When we look back on 2020 (the year of the coronavirus now known as Covoid 19), the words of the year will be self-isolating, physical distancing and lockdown. In Ireland, our Taoiseach (that’s Prime Minister for non-Irish readers!) Leo Varadkar refuses to call our restrictions ‘lockdown’.

Instead, he uses the softer, more caring term: COCOONING. By the way, I really am proud of our Government and think it is doing an incredible job under hugely difficult circumstances.

OUR LIVES PRE-COVID-19

Graham and I lead active social lives. Regular readers know that we play golf. Graham sails and plays tennis and I play bridge. We have a wide circle of friends and we regularly eat out in restaurants and in each other’s homes. My friends and I help to keep the coffee shops in Malahide in business. We go to the theatre and I love popping into Dublin to look around the shops.

We like taking short breaks in Ireland and were due to go to County Kerry in March for a few days. A trip to Spain with a group of friends at the beginning of May will also not now go ahead.

What I particularly miss of my pre-Covid life is spending time with my family and friends and particularly my two gorgeous grandsons. I walk by this playground near our house nearly every day and look at the empty swings and miss them so much.

empty playground

THE PRESENT SITUATION

We have been self-isolating from our families since early March. We had done drive-bys and talked from a distance, but no hugs.

Since Saturday 28th we have had even more restrictions. Now we can shop for food and medicine and only walk within a 2 km radius of our homes. All over 70s and those people with compromised immune systems are supposed to stay at home.

How are GG and I coping?

We obviously miss our friends and family, but we are among the lucky ones. We are both retired, so are not trying to work from home nor are we worried because we have lost our jobs. Others are not so lucky.

SO WHAT ARE WE DOING?

1. EXERCISE

Exercise has always been important to us, so we walk every day. We are blessed because we have a park, a coastal walk and a beach within our 2 km radius. I have been living in leggings and my walking gear.

Walking gear.

I had been taking yoga and pilates classes for two months in Hot Yoga Dublin and Yoga Next Door. I was really loving it.  I found the right space, found I had the time, inclination and wonderful teachers.  Now that they have gone online with some of my favourite teachers, I can do it at home. If you fancy giving it a try, they have a free 7-day trial.

 

yoga at home

2.   DIGITAL MEDIA/CONNECTING ONLINE

  •  PHONECALLS

Of course, I call my family and friends, but I have also started reconnecting with old friends or friends I see less often and it has been a joy catching up.  I call two people a day on the free Whats App calls. We also use Whats App for group calls, instead of our weekly coffee and chat.

  • ZOOM

Zoom has become invaluable and gives us another avenue to connect with our loved ones and friends.  We have had pre-dinner drinks with groups of friends including my Supper Club. It really is a wonderful way of interacting and for a while suspending disbelief and pretending we are all in one room.

zoom

I tell Logan stories some evenings via Zoom also and little 7-month Cole looks on and smiles in the background. It is not the same, but it is a substitute.

  • ONLINE COURSES

Now is the time to try something new. There are plenty of free online courses at www.futurelearn.com

There’s a whole world of interesting content from world-class universities and institutions, including: learning new languages, courses on fashion, history and how to write a novel.

 

  • THEATRE

All theatres in Ireland have been closed for over three weeks. However, there are many artistes performing online and one which struck a chord with me was Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is streaming his musicals online for free.  More details can be found at ‘The Shows Must Go On’ You Tube Channel. While it is free, you are encouraged to make a donation to a variety of charities.

 

  • VIRTUAL TRAVELLING

Now we can virtually visit places all around the world.  We can plan trips for when this surreal nightmare is over.

Many art galleries and museums around the world are open to us for virtual tours.  I just visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

 

3.   HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Graham has been busy doing maintenance, mostly painting around the house and garden, and I have been doing some spring cleaning. We still have to attack our attic, but our weather has been sunny and dry, so we will leave that for when the rain arrives. And this is Ireland, so yes it will rain.

We do intend to try some new recipes, but have not anything wonderful to report in that area yet. So send any tasty easy recipes my way, please.

 

4.   GAMES/NETFLIX/BOOKS

We like doing crosswords and sudoko and we have started playing Scrabble again. He beat me last night, which rarely happens.

scrabble

I have offered to teach Graham Bridge, but he stubbornly still refuses and claims to be a founder member of ABB…it stands for ‘Anything But Bridge’! I wish somebody would come up with a way to play Bridge at a distance. I might sign up to No Fear Bridge again. But it is so addictive..

Netflix has been even more important and we are currently watching ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ starring the wonderful Viola Davis.  I am making notes.

For a laugh, much needed at the moment, I recommend ‘The Windsors’, ‘Grace and Frankie’ and ‘The Kominsky Method’.

And we have been reading a lot. Project Gutenberg gives you free access to thousands of books to download on any device.

Top 100 EBooks last 7 days

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (15259)
  2. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (12161)
  3. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (11814)
  4. The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde (10478)
  5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (9956)

 

5.   SELF CARE

Obviously looking after ourselves physically by eating well and exercising continues as per normal. Our mental health is likely to be more affected because of social isolation. So the phone calls and connecting I talked of earlier is important.

My hair deserves a post of its own. Luckily, I did manage to buy some root concealer a few weeks ago. And yes it works. But I cannot wait to get back to Darren at Crow Street Collective.

I tend to wear workout gear most days and only get dressed if I am going to the supermarket or Zooming with friends. The hair spends a lot of time tied up.

mustard top

Usually I get my eyebrows dyed and they have all but disappeared. Even Graham has asked where they have gone! So the first thing I do every morning is use my Charlotte Tilbury eyebrow pencil. I still wear my sunscreen and some lippy while I wear a hat and sunglasses out walking.

I am missing my usual facials and treatments and will be returning for pampering facials to Bespoke Beauty and to Jeanne Brophy for her expertise and dermalux asap.

I have treated myself to a home mask also and it has helped temporarily.

My (gelish) nail polish is beginning to look shabby, but I have started filing them and it seems to work.

FINALLY

Self-isolating has made some people really challenge themselves to learn and do new things. I won’t be learning a new language. Nor will I be writing a book.

On the plus side, I won’t kill Graham. Just as well we both have a sense of humour!

Stay safe, my friends. What are you doing to help you get through this crisis?

 

Love Hilda