At the beginning of the Covid 19 lock down I was feeling a bit trapped like a caged animal. My last blog some time ago actually resulted in some dear friends offering me help and being concerned for my well being. That was so kind of them and not only shows that some people actually read the rubbish I write about but actually care enough to reach out to me. The others either don’t read my blog or couldn’t give a shit about me. Who knows. Help wasn’t something I needed in the end, it was the willpower to stop eating crap food and stop me gaining weight like it’s a new olympic sport. One that I would win gold for but would be too unfit to actually claim as I couldn’t climb to the top of the podium to collect the medal. Just throw it at my bulbous body!
For me the turn in mental approach came with retail therapy. I became Amazon’s number one customer for things nobody really needs. I’m sure I must have pressed a filter that only shows me items that I’d might like but don’t really need. Chief among these odd purchases was a Fratelli Campana designed umbrella stand. It’s lovely and we all need one of those during a pandemic, right?
I’ve drunk enough tea to sink a battleship and dunked many a digestive biscuit. When I finally managed to get regular online supermarket slots after the panic buying and vast empty shelves, I was able to enjoy learning to cook new things and of course eating them. I’ve made the most amazing triple chocolate brownies and kick arse Yorkshire Puddings. Lamb Kebabs, Burgers and Monkfish Curry’s.
My true saviour in the early days during the cold and miserable days of lockdown was my XBOX One. I finally paid for a game pass to get it online and then bought a selection of games that took my mind off the wider world for a while and of course helping me avoid the potentially infected population outside my home. The highlighted games for me were Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Train Sim World 2020. The first was a bloody amazing game that with a pair of headphones on allowed me to immerse myself in a world where I kill lots of people. A very cathartic experience but don’t worry I won’t be taking this into the real world any time soon, especially as some 14 year old usually kills me in about 2 minutes while I’m still trying to remember how to walk forward. Often it doesn’t need anyone else as I always forget which button throws a hand grenade. Normally resulting in it landing on my feet and me still not knowing how to walk away from it. The second game was a real shock for me how much of a nurd I am. I found nothing more OCD satisfying than bringing in an express train on time to Baden-Baden station. The amount of working from home I needed to do was nil to minimal and this gaming was a welcome distraction but I’m still not bored enough to play Goat Simulator.
I’ve been enjoying Netflix like most people it seems. White Lines has been excellent and I finally caught up with Gavin and Stacey. I know I’m 10 years too late but I just never got around to it, I actually love it and I’m annoyed I didn’t see it the first time around. What surprised me was just how few episodes were actually made and I was able to catch up with everything in a couple of weeks. I’m probably not alone at wanting more. I’ve also past the time with Succession, Killing Eve, Better Call Saul and re-watching Spooks.
The weeks of isolation have also passed with Zoom calls to family and friends, 40 minutes of people talking about my and their lockdown beards, weight gain and new cough. Early on many different groups of friends wanted to do quiz nights that involved doing lots of research on a subject and making the questions so difficult not even a Chaser could answer them. I now realise that not many people wanted to do these catch up calls. Once I stopped asking, nobody else seemed to be bothered either. I still do two regular calls, on a Thursday and a Sunday. The Thursday is a beer and burger call that lasts about 4 or 5 hours and the Sunday one is for a family catch up that lasts no longer than 40 minutes. Both I still look forward to each week and if the clubs and pubs don’t reopen any time soon they will continue for some time yet. On the whole personally I’ve enjoyed the time away from work and that in itself is something to ponder. I’ve spent quality time with my fiancée and although our wedding plans for this year have had to be put on hold we can save for a bit longer and wait until it’s safe to have the wedding we’ve planned. I can speak for both of us when I say, we don’t want our wedding to be remembered for being the one that wiped out both of our families out. We’re not the Mafia!
I can’t say I’m looking forward to being in any crowded places for a while or returning to a crowded work place for that matter. No matter how many risk assessments are done and planned out, how many hygiene stations and one way systems are in place. You can’t plan for dumb. You can’t plan for stupid arrogant people that won’t follow the rules and help to protect front line retail staff and other customers. Before this pandemic hit, most of the time, the public treated retail staff very badly with selfish and aggressive behavior. Now that sort of attitude will put lives at risk and anyone not following the safeguards should be treated as an assault. Companies clearly want to get back to earning profits and I fear they won’t be willing or able to protect against the public’s unpredictable nature. An example of this is a friend that got into a lift with his girlfriend. The signage clearly marked that only 2 people should be in there at any one time and having waited in a line to use the lift, they entered it when the door opened. As they went in a 3rd man jumps in behind them both. When it was pointed out that it’s only 2 people at a time for social distancing, the guy turned to them and said. ‘You’d better leave then!’ The lift door closed and a slanging match ensued but more importantly, that idiot has put them all at risk. Arrogant and selfish behaviour will put lives at risk. It made me so angry hearing this that I’m more and more convinced that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing. When I finished off my last blog 759 people had died from Coronavirus in the UK, 14,543 were confirmed infected including the Prime Minister. Roll on 10 weeks or so and that number has now become 37,837 dead and 269,127 infected just in the UK with America massively out of control and with little or no lock down to contain it. It seems that we have faired better than expected as the Nightingale Hospitals were hardly used and the London hub having a tiny fraction of the 5000 beds actually being used which is great news. Talk now of life returning to a new normal in the UK with shops re-opening again soon, to allow people to do no essential shopping. This all feels a little too soon to be relaxing the lockdown in this way and countries that were ahead of our timeline are already seeing second spikes in infection like China and South Korea. I really hope I’m wrong.
Tonight will potentially be the last clap for carers. The first week was a bit light on support around these parts but the subsequent weeks were much better and a fair few neighbours were clapping and showing support with nobody really knowing when it was time to stop clapping. It was nice to hear local ships sounding their horns and the whole experience actually gave me a bit of hope and pride for humanity. That we can come together and maybe we will be okay. However, I now find myself getting annoyed at those that don’t come out to show support. The NHS and key workers have done an amazing job and one day life may return to normal. The key workers are the best of us. In this world war on Covid 19, they are ‘The New Few’.