Ups and Downs – Lockdown, week 2

Sun 29 March – Sat 4 April 2020

Same shit different day

Second week of lockdown and my emotions are still in ups and downs (if you missed it, blog about week one is here). Some days thinking this is OK and I am fine. Then other days realising this is not the normal we have known and feeling down. The latter is simply mourning for the world we had. And that may return though could take a lot of time. Or perhaps we are entering a new normal. 🙁

Safe at home

Totally true that we are safe at home. And my heart goes out to those brilliant people who are keeping everything going whilst we sit on our fat arses. That’s all we’ve got to do – stay at home. And yet for some people this is too much which is sad and a reflection on a world in which instant satisfaction is the key expectation.

3 groups who aren’t social distancing

I am shocked when I pop out for a walk at the number of people who don’t do social distancing. Apart from twats who go out for a picnic or sunbathng, three particular categories seem to stand out.

  • First, dog-walkers who seem to think they are immune and can go wherever they want with their bloody dog and happily get close to each other to chat.
  • Second, blokes who think they’re hard and can be near their work mates ‘cos they ain’t got anything’.
  • Third, MAMILs – Middle Age Men In Lycra; sad old blokes in cycling groups pretending they are training for the Olympics.

Health and Efficiency

Still no jog-run mojo

I still haven’t got my jog-run mojo back which is another part of the ups and downs I’m going through. There’s part of me that says this is not normal so I need to treat it as such. Going for a jog-run feels part of the normal world and so I shouldn’t do it. Also the more you are out then simply the more chance you have of helping to spread the disease.

Daily walk

I am trying to go for a daily walk with Dave. Doesn’t always happen but generally it does. His little flat is in central London so we have the ability to walk around St James Park and Green Park. Sometimes we can even check out the abandoned tourist sites like Buckingham Palace. Our walks are always early morning or late night when less people are around. Often they are finished with a treat of going to a baker that is still open to buy a pastry for breakfast.

The art of home washing without a washing machine

I have been trying to do some exercise in the flat – press ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc. It’s a bit hit and miss but it’s a start. One of my forms of exercising is doing our washing. Dave doesn’t have a washing machine partly due to the small size of his flat. So he takes his washing to the local laundry for a service wash. Obviously that has gone.

The laundrette is still open but it’s tiny so chances of catching something from someone are high. And right opposite it is a big new temporary mortuary. It’s the same place they created a temporary mortuary to deal with the Grenfell bodies. So I am learning the art of handwashing which is particuarly ‘fun’ when it comes to items such as towels, sheets, duvet covers and jeans. Basically it’s bloody hard work. 🙁

Work Life Balance

Normality

Part of the ups and downs is based on trying to carry on work as normal. But then trying to reconcile that things aren’t normal and we don’t know when they will be. I am busy with emails, video conference calls, and phonecalls. Absolutely key is that I’m supporting my team.

Part-time doesn’t work in this context

As I have already identified, working part-time in this environment is very hard and there is a huge blurring of work and personal time which adds to the emotional ups and downs. I will definitely need to take some time off to create space, time when even though I am stuck indoors when I deliberately do nothing related to work (as I did with my headache day the other week). Easter is coming so 4 days of non-work that I must definitely ensure are that.

Books and Reading

‘The Wall’ by John Lanchester

One of the pile of library books I currently have. This got loads of plaudits and that partly took me to it. It is the story of a man guarding the wall that ‘protects’ the UK from refugees after the seas have dramatically risen. It’s bleak and not quite what I was expecting. Basically a survival story. Got better as it progressed though I’m not sure if it’s a book I ‘enjoyed’. Probably better to appreciate in normal times.

Velvet Page

So my LGBTQ book club happened last Thurs evening. On Zoom (what isn’t?) but I didn’t join. I hadn’t read the book we were talking about (‘The Hours’ by Michael Cunningham). Plus I simply couldn’t deal with spending personal time on a video conference call. That’s what I’m doing most of the day for work and it is knackering. In my own time I need to do something different.

Friends and Family

Mum is still OK

Main concern is mum. I continue to phone her twice a day to check she’s OK (still alive LOL). My brother is also keeping an eye on her. She seems fine with lots of the wider family phoning. If anything she’s a bit bored but she will have to get over that. Dave’s mum is pretty much in the same situation ‘up North’.

Art and Culture

I did a subscription to the BFI i-player (£4.99 per month – pretty decent) so I could access their film library. Highly recommended way to get access to some great stuff to watch.

‘Ask Any Buddy’

LGBT rainbow flag

Watched this film that was in Flare this year – the London LGBTQ Film Festival. It’s basically a mix of clips from gay films made 1968-86, many of them porn but based around stories. What it shows is the wonderfully liberated and easy gay life of that time, before AIDS arrived. It really is a film about liberation and freedom – a reminder of what might still be possible after lockdown is over.

Personal Development

Emails

Keeping my head above water regarding work and personal emails. In terms of ups and downs, a definite down is when I feel submerged by emails. It’s important to set time aside to go through and delete as many as possible then action with speed the ones that need a response.

Languages

Continuing with my language learning. Duolingo is my favourite but only really provides bite-size chunks. I’m trying to weave in a five minute lesson through different times of the day. If not then it’s at night before I go to sleep.

The Week Ahead

  • Easter next weekend. My favourite holiday because it’s four days off but how different is this year going to be.
  • My boss is on leave so I’m covering for her next week – I’m the new beloved leader LOL 🙂 Hopefully not too much hassle and no big crisis.
  • Currently reading a novella by Ben Aaronovitch as part of his Rivers of London series which I really enjoy 🙂
  • Will keep in regular touch with mum 🙂
  • Definitely going to watch more films with my BFI subscription – perfect time to catch up on stuff I always intended to watch 🙂
  • Keep on top of emails being ruthless with the delete button if necessary 🙂
  • Carry on with my language learning taking any opportunity to have a little lesson
  • Try and get my daily walk everyday, perhaps a jog-run if I feel like it

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