Wednesday, 19 August 2020

The Lockdown Chronicles 19-August-2020

 I should have started to write about 2020 months ago. But hey - better late than never. 

 Before we forget.

Who would have thought on New Years morning that 2020 will bring so many surprises. That 2020 will be the year where face masks are the new IT! fashion accessories and social distancing is the new normal.I certainly didn't. 

I had just started to work 3 times a week from home. Finally I had time to enjoy my new countryside life. Then news surfaced, about a new deadly virus in China. Wuhan went into lockdown. I can't even remember when I heard about it the first time. It was still far away. But we started to talk about it. And we all knew that it was just a question of time before it spread every where. My parents, my brother and his girlfriend came to visit me in February. At that time I thought it was crazy that they booked flights for the worst month to be here. February. My family arrived in one storm and left one week later in another storm. And we even had snow storms. But looking back now I actually can't believe how lucky we were. They came just in time. Ironically I said to my mom when I brought them back to the airport that I live in the best place when the world is going to end. Well - the virus did not bring the end of the world but man, on what a rollercoaster the world has been since.

When my parents left countries outside China started to discover first cases. At the beginning of March the situation got worse and worse everywhere. Countries in Europe started to close their boarders. I started to order more pet food. I had just gotten my usual monthly delivery but I decided to get more. I was not the only one who did that. Soon the website displayed messages which advised about longer delivery times. At some stage it went up to 21 days. Usual delivery time is 3 days. I think that was when I started to panic. So I took all my savings to order pet food. I have a Maine Coon with a food allergy and she can only eat certain hypoallergenic food. I ordered as much as I could and was hoping that payday was coming soon to order more. 

Tuesday March 10th was my last day in the office. I didn't know that day. I left my desk in it's usual chaos. Wednesday my boss asked me if I could work Thursday from home too as the company wanted to do a stress test to see how the system reacts if more people work from home. He said I only need to come back to the office the following week after the bank holiday. Late Thursday we received the message that from Friday everyone who can work from home should work from home. This was how it started. On March 12th, the government shut all schools, colleges, childcare facilities and cultural institutions, and advised cancelling large gatherings. St Patrick's Day festivities were called off, and the TaoiseachLeo Varadkaraddressed the nation that night. 

Payday in March was the 25th. Essential shops were still open. I had taken the day off to go shopping. Every shop had implemented security measures. You had to sanitize your hands and then take on gloves. The shops limited the amount of people that could go in at the same time. I went to 6 shops in Oldcastle and Mullingar and it felt so surreal. Like in a science fiction movie. But at least some shops were still open, like Woodie's. On March 24th, almost all businesses, venues, facilities and amenities were shut. Three days later, the government banned all "non-essential" travel and contact with people outside one's home (including family and partners). The elderly and those with certain health conditions were told to cocoon. People were made to keep apart in public. The Garda were given power to enforce the measures, which were repeatedly extended until May 18.

I must say that I live in the best place for a pandemic. It's really true. I loved my area ever since I set foot into it but now I love it even more.

How I remember the lockdown:

I am working from home since. 
I have hatched 3 chickens.
2 kittens were born.
There were almost no cars on the streets.
"We are in this together" became our new slogan.
Buying food was like supply runs in the walking dead.