The Lockdown Diaries: Week One

The UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced a nation wide three week lockdown on Monday 23rd March. This has restricted the country to one form of exercise per day, and only being allowed to leave the house for essential food shopping and key work.

Schools are closed but remain open for children of emergency workers (NHS staff, emergency services and shop workers), all shops apart from supermarkets are closed. Bars, restaurants, cinemas, museums, galleries and theatres are also closed.

All Image Credits: Drew Diamond

We must remain at least two metres away from each other and all public gatherings of more than two people have been banned or will be broken up by the police. This is not the 2020 I was expecting.

To document these strange and uncertain times, I have decided to write down my weeks of lockdown with my family and my boyfriend. He is temporarily staying with us until everything calms down. How we kept ourselves busy, how we were feeling and maybe as a way to look back and be grateful for the life we have when the pandemic has stopped.

Day One: Sunday 22nd March

Mothering Sunday. Usually I’d wake up with a smile and make my mum a cup of tea whilst giving her her card and present. This year, the shops weren’t open for me to get a gift and online services said a gift wouldn’t be delivered in time. Nevertheless, I gave my mum her card and cup of tea, I sensed she was feeling down due to her fear surrounding coronavirus.

We tried to act as we normally would, phoning my grandparents to wish my Nan’s a happy Mother’s Day and check in with them. Today, Mother’s Day was hardly mentioned, this time we were asking them what supplies they needed or what food they wanted us to buy for them. My grandparents are currently self-isolating for their safety so we decided to go to the supermarkets for them.

We took a quick and quiet trip to Morrison’s, most of the shelves were empty and we witnessed a few of the shop workers receiving abuse from other customers. Our supermarket staff are essential to us right now, the least they deserve is our kindness.

We drove to my grandparents’ house and left the shopping outside for them. They opened the door and we had to stay two metres apart. This was the first time they were meeting my boyfriend and this is not how I pictured it. For their safety, we couldn’t even hug or kiss them both. Being isolated from them is absolutely heartbreaking. The four of us drove home and I shed a few tears in the back seat. This isn’t the Mother’s Day I had in mind.

Day Two: Monday 23rd March

My mum had been told to work from home for her own safety, something which she has never done before. My boyfriend and I had also received text messages telling us that the shops we work at were to be closed temporarily to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Self-isolation boredom began to sink in, I found myself looking through old photo album and looking back on when times were simpler. I remembered how much I’d taken just going to a restaurant for granted only weeks before. I hoped maybe this dystopian time would soon come to an end and normal life could be resumed.

The Swan Shopping Centre, Yardley, Birmingham

I made sure to check in with some of my friends (on social media) and see how they were doing. I had promised myself that just because we’re all in self-isolation, doesn’t mean we need to lose touch with people. We all compared our situations, how much we missed our loved ones, how much we missed each other and talked in disbelief at the current situation we faced. An indefinite amount of time in lockdown, completely cut off from each other with nothing but our families and cabin fever for company.

We ended the day tuning in to Boris Johnson’s 8:30pm statement to address the nation. The message was simple and clear, stay at home unless to buy food, gather medical supplies, essential work or one form of exercise. Help protect the NHS, help to stop the spread of this virus and we will get through this. Our lockdown had just started and I felt nothing but fear and uncertainty.

Day Three: Tuesday 24th March

Our first official day of lockdown. The weather was nice and the sun was out despite all the worry that is going on in the world. We had the door open and had music on for most the day, we learned not to watch the news too much just because it’s so overwhelming. The situation that is our current reality is like something only meant for cinemas. If you’d told me on New Years Day that this is what life would be like in a few weeks I would never have believed it.

I took the time to clean my room (typical behaviour) to pass some time before taking a little bit of time to sit in my back garden and enjoy the sunshine, take in some fresh air and just relax a little bit. My parents were both in all day and we did what we could to remain in high spirits.

None of us had left the house but we made sure to try and keep life as normal as we possibly could. None of this feels normal but the only choice we have is to just make the best out of the worst possible situation. We’re grateful for each other, grateful that all my grandparents are isolating and are safe and not in any danger. I ended my day looking forward to seeing them all again and just hoping that these three weeks won’t drag too much. However, we’re one step closer to a world without a pandemic.

Day Four: Wednesday 25th March

I woke up not really feeling my best today. I was starting to feel bored and struggled to find things to occupy myself. I spent most of my day sat outside in the garden enjoying some of the sunshine. The fresh air brightened my mood for a bit, I had been sat outside away from all the news and bad press. I also decided to stay off social media for most of the day to avoid myself feeling worse.

The best part of my day was Facetiming some of my friends. We’re all spread out across different corners of the UK and all enduring lockdown together but we spent some time together laughing and smiling as if everything was completely normal. All of this is far from normal but I can tell we’re all starting to get used to this, it’s become our version of normal.

Birmingham City centre

After this I felt better enough to start a jigsaw puzzle my boyfriend had bought weeks before. The puzzle was bought to merely occupy us for a day but little did I know how much things would change now. I started my puzzle and smiled knowing I had literally all the time in the world to complete it.

My day ended with me feeling down again, feeling scared and uncertain for the future. I went out for a walk (my one form of daily exercise) with my boyfriend in an effort to clear my head. I couldn’t help but notice how still and quiet everything seemed. No cars, no people there was just nothing. How long are the streets going to be filled with nothing?

Day Five: Thursday 26th March

I woke up and felt nothing but grateful for everything around me. I felt grateful waking up to my boyfriend when I know so many are struggling with the temporary separation from their other half. I felt grateful that my parents are both safe and healthy, isolating at home and working from home until things calm down.

The thing I am most grateful for today, is the NHS and every single emergency worker that is helping to keep the country going in the most difficult time. They are the people that are fighting this virus and seeing it’s impact on us every single day. Without them, we would be in an even worse situation. They deserve more praise than the world can ever give them, they are risking their lives just to ensure that the rest have a chance at survival and we must never lose sight of that.

Yardley, Birmingham

My day was boring, I continued with my jigsaw puzzle, spent a little bit of time sitting in the garden and giving myself some fresh air. The day ended on a poignant and significant moment. Today was the day of the UK’s ‘Clap for our Carers’. At 8pm on this day, the UK stood on their doorsteps or outside their windows and clapped in honour and respect of the NHS and all the hard work they are currently doing tackling the coronavirus.

The clap symbolised more than just respect for the NHS, it’s symbolised hope. Hope that we can beat coronavirus and hope that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Day Six: Friday 27th March

It’s finally Friday. Day four of official lockdown and we still have a long way to go. Cabin fever has begun to take over in my house, we’re all slowly getting more and more bored and having less and less conversations. There just isn’t enough to talk about to fill the day.

I spent most of my day reminiscing at how surreal life is at the moment. Just a few months ago I had my entire summer planned. It was full of new places to explore, visiting friends and making the best memories, now it looks like I won’t get to experience any of that this year.

But we have to stay positive, if I focus on all the negative around me, it’s only going to give me a bad mindset. We just have to keep going taking it one day at a time until all this is over and we’re finally able to experience all the things we’ve been deprived of over the last few weeks.

My boyfriend was growing more and more frustrated at his hair so today was the day he allowed me to cut it. Using clippers and a comb I gave him undoubtedly, the worst hair cut he’ll ever have in his whole life. It did provide some much needed laughs and distractions for a few hours.

My day ended with all four of us sat at the dinner table, having a few drinks and playing stupid games. We laughed and we smiled. For a second it actually feels like this isn’t happening. But it is happening, like the elephant in the room it’s always there and right now, it’s showing no signs of going away.

Day Seven: Saturday 28th March

This is the worst I’ve felt so far during this lockdown. I’ve woken up not feeling very well and feeling suffocated in my own home. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself feeling trapped so I tried to make myself feel as comfortable as I possibly could.

I did absolutely nothing productive with my day. I really wish I could tell you all the productive and creative things I did but I can’t. I just lay in my bed in my comfiest clothes. My boyfriend however, made the genius decision to download Disney+ and we’re both loving it. I’m not sure if we love it because we’re massive Disney fans or because it’s going to give us something to do for a bit. It’s a new thing to occupy us and that is the most excitement we can get at the moment.

We stayed up until the early morning watching Disney and Marvel, eating chocolate and cuddling. I couldn’t help but realise how lucky I was in that moment. So many people are missing their partners right now and facing the uncertainty of not knowing when they’ll be able to see each other again, instead they’ve had to continue their relationship through social media, Facetime and phone calls. I’m fortunate enough to wake up to my boyfriend every day and know that I have his support through all of this, we’ve got each other and I’ll never take that for granted.

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