So here we are a month or so later since my first post about my particular circumstances and minor #firstworldproblem gripes about working from home and the various nuances of the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s almost July! Crazy.
The media would have it that we’re coming to the end of it in the UK and that things will be back to some semblance of normality soon in the UK. But I won’t be rushing to the pub when they reopen in July like I didn’t rush to Primark when the shops opened up. I have had to live with the uneasy feeling I had when I didn’t vote against Brexit (I was lazy and didn’t do a postal vote, and on holiday in Kos when it happened), so I don’t want to feel like my leaving the house unnecessarily might contribute somehow to a second wave of infections. I know it’s irrational but there you go. Count me out for now.
The hermit life isn’t so bad when the weather is good. My only psychological wobbles have been when I’ve had a day off work and it has pissed down with rain. Not fun, but Horizon Zero Dawn has been keeping me occupied along with Netflix shows. I even found a lump of time to work a little bit on my new book project, although realistically that’s still really on hold.
I think I’m coping pretty well considering the black cloud that usually haunts my thoughts. Yes, I miss being able to see my folks in Wales, but I know that I will eventually and we’re in touch almost every week now, which wasn’t necessarily the case pre-pandemic. And okay, I’ll admit it, there’s a few people who I’d see in the office that it would be nice to catch up with – but there’s always Teams right?
The weather at present is ridiculously hot – the TV news said it was the hottest day of the year so far in Blighty yesterday and today seems hotter. It’s currently 30C in my ‘office’ with all the windows of the house open. It’s usually around 22C. So work has been a bit of pain – being stuck at a desk while the sun blazes through the windows and sweat beads on my brow.
You can add air-con to the the short list of things I miss about going into the office (along with the canteen making my food). The other thing about the office is that it’s not surrounded by kids messing about in their back gardens and people mowing their lawns. When all the windows are open it’s hard sometimes to hear myself think and don’t get me started on the bloody magpies that are going billy bonkers in the trees in next door’s garden.
The wobbly desk issue brought things to a head in my mind in relation to my iMac. I’ve decided to bin it off (well not literally, I’ll put it on eBay or something). I’ve spent a good few years trying to love working on it as much as I do looking at it, but it’s no use. The wobbly desk tipped me over the edge of seeking an easier, better, solution.
Without wanting to do any big work adding desk space in this room or figuring out an alternative arrangement elsewhere in the house (there’s really no room apart from the garage which would need an expensive building job to make it habitable), the path of least resistance lay in seeking out something compatible with the dock and screens I use for work. So after a bit of digging around about port adapters and various other technological rabbit holes, I decided to go back to my IT roots and spec up a new Dell laptop. The advantage is that it will take up zero extra desk space as it can be swapped out with my work laptop when I clock off.
Also I like treating myself every now and again. Buying the wrong type of security lock for it aside, it’s been a nice experience. After clicking ‘buy’ it arrived unexpectedly in the afternoon of very next day. It was nice to experience Windows 10 without all the restrictions placed on it by our administrators at work. With the help of a super fast USB3 external drive I got all my files transferred from the Mac in no time at all and set about building some photo albums and downloading some new versions of software.
I’ve also splashed out and bought a Dell 2.1 speaker set and currently enjoying Lady Gaga’s new album on Spotify. Obviously I listened to some Queen to make sure I had the bass set properly before I moved to 2020s pop. I’m not a complete philistine.
The only other adaptation I’ve done in my life under lockdown is to start doing online grocery shopping. I was not enjoying shopping at Tesco under lockdown conditions which just added extra layers of anxiety triggers to the usual unenjoyable experience. I figure that if I can save enough money to equal the delivery fee (which is only a couple of quid if you go for a late delivery) then it’s no-brainer. So far it’s worked well. There’s been no silly substitutions and has the added bonus of providing us with lots of bags we can use as bin liners. I don’t know if the plain plastic bags the food is delivered in are a standard thing and while it’s not very environmentally friendly we do put them to good use.
Siggy continues to jump around in the garden to YouTube and Zoom workouts and I even spotted her doing some gardening last week. We’ve also been enjoying the strawberries in the garden that just keep coming back to life and bearing fruit every year with very little care from me. This year, because we’ve cancelled our usual summer holiday, we’ll be around to pick all the fruit and we’ve already had two bowls of berries from the plants. It’s a competition to grab them before the magpies do.
Also because I’m around to sort it out, I’ve been able to look into saving money on my insurance renewal and I’m now paying half what I was paying. So every cloud and all that…