Sam’s Isolation Diary – Saturday 11th April

Story and pics contributed by Sam

Most of you have probably been reading highly intellectual and informative material during the isolation period. I must warn you now, that this contribution is certainly not that. It’s more like a trashy celebrity magazine, without the pictures of attractive, scantily clad ladies.

Of course indulging in cakes, coffee, alcohol and chocolate have been enjoyable ways to pass some of my time during the current isolation period, but physical exercise has been keeping me feeling positive and upbeat throughout my time alone in isolation.

I am very fortunate to be close to Christchurch Park and have briefly seen some friendly and familiar IOG faces during social distancing.

We all know how marvellous the great outdoors can make us feel, so I have been rising early to beat the crowds, for peaceful runs in the morning sunshine. I can’t help but notice how wonderfully loud and varied the birdsong has become since the cars have stopped and how beautiful the flowers look in bloom.

Along with running or walking daily, I have been partaking in some indoor, online fitness workouts including Joe Wicks PE at 9 am on Youtube every week day and regular video call dance classes run by my seven-year-old niece dressed as a princess asking me to pretend I’m dancing with a handsome man in my lounge (one can dream). I have to admit I am slightly concerned that one morning I may land on my neighbours’ lap as I fall through their ceiling during one of my indoor exercise sessions.

Having been blessed with some unexpected spring sunshine, I have been enjoying the courtyard, despite the odd items hanging on my neighbour’s washing line.  I’ve also been painting fences and made my first floor pouffe. It may shock some of you to hear I have even been cooking meals from scratch most evenings, and I even baked some healthy banana and peanut butter flapjacks this week.

Humanity is the greatest gift we have in life. Friendships and kindness have always been very important to me, but never more so than now. Keeping in touch with friends, family and those who may be lonely via voice and video calls has been invaluable, and a great source of some much needed laughter and company.

Music has been another fantastic mood enhancer for me. Listening to radio and podcasts has been a great way to start the day.  Elizabeth Day’s “How to Fail” podcasts have been really thought-provoking and uplifting for me and I thoroughly recommend you check them out.

If you need some visual stimulation but are fed up with TV may I recommend relaxation videos which are available on YouTube; I found a great one that turned my TV into the ocean.

Many celebrities have been posting on YouTube, some of my favourites being Mylene Klass teaching music and piano and, for a Saturday night, Gok Wan live-streaming DJing 90s anthems on Instagram – which gets me dancing like a crazy lady.

A new sense of community has sprung up nearby. A WhatsApp group has been created for those living in my road, where valuable local information is shared, along with offers to go shopping for the vulnerable and self isolating. It has felt comforting to virtually meet new neighbours I was never aware of prior to Covid 19.

Every Thursday feels like a blessing, as it is the one day of the week that you can identify as different from the others. At 8 p.m. on my road we all stand outside banging saucepans, clapping and cheering in gratitude to the NHS. As I’m sure most of you know, I’m quite good at making a lot of noise.

This whole situation feels very surreal, almost like an awful horror movie, but I frequently remind myself to count my blessings and take comfort in the thought that this will not last forever.

Challenges, uncertainty and death are definite in life but Covid 19 has been a stark reminder of this, and the fact that good health is priceless. I am missing my friends and family, so please take some time to give yours a call (if you can), tell them you love them, call old friends and most of all look after your health. Let’s cherish a time when money is of no value, nature can heal, life is slower and free time is plentiful.

I’m missing you all, I can’t wait for our walks, games nights and social evenings to commence. Until we meet again, take care one and all, stay safe, stay home and stay sane.