz in the evening with one of M’s coaching friends. I cooked Bajan spiced salmon with Rice n’ Peas and Avocado Salad for dinner.

I’ve been trying to write my homework for the next writers group meeting on the 15th, but I just can’t seem to get going on it!

 

 

Sunday, May 3, 2020, Day 49, Week 7, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

“Only” 315 new deaths yesterday. Again, it is the weekend so the figure is lower than the real numbers, but still definitely declining.

The News

Honestly, there wasn’t any new news today! All the talk now is about getting back to normal and how this might be possible.

The New Way of Life

I think this has been my worst day today. All the talk is of things getting back to some semblance of normality, but I just can’t see how that can happen for us.

M can’t take the risk of being exposed to the virus and who knows when that will be available, if ever. I made the mistake of reading an article by a senior public health figure in the USA, who was of the opinion that it is highly unlikely that an effective virus will ever be found. Even if , against the odds, a vaccine is found, when will it be available to “Jo Public” like us?

The next best alternative is the “immunity passport” scenario. There is some evidence that the immunity test may be more reliable. Also, talk about people being re-infected is now not thought to be the case. Second positive tests in people who had previously had the virus, are now thought to be due to infected dead cells in their lungs or something.

So, people who are immune can be put on some sort of register. There has even been talk of facial recognition etc. That’s great for them. And it could be could for us in terms of being able to mix with people who are immune. I could get my hair cut by an immune hairdresser, and we could safely receive healthcare from immune nurses and doctors.

But, and it’s a massive BUT, what if you can’t get an immunity passport? What if you can never take the risk of getting the disease? Would you become a second class citizen in some dystopian future? Unable to work, unable to go out to socialise, unable to travel?

I’ve also been wondering if we could already be immune and don’t know it. All this would be for nothing! We are hearing anecdotes about people in Europe who have had the virus way back in December. I think it was in France, that they are re-testing blood samples from people hospitalised with pneumonia in December and some of them are showing up positive.

I had a virus in the first week of March, and M felt really rough while he was having his treatment in February and March. I put it down to the treatment, but he is so much better now that I have found myself wondering if even he may have had it. Although he has bronchiectasis, he is a strong man. Maybe he has already fought it off!

I am so fed up of doing the same things every single day with no real prospect of doing anything different for the foreseeable future. I crave variety. The things that M and I enjoy the most in life are travel, sport, entertaining friends and family, eating out, going to the cinema or the theatre and seeing our children and grandchildren.

Without exception, all of that has been stripped away.

I have no idea when I’ll ever be able to have a cuddle with my granddaughter again. It’s killing me.

We have always enjoyed travel and our lives are geared around that in particular. We haven’t chosen to spend our money on a big house and garden, fancy cars, expensive clothes and accessories. Most of our disposable income is spent on holidays and weekends away. We have missed two trips as a result of the virus. One to Athens and one to Marseille.

We are due to go to Barbados next April for 6 months. We’ve aready booked the house. Now, even that, is beginning to look doubtful. It is predicted that air travel might become prohibitively expensive in the future. Will the property still be available? What will happen to the island as a result of the impact on tourism? Will we be allowed to travel if we don’t have immunity? Hundreds of questions like this keep rolling through my mind.

To some extent, it was that that was keeping us going through this. The prospect of a prize at the end. Something to look forward to. Take that away, along with everything else that is important to us, and the future feels pretty bleak.

Honestly, it’s incredibly depressing and I’m finding it really difficult to be thankful for what we do have and to stay positive at this point in time.

I’m sorry for the negativity. I’m well aware that I’m being selfish and that there are many, many people way worse off than us. I’m just being brutally honest about how I’m feeling right now.

Hopefully, I’ll get my mojo back in a day or two.

On  more positive note, we had a long FaceTime with our son in Sweden in the morning, my sauce was a hit at the birthday celebration and we enjoyed some ourselves with a BBQ’d steak for dinner, and we had a lovely long walk in the afternoon.

 

 

 

Saturday, May 2, 2020, Day 48, Week 7, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

621 new deaths bringing the total to 28,131.

The News

PM wants the country back to work by the end of May.

He has named his baby Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas. The Nicholas is a tribute to two of the doctors that looked after him in hospital.

The briefing was all about helping people who are suffering from domestic abuse during the lockdown.

The New Way of Life

Lazy morning. Read and made a few phone calls.

I started the sauce for my daughter. Its a very sticky, sweet and sour sauce. I thought I’d turned it off when we went pour for our bike ride the whole house was full of smoke. Instead of turning it off I’d turned it up! Nearly burned the house down.

I had to go round to Tesco and buy some of the ingredients all over again. It’s a 3 hour process. Have started it all over again and I’m about half way though now.

Lazy Saturday night though still, pizza and shit TV!

Short one as I’ve done one today already!

Friday, May 1, 2020, Day 47, Week 7, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

Now that deaths in the community and care homes are being included the death rate seems higher again, but the government has confirmed that we are past the peak.

There were 739 new deaths yesterday, bringing the total to 27,510. We have the second highest new deaths in 24 hours after the USA and the third highest total deaths after only Italy and the USA. Our rate per million is 405, after Italy at 467 and Spain at 531. Belgium actually has the highest deaths per million over all at 665. The USA rate per million is 199, but New York has been more badly hit than other states and is more comparable to Europe. With a population of around 20 million and a total death number of around 17,000 their death rate per million is around 850!

Brazil is creeping up to the top of the table with 509 in 24 hours, however they are a very big country!

We are told that the virus is starting to hit Sub-Saharan Africa now, I don’t suppose we’ll ever get a clear picture of the numbers of people affected in this part of the world.

The News

All the talk is about ending lockdown now. When will it start? How will it happen.

It sounds as though it’s going to be in small staged steps. Opening up a sector at a time, and then watching the impact on R using testing and contact tracing, always ready to pull back if necessary. Facemasks and temperature checks are all being cited as possible features of the new world outside lockdown, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

No-one has said anything about what this will look like for the 1.5 million extremely vulnerable who are currently “shielding” for 12 weeks, including M. It’s all gone very quiet around that group. When anyone is asked they fudge the question and talk vaguely about vaccines.

The government have stated that five tests are going to be the key to unlocking lockdown. These are:

1. Making sure the NHS can cope
“We must protect the NHS’ ability to cope. We must be confident we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.”

2. A ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in daily death rate
“We need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate from coronavirus so we can be confident we have moved beyond the peak.”

3. The rate of infection is decreasing
“We need to have reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.”

4. We have enough tests and protective equipment
“We need to be confident that the range of operational challenges including testing capacity and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand.”

5. Making sure we don’t have a second peak                                                                             “We need to be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.”

The government say they hit their target of delivering 100,000 tests a day. It appears to have involved a bit of jiggery pokery like including tests that have been posted out to people, whether or not they have been used and returned.

Oh, and Trump is saying the he has seen evidence that the Chinese created the virus as a bio-weapon. Funnily enough, the Chinese are saying it was created in an American laboratory. Ho hum.

The New Way of Life

Yesterday was the first day I haven’t written this blog. I’m actually writing Friday’s post on Saturday morning!

I can’t remember what we did Thursday evening. I suspect we ate dinner and watched TV, as that’s what we do every night in the Time of Covid. We did have “the clap” and there were loads more people out again. I wonder if its something to with the fact that the weather has changed? Maybe people were enjoying the sunshine so much last week that they just forgot.

Yesterday was a really busy day! I don’t think I actually stopped all day. I got up early (well 9am – early for me in the Time of Covid) and headed down to the butchers to pick up M’s humongous meat order. I was half-way through sanitising that and bagging it up for the freezer when my equally humungous Ocado delivery arrived an hour early.

It took me the rest of the morning to clean it all and pack it all away! I then decided to have a cleaning blitz in the kitchen area.

I then started cooking for our Friday night curry. This week it was Saag Paneer, Dal (the last portion of the Cauliflower Dal from the freezer), Goan Crab Curry and rice. I also made a Coriander Chutney by blitzing lots of fresh conrinader with chilli, garlic, ginger and lemon juice.

Had a sad moment when our daughter popped round to drop of some ingredients. It’s her partners birthday on Sunday. She wants me to make a sauce for his birthday meal. She brought our little granddaughter with her. She was so excited to see me again, but this time she tried to run straight into the house. When her mother stopped her she was heartbroken. It was awful. I wonder when she’ll ever be able to come into our house again. I wonder when I’ll be able to give her a kiss and a cuddle again. I suspect its going to be a long time.

It’s different for us. Even when social distancing is relaxed for others, I don’t think we’ll be able to have physical contact except possibly with people who we know have been isolating as strictly as us. Several of our children are still working and therefore mixing directly, and indirectly, with lots of other people who we don’t know. We just can’t take the risk. It would just make all the sacrifices we are making now, completely pointless.

I only just finished cooking around 6pm and after we’d eaten it was time for the quiz. Another boozy night on House Party and we won again!

The weather seems a bit better again today. We should be able to get out on our bike ride.