Lockdown Diary – Day 8

Finished my last shift on the Guardian until May. I am looking forward to being able to switch off for a month, although I think that will be easier said than done. When this year began we were figuring on taking a family holiday in April, as Alice had booked the first three weeks off and Charlie was due to be home for most of tie month. We had not got around to booking anything by the time this pandemic blew up, luckily. So now our holiday will be spent in the house and the garden, with an occasional trip to the handful of shops that are still open.

On my lunch break I walked into town and it is so quiet now you can hear people talking who are 50 metres behind you as if they are right next to you. Hardly any cars on the roads and almost no aircraft flying over. We are right in between Gatwick and Heathrow so normally have lots of planes going over. But today Gatwick had 30 scheduled departures for the whole day.

Still feeling very weary and have had a dull headache all day that paracetamol did nothing for. Don’t think it’s the bug, just mental exhaustion and stress. Tomorrow is a new month. I think it’s going to be a long, hard one. Hope I am wrong.

Oh, as I was just about to publish this, I got a notification that Richard E Grant had liked one of my tweets! Tomorrow I might have to celebrate with the finest wines available to humanity!

Lockdown Diary – Day 7

Has it really been a week? Only a week? Seems like a month. Very little to report today. I drove to Crawley to pick up our online shopping from Sainsbury’s. Roads were very quiet. Our order came in five large plastic crates. The guy ahead of me had 14 crates! I don’t know how he got it all into his car.

For the second night in a row I am feeling very weary. Not ill, just tired. Last night I went to bed at 9.30pm. Tonight I have lasted until nearly 11pm. Working a 9.30am shift tomorrow so really hope I get a good night’s sleep and don’t wake up at 2am with the fear. Good night and good luck.

Lockdown Diary – Day 6

Not much to report. Working from home while my slow-cooked lamb shoulder simmers away downstairs. It’s cold and very windy outside so all of us are happy to be locked down today. We’ve even had snow flurries and sleet.

Feeling a bit numb about the whole thing at the moment. Apparently I am not alone. Reports that we could stay locked down in some form like this for six months are not surprising, really. But depressing nonetheless.

Fortunately as I sit here I can here Charlie laughing while playing games online with his friends. He’s done a lot of essay writing, lecture watching and reading this week so it’s good for him to unwind a bit.

Looking forward to watching a White Sox replay and Race Across the World tonight.

Lockdown Diary – Day 5

Well, up until a few weeks ago I had thought I would be spending my birthday driving up to Birmingham to bring Charlie and some of his gear home for his Easter break. Instead we’re all home and safe, thank goodness..

Alice braved a trip to the local butcher’s, where she had to wait in a socially distanced queue to get some nice (ridiculously expensive) steaks for my birthday supper. So I am looking forward to that.

And we all just went for a nice walk together. There were quite a few people, families, couples and individuals out stretching their legs. Unfortunately our streak of nice, sunny days has come to an end and a lengthy cold snap is in the forecast. I think our blue tits must know this as they still haven’t started building a nest in either box.

Working from home tomorrow. Might be switched to the news desk. Not really looking forward to it if that happens. Only one more day of work after tomorrow and then it’s the big vacation.

Late update: Charlie played a mini-gig for my birthday present tonight and he was amazing as ever! BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury 2021 for sure!


Lockdown Diary – Day 4

Well the big news today was that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, both have tested positive for Covid-19 and are self-isolating. Well, well, well. Surely Donald Trump will be next. That would certainly cheer a lot of people up.

I managed to get out for a run for the first time in 16 days and it felt great and I didn’t die. It’s another sunny day and long may they continue.

The even better news is that Charlie has gone outside for a walk for the first time since we went up to Birmingham over a week ago. At some point tomorrow I will have to brave a trip to the local supermarket as we are low on fruit and veg. Both Morrisons and Marks & Spencer have instituted a queuing system limiting the number of people who can be in the store at one time, with people waiting in well-spaced lines for their turn to go in.

It reminded me of waiting to get into the Co-Op at Glastonbury, minus the social distancing. I am still bummed out about Glastonbury being cancelled. Even though I didn’t have a ticket I still held out hope. I might pitch my tent in the garden and sleep there for five days at the end of June anyway.

This lockdown is not a week old yet and so far I am not bored. Ask me again if we’re still at it in two months, or 18.

Lockdown Diary – Day 3

So this is my view as I sit in the kitchen with my morning coffee, watching the birds, which, somewhat annoyingly, are still free to come and go as they please. No work until Sunday, and then just one more day on Tuesday before I have to take the month of April off (against my will). Little surprise then that I woke up in the middle of the night worrying about money. I have managed to get by OK through these annual “breaks” but this time I don’t know if there will be any work in May and beyond.

The government is going to fund employees who lose work during the coronavirus crisis, as well as people who are self-employed. But I appear to fall between the cracks. I am hoping the Guardian will do the right thing, as it won’t cost them anything and I could get 80% of my current earnings from the government. But who knows?

Might get out for a run today. Still not sure if it is wise, but will at least go for a long walk. I might have to take Charlie with me, at a safe distance. He’s not been out of the house since we got back from Birmingham a week ago.


Lockdown Diary – Day 2

Another beautiful sunny morning, all is quiet apart from the singing birds. The reduction in air pollution might be a silver lining in this crisis. Already the quality of light has improved noticeably and colours seem more vibrant.

Last night the sky was crystal clear and the stars were bright. They are even noticing it on the International Space Station. Maybe when this is over a lot more people, our politicians especially, will start taking the climate crisis more seriously. We now have had a glimpse of how much better the world could be, and yes it has taken extreme actions to get here but the targets set in the Paris climate agreement now seem too little and too distant.

I am working from home today. Can’t say I am looking forward to a day immersed in pandemic news and opinion. But I am so thankful that I don’t have to travel in to London.

We are all still doing well here. Both I and Alice have for the past week or so had a slight tingly feeling in our chests, and I have had the occasional cough, not dry and not persistent, and a bit of a drippy nose. No headaches, no temperature. Probably just a cold. But I wonder if perhaps this is it, coronavirus, and I am fighting it off or it is not a severe case? Only time will tell.


Lockdown Diary – Day 1

I have decided to start keeping a diary during the coronavirus lockdown here in the UK. I know it is unlikely that anyone will read it but I am doing it as much for my own mental health as anything else. So here goes:

It’s a beautiful, sunny spring morning and I have started this day like I do most days, sitting with my coffee watching the birds in our garden through the kitchen window. There don’t seem to be as many birds around as there usually are. Are they locked down too? But the pair of blue tits we are hoping will nest in one of our two boxes are on the scene. They hopefully will be providing us with a much-needed distraction over the coming weeks.

I am still a bit confused by the rules of this lockdown. We are only allowed out for specific things once a day. But does this mean I can’t go out alone in the garden? No chance of spreading the virus there. Not sure how it could be enforced unless a police helicopter flies over while I am out topping up the bird feeders. Or a neighbour rats me out!

We are allowed to go out for one form of exercise once a day and I am hoping to go for a run. I haven’t been running since 11 March and really need to get back in the groove. Wonder if my Nike Run Club app can be used as evidence that I am only doing one run a day if I get stopped!


I didn’t manage to go for a run but went for a walk around Reigate instead. I was eerily quiet. I took a few photos.