18 MARCH 2020 – BEGINNING OF MY SELF ISOLATION BLOG
My name is Elizabeth and I am the co-director of a model and hobby shop in Preston, Lancashire. As with most countries we are being affected by a deadly virus, Corvid-19. This is, in a non technical term, ‘coronavirus’. So far there is no vaccinations to prevent, or ward off, this deadly virus, so, being in the age group – over 70 – for my own benefit and to prevent as far as I can the spread, I am here at home beginning my blog.
At six this morning I was in contact with other friends in the trade, similarly placed, trying to carry on trading, but not having yet decided to close their shops. One of these traders suggested that I use my (his term, not mine) literary skills to put pen to paper and start part 2 of my book. The first part I wrote last year – Elizabeth – The Chronicles of a Market Trader’s Daughter from Blackburn – not a best seller, but an interesting little story about myself, the past and present times running a model shop.
I will start here giving the reason for my self-isolation. Over the weekend the current situation with other countries is very bad and getting worse as the days go by. Most of Europe now has forced the closure of its borders, America not allowing any movement of visitors, including those from the United Kingdom, Italy’s shops, pubs and restaurants closed, with personnel on the streets warning the general public to go back home, unless shopping for food and medicines. This is happening in other countries too. Here in the UK the children are still at school, but this, in my opinion, is a drastic mistake. This virus will pass from person to person, irrespective of age, and the teachers and staff in those schools are potentially a targeted audience. They, in turn, will carry this disease to their own families.
My own family and friends insisted that I put myself in isolation and refrain from going to work. As the retail shop will be open for business this week, I discussed this with my business partner, informing him of my decision to stay at home for the foreseeable future. He did not want to close the shop as we rely on this income to pay the staff and overheads, but, considering the implications of the necessity to carry on the retail trade, having only two other members of staff who, in turn, could phone in at any time with the illness, we, together, decided to close the doors to the shop immediately. We sell on-line in a very small way, so he decided we would continue this and use any spare time to do a full stock-taking exercise. This situation would be discussed by telephone on a daily basis. As my business partner is still open to catch this virus, should he become ill, then the business would have to close completely, the staff paid their holiday pay, and wait to see what the Government are going to do to help. I went to the shop, picked up my computer and some work, came home and closed all the doors. My little prison. I have excellent neighbours and family who have offered to shop for me.
It is now only 8.48am, so the whole day to plan my activities.
It is now 10.15am. I feel as though I have been up for hours. I have not seen anyone, but I have bombarded all and sundry with my emails. I am even trying this morning to make a healthy celery soup. I have had to ask my staff how I should do this, as my culinary skills, or non-skills, is well-known. In fact no one will eat my home-made ready meals.
14.00hrs half way through my first day. I have made my soup, and believe it or not it is very, very tasty. Just celery, apple, tomatoes and onions, liquidised, no salt, but plenty of black pepper. It should be a healthy replacement for my normal diet, but I have not done this as yet. I still had my chicken wings, hash browns, with an accompaniment of Red Stag Whiskey and tonic. I am determined I will succeed in my future healthy eating, but I am allowed my first day off.
It is a pity the sun isn’t shining, as I could go out into the garden, but I have to do this a little at a time, as my gardens are looked after by an outside source. Really I am a very lucky person. I have no money worries, live in a house with no mortgage and have this cleaned for me. I do work very hard in my business, however, which pays for these little luxuries in life. I can see there are going to be many more problems which I cannot solve. I know my own family will be affected but I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that they survive.
I have had a little rest, but my mind is still very active. If I email the business again, the staff cannot get on with the day to day work having to answer my unending queries. I should leave it to them. In all probability the outcome will be the same as if I had been present. I did talk a lot to my customers, but there are no customers in the shop, so I am redundant in this respect.
When I awoke this morning, not having to go to work, I tried to give my facial skin a rest from the bombardment of care products, trying for the healthy glow effect. At 84 years of age, you generally do not get a healthy glow and I have not looked in the mirror since this morning. It is probably a good thing visitors are banned. I am here without mascara, eyebrows, and the rest of the supposedly miracle creams which try and make the effects of years of unhealthy living disappear.
DAY 2 7.30AM
Here I am sitting at the computer. Why? I am not having to go to work, and there are quite a few hours to plan my, now, leisurely existence. As I have always worked, only taking minimum time off for holidays, this is a completely new time in my life. I had planned to retire on the 30th of June this year and friends had told me that I would be bored. I am now going to find this out earlier than planned, and it might be feasible to postpone this retirement, again, for as long as I can physically do so. Time will tell.
I must admit I have not had my bath as yet, but I am going now to make myself presentable, just in case I see a person, or persons. The window cleaner is due to pay me a visit within the immediate future.
Glowing from a relaxing bath, facial done, minimal make-up, and hair washed. Ready to face the world.
Have had a long conversation with my business partner this morning, and he is completely happy with the way customers are now ordering using our on-line service, but there have been the usual customers on the shop doorstep not understanding the whole situation. We do not sell toilet rolls, nor pharmaceutical products, nor edible items. May be you could sniff our glue, if you are that way inclined, but the rest of our stock are (now this will offend some people) to play with.
I am now going to disappear upstairs. The iron is waiting, clothes in a nice, big pile. Once this has cleared, I will come downstairs again, and make a plan.
The first set of tasks done. Checked the rooms upstairs and all, as usual, immaculate. (Not my doing – my cleaner’s).
Back downstairs. Now is it lunch time? At work I usually have my lunch at around 11.15. If I manage to eat a sandwich I am lucky. However today I have 2 deep freezers full of food. I have filled these to capacity, but do I eat a proper lunch, or wait for my usual cooked dinner which I have at 5pm? What a decision to make. Is this what life has come to – what to eat.
Today my daughter who lives down South informed me that her Mother’s Day present has been sent. I now have to put labels on the doors to state I am self-isolating and to leave in the drive. I can’t even speak to the postman.
I told her about my blog and she said I should put this on our website so that customers could keep in touch with, not only myself, but be informed of the current situation in our shop. I thought this was a good idea and I will ‘phone Phil to see if he could incorporate this. This idea might not go well with the staff, but I don’t think it can do any harm. I know the customers are not really wanting to know what I am going to have for lunch, but, if they are isolated, some outside contact would be great. I keep looking at my emails to see if someone is thinking of me, but I certainly haven’t had many as yet.
Believe it or not, the window cleaner is here. I haven’t seen him for weeks. Am I psychic? Left his