Monday, April 6, 2020
There’s a bit of a problem with tenses in my plague diary. Some of it I write live on the day (mostly, but not always, present tense) and some I write in retrospect a couple of days later (mostly, but not always, past tense). What I really need is a good editor. What I’ve got is me, so sorry about that. Never mind, onward.
Professionally this is a happy day for me. Three weeks ago, I agreed to keep a watching brief on a colleague’s area while he was on an extended holiday. Can I tell you that this is not a good time to hold a watching brief? He has returned to the (virtual) office today and I am filled with joy.
First of the online birthday presents purchased for herself arrived. Like the shopping it’s gone to decontaminate in a plastic box in the shed for three days (it’s also hiding out so that she doesn’t find it early). Is this excessive? Who knows? I asked the man who delivered it what it was like out there? “Just the same, really,” said he, “except the traffic is a bit quieter.” It’s going to be a bumper birthday for herself on the present front as we all feel pretty sorry for her. I said this to her and she said sadly, “I just want to be with my friends.” I said that this just underlines how much more important people are than things but it was perhaps not the moment for my philosophical gems.
We signed up to delivery of the Irish Times and our first copy arrived. I was filled with delight. It was not put in the plastic decontamination box for three days (to be fair it arrived in plastic so, ok, I suppose?).
The orthodontist finally called back. There is nothing they can do. I could wish they’d called last week when I needed them but better late than never, I suppose.
It’s the most beautiful morning and herself went off for a cycle in the park. I’ve agreed to get up early tomorrow and go with her before starting work.
Another busy day at the office. Mr. Waffle repaired the basketball hoop in the garden. I had been smugly congratulating myself on getting it installed so it was inevitable that it would fall down.
Mr. Waffle, herself and myself went for a cycle in the park. The boys played basketball in the back garden. The hoop fell down again.
It’s seven years this month since we moved into this house. I don’t think I have ever been more thankful (and I am pretty pleased with this house almost all the time, let me tell you). If we were still in the old house, I think we might all have murdered each other by now. I do feel for families, particularly families with small children, in smaller houses or houses without gardens, this lock down must be particularly grim for them.
I had my Monday night online book club after dinner which was satisfactory. The book club is now officially book free. One of our members has three siblings who are doctors: an anaesthetist, an A&E consultant and a professor of epidemiology. We were instantly curious about the epidemiologist “How is she getting on?” we asked. “Very busy, ” said our book club member “but she said that on the plus side, for the first time, our parents believe that she has a real job and even understand what she does.” We’re all amateur epidemiologists now, of course.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The Princess and I went for a cycle in the park at 8 in the morning. I felt filled with virtue when I sat down at my home office desk at 9. Not sure I’ll be able to keep this up though. Possibly related: I am constantly ravenous. I’m not sure why but my regime in the office seems to involve a lot more food. I can’t wait to end my Lenten fast and start eating biscuits again. A cup of tea and a cracker is no substitute.
I had my lunch time walk and saw a bumblebee. The weather was absolutely beautiful.
My sister has been told that she will be working a four day week for 10 weeks. She seems fine with it.
Herself attended a virtual birthday party for a friend. Cheering.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The Princess and I went for our early morning cycle again. It was hard getting out of bed but I was rewarded by an overwhelming sense of smugness. The cycle was nice too. Another beautiful day.
But all the days do feel a bit the same. Work was a little trying.
In our exploration of our neighbourhood 2km zone, we found a community garden with an impressive artichoke supply.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Another day at the home office. Work was a bit difficult. The cliché which has gained traction (also a cliché, in my work world things are always gaining traction) in the crisis is that we must all “put our shoulder to the wheel”. It is driving me crazy, I mean for one thing, that is several shoulders. I had intended to take next Tuesday off but, alas, it was not to be; I will be putting my shoulder to the wheel. Still a four day Easter weekend beckons and that’s very welcome.
The home office is not as wonderful as I thought it would be. A bit stressful. I was on a conference call this morning and herself and Mr. Waffle wandered in looking for the Pears encyclopedia having decided that the internet was insufficient to meet their needs. She said aloud, ” I was wondering whether the Chaldean Christians are in communion with the Church of Rome.” Answers in the comments please. What can I say, we’ve all been learning new things. It gave others on the call a slightly misleading impression of the standard of conversation in our house. Earlier we covered extensively, “Why won’t people wipe down the table after breakfast?” and that’s probably a bit more representative.
I’ve completely fallen off the wagon in relation to phone use. I was down to about an hour a day and I dutifully put it away for the evening when I came home from work. Now I find myself keeping it in my pocket all evening and checking it a bit obsessively. As of today, I am going to try to go back to normal and put my phone from me in the evenings. I can’t help feeling that it will help.
When I was out for my lunch time walk, I saw a poster produced by the city council advising people to respect social distancing. I see that they did a Polish version as well. I don’t remember seeing that kind of information notice in anything other than English or Irish before.
I finished work about 6 and went out for a celebratory stroll with Mr. Waffle and herself. All of our local parks are becoming very familiar. But it’s a nice time of year to walk in the park and the days are getting longer.
The basketball hoop broke again.
After some initial technical difficulties, I had a reasonably successful zoom call with my siblings but my sister told me that she was working for 15 minutes while my brother and I had a free and frank exchange of views about the demands my father is placing on my sister. He likes her to call to the house every day, my brother says she shouldn’t, I say she should do what she feels is best, we both have strong views. The object of this discussion was not very focussed on our conversation, clearly, but it’s good for her to know that we care. My father is improving, you will be glad to hear. The upshot of this was that I had my phone in my hand at 10 at night and then spent hours mindlessly scrolling. Alas.
Good Friday, April 10, 2020
The office is closed so not only am I not working but no one else is either. So no stream of unsatisfactory items is being delivered to my inbox. Welcome.
Herself and myself cycled to a bakery to get flour (delivered in a brown paper bag) and nice bread. We passed an open flower wholesaler on the way and stopped to buy flowers. He was closing at 10 so we got in just before he closed. At her request, I bought her a bouquet of thistles for her birthday. Yes, I know. I asked the florist whether things were slow and he said that normally they do a lot of Easter flowers for churches and this had fallen off but some churches are live streaming Easter mass and wanted flowers so it hadn’t been too bad. V exciting to interact with a non family member even at a safe social distance.
The trendy young man at the bakery said, as he handed over our various purchases on a cardboard tray, “I love your flowers, thistles are my favourite.” Honestly, the young people.
After lunch, I painted eggs for Easter and made a wreath. I am very proud. I see these items playing a role in the montage for the extended family bake off competition.
Presents from online vendors have been rolling in for herself. I spent an hour of my life I will never get back on to eBay trying to work out what had happened to a package. It turned out that Mr. Waffle had received it from the courier and hidden it safely in the shed without opening assuming it was something he had ordered. Questionable bonus, I now have an eBay account.
The Department of Education announced this afternoon that the Junior Cert (State exam taken after three years of secondary school) is off. It went from on to off and back on and now finally off. I really feel for Daniel who has been gutted, relieved, gutted and now delighted. It’s been a roller coaster. Michael who is also scheduled to do the Junior Cert this summer is indifferent. And the Taoiseach announced that we’re all to be in lock down for another 3 weeks. That’s a good long time. Maybe time to sort my bookshelves which, frankly, could do with it.
This picture uses internet trickery to put all the bookshelves together but they are scattered around the room and surrounded by piles of books. The books are two deep on the shelves and somewhat alphabetical but it is almost impossible to find anything. I am generally a pretty tidy person and inclined to organise and throw out (my family believe I’m a changeling, my mother felt that perhaps I got it from my Granny – is tidiness hereditary?) but books are my Achilles heel.
Herself has gone off cycling again. She goes out for an hour almost every day – sometimes two. I feel that it’s really good for her in a range of ways. It’s good for me too when I work up the energy to go with her. Mr. Waffle repaired the basket ball hoop again.
To round off a fun evening, Mr. Waffle and I cleaned out the fridge. Ticking off lockdown objectives like there’s no tomorrow, frankly.
Yes, we do get through a lot of milk.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
I have bought a sourdough starter online. Who even am I? I am doing a lot of online shopping. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m trying to buy stuff from smaller Irish companies to help spread a bit of money around and keep things afloat in my own small way.
I am filled with energy today as I managed to cast the phone from me yesterday evening about 7 and stayed away from it all evening. I was tucked up in bed at 11 and today I am bright eyed and bushy tailed. And possibly a little tiresome for the children. We’ve begun baking for the family bake-off. We’ve decided to have everything ready for tomorrow to eat at a birthday tea for herself. Notwithstanding the undoubted eating capacity of this family, I predict many baked Easter gifts for the neighbours.
Mr. Waffle’s hot cross buns:
My meringues are a work in progress, and I am cautiously optimistic.
And I’m making bread as well because this is the kind of person I am now, apparently. Did I mention my sourdough starter?
Further gardening: it was a lovely day for weeding. Myself and herself went to pick up a box of pre-ordered delights from the local organic etc market. It turned out that they were not very well organised and we ended up queuing for an hour to pick up our pre-paid for goodies. With social distancing the queue wended its way around the building and through the unappealing concrete car park. It was blisteringly hot and I had failed to put on sun screen. My very responsible teenager had done so. “Why do you need to? We won’t be outside,” said I when she was spraying it on. Anyway she sent me to sit in the car so that I wouldn’t be burnt and I was suitably grateful. After this queuing in the Tesco underground car park was a doddle.
When we got home, we had tea in the garden to recover from our outing and sampled Mr. Waffle’s hot cross buns. They were excellent.
I have a gratifying feeling of being up to date with domestic admin, last experienced when I was pregnant with the child who will be 17 tomorrow.
We went out and shone lights at 9 possibly for front line workers; possibly for ourselves as we all had a grand (socially distant) chat on the street.