Diary of a self-isolater - Day Five

Working from home is productive but can be lonely Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Working from home is productive but can be lonely Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Archant

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis has, like many others, been forced to work from home and social distance during the coronavirus outbreak. Every day she is sharing her thoughts.

Desparately queuing for bread Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Desparately queuing for bread Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

Last night after a long day of working, negotiating dinners, and going through a mountain of letters and household admin, I finally sat down to make lesson plans for my two kids.

Being a full-time working mum is hard enough, but being a teacher too? Yikes. I’ve got a feeling if this all blows over by summertime I’ll be wanting to ship them off to a residential holiday camp!

I suppose at least at 12 and 14 they are fairly easy to manage, although when I presented them my (very) rudimentary plans, written on scraps of paper, they were none too pleased. The scribblings are a hotchpotch of homework items set by the school, with a few additions from me. “For God’s sake mum, I don’t NEED to do history today!” Ella griped. I reminded her that as journalists are considered key workers apparently, I could very well send her back to school where she could spend her days friendless with a supply teacher. That soon shut her up.

I’m allowing them to start at 10am each day, no need for registration or morning break, and have factored in PE and a family lunchbreak together. In a way this will be quite good for me. I’m awful at getting carried away in my work and forgetting to eat, so having to adhere to their timetable and actually sit for a meal will be a breath of fresh air.

A lunchtime PE lesson Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

A lunchtime PE lesson Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

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Before I hit the hay for the night there was time to update my list of local shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs offering takeaway and delivery during this time, and for another episode of The Split – I’m on season two episode one now!

This morning I was dead proud to see our own papers joining forces with regional press around the country to print an unprecedented shared front cover. This has never been done before and was created in collaboration to let our readers know we are here for them. In a world filled with fake news, your local media group is rooting for you. We live and work in your community and face the same challenges, and enjoy the same triumphs as you. It is our job to bring you accurate, up-to-date local news, advice and information to help get through this crisis. Working for regional press is a tremendous privilege and one neither I, nor any of my colleagues take for granted. Somewhere, in a home office near you, there is an Archant writer, editor, designer, ad rep or marketing bod working their socks off for every single one of our readers. I salute them all.

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Working out that I’ve only left the house for a sum of two hours this week, after catching up on emails first thing I went to the local market which was absolutely thronging with people. We haven’t had any bread in for the week because of all the idiots stockpiling and I honestly thought I’d go home empty-handed, but lovely Simon of Woosters still had a few loaves behind the counter.

With the Co-op stripped of fruit and veg (apart, curiously, from a couple of cantaloupe melons) there was a huge queue for the veg man. It’s good to see such important services being used like this – let’s hope once the madness of this virus blows over our town continues to appreciate and use its market fully.

There are worse places to do PE Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

There are worse places to do PE Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

Read Charlotte’s Day Four diary.

Mid-queue I was dialled into a conference call. It’s not the easiest thing to grapple with an iPhone in the wind with a handbag in one arm, trying not to bump into people. I could see and hear everyone, but it wasn’t until 15 minutes in, when the team began referring to me, rather than talking to me, that I realised they didn’t know I was there. So much for all my input. Just as well – my hair looked rubbish and, seeing myself on screen, I don’t look very attractive walking up a hill, out of breath.

A proper lunch- chickpea curry Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

A proper lunch- chickpea curry Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

When I got back the kids were actioning on their lesson plans sullenly. At lunch there was a break to tackle a two-mile linear run in the woods behind our house. Needless to say, I was out-run by my gazelle-like kids who took more pleasure than was necessary in running ahead, and having to run back for me. While we were out we saw a couple of our close friends (almost like family) and had to wave and blow kisses from a distance. And I found several people out walking on their own who I made a point of saying hello or chatting to. If you are out and see someone on their own try to do the same –we are living in an ever-lonely world at the moment and these small gestures could make such a difference.

It was odd being out. One thing that was most noticeable to me was the way our body language has changed. Where we’d once lean in to pet a dog on a walk, or get close up to chat, now we veer away from one another. I said to my kids it’s like we’re all trying to be invisible!

When we got back for lunch I noticed someone had put the heating on. I hadn’t factored that in. We’re in a cold snap at the moment so I guess a lot of folk have done the same. I spent much of the afternoon thinking about my own family’s cost of being at home. Heating and electric bills. The kids raiding the cupboards all day (anyone with teenagers knows how much they eat). I wonder if there will be any relief for those on low incomes, particularly when it comes to heating bills?

Later in the afternoon I started surveying the many menus from local restaurants and pubs. They’ve done a great job in responding to the Coronavirus crisis, and have come up with some really innovative ideas to try and stay on their feet, while serving their communities. We are going to support them by eating out a couple of times a week for as long as we are able. Keep an eye on our websites for the latest up-to-date list of these services. They will also be in print during the week. If you know of any others please do let me know.

It’s ta ta for now as the weekend (what does that even mean now?) begins. I’m hoping the weather holds out so hubby can finally lay the foundations for our summerhouse!

Get in touch and tell me how you fill your weekend and what you managed to do for Mother’s Day. Email me.

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