Apparently we are ahead of the curve; my wife and I have decided to take the initiative and self-isolate before Boris tells us to do so.

The first major life-style change is that I have not started my day by having a brisk walk and collecting the newspaper.  Instead, I have looked a digital version of The Sunday Times.  ‘Looked at’ is a perfect description of what I did, scrolling down as numerous items flashed before me but not actually reading any of them.  I can’t work out why scrolling down is so frantic whereas turning physical pages is measured and calming.  I will try harder.  I phoned the Times to change my subscription to digital only and ask them what they want me to do with my tokens for the paper version taking me up to 7 June.  Dreadful jangly music while I waited in a queue.  Eventually I rang off assuming all the staff must be over 70 and had self-isolated.

Over the past few days, before taking the decision to self-isolate, I have been washing my hands so often that they have become sore.  I need some hand cream.  Boots is only five minutes away but my wife says going out to get hand cream defeats the purpose of self-isolation!  She says that for the time being I can share her hand cream.  A generous offer,  but of course it means we will run out of hand cream sooner than we would have done.  A hand cream crisis looms!

What to do with our rubbish is another problem that will eventually escalade out of control.  We live in a Penthouse on the 4th floor of a block of flats.  Getting rid of rubbish involves:

  • Pressing a virus ridden button to summon the lift
  • Pressing another infected button to open the front door
  • Putting a code into the infected lock on the doors to the bin area (I’d better not tell you the code in case you are a fly tipper)
  • Getting back into the building by opening the front door using a code on the infected keypad
  • Pressing a virus ridden button to take the lift up to the 4th floor
  • Washing my hands for at least 20 seconds and using some more of my wife’s precious hand cream – a scarce resource.

So rubbish disposal, something I have previously taken for granted (well, apart from worrying about recycling and whether I have put things in the correct bins) is suddenly fraught with danger.  We have decide that the answer is self-isolate our rubbish by putting it in black bin liners and storing it outside on our terrace.  Until now the terrace has purely been associated with trivial leisure activities, carpet putting for example, but now, suddenly, it takes on a greater significance; an area to store our rubbish, possibly for months to come.

The afternoon passed happily watching The Cruel Sea on BBC 2.  Made in 1953, black and white, Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, every word crystal clear, no mumbling.  Wonderful.  Note to the BBC; more films like that please for us vulnerable oldies trapped in our homes..  How about showing Kind Hearts and Coronets?

Played a game of Rummikub with my wife (well, I’ve no need to say that because, despite the blurb on the box saying, ‘brings people together’, my wife is the only other person here).  I suffered a terrible defeat, but not as devastating as when I play Scrabble.

Had a slight panic attack when I couldn’t find the key to our front door.  Then I remembered that, since we hadn’t been out all day, it was still in the lock, untouched for virtually 24 hours!  The key, not to mention our front door, must be wondering why we are ignoring them when they are used to numerous comings and goings.

So, our first day, a Sunday, draws to a close.  I think the answer is not to drift but to be businesslike, with a daily ‘to do’ list and a schedule.  I’ll give that a go tomorrow.  Supper now, homemade shepherd’s pie.  Then the first episode of Belgravia to watch.  Hey ho.



  1. Yes I recognise the awareness of all the potentially infected places! We have been practising hygiene for a couple of weeks, aided by some wet wipes provided by son. Now I press the lift buttons with the head of my walking pole, wear gloves outside the flat to open doors etc. When I come in I put my (assigned to ‘dirty’) gloves in my pocket, take off my coat, go into cloakroom and wash my hands thoroughly. But then, I need a wet cloth with washing up liquid soap or a wet wipe to was down the cloakroom doorknob, the walking pole head, the keys I used to open the door with my gloves on, that our now in our ‘clean’ home….. the shopping is put on a hard counter and unwrapped. Which packages need wiping down in addition to milk bottles before going in the fridge?….then the fridge door handle and the hard counter surface need wiping down, the shopping bag should be rinsed out in soap….and of course my hands need washing again. It is actually very difficult to create a really virus-free home!

    However Geoffrey and I have rather enjoyed being on our own , and pottering at home. I am saving the Hilary Mantel Mirrors and the Light book (a very weighty tome) for when I get really stir crazy.

    I don’t see why we should stay indoors if we have no symptoms (fever, cough) as we cannot cath the Covid 19 virus from clean air, only from droplets in sneezes and coughs, or contaminated surfaces in contact with our hands. It’s Spring and the garden and streets have trees and flowers and birds and squirrels and sunshine and wind and make me feel happy.

    Aren’t we lucky to have radio, TV films, books telephones to chat, and emails to text.. keep well.

  2. OOPs. I need an “edit” facility on my comment to correct the misspelling and mistyping. Like the FB three dots? Can you manage that?

  3. So agree Peter about establishing a routine. We are still working on that! Once we have cancelled our French holiday today at least here in Dorset we have beaches and walks where we can get out away from others. My patchwork group, of course now closed, has sent out a whole selection of ideas so might do some of that. I also have an embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry to finish not the whole thing I hasten to add about one metre!
    Thank you so much for your blog we have loved it
    Keep Safe

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