First of all, I hope you and yours are all well and safe, during this bizarre and scary time.
During the past few days on social media, I’ve noticed that many people are creating art, running creative classes and writing stories to keep our spirits up. I think this is a terrific idea, so thought I’d attempt a little story of my own. My mission is to hopefully raise a chuckle or maybe even two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as worried as everyone else about this situation, and have spent more time crying than not. BUT, writing this little fictional (maybe a bit semi-autobiographical) diary, has kept my mind off what’s going on in the world right now, and I hope it keeps your mind occupied for a few minutes at least.
Writing ‘Tales from Isolation House’ took far longer than expected, so it’s just the one for now. But… I might add more when I feel inspired. 🙂
Stay safe everybody, and remember – whatever happens, we are in this together. This too will pass, and we’ll come out the other side soon.
Until next time,
Tales from Isolation House – Day One
7.55 am – Wave disgruntled teen daughter off to school. She’s half-way down the road and I can still hear her complaining about the government’s refusal to close schools temporarily. I turn up the telly and watch an interview with my new life guru – Dr Hillary.
9 am – It is now 24 hours since I left the house. I look back fondly at yesterday’s trip to Wilkinson’s, when I bought shampoo and some multi-vitamins. Happy memories indeed.
9.20 am – Great excitement. The security camera announces a visitor. Betty the bichon throws herself at the door, until a leaflet for PVC windows plops onto the mat. We both eye it with suspicion and wonder if we need to wear gloves to pop it into the recycling.
9.30 am – I’m still in my ‘Home Alone’ pyjamas, since there’s no hope of going out today. Spend 6 minutes wondering if I should just stay like this all day, but then worry that the postman might get scared if he delivers a parcel. I get dressed, but postie doesn’t call.
9.50 am – My 70-year-old self-isolating parents, message to say they’re taking a nice walk around the garden. I fear they are really checking the fence for exit routes.
10.01 am – Stumble upon an American reality star doing a live Instagram broadcast. I watch for 13 minutes before realising I have no idea who this person is, or why I’m watching in the first place.
10.30 am – Hubby messages to say he is remote working from now on, and will soon be home. I wonder whether to wash the breakfast dishes before his arrival, but then get sucked into a YouTube video of a lady in Asda, ranting about loo roll.
10.56 am – Realise I’ve forgotten to wash the dishes. They can just wait until the lunch ones join them.
11.34 am – Hubby arrives home. He is clutching a bag of flour and a box of veggie sausages. We are blessed.
11.46 am – Hubby takes over the living room with his work paraphernalia. I wonder how I’m going to watch the end of ‘This Morning’, in such a stressful office environment.
12.00 pm – Lunch. Super Noodles. Peri Peri flavour.
12.10 pm – My new colleague leaves the toilet seat up, and I accidentally fall into the bowl. I feel a strongly worded email to HR coming on.
12.30 pm – Hubby’s laptop decides to download the biggest update ever seen to man. Lots of swearing ensues. It encourages me to wash the breakfast and lunch dishes. Feel like a domestic goddess afterwards.
1.10 pm – I go onto Twitter, and discover that teen daughter has turned into the Greta Thunberg of temporary school closures. Her latest tweet demands an extra two-week holiday, and has been liked 263 times. I suspect at least one of those likes is by a teacher.
1.15 pm – Receive text from school. Think it’s about daughter staging a walkout, but it’s just a letter about sports fixtures. I accidentally delete without reading, then spend the next 30 minutes wondering what it said.
1.45 pm – Decide to clean out teen daughter’s closet and find an age 5-6 ‘My Little Pony’ t-shirt. I need to do these jobs more regularly.
2.00 pm – Hubby cranks up a 2007 laptop that he found under the stairs. It too begins a huge update and then locks him out completely. Lots of swearing again. I make a cup of tea and wonder if we have enough teabags to survive isolation. Contemplate reusing them, but then abandon plan when one falls on the floor and Betty eats it.
2.08 pm – Favourite niece messages to say she doesn’t have to go into school for the next few weeks. I wonder how much I have to pay her to keep this information from teen daughter.
2.13 pm – A big pigeon scowls at me from the fence, because his treats have run out. I try explaining about isolation but he gets bored and flies away. Can’t help noticing the gigantic poop he leaves on the picnic chair.
2.30 pm – Hubby drags out an ancient MacBook and unbelievably, it connects to the remote viewer. The text is so small he has to sit one inch from the screen, but Hubby assures me that’s fine. I give him a celebratory slap on the bottom, but he claims sexual harassment in the workplace.
2.46 pm – My self-isolating parents, message to say they’re doing a spot of gardening. I surmise that they’re actually digging an escape tunnel. Try to hack into their security cameras, and then realise I’m not technically minded. Decide to confiscate all shovels and digging implements, when I get out of my isolation.
3.15 pm – Try to look busy so that Hubby doesn’t think I’m a slacker. I tell him I’m sending an email to my publisher, but in reality, I’m watching a YouTube video of a long-haired guinea pig called Burt.
3.35 pm – Teenage daughter arrives home from school. According to her, she was the only kid in the entire place, so I tell her that’s good for social distancing. She gives me ‘the look’ and I make a mental note to check if she’s tweeting about me, later.
4.03 pm – I spot a spider on the window. I can’t handle isolating with him, too, so I open the window and let him take his chances.
4.14 pm – My self-isolating parents, Facetime me from their conservatory. I spend the next 12 minutes wondering if they’re actually in front of a green screen, having completed the escape tunnel.
4.32 pm – Inspired by videos of Italians singing on their balconies, I open the window and try to start a rousing chorus of Madonna’s ‘Vogue.’ Betty barks because I’m waving my hands out of the window; Hubby complains about the draft, and the entire neighbourhood ignores me. Plan aborted until a more convenient time.
5.00 pm – I eat the last bit of Cadbury’s salted caramel chocolate, because I have no idea if we’ll ever be able to buy another.
5.02 pm – Hubby looks for the chocolate. I tell him he must have eaten it earlier, and he accepts my explanation.
5.22 pm – Turn on the telly, just in time for Boris to announce school closures. Teen daughter cheers, until she realises that they’re closed indefinitely. We both cry hysterically.
5.30 pm – A lady on ‘Come Dine With Me’, has a coughing fit. I freak out but then remember she’s behind the TV glass, so I’m quite safe.
5.45 pm – Dinner… Chilli… From a tin. These are anxious times.
6.00 pm – Hubby asks what the Sky box is recording. I tell him it’s an author documentary on Sky Arts. In reality it’s ‘Four in a Bed’ on Channel 4+1.
6.34 pm – Secretly turn the heating up… Overhear complaints from Hubby that this house is like an oven, and it’s surely cooler in the desert. I don’t think he’s ever been in an oven or a desert, so not sure how he knows.
7.13 pm – I have a long shower, and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ 38 times while washing.
8.00 pm – ‘Location, Location, Location’ has been cancelled because of a Corona news update. Will have to tune in next week to watch a part-time umbrella seller and his wife, buy a £850,000 pad in the country.
8.13 pm – Raid the cupboard for cake. Find a Tesco own-brand chocolate roll, three months out of date. Open it anyway, but the bloody thing disintegrates and I end up fighting Betty for the crumbs.
8.34 pm – Check today’s bank balance. Money spent in Wagamama – zero. Money spent on Kindle 99p deals – £49.50.
9.01 pm – Count my vitamins. I have enough to last until 27 November.
10.00 pm – Bed. I lie awake and worry that I have a fever, but realise it’s just a hot flush, brought on by my fleecy jammies.
10.13 pm – I can’t sleep. I can’t get ‘Happy Birthday’ out of my head.
To be continued…