I had got into quite a comfortable routine with the news. Every afternoon I settled down to the latest daily briefing, consisting of a Press Conference with Boris, (looking more and more knackered and flustered) flanked by his medical and science bods. I quite like Chris Whitty, although I do find him staring out of the TV at us all in the Government information films a little disturbing (couldn’t we have a warning first so that we can switch off if small children are present?). He seems like a friendly sort of doctor and quite pragmatic. Not so sure about Patrick Vallance. I think he would prefer to have a few graphs with him, so he has something to point at.
I do find it at least a little reassuring that they are talking to us and so that we have an idea of what is going on, even if I don’t actually understand it all, some of the questions being asked are just banal and the news is just getting bleaker and bleaker. First came the news that basically the economy was crashing. Then came the news that we all had to work from home if we could and that travel should be limited. Then that the schools were shutting. Finally, the pubs and restaurants were told to close. This was without the enormous death toll that we were currently staring down the barrel of and the small fact that the NHS would crumble without intervention of some sort.
But Monday 23rdMarch 2020 was different. There was no daily briefing. Stuck at home with the kids, I had been having migraines (due to large amounts of unnecessary yelling) and on that day I had gone down with another. Even in my migraine addled state, I knew that today something serious was about to occur. Things seemed to be changing. When I spoke to my Husband he told me there was a rumour that ‘lockdown’ was happening that night. I prayed not. My only hope of surviving home schooling and working from home was the ability to take the kids to open spaces and let them run for a bit. Without that, I felt that the end was nigh. What the hell would I do then?
The problem seemed to be that whilst most of us were listening, staying home and not going out, people were still not taking the point about not mixing and carrying on as normal. Photos were all over the news showing how everyone had decided to go and climb up Snowdon at the weekend; everyone with a second home was suddenly travelling there, there was an outcry in Cornwall, Scotland and Lincolnshire about the numbers that were descending upon them. No one seemed to realise that you can run but you can’t hide.
There was an announcement to say that Boris would make a statement at 8.30 that evening. I dragged myself out of bed to watch. I knew from the moment he came on the TV that it was over. We were no longer going anywhere.
Three weeks. All shops (bar those selling food and essentials) to shut. No going out. You must stay 2 metres away from everyone not in your household. The Police would be out and about and asking people to go home. Never in peacetime had we known it.
I cried. That was it. Trapped with my husband. Trapped with the kids. We were officially about to begin what would be forever known as The Great Lockdown of The Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. There was nothing else for it. I went to back to bed.
The next day I got up to find an email from a colleague. The Ministry of Justice in their wisdom had decided to give solicitors with my skills (the ability to create and execute Wills and testamentary documents) Key Worker status. I cried again. It never rains but it pours….