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  • Writer's pictureFiona Bielby

Four weeks in isolation...

Sunday 15th March

Natalie and I went on a hack, before we set off we enjoyed a cuppa with Mum, Dad, Lawrence, Gemma and my Aunt and Uncle who had dropped in with their friends as they were staying on a campsite not far away. We chatted about the virus and about how the government had dropped hints towards the over 70s having to self isolate in the near future. We couldn't understand how people would mange. We even talked about how we didn’t think that Covid-19 was that serious- People were still arguing that the death toll of the common flu was just as high if not higher than this new virus. Lewis went to Rugby as normal with Richard, but came back with concussion after a tackle. We later went as planned as a family to Richard’s parent's house for tea where we saw Helen a Rich too. Helen, a nurse, spoke of some changes the hospital was preparing for, but so far there had been no real changes at work.

Monday 16th March 2020

A friend of mine informed me she had chosen to remove her children from school to keep them safe, the government talked above school closure becoming more of a possibility, but still advised that they were safe and it was best to keep them open for childcare purposes- grandparents were more at risk. A message from Natalie’s football coaches came through to advise us that training and matches would be cancelled for the foreseeable future along with other grass root sports.

Wednesday the 18th March 2020

An email from Ryedale school arrived in my inbox, announcing they would be shutting due to the Corona Virus. Work would be sent home for the students to complete via email and they would be setting up a system to create a more streamlined workflow.

Thursday 19th March 2020 Lewis and I worked together to try to figure out how he was to access the work from school. The previous days at school had being teaching the students how to access everything; however, due to Lewis’ concussion he has not been in school to hear of this. Later that day, an email came through from Malton School to advise us that the school would be shutting on the Friday, they would be spending the last day of school showing and ‘training’ the children how to access their lessons from now on-their new school day. The government announced that all schools would be forced to close as of Friday to everybody apart from the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children.

Friday 20th March 2020

I walked dog with my Aunt and Uncle, whilst social distancing this was extremely strange and spent the whole day, waiting, waiting and waiting keeping everything crossed for my couple Tori and Tom, who were due to get wed the following day. All was looking good- even though they'd lost a best man a bridesmaid and about a 3rd of the wedding party they still remained in high spirits whilst talking to myself. Then about 4.30pm I heard from my brother, all pubs, cafes, restaurants etc. were to shut for as long as we need them to, from close that night, no warning, just like that! The government begged people NOT to go out for their final drink, but many did. Inevitably, at around 5.45pm I received the phone call from the Bride, one I’d never had before...They’d received a call from the venue to say their wedding couldn’t go ahead, just hours before the event! I can’t imagine quite how they must have felt to hear this devastating news, with everything in place and ready to go. How many other couples had experienced this too? It was an unbelievable decision, but one we can all understand 4 weeks on, what would our death toll have looked like had this weekend carried on as normal across the entire country.

Saturday 21st March 2020

No wedding.

Boris warns the nation to stay at home on Mother’s Day and keep Mum safe, this was the day that the seriousness really hit home for me. This would be the first time in my life that we’ve never celebrated Mother’s Day with my Mum.

Mother's Day treats from these two; Natalie made a Camera cake!

All covered in marzipan to make it even more delicious!

The 23rd March 2020 (Monday) will be a memorable date to us all, a day that will be talked about in history to come for sure. The 23rd March was my friend Justine’s birthday, it was the first time I’ve knocked on her door and stepped back leaving my gift on the doorstep, it was the first time I’d seen a friend where we both stood at more than arms length away from one another, as if we had the plague. It was that night, whilst eating tea with the family and watching "Boris’ daily announcement" that I think the whole of the UK really realised just how bad C-19 was. There was an uneasy feeling in the air that night.

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.

Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.

So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope - and save more lives.

And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.

And though huge numbers are complying - and I thank you all - the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

· shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

· one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;

· any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and

· travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine - and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

· close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;

· we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;

· and we’ll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.

With the time you buy - by simply staying at home - we are increasing our stocks of equipment.

We are accelerating our search for treatments.

We are pioneering work on a vaccine.

And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.

Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted.

Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.

To halt the spread of this disease.

To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past so many times.

The people of this country will rise to that challenge.

And we will come through it stronger than ever.

We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.

And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Thank you.”

And there we had it, I’m not sure any of us really expected this, the country our world our lives came to a stand still. The NHS staffing became our frontline soldiers battling against this invisible killer, they have been recognised now as our heroes battling non-stop, in vain to help us beat this thing!

Here we are 4 weeks, a month later, living our solitary lives understanding fully why these dramatic actions were taken.

A lot of us between 4 walls, some lucky enough to have the perimeter of our gardens to enjoy. The weather as been kind, the sun has been out daily and the temperature has been on average 2.5 degrees warmer on our hottest days for this time of year. Some might say this has made things easier, but for those who cannot leave their houses I image it may have made things more difficult. This disease has brought with it sadness, harrow and fear but along with this it has brought community, compassion and togetherness. People have come together to help one another, we might not be able to work, but we can help those near us that are vulnerable and this is what has been happening. Overnight online communities sprung up to help make sure that no one was overlooked. Some people have gone above and beyond, sacrificing their time with direct family members in a bid to keep them safe, whilst doing their jobs. Some careers have selflessly, decided to temporarily move in to the care homes where they work, lowering the risk of further breakouts.

We may no longer be physically within the same room as one another, but we can at least with the help of technology see our loved ones and have conversations with them. We are able to access each other’s lives in ways we have never done before. I myself would never have dreamt of video calling my parents or friends, yet I’m pleased to say we have done this and the result has been rather side-splitting, up until now I have never seen my Mother’s ear and nostrils in quite so much detail! Jokes a side, this pandemic may have taken away our freedom, but it has given us the gift of time. This is a chance to stand still for some of us, the chance to just be. Here is an opportunity to look about us and whilst our normal daily lives lay dormant the world is at it’s most beautiful, it’s coming alive: blossom on the trees; daffodils dancing in the breeze, tulips and other spring flowers are popping up to make us smile… Now we wait, we pray, we hope, for the light at the end of the tunnel to reveal itself sometime soon, we teach our children from our homes we continue to try to work, to keep things ticking over and just hope to goodness that at the end of all this we still have a job to go back to.

I am very much enjoying spending time with Lewis and Natalie throughout this time, but every now and then I wonder and worry about the future as much as I try not to. We've been filling our days though to try and occupy these thoughts and here's is what we've been doing...

We've done a lot walking, near our house of course and it's been rather novel to be able to collect essential shopping from The Smithy Arms mid way round our walks. Walking the same paths has caused us to be creative, chatting between on another, playing with the dog, jumping ditches and the kids have even been walking in the dripping their toes in the water when we've crossed little becks with water in.

We've enjoyed cooking new food and eating it too...

Doing Easter themed hunts in the house and around the garden..

We've done yet more walking to leave gifts on doorsteps...

Lewis has been rebuilding his bike....

Nat's been perfecting her front flipping and back flipping along with practising her football skills, setting up a plant stall and doing makeup tutorials...

Leo's been eating.

Steve's been playing with is new chicken, standing looking out of the patio doors and then looking back in through them when he's let outside. He's found all of this rather wearing.

Richard's been busy building a wall around the edge of the garden, something that's been needing to be done for soo long now and it looks awesome!

I've been working on my business stationary, drinking too much coffee, enjoying gardening, taking lots of photos and keeping the house stuff going.

We've also played a spot of tennis .

Nat's a great sport!

Together we will get through this!

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