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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Going Into "Lockdown" - Sentence a Day March 2020

Robin in the springtime on pink blossom. Image: Pexels
My blog has been a Covid-10 free zone  but for Sentence A Day I've decided to keep a diary of events as a record, and because other bloggers in this link up are international so it will be interesting to compare notes.

The UK went into a form of "lockdown", a policy of social isolation, on March 24. We're allowed to go out occasionally for basic groceries and to take a form of exercise (walking, running, cycling) each day. We need to observe a distance of two metres from others and not socialize with anyone not in our own household.

We're discouraged from going on stay-cations, and driving to beauty spots or parks and sunbathing, gathering in groups, as a few thousand "covidiots" did at the weekend. Restaurants, pubs and shops selling non-essential supplies are closed. We must work from home unless our job means this is impossible.

The first part of March started as a normal month, albeit with the shadow of what was to come, as we had seen the more stringent measures taken in Italy, France and Spain.

Sun March 1
At last a sunny blue sky day. Walked to gym. Roast beef. Ordered presents for grandchild's 1st birthday and sports gear for me

Mon March 2
Bright day. J's new car has arrived. I  sold two old PC monitors on the employee swap/buy system and handed them over in the car park - it seemed like a clandestine operation!

Tues 3
Very overcast. Went to the gym.  The event I'm helping to create in Israel was cancelled because of coronavirus.

Weds 4
Sunny on the way to work but raining on way home. Long day with a lot to do.

Thurs 5
In office for 8am. Long day. Had to jump through hoops to make something happen.

Fri 6 March
Big issue at work. Find it v draining. Went to the gym.  Spring like weather today.  Didn't need heating on during day.

Sat 7 March
Had hair cut and coloured. Spent longer in Epping and took a look round the charity (thrift) shops but didn't see anything I wanted.
Haircut and colour - tint base and highlights - on short bobbed hair
Sun 8 March
Hubster ran the Roding half marathon.  I went to the gym, did housework, finished a blog post.

Mon 9 March
Worked from home, swapping Tuesday for today. Here's Molly ambushing me.
Over 50s style blogger Gail Hanlon with Molly the cat, aged 16
Tues 10 March
Went into the office, got petrol and did a supermarket shop on the way. Delivery from Kettlewell of a pair of co-ordinates (see post here) and a peach top.

Weds 11 March
The feeling is that we will go into social isolation very soon. It was very quiet in the office. Hardly anyone in.

Thurs 12 March
At home. Sunny but cold wind. Gym. Got freesias. Salad for lunch to boost immune system.

Fri 13 March
A company-wide email tell us we're now officially working from home until the end of March. I don't mind this too much because in my previous job I worked from home most of the time.  I am lucky to have a dedicated home office.
Home office used by Is This Mutton for blogging and full time marketing job
Sat 14 March
Did the shopping and housework. Today I should have been going to the Picasso exhibition in London, followed by clothes shopping which I rarely do in person.  But I'm still hoping to see Mum next weekend in Plymouth for Mother's Day so I don't want to risk getting coronavirus and passing it on to her in the incubation period.

Sun 15 March
The usuals, gym and roast chicken with John's daughter and her husband. Mum was more chilled about me coming down but not happy at prospect of being housebound for months. The elderly are being told to stay indoors and not go out.

Mon 15 March
Beautiful sunny day. Govt said today we should stop going to restaurants and pubs, but didn't enforce it which is not helpful for businesses as they will feel they need to stay open unless they receive  financial help.

Tues 16 March
Ordered a new tablet to take down to Mum so she can communicate by Skype when we're in lockdown.  After a lot of soul searching, am still going to see her this weekend.  Probably the last chance before the gates close. Boris Johnson today advised everyone in the UK against “non-essential” travel and contact with others and suggests people should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and work from home if possible.

Tues 17 March
Today Mum pleading with me not to come. Apparently there's a case of coronavirus in her village. We know the govt is about to impose a lockdown, and the hotel where we'd booked the Mother's Day lunch was likely to be closed anyway, so reluctantly I agreed not to go.

Weds 18 March
Started virtual coffee mornings with the colleagues I sit next to. It's a 10 minute daily chat with our webcams on. Went to the very large Tesco at 7.30am, hardly anything on shelves.  Then Sainsburys.  Slightly better there, at least able to get potatoes and tissues. People have been stockpiling - no toilet rolls anywhere.

J managed to get a picture of the robins' nest when the adults had gone out. They can spend several hours away from the nest apparently.  I gave him the nesting box for Christmas, good to see it being used!

It was announced that the UK would close all schools except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
Four pale cream robins' eggs in a nesting box in the garden of style blog Is This Mutton?
Fri 19 March
Had a day off because I had been due to go to Plymouth, so spent it going to the garden centre. Bought some gorgeous perennials including lupins, dianthus, a couple of grasses, primroses and fox gloves. I was SO fortunate to have this chance because at the govt's daily 5pm briefing we were told that that non-essential shops, including garden centres, had to close after today as well as restaurants, pubs and gyms.
Selection of perennial plants bought just before the lock down started in London, UK, March 2020
Friday 20 March 
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package to support workers as government confirmed further measures to keep people safe

Sat 21 March
Sunny and cold. Did weeding, got rid of lots of cleavers/sticky weeds. Went for 4.5 mile walk in Epping forest - Yates Meadow (steep) and W Essex golf club.  I wasn't wearing my glasses or contact lenses so when we saw a "scare swan" in a pond at the golf club, I thought it was a dead swan. J thought that was hilarious. Govt not happy with the number of people driving to parks and beauty spots.  Fortunately for us Epping Forest is literally on our doorstep so we can walk there, and it's vast so you don't bump into many people.
A four and a half mile ramble for this couple in London during coronavirus
Sun 22 March
Sunny cold. Did a shoot, 2 outfits.  Success shopping in Epping.  Toilet rolls! Had gammon.  Spoke to Mum. Quite cheerful considering

Mon 23 March
Sunny. Another day's holiday. Put new plants in, ironing and then for walk, Yates Meadow. 2 supermarkets locally were stripped bare but managed to get bananas in convenience store. The prime minister announced a nationwide lockdown. It is announced that police will be granted powers within days to enforce the government’s “social distancing” measures.

The government also asked about 1.5million vulnerable people who will likely need hospital treatment to “shield” themselves. This involves voluntarily staying at home for 12 weeks to avoid getting the virus. This is not currently a legal requirement. Fortunately my mum isn't one of them.

Tues 24 March
First day of lockdown.  Did home workout.  Co op had nothing on shelves. Only veg was leeks! Govt announced more measures to help the self-employed.
Bare shelves in the Co-Op after stockpilers strip them bare. London, March 2020
Weds 25 March
Beautiful day. Went for short urban walk.

Thurs 26 March
Went to Waitrose, long queue to get in and we have to stand two metres apart. Took a while to get in but no problem getting what I wanted. Loads toilet rolls! At 8pm we had the first Clap for Carers. I wasn't sure if anyone in our street would turn out, but they all did. It was very moving. Everyone came outside clapping and cheering. I could hear fireworks. It happened all over the UK.

Fri 27 March
Good weather continues.  Did Joe Wick's workout and had 45 min walk.
Sat 25 March
Cold wind. Solo urban walk nearly 4 miles, included the local cemetery. Took some photos of the graves of the infamous Kray brothers (East London criminals) and their mother Violet. Made soup for lunch.
Well tended graves of criminals Ronald and Reginald Kray and their mother Violet in East London
Sun 26 March
Got a blog post ready for tomorrow.  Spoke to Mum.

Mon 27 March
J forgot what day it was and was convinced it was Sunday! The days all merge into one. My brother in Plymouth is off work with what sounds like covid-19. Hardly any testing here so no-one ever knows for sure.

Tues 28 March
My brother and family in isolation. His wife has cold-like symptoms.  It's the first birthday today of granddaughter Rosie.  John cycled round with presents and waved at her in doorway, and she waved at everyone in a series of Skype calls.

Weds 29 March
Busy day with conf calls. My brother not feeling great - heavy feeling across chest.

Thurs 30 March
Tried to find an online retailer who could deliver Easter eggs to my brother's family but Amazon are saying May 12 (which is after Easter) and Cadbury's site, early in the morning, just kept failing time after time. Took some pictures of the new pots of daffodils in the garden. I experiment with new ones each year. Thalia is a very classy white daffodil (Monty Don's favourite). The daffodil at the top of the page is called Actea.

Had the second Clap for Carers at 8pm,. There was less noise from the neighbouring street but more of our immediate neighbours came out.
Narcissus Thalia flowering in London, March 2020
Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #linkupOnTheEdge at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle and #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings

Until next month! Stay safe my friends.



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