14th March 2020

By monday things had got crazy. It was clear to all but the govt that containment wasn’t working. Then it began to emerge that Dominic Cummings, special advisor to the PM, had said it’d be simpler to let everyone get it so we got herd immunity. And so what, he said, if a few OAPs died. The wheels were coming off. In Tackley we tried to keep on as normal.

This week Mary became quite ill with a cough, headache, fever, in retrospect all the symptoms. She was very poorly for the whole week. We still don’t know if it was Coronavirus or just flu, but she could have picked it up at the WI, at the gig, or at the revue. We may never know.

I was also ill, but i think more self-inflicted. I was feeling fluey so drank too much scotch on Monday night and woke up feeling bad. I worked off and on Tuesday and Thursday, trying to recover 🙂

We had now been self-isolating for a week. This was the new buzz-word that had emerged in late Feb and basically meant staying away from other people as much as possible. We ordered an online shop for Friday, hoping to get most of what we’d ordered (panic-buying was already impacting the supermarkets). It was ok, though dull.

By now i was getting really concerned. The growth rate of cases was literally exponential, doubling every 2-3 days, and the UK had its first death on 7th March. By the end of the week there had been ten. Social distancing is all very well but we had to eat! I went to the village shop one day to get emergency supplies.

On the 11th, the WHO declared it a pandemic and the whole of Italy was in lockdown. Meanwhile in the UK it was still the same hopeless unorganized mess. The govt was too busy trying to protect the economy to protect its people, it seemed. Cases here jumped to 456 on the same day, and 1100 by the end of the week.

On the plus side, RBS sent everyone home who could work from home. No change for me, I’d been working from home for ten days already but it was a relief to know i would not be called back in.

Our other worry now was Catriona. She was still at univerity in Edinburgh, unsure what was happening. Finally on the 13th the Uni announced measures – all 1st and 2nd year exams cancelled, all teaching to be remote from 23rd March. With Easter hols only two weeks away, and panic setting in about trains and planes, students immediately started leaving.

On the 14th Bell and I discussed options. David was supposed to be going to an open day at York and Bella had booked an AirBNB, but we agreed it made sense for her to use it to travel to Edi to collect Cat instead. The AirBNB cancelled but bella decided to keep to the plan.

Meanwhile over in the US, the orange Buffoon was still denying the problem or blaming the chinese.

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