In 2020 there was an outbreak of 'flu. It started in China, and by March 2020 the WHO labelled it a pandemic.

The UK government's response was to restrict people's activities in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. These policies meant many people, myself included, were unable to go to work.

I decided I should spend some of my spare time writing this journal. There will be no theme to individual entries; just whatever I feel like writing. The images are (with a few obvious exceptions) taken within a half mile radius of our house.

Thursday was the busiest day I have had since we hid ourselves away from the plague.

I started the day with a game of "Conditioning bingo". It's difficult to describe, but each bingo ball describes a conditioning exercise rather than a number, and the bingo card contains those exercises. The winner was the first to get a row of exercises.The game was, of course, played during an online video conference.

A shopping trip is something I would never have thought to comment on before, but now there is always an interesting observation. The 2 metre lines fixed to the ground at Sainsbury's have been there so long, and seen so much foot-fall, they have begun to fade. This is in contrast to the brand new markings outside the schools that have never been touched. This week's out of stock items: grease proof paper, tinned fish, long life orange juice, vinegar, 1.5kg flour bags. Sainsbury's have begun to sell a 16kg sack of plain flour for £10. I am not sure how I can store such a volume.

The wearing of masks in public places is becoming more common. Indeed it will be obligatory on public transport and places where social distancing is not possible. I came across a young couple with a young child in the supermarket. Both parents wore masks but the young child did not. I do not understand why they one of them didn't stay outside the shop with the child if they were worried enough to be wearing a mask.

After lunch I went to give blood, the sixtieth time I had done so. This process has changed in many ways over the years I have been donating. I wore a mask throughout (apart from when I was drinking water from the disposable cup presented to me on my arrival). The chairs and donating stations were all 2 metres from each other. The waiting area looked as though it was designed to prevent a group of naughty school boys communicating with one another as they waited to see the headmaster.

From there I walked down to the sea front and sat on the grass with a couple of friends. We only talked, and that was mostly to do with the virus. We were there for well over an hour.

There was nothing special in the day; but I have not done these things for so long. I have become used to doing one thing per day. Multiple things that needed me to get from one thing to another is a strange idea.

We missed another wedding on Saturday. The weather was not so good this weekend, so we had a posh meal and with a bottle of champagne.

We have been keeping a "social distance" of 2 metres from everyone for months. Now the government are considering reducing that distance to 1 metre. I suspect the change has been bought about to encourage schools to restart, rather than taking into account any safety information. There are many opinions around the world on this raging from 1 metre to 2 metre. The Australian's have opted for a distance of 1.5m, enough for an adult kangaroo. Sign makers are going to make loads of money. UK businesses have been buying 2 metre signs to put up everywhere. The reduced distance will also make the queues shorter. I guess they'll have to paint more "wait here" signs on the pavement outside the schools as well. 

People living alone are now allowed to stay overnight (or have people staying with them overnight). This is a new care bubble.

Brexit issues are beginning to re-emerge from the rubble of the virus. Businesses are saying we can not leave with no deal; all the reserves have been used up during this crisis, there's no room for another. The shortages witnessed during March are nothing compared to what will happen at Christmas.

The allotment is producing more now. We are eating strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, potatoes, pak-choi.

There was a "village do" on Saturday.

The pub was open! "Open" means you could go to the front door and ask for lager or bitter. This was served in a disposable cup, which you (obviously) took away with you. Hil and I took our own glasses; an attempt to reduce the amount of rubbish we are all creating.The beer cost £3 a pint, he said it was cheap as there are no labour costs.

A catering van was serving crêpes in the local car-park for lunch-time. The savoury choices were basically ham, cheese, mushroom and garlic. There was a huge demand and they had run out of eggs and other choices. We waited in the queue for an hour to get served. 

It was another glorious day. The weather has been the saviour of this lock-down period. We sat in the garden until late in the evening listening to music.

Non-essential shops were allowed to open on Monday (so long as they were able to comply with the rules). There were queues outside some of them hours before they opened. People just can't wait to get back in there. Me? My enthusiasm for queueing expired many weeks ago.

We are still breaking machinery. The kitchen stick-blender has been making strange noises for a while. It finally gave up. Amazon is on call again.

I notice I have been running Zoom gymnastics sessions for over 2 months now. I have 24 session plans saved, each of them different.

We must take time to remember the things we have enjoyed during this period:

  • Making the garden nice, and having time to enjoy it
  • Time spent with each other, including free weekends