Lockdown Diaries: Inmates in Solitary

One of the most bizarre experiences to emerge from the lockdown, at least in our house, is the lonely, self-contained life of the inmates.

You’d think now that we’re all in the house,  we have lots of family interaction: no commuting, we all work/study/live in the same space. And yet.

We’re all in different rooms; not just because some of us increasingly crave privacy but because of work demands: there are all the phone calls, video conferences, webinars and online lessons to participate in at random times of the day. Then there are our different work habits: I like to work with music on; my husband likes to work in complete silence. Young Friend of the Elephants likes to ‘work’ with her door shut so that she can Facetime her friends instead.

Surely as a minimum, we share all the meal times? No. We all get up at different times and trickle downstairs one by one; all end eating breakfast alone. Lunch? Seems absolutely impossible to organise because everybody is on a different schedule. What’s left is dinner, just like when we were not locked into the house, and the rare occasions when people coincide by the kettle in the kitchen. I’m on my tea break now and I can’t find a single soul in the house who’s available for a five minutes’ chat.

My sister said her family was no different. And yours?

Lockdown Diaries: The ‘New Normal’ in the Swimming Pools

I stopped counting the lockdown with Day 70, 6 days ago, when we managed to get to the seaside in Lancashire and I actually got to swim – for the first time since my pool closed in March. It’s true that the water was barely above knee deep as it was low tide but on the plus side this meant its temperature was perfectly acceptable, instead of being 14 degrees as it would have been at high tide.

Trips to the sea however come round relatively rare in our lives (for all that this is an island); so it was with great excitement that I noticed recently in the news that talk began of the reopening of swimming pools in a month or two’s time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
But without the changing rooms.

Well, arriving already wearing your swimsuit is no major hardship and you can stuff your clothes and purse into a waterproof swimbag and leave it by the poolside. But as for going home… I can’t quite see myself wearing nothing but a dripping wet swimsuit on the bus, among fully dressed fellow travellers!

And what about in winter?

(Perhaps they should take this back to the drawing board.)

Lockdown Diaries: Day 70 (The Sea! The Sea!)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 70:

After more than two months in lockdown, we went on our first genuine day out…

…to the sea.


A vast sheet of water, the commencement of a lake or an ocean, spread far away beyond the range of the eye, reminding me forcibly of that open sea which drew from Xenophon’s ten thousand Greeks, after their long retreat, the simultaneous cry, “Thalatta! thalatta!” the sea! the sea!

Jules Verne: The Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Lockdown is over.

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 69 (In Rome with Quevedo)

Virtual Escape: In Rome with Quevedo

Evasión virtual: En Roma con Quevedo

Francisco de Quevedo 1580-1645

Much earlier in the lockdown I wrote about some books I’ve got that would make me look good if I dropped dead with them in hand but which I have never read: an anthology of Quevedo’s poetry in the original was one of them.

Mucho antes en la cuarentena, escribió sobre unos libros que tengo; libros que me harían lucir si me muera con ellos en la mano, pero que nunca he leído: la antología de la poesía de Quevedo en el original idioma fue uno de ellos. 

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 68 (Livin’ La Vida)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 68: Livin’ La Vida

Okay, so it’s not Spain. But it’s rural Lancashire, with views across the valley from the window, with hedges, drystone walls, palm trees (!) and brooks within walking distance and the sea within driving distance. And driving to places is allowed. 🙂

No virtual escape today, sorry. I’m just going to soak up the countryside and sniff at all the flowers.


Keep safe, keep sane – enjoy the flowers! 🙂

Lockdown Diaries: Day 67 (Anywhere But Lancashire)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 67:

Up on the motorway to Lancashire – instead of having fun in Spain as once planned – to attend to some family affairs while we’re still on holiday. At least we’re now also allowed non-essential travel, so we hope to fit in some hiking too!

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 66 (I Brought My Life This Far)

Locked Down in London, Day 66: Politicians

For the past few days, the row about whether a certain politician who broke the lockdown rules by travelling to visit family at some 200 miles’ distance (for childcare reasons) should resign.

In the circumstances I don’t believe that his reason for travelling was acceptable; but that’s just my personal opinion. What I do know for a fact on the other hand is that my family made sacrifices in the interest of public health instead of doing what was the best for us (as I believe did many others!) – while this mother****** did the exact opposite. Ergo, he should resign.

(Of course he won’t.)

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 65 (The Cíes Islands)

Locked Down in London, Day 65:

I just remembered: yesterday, if it wasn’t for the coronavirus, we’d have flown out to Galicia.

This would have been the holiday that would have replaced the one that was cancelled in April. Is this depressing or what? At least now we finally grasped that there was no point in rescheduling; instead we’ve joined the ranks of those hopefuls who are expecting their money back from the airline…

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 64 (Day Off)

Virtual Escape: Day Off

It’s Saturday night. My boss wanted me to work in the weekend – again! Why? Because she’s got neither a cat, nor a dog and is bored out of her mind in lockdown.

You know what? I’m taking the day off.

I hope you have something ever so much nicer to do than reading my blog for a virtual escape but if your need is desperate, there are 63 days worth of virtual escapes in my

⇒ Lockdown Diaries

P.S. If you just want a chat about books or Herodotus, I’m up for that. 🙂 Leave a comment below.

Keep safe, keep sane – see you tomorrow! 🙂

Lockdown Diaries: Day 63 (Sunset Sailing)

Virtual Escape: Sunset Sailing

A few years ago we holidayed in Malta – I wish we could go there right now! – and one we went on an organised trip with a small sailing ship to the Blue Lagoon and the island of Gozo where we had the good fortune to see the Azure Window – which collapsed in a storm the year after. While we were on the way back to Valetta, the sun set on us…

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 61 (Give Me My Aegean)

Locked Down in London: Open Letter to Boris

Dear Boris,

Today I had a long, hard day at work in an overheated office (our patio) and in my well considered opinion this lockdown sucks, sucks and sucks some more.

I know you’re very busy so I’ll be brief: I want water. Not from the tap! I want to go to the beach; if not that, then to the river; if not that, to the lido; if not that, at least to the pool where I’m a member.

Continue reading “Lockdown Diaries: Day 61 (Give Me My Aegean)”

Lockdown Diaries: Day 60 (Running Away to Sea)

Virtual Escape: Running Away to Sea

It’s such a beautiful day today where I am – blue skies, glorious sunshine… we’re only missing the sea, the sand and the palm trees to make everything perfect.

So I thought today we’re escaping to the sea with a few books…  The first of which absolutely has to be:

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 57 (My Trusty Old Herodotus)

Locked Down in Budapest:

Although I’m one of those few privileged 🙂 who can actually enter Hungary at the moment because I do hold a Hungarian passport, I did not exchange the London lockdown to that of Budapest. (More’s the pity.) The video however is from Budapest, courtesy of my sister. Unfortunately, on trying to upload it, I found that unless I upgrade my free plan, I can’t – this not being the right financial moment to invest in my blogging hobby, I uploaded it instead to the blog’s FB page:



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Lockdown Diaries: Day 54 (Machu Picchu)

Locked Down in London, Day 54:

Today was the first day that the population – in England at any rate – was allowed out for more than a single essential trip (for food, medication/doctor or local exercise) per day: you can now actually drive somewhere and go walking in the countryside as long as you don’t hobnob with strangers. It being a working day, probably nobody could take advantage of this easing of the restriction – expect the country to go mental in the coming weekend!

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 53 (Dubrovnik)

Locked Down in London, Day 53: The New Normal

When I started the Lockdown Diaries, I thought I was looking at no more than 3 or 4 weeks of daily blogging. I thought it might be of interest to others what’s it like in London and I was in as much need of a virtual escape as anybody. But that was now more than 7 weeks ago; and the exit strategy outlined by the PM in a 50-page document yesterday afternoon made it clear that we’re not going back to normal life any time soon. Instead, we’re going to have a ‘new normal’ – just like cancer patients.

Well, since this is now evidently for the long term, it’s time that I reclaim my blog from the Lockdown Diaries – recently I began to resent that what with work, homeschooling and writing daily diaries I no longer have time to actually write about books. But I dislike the idea of abandoning the Diaries altogether because we’re all still limited to virtual travel only and because I already decided what the last lockdown post would be! 🙂

So a change of format.

From now on, Locked Down in London will only be included if there’s anything to report, while Virtual Escape changes to a photo post of travel destinations. You know: all those places where we could have gone on holiday this year. If I can, I’ll include book recommendations and poetry related to the place, as well as links to help you to continue exploring online.

Today I start with a town I would have long liked to visit; but I’d love it if you suggested destinations too!

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