Day 1 – Tuesday 24th March 2020
First day of lockdown and I can’t be at home. We moved to Wales yesterday and I had a hire van to return to Hampshire and then drive back in my car. It’s a 550-mile round trip and I was up at 4am to get started.
I’d assumed they’d be lots of police and fewer vehicles on the road. I thought maybe police would stop people on their travels and I was hoping they’d be sympathetic to my situation. No stops at all. But there was far more traffic than yesterday, which was the first day schools were closed. There seemed to be more Walkers Crisps lorries than anything else. At least the nation will be stocked with snacks on lockdown.
It was such a long day. I was already exhausted from driving and unloading the van yesterday. We made it safely back to Wales with no incident and fuelled by only one cup of coffee. The local fish and chip shop was open when we came home so dinner was a portion of chips, sitting on the living room floor.
Day 2 – Wednesday 25th March 2020
The government guidelines are that we should only go out for essential shopping. That is open to interpretation as our ‘essential’ is probably not quite the same as most people’s. We have no furniture at home, having only brought personal possessions, our bedframe and Tabby’s mattress with us.
We went to The Range and picked up a few things to make our time without furniture a bit more comfortable. I was quite shocked that The Range would be open because it’s not really an essential shop. I chatted to the cashier (while keeping a safe distance, of course) and she wasn’t happy about the shop being open. The managers had ordered in freezers so they could still trade. The cashier looked exhausted and said a lot of colleagues were off and she’d rather be at home because her daughter has diabetes.
I picked up food in Aldi, opposite The Range. It was the first time I’d experienced tighter shopping measures. There was a security guard on the door, making sure only a few people entered the shop. There was hardly anyone in the store but there was still a big ruckus when an employee challenged a young woman for coming into the shop more than once that day.
Once we were home, I used my phone to find online stores that would deliver appliances. Again, I was surprised as I thought most places would shut down. I ordered a washing machine and a mattress from Argos. Then I spent the next 45-minutes trying to get through to the bank so see why they’d denied my debit card transaction. By the time that was sorted, I’d missed the earlier delivery slot. Items should be coming on Friday.
I made another attempt at online shopping and ordered a fridge-freezer.
We took a walk in the evening to the beach and watched the sun set. I still can’t believe that I’m here in Wales and I’m so close to the sea. Feeling very blessed.
Dinner was a Chinese takeaway because I couldn’t find any knives, pots or pans.
Day 3 – Thursday 26th March 2020
We walked into town to go food shopping. Everything is quite calm and Tesco was well stocked. I even managed to find a couple of packets of pasta so dinner was a curried pasta dish (a fusion dish by Ken Hom – a family favourite).
Having food meant that I needed to unpack the kitchen boxes so I could actually cook. That took most of the afternoon. We’d started off packing in an orderly fashion but that went haywire as soon as we were tired and under pressure to move in a short time. Was quite interesting to find what had been thrown into the boxes – candles, kitchen knives and oyster shells?
I found an email notifying me that my payment for the fridge-freezer I ordered yesterday was declined. So another 45 minutes was spent listening to ‘on hold’ music while I tried to sort it out. I had Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The bank said they’d made a mistake and they had now whitelisted my card. I reprocessed the payment and now the fridge will be delivered on Saturday. Good job I’ve got nowhere to go and I’ll be staying in.
First dinner cooked in my new, small kitchen. We sat on the floor with our makeshift table (a plastic box) and ate together, just like normal.
Day 4 – Friday 27th March 2020
Went to Tesco early and had to queue outside, observing social distancing rules. It was a beautiful day so quite happy to be outside in the fresh air. The police were monitoring the queue, which seemed a bit over the top as it was made up of middle-aged shoppers quietly standing in line. Not quite sure what the police were expecting but they were probably disappointed by the lack of disobedience.
We unpacked more boxes at home and shuffled the ones around that we just can’t unpack. We’d planned to buy furniture once we were here and we want to look at preloved items. It’s important to me to be a more conscious consumer. I would have probably bought a second-hand washing machine and fridge but those shops have been closed.
The mattress and washing machine arrived early afternoon. Paul and I put our bedframe together, which took longer than expected and we ended up with a couple of spare bolts that wouldn’t fit anywhere. Fingers crossed they’re not vital. I will never, ever take my bed for granted again. After sleeping on the floor for a week, I cannot wait to sleep on a mattress. My bones ache.
Installing the washing machine should have been a doddle. I’ve done it before but this time the water lever was stuck and I couldn’t turn the water on. I didn’t want to force it in case the lever snapped and I’d have a flood on my hands. I called plumbers, many plumbers, but they wouldn’t come out. On my last try, I got through to a plumber who just happened to be passing the end of my road. Five minutes and twenty pounds later, the washing machine had water.
Day 5 – Saturday 28th March 2020
More unpacking boxes. More shuffling boxes. We can do no more with boxes until we have storage in place for content of said boxes. We do now have space in the dining room amongst the boxes so we can sit on the floor in there as well as the living room. We have options.
Today, the fridge-freezer arrived. Another joyous occasion. We can now keep our food longer and not shop so often. Being vegan and cooking from scratch means we get through a lot of fresh vegetables and sadly, the quality from supermarkets doesn’t always mean it will last very long unrefrigerated.
I wasn’t going to go to the shops but I needed cake and ice cream. Not really an essential, I suppose (but I think you can argue a good case that it is). Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in the UK but Tabby and I decided to postpone it for a week as we were packing up the van and cleaning house. Tomorrow there will be cake to celebrate Mother’s Day and I will not be going shopping.
We didn’t take our daily walk today. Paul was too tired. It has been an exhausting couple of weeks.
Our broadband was activated today – we are connected!
Day 6 – Sunday 29th March 2020
Today was a day of not very much. We went for a walk on the beach, I cooked dinner, we played Uno in the afternoon and then I wrote a blog post on our move to Wales. And, of course, we ate cake and ice cream.
Day 7 – Monday 30th March 2020
We walked into town to go shopping. I stopped at the Post Office to get stamps and then went to Lidl for food shopping. They had rice!
Before lockdown, I didn’t panic buy and I was using up my cupboard staples prior to our move. When the government announced that anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 had to self-isolate, I had one packet of rice and one packet of pasta left. We didn’t have symptoms but it was a jolt to realise that if we did, we wouldn’t have enough food to last three days let alone seven days or longer. Of course, there was nothing in the shops to restock with.
I’ve been slowly increasing my supplies over the past couple of weeks. Not bulk buying (not that I could) but picking up lentils, rice, pasta, couscous and dried beans whenever I saw them. I have a small supply now and it’s all been down to luck. Staples are still few and far between in the supermarkets.
I spent all afternoon writing to companies notifying them of our move and sorting out car insurance. I had to cancel my existing policy and take out a new one with a different insurer. My debit card was refused again so I had to spend nearly an hour on the phone with Virgin Money to be told that they would white list my card for online payments. Again.
We ended our first week of lockdown with a walk by the sea. Still can’t believe how blessed I am to be here.
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