Corona Diary I – 22, 23 March


Mother’s Day. Restaurants, Cafés and Bars advised to close.

We went to visit grandma today as a family. The current advice is that it’s too risky for anyone over the age of seventy to come into contact with someone potentially carrying the virus. So we stood outside the window, and passed her presents through, my sister occasionally shouting – wash your hands! She seemed in good spirits, happy with her DVDs. One of them was Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory peck. She told us how, in the film, there is a stream of water that (legend has it) will make your hands fall off if you submerge them in it. Gregory Peck sticks his hand in and pulls his sleeve up to make Audrey Hepburn scream. We also got her some rose scented soap. She said her hands are already dry. I said I’d bring a copy of Rebecca for her to read, and some hand cream. I’ve never really needed hand cream before now, and that’s probably because, as I now know, I wasn’t really washing my hands properly. I’m surprised they didn’t fall off.

I began translating ‘Bonjour Tristesse’. It’s set on the mediterranean coast, and I have great memories of hidden coves there. It helps to be sat in the sun (because the sun has arrived, hallelujah) daydreaming about the mediterranean. I get about two paragraphs done before my mum says – Right, it’s mother’s day. We’re deep cleaning the house. Three hours later, the house looks slightly better than before, but those magic piles of stuff in the dining room have simply moved to the chairs from the table. They’ll soon be back.

Later in the evening I play D&D over discord for the first time. It’s a bit jarring, largely because in a subtle social situation the lack of visual clues can make it difficult. Everyone is drinking, and the game goes about as well as you’d expect. They fight some shambling mounds and defeat them, and have several conversations with an ancient sea serpent with a split personality. I’m sat on a bean bag, an occasionally I reach down to the floor to steady myself, and bring my hand up with small soft white things attached to them. I have no idea what they are, and throw them away. Only later do I realise the bean bag is split, and all of the beans are slowly migrating across the floor.

It was my job to clean the living room, and later, watching TV, I grab a bag of popcorn upside down and empty it all over myself and the sofa.

Skipping rope skips: 150


Government advice becomes a bit more frantic. Health secretary calls everyone who’s still carrying on as normal ‘selfish’

Today I wake up and go downstairs. My dad – What time do you call this!? I start by saying what dream do you want? (instead of tea) and get a roar from the back benches. They want cups of tea, and I repeatedly make them in the wrong cups.

I manage to translate the first chapter, and in the process remember China Miévilles talk on remixing literature. I decide that Cyril, who is a french law student in the original, should be Salil, a migrant (still a law student) who is crossing the sea from africa. Cecile meets him when his boat upturns, after all.

What would life be without massive sweeping societal upheavals? I say to Dad. I could do without them, he says. But already I feel a subtle change. And in politics, the first tremors of something big. My friend calls me and says she feels peaceful today. With the sun and tea and good company, so do I.

Get a call from my boss to say work is fully off for the next four weeks at least.

I start skipping in the house today, and me and my Dad crack up when my mum starts shouting my name. Then I go out the front to skip, and as one of the builders next door walks past, I laugh. Got to find ways to keep fit! he says. I only went out the front to avoid the builders in the back. Not that they aren’t nice people, I was just in my pajamas at three thirty.

The pigeons are having a scrap in the garden. Spring is here.

8:30PM: Prime minister on TV banning public gatherings of more than 2 people. Life is suddenly getting very interesting.

Skipping rope skips: 200

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