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THE COVIDIARIES - Day 1 - Tuesday 17th March 2020

Updated: May 5, 2020

How are we all doing?. Anyone feeling unwell or are we all ok out there?

This was posted on the 16th March 2020, by choir member Jane S, in our members only choir facebook group.

The country was in the grip of a Coronavirus pandemic and despite being upbeat for the last two weeks and coming through the frenzy of the premiere of the film 'Military Wives' we were all jittery, especially as our exciting VE Day concert, in May, at Hexham Abbey had just been cancelled.

Those fifteen words were all that were needed to bring us solidly together and hopefully enable us to sit out the difficulties on the horizon.

As a group we are fairly used to being self sufficient; after all we are military wives, our husbands are away for long periods of time, we live with uncertainty and our choir is our nuclear safety zone.

As Karen commented on how CMLC support each other, 'when troubles come, and my heart burdened be taken straight from the lyrics to one of our favourite songs ‘You Raise Me Up’. Hayley found a ‘funny’ from an American Military Wives web and I quote, 'Civilians everywhere. Plans abruptly cancelled. Can’t plan ahead.. . . how are we supposed to live like this? Military spouses everywhere; WELCOME TO HELL.' Her next down to earth comment was, 'I have two puking children, but I also have Gin..... It’s all about balance.' I thought that there was going to be a cosy party, to which I had no invite when Danni, Karen and Jane S all suggested they join her. What would we do without the gin and the puking children and no husband around? Get on with life.

There are two constants in life that keep us going; love and friendship and over the coming three months as my husband, Patrick, and I begin our enforced (never have a bossy daughter) self isolation I was aware that it would be those two things carried on through the pages of facebook that would keep up our spirits. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Beth T expressed her concerns for anyone trying to keep her business running, It would actually be better if the government closed schools/businesses. At the moment I worry for small businesses (such as cafes, pubs, restaurants) who will be impacted but cannot claim the government's 'help' as they haven't been told to close! This will have far reaching effects for the economy and I worry some businesses may feel forced to choose financial issues over safety - although I would like to hope not. It's worrying!” Vanessa is factoring in the financial implications with her craft business, with the village fair cancelled and many others fairs in the area not happening matters are getting tough. However, after that post the lovely Maggi put in an order for face wipes, but at least we know that Jenny is stranded but enjoying the sunshine in Morocco.

Then came the grim news from Estelle that there are confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Devon and at the same time Sharon has family in the hospital after an appendicitis operation.

It was heartening to hear that ladies (Katie, Emma HP and Vicki Clark) all discussing helping each other out with asthma inhalers despite the fact that there is probably going to be a shortage; it made those selfish hoarders squabbling over hand wash and paracetemol in Tesco seem such heartless souls. Katie, “So I have spoken to the doctors, they said that the kids symptoms are for a common cold and not the corona virus and they can go to school but I can also isolate if I wish!!!! So I rang the school explained what the doctors said and they said they are following government guidelines and they can't comment on taking them to school or isolating it's my decision. I have 2 kids moaning they want to go to school and my anxiety is going though the roof as iv no idea what I'm supposed to do!! I can't afford to take 2 weeks off work to self isolate and then have 2 weeks off for Easter holidays and the kids will send me mental if they are off for 4 weeks help..... What am I supposed to do??? (sorry I know no one has answers as it all so unknown atm ) Xxx.” All that you can do for Katie is offer love and support and God only knows that our choir ladies can do that in abundance. A few kind words go a long way

While driving my ninety-four old father to the dentist this morning I thought that there had to be some way of documenting our thoughts. With most communication done through social media where will the paper record be for future generation be when they study history,and then I remembered the Mass Observation Unit of the Second World War, where ordinary people kept a diary to log their ordinary lives. This, I hope, will be our choir’s record of extraordinary and frightening times.

So at the end of day one of our Choir Observation Diary a few comments from your editor. I would like to feel that we could run this until we go back for our next rehearsal in maybe a month, but I feel it will be more like three months, by which time I will have found the energy to dig a six foot hole to put Patrick in, when his boredom levels become intolerable. The government announced a couple of hours ago that there will be measures put in place for small businesses, that the virus is moving much faster than expected, seventy-one are dead, 1950 have tested positive and it can only get worse. Let us offer a prayer for those ill, for my daughter-in-law due her first child in May, Sharon’s William, all our asthmatics and Ben’s father. I finish with a final note from, “‘me (Maggi) and the Vicar of dribbly. hi everyone. No sunday worship, messy church, toddler group, friendship circle , small groups at Pilton and Ashford. Pilton church will be open each day for anyone who wants a quiet space. Wrap up though and use the anti bacterial stuff when you go in. Oh just thought hope no one nicks it. Obviously not you lot.”

Sarah F 17th MARCH 2020

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