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THE COVIDIARIES - Day 2 - Wednesday 18th March 2020

Having received positive feedback to yesterday’s entry I have made the decision to continue with my musings. Wednesday is gardening duties for the Farrellys but an excess of rain put paid to that and the man of the house and I looked at each other and said, “What next?” I think it may almost get to the stage that we are fighting over cooking duties. I washed loads of table napkins this morning as now we are in pariah status we no longer eat as an extended family at the weekend; only three are needed for Grandpa and us. Mealtimes are lonely but at least there is not a litany of elbows off the table, close your mouth and eat your veg.

Tips from Dr. Mark Porter, who writes in The Times. Instead of worrying about protecting yourself from catching the virus, image you already have it and think about how you should behave to minimize the risks of passing it on to your family and friends – or anyone else. It is the same measures, but this alternative view helps to focus the mind and actions. Also, I would swap ten face masks for a bar of soap, hot water and a fresh towel.

Having attempted to make hand gel at the weekend using meths instead of surgical spirit I was treated to a chemical explanation on ethanol, methanol, methyl salicylate and diethyl phthalate by our friend Roger, who aged seventy four is also out of contact with civilization. Roger has now ordered a gallon of pure alcohol on the internet and he and I are setting up a laboratory at the weekend to make it in industrial quantities. Recipe = 60% of over 60% alcohol (preferably Russian vodka or failing that pusser’s rum) or surgical spirit and 40% of hand cream, aloe vera or some such cream. I suppose you could always drink it if desperate. Is it possible to make loo rolls as well!!

We have our first experience of social distancing tomorrow. Our grandson Tobin is to have three teeth out prior to a brace being fitted. Bridget is to take him this afternoon, but has to go into school tomorrow to teach. Normally he would come to us and still will do, but at a distance. Already set up a little table for him to eat at on their side of the house, but in view so I can make sure he eats his meal.

Lovely to cheer myself up reading your news. Very excited about Sue’s long distance learning and would like to go for both options of improving my theory and the history of music. I hope that Jenny is going to be a regular contributor to a gardening section – I know that she has been asked but has she agreed? I heard on the news this morning that Gareth Malone is setting up some sort of choir and I note that Jo, Maria, Sharon, Alison, Cheryl, Emma, Nicky and Vanessa have already signed up. Also this morning a chap from Wales (one for Nicky) called James Sills is running Sofa Singers and the song is my all time favourite ‘Stand by Me.’

Now what about your news, some good, some funny and some showing hills to climb. Last night should have been our happy hours in at Chivenor singing, gossiping while poor Rachel attempted to teach us. It left a hole in our evening, our special time away from the family and other irritations and worries, especially now when we need our safety network more than ever.

Dani, Tracey and Jane B thank you for writing what we were all thinking about missing choir. Cannot even put our arms around Jo, to wish her luck going self-employed as coronovirus hits us. Distancing from family is proving to be an anxious experience.

Cheryl had a ‘lovely FaceTime chat with her wonderful mum today at work and says 'The Carehome has been in isolation since last week, so I can’t visit. She has no idea what’s going on, but I could wish her a happy Mother’s Day and tell her how much I love her. Fingers crossed she stays well.’ Vanessa’s sister had to talk to her mum through the living room window on Sunday. Window closed and talking on the phone. The carers have told her she has to stay away now. Estelle reports that ‘my mum works for hospice to home so she deals with patients in their own homes, today she's been told she can't work any more as she's asthmatic and hypertension. She's gutted but obviously I'd rather she stays safe! Jane B’s annual skiing holiday is no longer and we all know that that is a holiday that is written into the choir diary.

Reading Sarah's observations, reminded me of my great aunts diaries!!, writes one of our members.

A rather sombre missive with schools closing on Friday for the foreseeable future, no exams being taken in May. However, two good things. First a ‘solidarity trial’ of the first vaccine is taking place and the National Trust are letting us into all their parks and gardens free of charge.

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