Everyone's lockdown experience will be different. This is mine. Welcome to a curtain-twitching, TMI rundown of the weird and mundane minutiae of Wednesday 8 April.
Morning 8.30am: Woke up before the alarm, which I have been doing since the sun started shining in through the curtains just before the equinox. Kettle on. Toast in. Steep Earl Grey tea leaves. Grab Metacam and go give Bunminster his daily pain meds and both buns their breakfast. Each knows exactly where to go to get their pellets. It runs like clockwork as we are all creatures of habit and I'm back as the toast pops up. Breakfast while watching 20 mins of Mad Men: everyone is sleeping with someone else and extra sweaty because it is August in New York.
Work 9.30am: check Facebook as it's no longer on my phone, check emails, log into content management platform, fix some things, tickle the optimisation algorithm to improve my score, research and write 1000-word feature on Covid-19 impacts on independent schools. Get two work requests for next week and accept both even though it's my week off because that's freelance life. At some point the C-19 location app sends a push notification for me to register whether I've had a COVID-19 test yet and how I'm feeling today.
Lunch 1.45pm: Everything stops for 'Doctors', the BBC soap set in a fictional place called Letherbridge, which is really Birmingham, so there is an extra bonus of spotting the locations. I really can't recommend it enough – it's quite funny once you're hooked. Eat toast and a salted boiled egg. Pete kindly sets up wifi and parasol so we can work in the garden. Make him a cuppa and sit for five minutes in the garden watching the rabbits and enjoying the sunshine.
Work 2.3opm: Get into giant acid green beanbag with laptop and do a bit of SEO legwork on article. Edit/proofread three or four more coronavirus-related articles. Deal with neighbour's five-year-old who keeps trying to talk to us out of boredom: where you going, what you doing, why is that hula hoop in the tree, where is the other rabbit, why is that grass there, etc. 'Quiet time!' announces Pete like a proper parent and our young stalker shouts bye and runs off. Another neighbour starts up with the hedge trimmer. Ask for some black market advice on Facebook Messenger about a lump we found in Bunminster's ear, arrange immediate vet visit, Pete returns with a traumatised bun who has had an abscess lanced. He runs home and stress-flops. We are given instructions to squeeze the pus out frequently in the next 48 hours then revisit the vet. A Facebook contact drops off some seeds she has to spare so I can grow things at the allotment this year after all.
Evening: Finish work 6.20pm and clear away work tech. Leave Pete, who has been furloughed and is now looking for projects, building a large 2m square wood frame which is going to be a portable sun screen for working in the garden. Go for my state-sanctioned local walk, cross paths with Stirchley pal P-Bantz on his way home from his 'one exercise a day', check on a vulnerable friend, walk through Muntz Park to Selly Park Rec for sunset. Discover a fulsome cherry tree in bloom, take photos. Avoid others by veering off the path or crossing the road. Follow a blackbird hopping, foraging, under a quince tree. Listen to music all the way around my 45-minute circuit and wonder if I can learn 'Lady With the Braid' by Dory Previn on the guitar. It's got a great narrative about a woman who asks a man to stay the night but proceeds to scare him off the more she talks and asks him questions.
Dinner and TV: Pete peels the spuds for mash and I get on board with Linda McCartney veg sausages, gravy and peas. We split a large bottle of Tiger beer and I flash back to Asia and miss it vividly but briefly. When all this over maybe… We watch an episode of Giri/Haji, a "soulful thriller set in Tokyo and London" according to BBC iPlayer. At 9.30pm we go squeeze Bunminster's abscess together. I look up at the stars. Every day ends with a bath and a book – currently Cheryl Strayed's 'Tiny Beautiful Things', which is only slightly more upbeat than Tig Notaro's cancer memoir "I'm Just A Person' which I finished yesterday. I hear the squawk of a goose or duck or something – it's the third night running and shouldn't birds be asleep?
Bedtime: I go to wish Pete goodnight and spot through the front door that the street is extra dark. I'm wrapped in a towel but I pop out to check if the world still has power. Yes, it's only one streetlight that is out. Pete comes to look and then shuts the door on me like we're in the plot of a Hollywood comedy. I say bedtime but really it's blogtime – I'm now more than two weeks into daily blogging this daily diary. It's now 00.27. Goodnight. I must go play my game of Threes so I can sleep.
Today I am thankful for getting this little gem via my Stirchley mafia/Eurovision WhatsApp group – a man playing the drum intro to Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight on his kitchen cupboard doors:
Commission me: fiona [at] fionacullinan.com