Not in Lockdown yet…

The pre-Coronavirus Diaries, continued

Tuesday/ cont’d

Download and watch Salt, for perhaps the third time. I consider it to be one of Angelina’s finest works. My flatmate elects to stay in his room.

Given that the government advice precludes meeting together, church is now off for the foreseeable. Preliminary plans are made to begin filming and editing a video-based online church service.


I have very little recollection of these days. Video editing was involved.


I do remember having an Empire Biscuit on Friday, so some of life’s rhythms are still intact. 

I make various visits to various supermarkets. The food items-shopper ratio is gradually decreasing.

Where are all the stockpilers putting all their stuff? Surely they’ve run out of space by now?

Sister is in touch on WhatsApp. She raises the thorny question of what would happen if the Queen passes on in the middle of all this. What will we do? Will all the meticulous planning be for naught?

“I’m sending turmeric to the Palace,” she affirms.

“Make sure you keep enough back for yourself,” I remind her. It’s easy to overlook one’s personal needs in times of crisis like this.

“I have 25kg” she replies.


More video editing. I watch “We were soldiers” with my flatmate. He cooks a roast chicken for the occasion.


First online church service passes off well. It’s a gorgeous sunny day. I spend the afternoon walking in Holyrood Park, along with hundreds of other people. It proves quite difficult to maintain a 2m bubble without appearing to be offensive.


I stay at home and join a series of four online meetings, which is a surprisingly exhausting pursuit, given the lack of physical movement involved. 

Having suddenly remembered that all UK McDonalds restaurants were closing tonight “by 8pm” (nothing like a vaguely-communicated deadline to ensure some McDonalds panic buying), I nip out between two meetings to pick up some Chicken Selects for the last time for goodness-knows-how-long. (Four hours, as it transpired).

I join an epic drive-thru queue. By the time I reach the order point, with the help of Nicola’s advice on the matter via WhatsApp, I realise I need to make the most of it, and so order a milkshake AND a McFlurry.

However, the “ice cream” machine is being cleaned. So no milkshakes or McFlurrys available. I settle for the a 3-Selects meal.

Make it back narrowly in time for the next meeting. Switch my camera off for the first part so as not to make everyone jealous while I scoff McDonalds.

Realise afterwards I had missed a solitary fry, which is lurking in the corner of the cardboard container. 

Is this in fact the correct singular spelling of fries? I have never before had occasion to refer to one on its own. Today’s fries were perhaps the limpest and most disappointing I’ve had from McD’s in recent years. And so the solitary lonely fry, now stone cold, having not been the warmest to begin with, is not an appetising prospect.

I optimistically throw it in the food recycling.

Two meetings later, I head back for my belated McFlurry. Join the drive thru queue again. Still no “ice cream” products available. I order another 3 Chicken Selects.

Still hungry. Maybe I’ll crack open some tuna tonight.

Avoiding non-essential social contact

The pre-Coronavirus Diaries, continued


Life continued as normal today. Was at church morning and evening, where we sang songs about God’s goodness and love. Nobody sounded fearful, but it felt like there was an air of resignation that this would be our last ‘normal’ Sunday for a while.

My fellow tech team member tonight was George, whose self-isolation game is strong all year round. I hope he starts blogging with self-isolation tips for the masses.

Phoned mum in the evening. She stayed away from church tonight, on social-distancing grounds. On the upside, her forthcoming 80th birthday will see her receive an additional 25p per week in her pension. She is understandably over the moon about this and unsure of how to invest her new-found affluence.

Tomorrow I am theoretically up for jury service. But a phone-call this evening confirmed that I am not required to attend tomorrow. 24hrs stay of execution, at least.


In the whirl of coronavirus-related uncertainty I put on a clean pair of trousers this morning, but forgot to add a belt. However, it’s ok – it turns out that my trousers are self-tightening. Should be ok so long as I don’t stash too many tins of tuna in the pockets.

My trousers’ new-found self-tightening status may or may not be a result of me powering through the 90kg weight barrier recently. Smashed it, I did. Left it choking on my dust. I look forward to renewing acquaintances with 90kg on the way back down sometime in the future.

Just after I’d sent an email to my work teams saying largely “business as usual this Sunday” the PM, without checking with me first, holds a press conference and instructs us to avoid “non-essential” social gatherings.

So we’re into the next phase.

My Sister gets in touch on WhatsApp: 

“Y’all ok? Enough turmeric?”

Then she sends me a link to where I can buy a 25kg bag of it online. I am grateful.

Not required for jury duty tomorrow either. On reading the “Coronavirus Update” page on the Scottish Courts website, I am fairly sure that they consider the judicial system to be “essential” social contact. So I don’t think Coronavirus is going to help me here.


On reading my previous post (I originally wrote “last post”, but a slow trumpet sounded in my head and I realised that has other connotations), some pointed out to me that I visit the supermarket a LOT.

I confess I hadn’t thought about this. But, perhaps because I live very close to Morrison’s, and not that far from Sainsbury’s either, perhaps because I have very little freezer capacity, and perhaps also because I don’t plan very far ahead, I am probably in a supermarket at least every other day. So my regular supermarket visits are not a result of coronavirus-related panic, but rather just the outcome of a permanent state of semi-disorganised food planning.

Is this a single-person thing? Or just me? It may be just me.

Today is my usual day off. I am accustomed to spending Tuesdays without much in the way of social contact, and some Tuesdays I don’t really leave the house anyway(!) so today probably won’t feel all that different.

The pre-Coronavirus Diaries

Tuesday, 10 March

I catch the bus into town, to meet a friend for lunch. Suddenly I am aware of every surface I’m touching – the handrails up the stairs, the button you press to ask the bus to stop, everything.

Looking out the window; no-one is wearing face masks. I wonder how long it will be before they appear.

I’m down for jury service next week. What happens if I contract COVID-19 before then? Will they accept my call-off over the phone? It’s not like I can produce a doctor’s note – I can’t visit my GP to get one, and I can’t leave the house to deliver it.

Which makes me think that the chances of people calling in and crying off (legitimately or not) jury duty might be quite high… I suspect the courts may grind to a halt soon, for this reason, if not just because everything seems to be being cancelled at the moment.

I have slowed down on my Easter egg consumption a little. With all the panic buying at supermarkets I didn’t want to rush through my supplies of essentials.

Wednesday, 11 March

I pay a visit to Morrison’s. They’re playing INXS on the in-supermarket radio. They have a better class of playlist at Morrison’s than your average supermarket. I applaud this, although all in all I would prefer if they had my favourite marmalade brands in stock, as I can get good tunes from elsewhere. But they don’t. I consider writing to the management. 

I speak to my Sister on the phone, in the process reintroducing myself to voice calls, which are a long-forgotten friend, and limbering up for when I might be needing them on a daily basis.

“Have you got enough turmeric?” she asks, with a concerned note in her voice.

I hadn’t even thought about that.

But it’s all a little academic, as I need milk for my turmeric milk, and milk won’t last 14 days. Unless I was in America.

We discuss more prosaic matters, like toilet roll stockpiling. I discover that her household runs through two toilet rolls per day. TWO PER DAY. I am beyond flabbergasted. 

Here at OHFTC Towers, we are a much more toilet-toll efficient household. Perhaps we are not as regular.

My Sister reckons she keeps the cellar (which I like to think of as the Baileys Bunker) stocked up with enough of everything to keep the family going for at least four months, under normal circumstances. 

When I grow up, I want to be like my Sister.

Thursday, 12 March

I notice that the pile of pine nuts is getting a little low. And coffee. It might be time for another visit to Morrison’s. I don’t think there’s been a run on pine nuts just yet.

Friday, 13 March

I bump into a friend at Sainsbury’s. She is gazing at the handwash shelves, which are so depleted that her choice is restricted to Posh or Super Posh. I move on in search of more tins of tuna.

In the supermarket, and driving home, I see 5 people wearing face masks. All of them are Chinese/Oriental.

Here at OHFTC Towers we now have plenty of pine nuts and marmalade, easing concerns somewhat. We also have enough tinned tuna to sink a ship, and the usual amount of pasta, which should be enough.

Saturday, 14 March

My regular coffee shipment arrives. Hurrah. I pop back to Morrison’s, and stock up on cereal, which I rarely eat. But you never know. I avoid All-Bran, as I feel it might deplete the Toilet Roll Stockpile somewhat.

It all feels a little surreal. I think it’s because I don’t actually know anyone that has contracted the virus. If and when that happens, I suspect it will become a little more real.

I am avoiding making any meals with tuna, which rules out about 40% of my usual weekly menu, on the basis that if I have to self-isolate I don’t want to be bored of it before I even begin.

I discover, via the BBC website, that the Italians are dealing with their enforced captivity quite beautifully. I suggest to Nicola that, after a couple of gins, she could do the same thing in Polwarth. She is working on a playlist as we speak.

Stay tuned, and stay healthy!