Lockdown Week 2: How are you all doing? Any meltdowns?

So how are you all doing in Lockdown Week 2? Be honest because I am going to be. I think I have gone from Lockdown into Meltdown. A friend, who I thought was taking it all in her stride and was positively upbeat, told me that the other morning she sat on the garden steps and sobbed. The temperature was 2℃ so she had to wear a coat which meant that the coat then had to be self-isolated on re-entering the family home as it can carry the virus for up to 4 days. She couldn’t cry inside as she didn’t want to worry members of the family who are isolating with her as she needs to be the ‘strong one’.

My meltdown was activated by the constant pinging on my phone of Coronavirus updates. The numbers of the dead for that day roll in at about 4pm like the football results used to on a Saturday afternoon. Yesterday Italy gave us a figure of the cases that had been cured and had gone home that day – it was just a little gesture but it did give me an uplift.

I have never heard the phrase, ‘unprecedented times’, uttered so many times, probably only second to, ‘wash your hands’. These phrases may be being said regularly by Government ministers but now they are being said up and down the country in every home.

Anyway I am going to try to give you some lockdown week 2 tips. First I will share a tip from leading skincare specialist, Fitzjohn Skincare.


All this handwashing has left the skin on my hands feeling like sandpaper – a small price to pay in order to keep the virus at bay but as we enter week 2, we have learned …. that the humble soap bar beats everything else when it comes to fighting this horrible virus.  

Who’d have thought it?  Fitzjohn Skincare (a skincare specialist that I have often used) would usually advise you against using an alkaline product on your skin because it disrupts the pH (your acid mantle), it turns out it’s perfect for disintegrating the virus.  So dig out the scented gift soaps you have perfuming your underwear drawer and keep on washing those hands!


In the meantime make your own exfoliator for your hands:

1.  Take a teaspoon of soft brown sugar and add a teaspoon of olive oil and mix
2.  Rub gently over the backs of the hands where skin is getting dry for a minute or two.  Do not over scrub!
3.  Wash off, then apply the Fitzjohn best-selling  Hand & Nail Cream to condition and treat. 

What Day is it?

I and my Other Half (OH) have now been in lockdown for over 10 days but the days just blur into one. I don’t think, in 33 years of being together, I have spent so much one-on-one time with him. Yes, unprecedented times. It is going remarkably well so far or so I thought. However I found him Googling the names of the hotels that might be taking in the domestically abused. I don’t know whether that was for me or for him! And it is only Lockdown week 2.

Jokes aside: some info given to us by a reader which I want to pass on to anyone in a true domestic abuse situation –

I have just listened to a very interesting topic on BBC Radio 2 regarding domestic violence which can increase at this time of great stress. I was very interested to know that if you are in need of any assistance at all you can make a silent call to the police on 999 and you do not need to speak but can press 55 when prompted so they know that it’s not a hoax call. The current lockdown does NOT apply if you are at risk of domestic violence. Hope there is no one out there who does require this but it was something I had never heard before so thought I would share this just in case it was helpful to anyone.

We do miss our children, who are isolating elsewhere in order to protect us. Yes we communicate through FaceTime and HouseParty apps however it is not the same. It may be wonderful to hear their voices and see their faces however nothing replaces human contact. I miss their hugs and that is probably the single most unbearable part for us of this isolation. But a small price to pay for good health.



My dogs and I are definitely bored of Lockdown Week 2. They are missing walking a car ride away from our house and not meeting up with their doggie pals, chasing Muntjac and rolling in fox poo in their regular dog walking heaven.

I too miss the walks with their owners, my girlfriends, where we set the world to rights and clock up 12,000 steps to boot.

I am now scared to go out with them, even to the park opposite my house for fear of incurring the wrath of a policeman and a subsequent fine. A women got fined £650 for refusing to tell the police where she was going. I just saw two policemen walking in our park which is two more than I have ever seen!


Anyway back to my dogs and their beauty care. We, ladies, may be worrying about our hair and lack of appointments with our hairdressers but I am more concerned about my Australian Doodle, Kobi, who is already starting to look like a lion. My dog groomer, Sophia, has sent me a text recommending that I try to keep his ‘mane’ under control during the lockdown with this dog comb from Amazon. I think she is worried that if I don’t succeed then she will have to shave Kobi post-lockdown. The best news is that Kobi seems to love being groomed with it. It looks deadly but it is keeping him matt free and fluffy. I might be tempted to use it on my hair soon.

Lockdown Week 2: Missing my Freedom


I abhor the relentless food shopping online or rather the queuing for a delivery slot only to discover that the 46,000+ ahead of you, in the virtual queue, beat you to it. Sometimes I feel like just clicking on a fashion site and buying a floral dress to swan around my garden sipping Rosé wine and imagining that we are not really part of some dystopian movie but we are enjoying the beautiful Spring days without a care in the world.

And yes I miss the freedom. The freedom of choice, the freedom to go where I want, to fly to the sun in May because OH and I are semi-retired. Suddenly I appreciate the freedom I took for granted. I find myself praying to God and bargaining with him. God has not heard from me in a while but hopefully he will not hold that against me and put me in an online quece similar to the Ocado one. Clearly I am not in a strong position to do this as I have not graced the inside of a church since my mother’s funeral. Nevertheless I continue to hope that he is all-forgiving, as I learnt in my Catechism classes 50+ years ago, saying I promise to not take my world for granted and I will be more attentive to him if he, in exchange, will please keep my family and friends safe and well.

Visit Monet’s Garden

I was sad to miss the Impressionists exhibition at The Royal Academy – I am not a great Art aficionado but for once I booked and OH and I were looking forward to it. COVID-19 put paid to that along with so many other cultural events. However the RA sent this video out to enjoy at home.

If you can’t get outside today, take a virtual trip to the Seine Valley to take in the colours and light of Giverny, the gardens that inspired much of Monet’s work for the last 20 years of his life.

But we adapt…..

I found myself perusing gardening websites as now seems to be the time to get my gardening gloves out and tackle the garden in time for the summer. Maybe I should be turning my herbaceous border into a vegetable bed. Or alternatively dig up the lawn and turn it into something more productive. On the other hand the lawn currently gives OH a bit of exercise once a week as he has to mow it with a bog standard mower. He looks longingly at next door’s robotic lawnmower but our neighbours are over 90 so they are allowed to be more sedentary. Anyway our dogs would try to kill a robotic lawnmower as they already are quite agitated by next door’s one and it is some distance away, across a river.


Perhaps I need to be less adventurous in my garden projects. I found this Vegetable Trough from bestofengland.com which would be perfect and would also make a wonderful present to someone who has limited outside area. It is waist height so easy on your back, quick to assemble and made with Fresh Sawn Green Oak. It’s V-shaped design is to accommodate plants with long roots. Perfect for growing herbs too as we come into the summer.

The best news is that if you work for the NHS then you will get a 50% discount. Email harry@bestofengland.com and they will tell you how.

Lockdown Week 2: Keeping Fit….

I am doing more Yoga, via Zoom, with my yoga teacher, Maddy. She recently recorded a Stretch and Strengthen routine for us to do every morning – click HERE to view it.

Yesterday I went to my regular Bridge session, also via Zoom. Our Bridge teacher sent an email prior to the lesson saying that we are a lively group so he was hoping to get through his 30 minute lesson with limited interruptions. But probably, like the rest of us, he is feeling starved of human company so is happy just to chat to us. The lesson worked though my concentration didn’t and when my bridge partner sent me this pic I realised what was missing. It didn’t make the understanding of ‘Responding to 1NT’ any easier however it made it much more enjoyable.


CHRIS WHITTY – Chief Medical Officer

I don’t know about you but my CV19 hero is Chris Whitty and aren’t we missing him in lockdown week 2? Not that I don’t enjoy the calm and soothing tones of Dr. Jenny Harries but I love the baby-faced Chris. Has anyone heard how he is doing? I hope he has the Royal Coronavirus which seems to have kept our Royal Heir out of action for only 7 days. The Prince is now back on duty in suit, shirt and tie looking very bonny and polished and worrying about his people. I was looking forward to hearing The Queen broadcast to the nation but it seems she hasn’t got the hang of Houseparty or someone has ‘locked’ her in a room.

But still no sign of Chris – I have launched a Where’s Whitty campaign so hoping someone can spot him in their neighbourhood.

In the meantime I have found a really good way to support the NHS apart from just staying home. Stay home and read this book of poetry, ‘These Are The Hands: Poems From the Heart of the NHS’. The book ‘offers a unique insight into the real experiences of the people at the heart of the NHS – from the student nurse at the start of his career to the heart surgeon on the eve of her retirement.’ 

Leading UK poets have donated poems, including Michael Rosen, Roger McGough, Lemn Sissay, Sabrina Mahfouz, and Wendy Cope. 

All proceeds go to the NHS Charities Together, which supports over 135 official NHS Charities raising money for NHS hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental health services across the UK.



Back to my life at this time of year the hardy boat owners should be getting their boats ready for launching in time for the Easter weekend. The river would also be busy with the rowers practising in preparation for the Olympics and/or the Royal Regatta. But the river is quiet, no humans to disturb the water. Just the wind and the wildlife.


Nature continues. The Canada geese have returned and are nesting in their regular places and our local swan, the Pen, is making her nest and getting ready for the laying of her eggs. Suddenly the river has become their kingdom and we are confined to quarters just to observe from a distance. I bet they are saying, “Long may it last”.

Every day my OH and I say to ourselves that we are lucky to be living where we are surrounded by beauty and nature. So far we are virus free and we hope that all of our readers will continue to be safe and stay well.

Do keep in contact via our comments section beneath each post. We love hearing from you.

Quick BUY NOW from Amazon

P.S. I have recently heard on the radio that electricity companies are forewarning us of cuts because they predict we will run out of electricity. So stock up on torches and candles as that will be the next item that people will stockpile. Turning off radio NOW!!

If you did not read my last Lockdown post – Lockdown: Just a few things to make staying at home easier to endure – click HERE. See you for Lockdown Week 3 next week. #StaySafeatHome

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Kathryn Jordan
Kathryn Jordan
2 years ago

Hi Annabel
For the over 70s we are more than 3 weeks into lock down here in Ireland. I too am surrounded by nature and really appreciating my garden. I also have family nearby who can deliver shopping etc and friends who keep in touch on a regular basis so count myself among the fortunate. Your post really struck a chord with me as the thing that makes this social isolation so hard is the lack of physical contact. I’m a widow living alone but I saw my children and grandchildren frequently. I also had a regular routine of activities – Book Clubs, Yoga, French and German conversation groups etc – all now on hold . While there is much I can do to keep body and mind active, there is nothing to replace the hugs or even just sitting close to others. I am using all my ‘best’ soaps, creams and shampoos. I think a little pampering does help and my dogs have never had so many strokes and pats!
Thanks as always for your interesting and fun posts as they do help .

Best wishes


Pauline Girling
Pauline Girling
2 years ago

Hello ladies – this is what life is like in Canada at the moment -we live just outside Toronto – and it is the end of our third week of voluntary isolation and we begin our fourth!

As of this weekend absolutely everything is shut down except grocery stores, hospitals, gas stations and pharmacies. Apparently we are entering the crunch time when death rates could spiral so this is the reason our Government has brought in even more stringent measures. And now there are hefty fines for not socially distancing when outside and new policing measures mean cars can be stopped and passenger numbers checked – and if the number of people exceeds 5 (or theses passengers are not one family all living in the same house) then you are breaking the law and given massive fines again!

As this global crisis deepens I have to admit that I fear life as we have known it in the past will become a thing of the past. It would not surprise me if these strict measures are in place for at least another 8 weeks or more, and by that time we would have developed and lived by totally different life rules! I’m trying not to mentally ‘fight’ this limiting lifestyle that I’m faced with any more, because what’s the point? Instead I’m just trying to ‘live in a smaller mental space’! I’m now setting myself one small achievable task each day, and then be satisfied and be at peace with myself when the evening comes around and I can say I have accomplished it. Basically as my world has shrunk down so have the expectations that I have for myself each day. This really does provide some small comfort at bedtime and I’m feeling OK with this solitary achievement because it also means that I no longer feel so dejected or miserable! Surviving this period of social isolation, closures, lockdowns – whatever we call it – is a new life skill that we have to learn – and I’ve promised myself that I will use this method of coping as a way to enjoy each day living within these horribly challenging restrictions.

Oh – and as I sit here writing to you and drinking my morning coffee – the one accomplishment that I’m setting for myself today is to hang the three little inspirational plaques that I bought months ago and have been too busy to put up on my wall until now!

Take care of yourself …..be kind to yourself……and stay safe……Pauline

2 years ago

Hello from Melbourne, Australia. We aren’t quite at the same levels of lockdown here, yet, as you in the UK. It has of course impacted our freedom. We are currently meant to be on our long awaited holiday to the coast, which we are sad about missing, but we know there are much worse situations in the world at the moment. We are allowed out for sessions of exercise once a day. I have never in my life seen so many dogs being walked! They must be loving it! Anyhow, stay safe and stay well. There still is a lot to be thankful for in life.

2 years ago

Thanks so much for the updates you send. I really look forward to the “life continues” attitude no matter what we face. You are helping people and empowering us with your articles. Thanks.

2 years ago

Beautifully written Annabel. You have put into words just what people must be feeling and thinking. Thank you.

Jenny Leeson
Jenny Leeson
2 years ago

Really enjoying your emails,great to read and think about! Thank you both