Not meant to meet anyone from outside the household, emphasised in a Government ad on TV.
Went for walk in the woods, saw a fair few people out. Among them a guy in a grey hoody, stood, quite still, off the path, just staring out at nothing. I find that, as a population, the sometimes pathological levels of politeness come in handy now, as we were basically observing the two meter distancing anyway. Now there’s just the added dance, where I have to jump off a ledge to avoid an old couple.
It’s all over, we’re being let out! The virus magically disappeared overnight!
Early start today, walking in the woods. It was going to be a ‘teacher start’ which is a bit like – shall we just do a couple of the circuits of the woods at 4:30am. But I convinced my friend that we could have a bit more of a sane meeting time. Of course I’m exaggerating – I’m lazy. We did 9:00am.
Fried eggs on crumpets for breakfast with fresh coffee. Mum had thrown some seeds for the small birds onto the mossy lawn, but immediately the industrial cleanup team arrives, and spend about half an hour proceeding to methodically hoover it all up. Two mated woodpigeons, very beautiful but absolutely tactless.
Get up too late and miss the news on the morning radio. I’m not going to go looking for news right now, so that’s that!
I get up late and have coffee and breakfast in the living room since my family are already up and working in the dining room.
I do my skipping in the morning, but I overdo it, doing about three hundred skips all at once, and end up seeing stars in he shower. Tens of little pinpricks of light that zip smoothly along random paths in the edges of my vision. I have them from time to time, like when I hit my head. I can’t find a description of this phenomenon among the pages I read on phosphenes, which are visual hallucinations of light, and can be caused by various things. I rarely have asthma attacks, and they’re always mild, but this one is quite bad and I have to lie down for a while. I end up feeling odd for the rest of the day, probably due to the steroids in the inhaler making me trip out. I watch nuclear weapons test videos on youtube to calm down, which, I think later, is just the sort of thing a character in a Luke Kennard or Ben Lerner novel would do. Something about their regulated framing, with the VHS timings in the corner and multiple views, and then the absolute difference and unthinkable power of the explosion, how it draws the earth into the air as if gravity itself suddenly gave up or reversed. I find out for the first time about the outer atmosphere tests that were conducted, resulting in incredible footage of spherical blasts in the rarified air at the edge of space. Apparently they were seeing whether they could create a radioactive layer of the atmosphere to cause nuclear missiles to malfunction. If they’d succeeded, or it had behaved in a way different to their expectations, we might have never been able to use satellites, or launch rockets without even more layers of heavy protection. People can be very stupid.
They tell me it’s the weekend.
My mum does more gardening – weeding today. The one teasel she let grow last year has resulted in baby teasels all over the garden, between the paving stones, in plant pots, on the roof. Well, not on the roof, but I wouldn’t be surprised. She talks about how well adapted they are. The juveniles have wide leaves which cling to the ground in a large area around their roots, smothering everything, but thankfully their roots don’t go too deep, so they’re easy to remove. I imagine a situation where planetary gardeners have a similar reaction to humans. “Oh god, look at the humans. They’re absolutely everywhere.“
Already not sure what day it is. At Tesco’s I see them getting ready to implement queue restrictions and limits to how many people can be in the store at any one time.
I see a video of Chinese doctors addressing a press conference in Italy. Their message is – I don’t know what you think this is but it’s definitely not a lockdown, you need to do more. And Italy is already doing a lot more than us. I fully expect to see the army marching around Leeds by the end of this. No sign of them so far. Went to the park to walk with a friend. We walk opposite sides of the path, which is 4 metres wide, but still strictly against the guidelines which will soon become law. I try and convince her to walk around the park in opposite directions, greeting each other with secret messages, like it was a police state.
Didn’t watch the news today, lived in a bubble. First day of three week lockdown.
Today I reach for the jam and pick up a tub of vitamins. They’ve been on the breakfast table in the morning for about a week now.
Looking out the window, I see the Mediterranean in the air and the sun of the morning, but then, it might be that being cooped up with my family makes it feel eerily like a holiday. I say this to my dad and sister, and they say ‘what, like the mediterranean in winter, in the middle of the night?’. I’m so lucky to have travelled in Europe. If I thought England was the whole world, I would have lost my mind a long time ago. Or become some kind of pygmy version of myself.
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.