Self-isolating is fine… but not being able to dye my grey roots really gets me – The Sun

WELL, what a difference seven days makes.

Last week, although we were ­practising social distancing, we were free to roam. Then suddenly, since Monday, we are not.

It’s not even been a week since the new normal for all of us is to stay put.

I am guessing that for most of us, it feels like twice that. For many of us, being unable to roam freely is the stuff of nightmares.

Still, although it’s been a hard week, I am feeling fortunate. Others I know are really struggling, but I’m very lucky to have a house, a job and the basics in my fridge. But my goodness, it’s boring staying at home all the time, isn’t it?

At the moment more or less every day is the same. I get up, do conference calls, watch the news and go to bed.

But I have been trying to do a few things differently. For fear of my muscles atrophying (even more than normal) I have started using an exercise video.

That may sound normal to you but for me, this is staggering. It’s one from the 1990s and is really quite funny and ­difficult at the same time.

I’ve also been more studious than usual and have been doing online lectures for my master’s degree.

BIG CHANGES

I have put in the hours with a TV show called This Is Us.

And I’ve been cooking up a storm — making increasingly inventive recipes with bits and bobs from the back of the store cupboard because the idea of getting a supermarket delivery slot feels like a fantasy so I have not even bothered to try. I cook whatever my corner shop has in stock, which sadly is not a lot.

I know many supermarkets are prioritising elderly and vulnerable shoppers, which is right and proper. And I really hope that the people who are hoarding and stockpiling out of fear soon realise that they don’t need to do that.

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Friends who work in the food ­industry have repeatedly told me there is no issue with supply.

Especially if people continue to go to their local shops, which should still be stocked — and which need their custom.

I am nine days into my 14-day self-isolating as I am still waiting to see my dad, who is recovering from cancer.

And, like many others, I’m focused on the importance of being absolutely certain I am ­infection-free before I even think of going to see him and my mum.

So really, I’m just sitting it out. But gosh, it’s tedious.

One of the biggest changes for me is not being able to go out or see my friends. But on Friday night we had a Skype party. We all got out a bottle of wine, and I even washed my hair before we had a laugh.

We are also playing the game Psych — which is great fun and played on your mobile with your mates.

It’s made me realise how many of the things I blithely took for granted as being my inalienable right have changed — literally overnight.

And I don’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing that my kids aren’t home with me. I’m pretty sure my daughter has already had coronavirus but happily she seems fine now.

But I obviously can’t see her other than on video phone as I am isolating. And boy, do I miss her.

My son, meanwhile, is with his housemates in Buckingham. They seem fine — working out in their garden gym, making meals together and playing Xbox. In fact, it’s just another day for him.

I know there are people reading this who are genuinely struggling and having a seriously hard time with being isolated, who are worried about loss of income, about elderly or vulnerable relatives, or who are stuck at home with ­difficult or even violent people.

It is hard to reflect on anything when we are in the middle of it.

We have to focus on getting through a day at a time knowing there will be plenty of time to learn lessons when this has passed.

We’ll no doubt start from the basics, like being hyper-vigilant about which animals enter the food chain, scrupulous hand-washing and reassessing our attitude towards travel — something we’ve all taken for granted for so long.

LONG-TERM STRATEGY

We will also focus on building the NHS back up. Just as we built nuclear deterrents to protect ourselves against war, we have to protect ourselves from the various viruses that we now know are, increasingly, out there.

Yes, the important thing is the here and now. We’ve seen unprecedented events this week alone, with the PM Boris Johnson,

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty all self-isolating after either testing positive or showing symptoms of the virus.

But what is vital is the long-term strategy to fight another attack like this in the future.

And in the meantime, apart from feeling a bit cooped up, all in all I am pretty much doing OK with self-isolating.

Apart from one thing — I can’t find any hair dye to cover my grey hair, for love nor money. Now that really is a nightmare.

Grim box with no matches

AS if being stuck at home wasn’t hard enough, sports fans are having to get through this time without any football.

Now that’s what I call adding insult to injury.

As fans will already know, all football has been postponed until April 30. But behind the scenes, all football clubs, including mine, are doing whatever it takes to ensure the season finishes.

I think everyone understands that our priority has to be the safety and good health of our players and the fans. So, while matches are not being played, players are doing all they can to stay fit and well so they are ready whenever it’s time to resume games.

Meanwhile, the stadiums, training grounds and offices are all shut.

Then, after April 30, we hope matches can recommence, behind closed doors if required.

In the meantime, it’s a waiting game. So here’s hoping you’ve got some old Match Of The Day shows lined up to while away your time.

True stars are shining

ONE thing about us all having to stay at home is that it’s giving celebrities nowhere to hide in terms of what they have got to offer the world.

They are on their own at home, with nothing much to do, just like us.


Some – Joe Wicks teaching PE to the nation’s primary school kids every morning, Carol Vorderman holding online maths classes or Richard E Grant reading from the script of Withnail And I – are trying hard to provide the nation with useful entertainment.

And then there are others. Instagram is also peppered with images of reality TV and soap stars in extremely scanty underwear.

Without the props of stylists, red carpets and paparazzi shots, we see them for what they really are.

Human beings, just like us.

Training derailed

AS a week of firsts comes to a close, athletes and sports fans alike were further disappointed by the announcement that the Olympics have been postponed.

Something that only a few weeks ago would have seemed unimaginable now feels, clearly, like the only sensible thing to do.

Apart from the logistics involved with quarantine and uncertainty about travel restrictions, some athletes cannot train while some can, which, when the integrity of the sport is at stake, is fundamentally unfair.

What's on? This

ANYONE else bored? With This Is Us my current favourite thing to watch, I’ve compiled a list of some other fab shows, just in case you’ve finished Succession and need some inspiration.

Here goes – The Crown, Ozark, Luther, Line Of Duty, Sense8, Grace And Frankie, Schitt’s Creek, Sex Education, Messiah, Spinning Out, Unbelievable and Mum.

Stay safe, heroes

I WAS so moved by the nation overriding the old stiff upper lip mentality to stand on their doorsteps to give NHS workers a round of applause on Thursday night.

And then I read a tweet from a nurse saying that literally as the nation were clapping, she had received an email from her employers advising her not to travel to work in uniform or display her work ID.

This is because some people have been mugged for these items and the very scant privilege – like an early supermarket slot – that they bring.

Come on, people – sort it out.

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