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Linda Jackson and her husband Keith have been in lockdown since the end of March and here our lovely volunteer shares her latest diary on how she is coping and what she has learned.

May 2020

Things have changed so much since the first lockdown.  We are facing another with an uncertain future.  One senses that although the population as a whole is seeing the sense of and support the lockdown, people are feeling more anxious and restless.  What is reassuring, though, is the support, kindness and generosity of people towards their neighbours, and the courage of essential workers, especially the  NHS, under the most difficult conditions.

This is how it is affecting my husband and myself.

Diet has improved.   No more frivolous items.  We rely on our lovely Age UK Barnet volunteer and the kindness of neighbours, and try and keep their exposure to the minimum.  Have had some hit and miss meals, but not starving. Husband doesn’t see the need to show an interest in cooking, although he will peel a potato.

Husband and I have different views on organised exercise, and above all breathing exercises.  Odd for an ex-rugby player.  I go for walks round our communal garden, and do FaceTime Pilates, which I love, although I am very stiff.  Shamed husband into a bit of gardening but he fell down some steps onto the lawn.  He developed pain in his knee, arm and neck, and felt quite unwell in himself for a few days.  After chat with GP, seems no harm done.  On the mend, but still feels washed out.  I feel very guilty - no more pep talks on exercise.

Contact Time
After plenty of stress and a few swear words, can now download Apps (free ones), an on-line newspaper for news, comment and mind games, FaceTime and Zoom.  Even help husband with his Zoom meetings.  The reward, of course, is “seeing” family and friends, even my brother in Australia.  Still haven’t been able to get a grocery delivery slot, though.

Spare time
Plenty to do, and I have my plan, but slow to do it, partly due apathy, and also advanced age.    Before he fell, husband did help with the vacuuming, but ignores
cleaning kitchen, bathroom, and above all dusting.  He is good at mending things though, so I suppose we are quits.  Garden, very small, looking quite spruce, and very lush after the rain (too lush).  Have ordered bedding plants from local nursery.  Must cheer ourselves and the street with windows boxes.
Mental exercise.  Husband loves Sudokus, I do crosswords and quizzes.  Would love to do virtual tours of museums and art galleries.  Next online challenge.
Embroidery.  Now remember why I put it aside cor so long - I kept going wrong.   But it will get finished.

First instalment of lockdown diary

Our volunteer Linda Jackson shares her first two weeks of lockdown with her husband Keith.

Self Isolation
Realise that this involves a completely different management of our lives.  Everything has moved so quickly, and I do not think I am sufficiently flexible to cope.  But have made a list of essentials:  Food, Exercise, Family contacts, Spare Time.

Have to rethink meals, as cannot pop out shops any more to get things I have forgotten.  People have been very kind offering to get bits and pieces of shopping, but I haven’t got round to making a list, nor do I want to impose on them.  Actually I find we are all right for basics, but would really like something frivolous like peanut butter, or sauce tartare.

Husband and I have been going out to the park, for our one permitted  walk. The whole world and their child is there studiously maintaining “social distancing”, but some come a little too close, causing momentary panic.  Think we will have to give this up eventually. We are also trying to tackle jobs in the garden, that have been neglected.
Try and do my Pilates exercises, but cannot remember all of them, and I maybe doing them wrong.  Will contact our lovely teacher.

Family contacts
Can manage FaceTime on WhatsApp and laptop. It’s lovely to see them all, but a poor substitute for being with them.  The picture quality is not particularly good, and we all look rather drained.  Have joined various WhatsApp groups, but there is too much information flying around. Can only cope with so much.

Spare time
Housework.  Husband has joined in enthusiastically, commenting on what hasn’t been done previously, polishing furniture and mending bits and pieces.  Doesn’t realise that housework has to be done every week, so may lose interest.
I have dug out some old embroidery have not touched for years.  This is as good as “mindfulness “ as have to concentrate.  Husband has his puzzles from the online Times.

Very tempting to try and keep up with the spread of Covid19.  It is going to spread whether we know every detail or not, so best to keep our minds and bodies occupied as much as possible, and do our bit to manage its spread.  Clapped for the NHS last  night - they are the real heroes!