Isolation diary: Missing anything?

A statue wrapped up for the winter – but where?

During a Zoom call the other day someone asked me what I most missed while being stuck at home. I actually couldn’t come up with an answer on the spot.

Ever since we decided to self-isolate (and long before the Government told my husband that he should isolate for 12 weeks) I was determined to enjoy the experience. I could see many benefits to our enforced holiday at home.

Now I suppose I am lucky – I have always been a glass half full type of person. I can’t claim any credit for that, and I do understand how challenging it must be for people who are naturally pessimistic or anxious. But the practice of counting your blessings is part of every recovery programme and is especially relevant to all of us now.

So I am looking, with a real sense of achievement, at the piles of things in the spare bedroom that are destined for the charity shop or tip – eventually. Both places are going to be inundated when this is all over!

I still have my sights on the many other boxes and filing cabinets of documents that we have accumulated in the 35 years we have been living in this house. The other day I was shredding bank statements from 1997, and there are plenty more to clear. And although I have made a start on the cupboards in the spare room, I still have to deal with the chunky old desktop computers dating back 30 years or more, not to mention the defunct electronic toys and memorabilia of long forgotten events.

Another blessing for me has been the large number of conversations we have had with friends and family. They have been far more frequent than in our previous busy lives. We have added Zoom and Houseparty to the familiar channels of phone, Skype and Facetime. I have learnt that the first 20 minutes of any Zoom conversation is spent sorting out the technology, and then asking about whatever is on the wall behind participants.

I suppose if there is one thing I have missed it is our weekly days out. About 18 months ago we drove into the countryside on my husband’s birthday and enjoyed lunch and a walk.  We realised that we didn’t do that often enough, so decided that we would make a point of going out once a week, and have put a fixed day in our diaries.

Until now we have only missed a couple of days out, and those were when we weren’t well. We rejoined the National Trust and have visited most of the properties and open spaces within an hour’s drive of our home.  One week it was pouring with rain so we headed for the cinema, but usually our trip involves a walk in the fresh air. We always have a meal out as well, so we don’t have to do any cooking when we get home.

We have made some wonderful discoveries, like the sandy beaches at Frensham Ponds and the gorgeous house at Ightham Mote. We visited Cliveden after watching “The Trial of Christine Keeler”.

It hasn’t all been National Trust, though. We’ve been down to the coast a few times and Richmond Park is a convenient 15 minute drive from our home. And we were planning a journey on the Bluebell line once the summer season kicked in. Although it is some distance away I have always wanted to look round Lavenham in Suffolk, which provides the backdrop to so many historical dramas. So those are things to look forward to when it is once again safe to go outside.



Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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  • I had to help clear my mother’s house a few years ago. That had nearly sixty years of stuff in it. It’s better to throw things out once in a while.

  • Manfarang – absolutely. I wouldn’t want to impose the task of clearing my accumulated rubbish on my family.

  • Thank you for this, Mary. I read it each time. It has become an addiction.
    Today the issue of Zoom, Skype and so on interested me.
    Now that an increasing number in our party are becoming more familiar with these, perhaps by the autumn we will have proposals on running meetings and conferences using whichever is most appropriate.
    The other thought arose from you comment on backgrounds. Does anyone know hoe to change the background, which seems to involve having a green background and then putting a picture in its place electronically?

  • suzanne fletcher 9th Apr '20 - 1:05pm

    I’d be interested in getting a nice background too! Although at home all the time not getting on very fast with tidying the office ( lots of activity needed around asylum issues as well as our church) so it looks rather scruffy on Zoom. in a Zoom with Jonathan Ellis ( re immigration detention issues) the other day he had a lovely sky background. I need one!

  • I miss living in a world which has probably disappeared for ever.

    I and my wife are self isolating for reasons of age and vulnerability and my daughter, who is pregnant plus her three year old are staying with us . This is because her husband is doing long shifts in the front line in a leading London hospital which is facing the brunt of the corona virus A&E admissions. He works for hours every day in a highly contaminated environment.

    We have been trying to arrange home deliveries of food and other household necessities for three weeks now. The many supermarkets are not processing new on-line orders and telephone calls are automatically disconnected after about a minute.

    My son-in-law, exhausted after long shifts and lonely and depressed because he misses his wife and daughter, has to scour half-empty supermarkets then drive a fair way to deliver the food he has managed to purchase. Then, having observed safe distancing from his wife and avoiding alerting his young daughter of his presence to avoid upsetting her, he makes his way back to his empty house.

    I cannot help feeling that a great many relatively young, fit and healthy couples acted very quickly to secure on line delivery, determined to get it sorted before anyone else.

    The world that I remember was when able people stood back to allow others to get in first. Admittedly, that was in earlier days and it was not in the pushy, highly competitive Home Counties.

    Please note, we are receiving essentials, which is all we require. This is not a plea for help for us. It is a plea for those who are in a much worse position, who are all alone with no food deliveries and no helper either.

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