The Quarantine Diaries, Part 4: Changes, Hopes & Fears

OK, so it’s day 72 of one the UK’s official lockdown (it gives me the shivers to think that some people have been doing it for longer). Well, is it even a lockdown now? After some initially very confusing (and fairly void) instructions from the government, people are slowly (and literally) coming out of their shelves. And with such excellent weather, who can blame them? The consensus seems to be very mixed – while the general idea is to still work from and stay at home as much as possible, many have taken to parks to see their loved ones and celebrate like no one’s watching. In fact it’s clear that here in London parks are going to be the places du jour throughout the summer.

And as for me? Three words: I’m doing OK. Seeing the potential end (or the resurfacing of some form of normality) of this has really helped, but I’m also relieved to have, overall, not cracked throughout this period of weirdness. This is undoubtedly thanks to my friends and family – and to the fact that, essentially, I don’t cope too badly on my own.

Here are some random, but hopefully not too rambley, thoughts and feelings about life lately:

  • There have been plenty of lows, but little highs too. I’ve cooked more, eaten reasonably healthy (shocking, I know) and even pushed myself to exercise at home on a regular basis… not very big deals, but they mean a lot to me. I’ve also developed a worrying addiction to Oreos, done way too much online shopping and had a full-on creative block for the whole of May – like I said, lows.

 

  • Despite the slow changes that the government is applying, not much has changed for me on a daily basis. I am still staying at home for the most part – although about two weeks ago I did get the bus for the first time in two months to pick up some takeaway from my favourite local pub (gotta support the independents during these tough times). I’ve gotten it a few more times ever since, and even though it honestly feels like the most normal thing to do, it’s also pretty nerve-racking. And I’m definitely not ready to get the tube – I hated it before the world turned upside down and now I have a valid reason to avoid it for as long as possible. Can you guess what the thing I miss the least about life before lockdown is?

 

  • The problem with not wanting to get the tube is that seeing friends will be a challenge. I have so far managed to see two, and might try to see some more this week (not to worry peeps, this is all being done in a sensible manner). Sadly none of them live close by, so avoiding buses is not really an option – this really makes me regret not being able to drive and being more confident with my (currently pretty poorly) bike. The lesson to be learned? Get your driver’s license and build up your cycling abilities – you never know when a world pandemic might break out and a car or bicycle could potentially become your only mode of relatively safe transport.

 

  • If there is one thing that has kept me intrigued, fascinated and at times inevitably disappointed, it’s been hearing about people bending, working around and down right cheating the rules of lockdown. My friend summed things up so beautifully that I just have to use her literal words…

London is divided between:

  1. Those who are adhering to the rules
  2. Those who are not adhering to them – and are being unethical about it
  3. Those who are bending the rules slightly, but doing it in a way that does not affect others

While I very much look forward to discovering many more illicit lockdown tales from the public once this is over (although there have already been some very juicy ones published), I am also disgusted and disheartened by those who are in power and have seemingly done whatever they please (Dominic Cummings, anyone?). But then again, like many others, I do love a good British sex sandal – and the revelation of government scientist Neil Ferguson’s affair was horrifically entertaining.

  • I’m still shocked by how quickly this has gone by, and that I have essentially spent a whole season staying at home. I remember thinking that June felt so, so far away – and yet here we are…

 

  • I’m sad I didn’t blog throughout May (my creative levels were just so damn low), but yesterday I caught the whole new month, new goals vibe, feeling slightly energised and instantly more inspired. No idea why or how this happened – was it the combination of the start of a new month falling on a Monday? Summer vibes? Closer to the end of lockdown vibes? Whatever it was, I hope I can extend this creative energy I’ve been feeling throughout the whole of June.

 

  • Apart from the odd breakdown here and there, I feel at peace. It’s strange – I guess I could say I’ve almost become used to this lifestyle. I’m also hopeful; hearing about people going back to work (even if it’s from home) and retailers opening on the 15th of June make me feel like life could get back on track. But alas, the fears are there too. I worry about a second wave. I worry about my career. I worry about not being able to see my parents for a long time. I fear that I’ll come out of this feeling like I really didn’t do enough, that I didn’t use this strange time to do and learn one million things. But then I remind myself that I don’t need to beat myself up, because I’m not all bad.

I could also bang on about how I’m proud I never did the pillow challenge, still don’t get the fascination with puzzles, banana bread or Dalgona coffee, continued to avoid Tik Tok at all costs, refused to watch the film Contagion and am yet to do a FaceTime photo shoot (but am admittedly very intrigued by this). However, I’ll stop here – I count my lucky stars for being in a very privileged position and being (more or less) happy and healthy. And hey, a slight change with the pictures – they’re not really relevant to what I’m saying, but they were taken inside! And yesterday! And they were taken by me! I’ve got to be honest: I’m so pleased they might even be getting their own post soon…

Here’s to the new month, and to the imminent start of a new season – hopefully it’ll be a good (and safe) one.

Pictures taken in my home on the 1st of June 2020.

xxx

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