On Thursday lunchtime I attended the last face to face network meeting – in a riverside pub: goats' cheese, fig and candied walnut salad. It was utterly delicious. We were all conscious that this was the last meal we would eat out for some time.
Thursday evening my elder daughter came home from her shift at the restaurant where she works (worked) part time. She came bearing her share of the kitchen: two dozen eggs, a bushel of salad, a cheesecake, two punnets of mushrooms and more goats' cheese; the restaurant had shut its doors indefinitely. We were grateful for the food.
Friday was the last day at school, the last day ever for my elder daughter – she will get de facto A levels, without sitting the exams.
Saturday - gyms and swimming pools closed. My younger daughter lost her Sunday job teaching toddlers to swim.
Sunday was Mothering Sunday and my mother texted that she would not be coming to Sunday lunch after all - my brother and sister were uneasy. I cooked as usual and we took a plate to her, with a card and a potted orchid. I handed the plate through the door and my family waved through the window. In the afternoon we went for a walk along the river-bank – only to discover that every family in our town had the same idea! We managed to maintain social distancing – just – but the group of youths holding a barbeque in the meadow had no such inhibitions.
On Monday, my husband worked from home, and, in the evening, we listened as our Prime Minister announced the kind of restrictions we never thought to face in peacetime.
Everything is shutting down.
On the other side of my life – the professional side, I have colleagues and networking friends bombarding me with suggestions and help and innovations and advice as to how they are moving their business online and how I can do the same. Suddenly I have a thousand tasks in marketing and developing online courses and programmes for my business and my fitness and my mental health. I am overwhelmed.
I want to scream, "Just let me draw breath!" but then they think I have the virus too!
The threat is real and it's getting closer. A family friend, a man the same age as I, a runner and fit as a fiddle, is now in Intensive Care with Covid 19. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.
I will listen to the wise words of my friend Raz. His town in Northern Italy was the first to go into lockdown.
"Do not overthink," he said. "Do not panic.
"This is your new normal; settle into it. Create a routine. Set yourself boundaries: of time: of work, of interaction with your family. Give yourself time alone."
So, that's what I'm doing.
Take a deep breath, Mary; you've got this.
Stay home. Stay Safe. Save lives.
A Moodscope member.