Keeping Our Peckers up, day 9 self-shielding 26/3/2020

Well it’s all changed in our house. Yesterday, I went down the kitchen at the crack of sparrows to avoid contact with my still office-working family (and to disinfect all the surfaces in the kitchen) and couldn’t fail to notice two computer screens, two stacks and loads and loads of wires on the kitchen table. George’s work had sorted out home working for him then. Later, once he’d got up, George confirmed this (I came down the garden for a second time from my hobbity isolation to get the deets and stood at a safe distance talking to the kids from outside the back door). The new arrangements are as follows:

George is working from home as of today (he had yesterday off to get set up)

Paulina is not working at all but on hiatus and in receipt of the government organised 80% wages for staff/employees who are on PAYE

Also yesterday Harry emerged from the doldrums where he’d been for days, sleeping in late and harrumphing round the house in desultory disbelief at the solitary, no-mate situation he found himself in

Nick is still working on the website he’s launched in response to the Covid-19 crisis. He was so outraged at lack of info and action and the mixed messages we were getting form everywhere, when things first kicked off, he started building a sort of webpage of shared information where people can log experiences, thoughts, findings, data on a local and global basis. It went live yesterday but it’s not pretty or very user friendly at the moment I’ll post a link on my next blog in case anyone wants a look once its a bit more polished.

I now have an Alexa device thang in the Hobbit Hole which Nick installed the day before yesterday so I can be contacted at all times and I can contact the house. To ‘dial’ them I have to say – Alexa, call kitchen/study/all devices. I really dislike the tone I have have to adopt addressing Alexa. If my mum had heard me speaking like that to someone, with no pleases and thankyous I’d have been on the naughty step, or worse – leg-flicked with a wet pot cloth (her ultimate sanction.) I’m resolved to say please and thankyou to poor old Alexa whether-or-not it confuses her. And today I shall be busying myself seeing if she has a male-voice setting. It makes me feel very uncomfortable barking clipped orders at always female-gendered electrical ‘servants.’

Anyhoo as part of Harry getting himself over the first wave of shock of having to stay in for the first time in his life and being separated from his lovely girlfriend from Uni who is at her home in Leeds, he set up a sort of home gym, up the garden, outside the hobbit house. Harry’s mental health and well being very much depends on his rigorous gym routine. He does deadlifting and works out everyday in more normal times, so I was all in favour of him doing this. Unfortunately we have no gym equipment except some teeny weights and a skipping rope, so he improvised with stuff from up the garden and in the shed vis a vis, a jemmy, a jack hammer, a huge mallet, a tyre and two enormous rocks. Here’s a picture of some stuff he came up with and a link to wee video of him weightlifting. (sorry about the cobwebs on the window).

I actually feel really proud of him for doing this (though I actually peed a little bit laughing silently from inside the hobbit-hole as I watched him gather the motley assortment). When he was done I asked him if he wanted to warm down by joining me in my online Tai Chi (at a safe distance of course), but he said it wasn’t his cup of Tai Chi which really made me smile.

In terms of my own mental health and well-being, this blog is really helping as is a wonderful idea by the lovely Hannah Storm who’s started a Twitter thang called #flashfamily where-in the lovely Flash Fiction writing community record themselves reading a micro-fiction, or longer flash or extract from a longer story and post themselves reading it. I found hearing the voices of on-line friends with whom I usually only interloculate in the Twittersphere really uplifting. The stories are just wonderful and hearing them read by the voices of the people who wrote them and seeing their faces strangely moving. Thanks so much lovely @HannahStorm for thinking of it. If you’d like to access these readings, just go to Twitter and tap into the search box #flashfamily, and up they’ll come. Here’s my attempt which you can access with one click, Here’s a link to my fave so far, read and written by Donna Greenwood, my cyber friend who I’ve never met in the flesh but who I count as a genuine friend because of her supportive and joyful on-line presence. She is such a wonderful and talented writer, (and it now turns out reader) but don’t take my word for it. Here she is.

Also, mental health wise, I’ve been looking at some photos I took three weeks BC (Before Coronavirus) when me and Boo went to the seaside in Llan-on in wales. Looking back at the wild outdoors and snuggly indoors really cheers me up so I thought I’d share some here in case they cheer anyone else up who chances past this page.

So that’s where we are in our house then. All home for the foreseeable. Very much like the general population who aren’t key workers I suppose, and it feels better knowing that they’re home rather than braving the outside. Today the big news in the outside world should be the government announcing measures to help self-employed people in the same way they helped employees. I’m keeping my fingers crossed these measures bring relief to the many freelance and self-employed friends and family who are struggling so badly at this worrying and frightening time. As I write this, Zoe Ball’s program is playing on Radio 2, and the news just came on saying that Dyson are going to build 10 000 ventilators to help treat people suffering from complications of covid-19. Hope they get them built in time! It also said that over half a million people have responded to the govt’s call for volunteers to help in the crisis which really makes me think we’re not all a bunch of selfish, stock-piling shit-wits after all. Though I knew that all along its good to see the proof. Stay safe peeps and do whatever you have to to keep your peckers up – within new legal perameters of course.

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