And so it continues – 2 weeks of shielding – 31st March

So much has happened and not happened since I blogged last Wednesday and as today is sort of a milestone (the end of the month) I thought I’d better put finger to keyboard and log events. In our familial universe, the make-shift gym has been supplemented by the acquisition of a borrowed bench press and weights which one of Harry’s friends left outside his house and Harry brought back home (as his daily exercise) then disinfected. They now live on the patio outside the hobbit house under three makeshift tarpaulins weighted down with the humongous rocks Harry gathered for his first, more make-do-and-mend home gym construction. Harry comes up every afternoon and blasts out rap music whilst working up a sweat. On Sunday George and Paulina joined in, working on their shoulders whilst listening to the music. Unfortunately George, who unlike his brother, is not a keep fit fanatic, badly pulled a muscle which sort of popped out of his shoulder at the back and sent a pain right down his arm. He was on pain killers all night and unable to work from home in the morning (yesterday) and had to (at the worst time ever) call the doctors. The line was dead at first, then just rang and rang and rang, then eventually a very hassled-sounding receptionist said they don’t do face-to-face consultations any more and that a doctor would call back. When the doctor did call back he diagnosed a damaged muscle and a trapped nerve and told George to call in at the surgery for an unfit-to-work letter and some codeine. George duly did this but is still in quite alot of pain and unable to tap at his computer and/or hold his phone. Is there a moral in this? Not sure, but keep safe peeps whilst you’re taking your exercise. Accidents still happen even in lockdown and the last thing we need is to stress out the health providers any more than they already are.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family poodle on in new normal, Harry doing uni work, Nick working on his website, Paulina cooking and shopping (she made us all some brilliant custard slices from scratch with puff pasty) and me beavering away in the self-shielding hobbit hole. My colleague, and head of hobbit hole security has been working at keeping me company and staring very, very hard (every time I eat something mostly. ) Her gimlet gaze is captured on this photo taken a couple of weeks ago in Llan-on. I swear that pug can well-up on demand. She’s like the Olivia Coleman of the canine world.

In the big outside, the Prime Minister and most of his fighting-the-covid-19-team have caught the bug and are (we are lead to believe) not very poorly at home and still running the country, also Prince Charles has had the bug too and is now feeling miles better having passed it no-one of any great importance so far as we know, I.e. the Queen and Prince Phillip.

Bucking the mild-symptom trend amongst the rich and powerful, thousands continue to die world-wide and the first frontline NHS worker in the UK died having caught the disease in the line of duty. Huge sympathy and respect to his friends and family, and to the NHS workers who are out there everyday struggling to keep people alive.

Last Thursday the UK went outside their closed front doors to give a round of applause to NHS workers everywhere to express gratitude and appreciation. I ventured into the thick blackness outside my hobbit hole feeling a bit daft and sad all by my lonesome, but both my dead mothers were nurses and would, had they been still alive and in good health, been working tirelessly to save lives so, bang on 8 I started clapping, and it was so moving. Our silent village burst into a wall of resounding applause, then whooping. I’ve lived here over 20 years and I’ve never heard anyone whooping before but it was really brilliant. I whooped a bit myself for a couple of minutes, then went back indoors where I wept a little in gratitude and because I didn’t feel quite so alone, like I was part of a community that really gave a shit and was prepared to do unprecedented whooping to prove it.

It really makes you think this crisis. About society’s keys workers on whom everything depends: nurses, doctors, shop workers, post people, bin emptiers, cleaners, delivery drivers – they are amongst some of the worst paid workers in society and yet it is them that keeps the world turning and who are keeping our society ticking along. I truly hope the captains of industry and the politicians remember that when this is all over and pay them well enough to live comfortably, and in term of the healthcare workers give them the proper equipment they need to do their invaluable work.

But enough of this semonising, now the schools and unis are closed and non essential workers are working at home or on hiatus, now lockdown is being observed by most of the population who now only leave home for short walks and essential shopping, the government have started to level with us that the lock down will not be short. The PM has snail mailed us all a letter apparently though we haven’t got ours yet, but on yesterday’s daily covid-19 news update (which is apparently getting huge viewing figures as the nation tunes in each day to get the latest), they started to tell us we may well be inside for a good six months if not longer. It seems almost impossible to think forward to September, but it will come, eventually. September is my busiest month family and friends birthday wise. The sixteenth of September is a birthday shared by my sis, and good mate Crispy Jowett as well as my husband’s best mate Al. The 15th is my mate Hel’s birthday and the 6th is Harry’s and the 13th is shared by my 85 year-old mum in law and my 84 year-old dad. I can’t help but wonder how we’ll celebrate all these birthdays this year. Times are so strange and uncertain. The picture above is of Hel’s 50th and Harry’s 10th shared birthday tea round our big table in the place we had it before we had a proper kitchen. Makes you wonder when we’ll all be able to get together like that again. Maybe this September if we’re lucky. Only time will tell.

On the writing front, I’m doing this https://www.arvon.org/5-day-short-story-challenge-introduction/ which is free and really good fun so far, if you fancy joining in. Yesterday I followed the prompt instructions and wrote something so weird, it even weird for me. Not sure what we’ll all be doing today but looking forward to it if yesterday’s exercise is anything to go by.

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