Thursday, April 02, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown and me: day 11 I think

I thought I better come here to my external memory to record my thoughts and feelings about the terrible situation we're in to refer back to later.

Early on in later Feb and early March, before the UK lock down was even announced, as the news brought more and more sad stories and concerns, I had begun following the advice to wash my hands more regularly, particularly when changing location, working from home as much as I could, and not going to places with lots of people. With friends and family in vulnerable groups, I wanted to make sure I wasn't spreading something inadvertently. I felt very nervous taking public transport to London for work meetings in early March and used lots of hand santiser, wiped my phone down and hid in my big scarf.

Those early days felt strange as people began to take the threat more seriously. I began prepping remote access tools for my team to be ahead of the game, and various events and get togethers with family began to be cancelled.

The weekend before lock down started, the 21/22nd March sparked a huge wave of anxiety in me, having tried to go for a walk in the New Forest to stay away from other people, lots of people had had the same idea, and whilst we were still fairly remote, I was panicking inside every time we spotted another person. We stopped to buy some gardening supplies on the way home, and I remember standing in the DIY shop with Lydia in my arms thinking "Why am I doing this? This was such a stupid idea"

When actual lockdown came, I felt oddly relieved, even though it meant trying to juggling the childcare. Our amazing nursery is offering reduced fees, but we've offered to pay more to help keep them afloat. So Lydia spends working days being passed between the two of us. I think she quite likes having us around, though she is much more cuddly and sleeping a little worse. Probably should try and take her out for longer walks to tire her out, but we're also using lockdown as a chance to potty train, and I don't want to be caught short without the potty!

I am sleeping very badly at the moment, my mind racing at all the possibilities. I'm currently waiting to hear about furlough at my work, which would make childcare easier for us. Tom is a key worker, and needs to be out on call keeping the lights on.

We're spending our days doing walks around the block, gardening, and playing with Lydia. She was given a swing and slide as birthday presents and we already had a sandpit, so she's happy with the park that's appeared in the garden.

Tom's still out and about for work, so he's been going to get the shopping when it's quiet. I wipe down the food when we get it home and put the bags aside for three days to avoid any contamination. Now we're actually in lockdown, the panic buying around us seems to have settled down.

What's been keeping me going is the amazing outpouring of mutual aid in Southampton. A group set up a community help line and is linking up volunteers with those who need shopping or prescriptions collecting or a chat. They flyered our ward in only two days. And I've joined a Facebook group of sewists making scrubs, surgical caps and washing bags for NHS staff, just waiting for my fabric order to arrive. I hope that when things go back to normal, people remember how much goodwill there was at this time and still offer to help their neighbours like this.