CoronaVirus Lockdown – Week One – A Writer’s Blog From The East Coast

So we end the first week of isolation and social distancing – and what a week!

Taking a leaf out of the Trimley Recorder’s blog, I feel obviously as a writer I need to record my thoughts somehow –and as a historian record my take on what is happening in this strangest of times – but up to now my brain seems to have gone into creative lockdown and all I can think about is where the next toilet roll is coming from! Or what happens when I run out of sausages!

But there’s plenty to do – there are my elderly parents to corral for a start. My father has underlying health conditions and both are in their 80’s – so it’s time for them to batten down the hatches and let me do the shopping. But they haven’t been out so don’t understand the restrictions, or the difficulties of just getting a loaf of bread!  They only want me to shop in Lidls – and it’s hard to get across that they need to decide a week’s worth of shopping as I can’t keep popping out everyday.  I haven’t got the time or energy for all that queuing for a start.  And a bag of chips isn’t classed as an emergency!

Apart from that they are fine – in fact my mother is relishing the extra time now that shopping duties and all regular hospital appointments have been cancelled to get on with doing some house sorting . And they are going for a nice healthy walk on the seafront everyday – something they often talked about but never got round to what with all that shopping and endless blood tests.

When we emerge from this I can see us middle aged people being on our knees and all the over 80’s who have escaped unscathed emerging fit a fleas.

Of course my Two Sisters Arts Centre has taken a heavy knock – and after all the work I put into producing a fabulous spring programme……– I am trying not to think about it and hoping after weeks of enforced house sitting people will be only too eager to get out and support anything live once we are allowed out again.

The April events have gone of course but I am not cancelling most of May or June yet even though I think its probably only a matter of time.  Everyone needs hope even in the face of despair.

And I was just about to start rehearsing my new play. My cast managed to get together for a read through before the lock down – so they’ve all got scripts. I suppose we could do some on line rehearsal – but having used zoom once I discovered its limitations. The broadband facilities in Felixstowe make it very laggy – and to be honest I couldn’t bear to look at myself on screen.

Note to self – do not switch to working in the film industry any time soon.

In the wider world it’s been a week when first we were told not to go to pubs or theatre but these places were left open to the confusion of all. Then all pubs and restaurants were ordered to shut which triggered  panic buying at the thought of now having to cook for ourselves.

Shops were left open – then gradually one by one they shut too – clothes shops, card shops, phone shops, hardware stores – the last to go were hairdressers. That’s probably going to cause more hardship than food rationing!

Then hardware stores were allowed to open again. Well no one should be short of a hammer and nails should they? Even if it’s to build a temporary cage for a particularly annoying relative who has had to self isolate with you.

Sports events dropped off like nine pins – horse racing, Formula 1, football , cricket – even the Olympics – terrible for the enthusiast but an enforced cure for those addicted to gambling I guess.

Now MOT’s have been given a six month extension – but house moves have been banned –garden waste will no longer be collected and all help lines from HMRC to Citizens Advice are permanently jammed.

But on a lighter note off licenses have been given the green light. So that’s all right then – we can all drink ourselves silly to escape the boredom.

As I write this the town is eerily quiet and people seem to be taking the restrictions to movement seriously. Things have calmed down at the supermarkets although there is a permanent queue at the chemist – everyone keeping a respectful distance of course.

Of course – now would be a good time to read a 900 page novel – thank goodness Hilary Mantel has just released The Mirror and the Light – or re read some of those classics you’ve been promising yourself.

Another plus is that there are a lot of plays and TV that are becoming available for free. Old BBC Box Sets are appearing on Iplayer – and the National Theatre is to stream a different show every Thursday from April 2nd starting with One Man Two Guvners – a hilarious farce starring James Cordon before he became a chat show host – well worth a watch.

There are a number of other companies doing the same including the RSC, Pentabus and The Original Theatre Company. Put their names in on line and up will come their schedule and where you can find their production.

So try something new on the entertainment front – with or without a nice glass of red – and try to enjoy this enforced isolation as best you can. I think we’re here for the long haul. But that doesn’t mean we can’t feed our brains and our imaginations.

Now where did I hide that emergency sausage?

 

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