Week 3 – Sunday 05/04/20

When I was a kid and I had any sort of exams coming up, my bedroom was always spotless. I don’t know if it was stress or procrastination or a way to relax but school exams and college exams always found me tidying up.

Last weekend, we cleaned the flat. Floors were swept and mopped, counters were wiped, the cooker was cleaned, the cooker’s filters were cleaned and walls were wiped. We have less washing piled up than at any time in recent memory!

Hmmm.

A bit of baking this week. Herself is gluten and cow-diary free so we I have to use some alternatives which isn’t ideal. So the lemon drizzle cake didn’t look great but it did taste quite nice. A little longer in the oven next time would probably be good. Then I got my mother’s old crispy cookie recipe and modified that a bit. Much more success though it needs some reduced sugar levels for the next time.

Along with that, we’ve been… well we’ve been drinking. So as I mentioned we got some spirits and have been making some cocktails with mixed results. Can’t really go wrong with tequila, lime and bitters, but the Jameson and ginger didn’t quite work so well. Of course it does not help that we have to use what we’ve got in, going out for some raw ginger really doesn’t seem like an essential piece of travel.

Out to the shops twice this week. One big queue and one small queue. I’ve very much got into the moodset that it’s trips *only* for essentials and so it’s getting extra and getting longer dates and cutting down. So even if it’s just bread/milk/essentials that are needed, coming home with a full shopping bag. Stock up on beer and wine and other odd bits that we’ll always use. Make sure we have as much as possible so that we don’t go out too much. And of course doing this as responsibly as I can and not buying all the eggs I can find. Also making sure that we are stocking up our local food bank too, they have been doing a great job collecting.

Other than that, it’s cabin fever. Some gaming and some movies and then just faffing on the internet. A few group video chats and another virtual pub night last night – they are going pretty well.

Still not managing to read, just lacking the motivation really. I’m going to try setting a routine on my desk’s Alexa and see if that helps, a few small bits I’d like to get on top of.

Some gaming. We had our first, second and then third game of Bites yesterday. A lot of fast fun. Probably need to do a bit more gaming and learn some more of our games.

We should have been in Dublin to see my family this weekend. Adrienne had booked some time off work to get 11 days with college closures and bank holidays. She’s not been able to claw back her days so this week she’s only working Monday. I’ve got a bit to do early in the week and then we may murder each other with no work to distract us.

I’ve been glad we’ve had a garden in recent days, even more so with the turn in the weather here. If it keeps up like this, we’ll be having beers in the backgarden by the end of the week. Doesn’t bode well for the infection rates though seeing the numbers of people in parks or just generally out and about. Ugh.

So yeah, not so much to type about. We are going to order some takeaway and settle in to watch a movie.

It’s going to be a long few months…

Week 2 – Sunday 29/03/20

  • Sunday

A good start to the week, last Sunday morning – just after I finished typing here – I went up to one of our bigger supermarkets. A queue with distance(!) to get in, one in and one our, but lots of stock. So I was able to get us a lot of fresh food and I was able to get a good amount of stuff for the food bank and drop it straight to the collection outside. Felt better after that than I have in a while.

Then once I got home, we created a meal plan. Went through what we have and listed our dinner’s and some lunches for the next week based on dates. Not so bad.

I shared our login details with the neighbours and suggested they add what they like to our online order due middle of the week.

Then faffed. Setup the Xbox in the spare bedroom so we have more usable space and then played some games and watched some stuff.

The Witch. Not as good as I was expecting, I’d had high hopes based on a lot of friends. It was still good .

  • Friday 

Well, we’ve made it through another working week.

A few weeks ago, we saw Hugo Weaving in The Visit at The National Theatre. We had great seats and were at points just a couple of metres away (insert social distancing gag here). On the way out, I laughed at how in moments all I could hear was Agent Smith, just because of Weaving’s accent and pronunciation. At which point Adrienne revealed she had never seen The Matrix.

So we watched The Matrix. It remains one of my favourite movies of all time. I saw it seven nights running when it first came out in the cinema. Then with my very first full-time job pay cheque, I bought a DVD player and a copy of The Matrix (IR£399! from the Virgin Megastore on Aston Quay). I love it and watch it on a semi-regular basis. 

Adrienne did not appreciate it 🙁

I did manage to get a Nintendo Switch after a bit of a false start so that’s brought some fun and we hooked it up to the TV and started some Mario Kart racing which was a lot of fun. 

We got a huge delivery from Sainsburys on Wednesday which was really good. As I mentioned, we shared our login details with the neighbours (terrible practice, don’t do this generally) and so once we arrived we did some sorting and then delivered to their doorstep. Annoyingly – but rightly given, I assume, staff priorities – we get none of the booze we had ordered… except for the pack of beer I’d ordered which then turned out to be non-alcoholic! Talk about kicking a man while he is down…

Trying to stay in as much as possible. A walk, combined with a trip to the shops at most. Pretty impressed by how much our local shops have stocked back up. Trouble getting eggs but that’s been about it.

We sorted our fridge and updated our a meal plan based on dates of everything. That’s us set until the middle of next week and fingers crossed we’ll be able to restock up.

I normally cook and she does the washing up after so that’s working out okay. Just a bit of a pain when dates determine dinner rather than just opening the fridge and see what we fancy. But it’s working well and cuts down on wastage. It also means that we can track what we have and cuts down on non-essential trips.

Getting into the swing of more video calls and a virtual pub on Thursday night worked reasonably well. We’ve a plan to do three a week so that’ll be good. A bit more random catching up and more group chats so that’s all good.

I watched some movies. Bloodshot was terrible and badly made. The Invisible Man was quite good. I’m really liking the more thriller than horror that Blumhouse put out and I keep an eye out for their movies these days.

I do need to do more reading, going to try and focus on that a little more.

  • Saturday.

Yeah, some cabin fever for sure. Low levels but constant low levels.

I installed the free to play weekend of Cities: Skylines and promptly played seven hours… so that’s um both good and not good. I’m uninstalling it now as feck that, I need a time sink but not quite like that!

Work stuff seems to have settled, I just got what I need to really dive into something so that’s good. Leaves me with a plan for this week.

We went for an early afternoon walk and dropped a bunch of stuff off to the local foodbank and then joined the queue at the shops to get some milk. The shelves were pretty well stocked and a standard one in, one out policy. So a short wait but we got all we needed … and a bunch of booze.

So that’s where we are. It’s also at the point where my Alexa has just said

For Dave. A shipment is arriving today including tequila.

I think that sums it up better than anything I could type.

Week 1 – Sunday 22/03/20

With all that’s going on, I thought I’d keep a little record for myself (here for now but I’ll resurect my domain later) of how things are going here, my own version of the apocalypse diary that I’ve seen a number of you going for.

So I’m going to aim to write a bit on Sundays looking back on the past week.

Sunday 22/02/20

Week 1.

Well, that was a week. Our panic stations started a bit early, having been paying attention to the news for sometime, I knew this was coming, I didn’t know when and I didn’t know how serious it would be but I didn’t think it would be minor.

So when we had Adrienne’s mother flying in from NZ for two weeks… there was definite concern. It was a case of both good and bad timing. Good in that she was able to get here and see family a few times and bad in that it was just as travel started to fall apart all over the world. Stress levels elevated all around and fear of getting stranded here or worse in transit somewhere. However a short trip to the airline desk at Heathrow and they got her back to New Zealand a week early for a very small charge (with the fee waived for changes). That was good. That was good for everyone. It meant that on Monday herself and Adrienne were able to go and see Doug and then she went to the airport and made it home. A long but uneventful journey. On landing, she was just in time for New Zealand’s two week mandatory self-isolation to kick in .. so she’s in that now.

We are not allowed to see Doug, the care home has restricted all visitors. So that’s going to be a bit of a pain, talking with a bunch of people about upping their WhatsApp and online contact and doing some video calling. That’s about all we can do for the time being.

On Monday afternoon, like many of the rest of you, we watched the first daily press conference from Boris Johnson. That evening we were due to take Doug to see Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan with a Q&A from William Shatner afterwards. We had already decided not to go as we couldn’t place Doug at risk, plus I really feel we have a duty of care to the other residents of his care home so that really ruled it out. The event went ahead despite the announcements by the government. So far, Ticketmaster are refusing to provide a refund but they have really hacked me off and as it turns out I now have a lot of spare time so I intend to keep at them, I’ll go through the credit card company and various Ombudsmen too if needs be.

Tuesday was the first day of the new world. Adrienne began working from home. I’m use to that, I have a little desk setup in our spare room and work in there most days, when I have the work to do. Laptop on the couch in the living room wasn’t really working for her. So we went to our local second-hand office store, about a 10 minute walk away and bought a proper chair. Wheeled it back home and then setup our dinner table and made a working desk for her. Much improved. The week continued like that.

Her job are are all WFH and making no changes to pay/hours etc so that’s good. She’s okay and secure. I’m a self-employed contractor and that’s less good. I have some things to do and I have a contract for over the next ~5 months or so but I’m working in health research and the people around me are all able to help in the current crisis so a redirect of their time. I hope I can pick up some of the slack and that’ll keep me working and that’s certainly the talks we’ve had so far but who knows what the world will look like in a few weeks, so some underlying concern about rent and bills. Ugh.

Food wise, well as I say, I knew this was coming. There was some guidance to prepare to stay at home for 14 days, so we got prepared for that. Our fridge and freezer and many of our presses are full. There’s a lot about stockpiling and that on social media these days and quite a bit of it hacks me off really. First, as mentioned there was the advice to be prepared and then second, we’ve gone from maybe having an average of 25 meals at home a week having 42 meals at home each week, we *had* to have more food in. So I have enough food to feed 3, in case her mother was stuck here, for 2 weeks – the time we were originally advised for. The only thing I feel bad about is that I have a crazy amount of toilet paper… because Amazon had a crazy offer and I ordered it – but I’d have ordered it at that price any day of any year! Can’t let a bargain like that go!

We have our standard Sainsbury’s home delivery scheduled for Wednesday I would cancel it if I *knew* the slot would go to someone who needs it rather than just popping back up online. So we’ve decided that we’ll take it, get what we need but also add a bunch of things that we don’t need and simply drop them to the food bank a short time after.

Obviously all of our theatre and gigs and stuff has been cancelled. That’s okay. It means a number of refunds coming back into my account. We have donated the cost of some of our tickets to smaller theatres that we are particular fans of and in some cases we’ve happily accepted vouchers/credit notes and we’ll see how that goes. My one spend in light of getting a bunch of money back has been to order a Nintendo Switch so I’ll be hitting you up for friend codes soon enough.

Other than that, we have Netflix and Amazon Prime and around 500 movies on blu-ray, so we are working through back-logs. Today we are going to move the XBox into the spare room with the TV from our bedroom so that we have two rooms with console/blu-ray/tv and so we can sit comfortably together or apart and watch or play stuff. We are coming up with loose plans and hoping to formalise a little timetable. 3 movie nights, one my choice, one her choice and then foreign movie night, catchup on all those things with subtitles that we never got around to.

Handily, board gaming can and does continue! This week has seen more Isle of Cats which we love and then yesterday we learnt how to play De Vulgari Eloquentia but unfortunately neither of us enjoyed it at all. Today we are going back to an old favourite, The Castles of Burgundy – and over the coming weeks we’ll revisit some more old favourites while also opening some new stuff we have stored away and learning new games.

Socially, well a couple of things. Some WhatsApp groups, some big and some small, some local and some global. Just a place to be able to reach out to some people and have a bit of random chat. Working quite well so far. Then a friend setup a random video hangouts and that worked really well so we might look at doing that a bit more often. Gaming of course, parties on PSN, Xbox and soon Switch. Some chatting and some random gaming. Always a good thing.

And finally, what are we doing to help.

Well we’ve joined up our local organising group and aim to be available to help neighbours. As soon as I finish writing this I’m off to do a drop-off at the local food bank. We’ve decided that at least twice a week we are going to take the money we’d normally have spent on theatre/dinner out and order dinner in. A combination of our local take-aways but also our local restaurants who have moved to take away, we’d like to support them and that seems like a good option for us and for them. Shopping in local shops alongside the larger supermarkets – and making damn sure to keep up distancing while we do it! The biggest thing is also the easiest thing. Staying the fuck at home otherwise!

Oh, the real finally. Place bets on when we murder each other? A lot of people have plumped for this coming Thursday

Adrienne has just read this before I post.

She’s asked me to edit some things “That’s how you talk, that’s not grammar”

HOW VERY FUCKING RUDE!!! Who picked today in the murder pool, you might be on to something!