My memories of the weirdest times of our lives.
25 Jan 2020
I felt like I was one of the last to find out about the virus. I’d had 3 weeks chilling out in Sri Lanka with my better half and he’d gone home a week before me. So when it broke out in China I was having a zen time tucked away in a yoga retreat. When I came to leave, my lovely host from our last accommodation came and picked me up from my retreat & told me there was a virus and 2 Chinese people staying in the Marriot Hotel had it (not sure that that was fake news!) But it all sounded serious. My flight was empty – but had to be too soon to be connected. A few people at heathrow. A couple standing just beyond passport control wearing masks, one asian. My passport officer said to her senior. “Shouldn’t we be wearing masks? The conversation went on to him saying “stay away from them”. I realised then, things were changing.
I spent the next week glued to BBC as the cases in China rose and some weird footage of people being manhandled came to light but every medic was in full space type suits. Death rate at only 2%. Less than flu… SO why the hysteria. Something wasn’t adding up.
11 Feb 2020
I had to take my mom into hospital for a shoulder operation. On the drive down to Devon I listen to an interview of people who have been put in quarantine from a cruise liner. Each family separated off and doing their thing until they can be released in 14 days. Cruise liners seem to be a breeding ground. At hospital the receptionist taking mom & I up in the lift says: ‘Have either of you come back from Asia in the last two weeks’.. We froze -all eyes fell on me and my Asian suntan. I quickly worked it out. A few days clear, phew. And then we figured Sri Lankan wasn’t in the list of 10 places that they had on their print out anyway. Complications with the op. I wasn’t expecting it -being all Zen- so stayed with mom for a couple weeks recovery. This disease sounded big but they kept saying it only affects those with underling health issues. Still not adding up.
19 feb 2020
My husband’s work have first event for 300 cancel.. Oh shit: here we go. Then one of the production companies tell us 7 event have cancelled for them. I’m normally quite quiet at this time of year so so far not a huge amount different from my end. Except willing it to go away after reeling from the back end of Brexit!
24 Feb 2020
I’m back in London. Back to watching the news a lot. Somewhere along the line Corona gets a more official name COVID-19.
1 March 2020
Jens goes skiing for couple days. I have coffee with friends and we discuss nothing else. Things are still going mad in China. It’s filtering into other countries and London. News is getting bad. We keep saying it will hit us very soon. We decide between us two weeks until the peak!! It definitely feels imminent. No one knows what to expect. We try to carry on.
3 March 2020
A man named Chris Whitty comes onto the podium and speaks with such knowledge I message Jens and suggest he watch if if he can. Such a refreshing change to Boris.
4 March 2020
Biggest jump of cases in UK. The news actually mention events industry. They cancel London Book fair at Olympia. But keep on Crufts… Hurrah. & I go to the Global Awards. Hammersmith Apollo full of people. Gives me hope (false hope it would turn out) I keep thinking let us carry booking events, don’t do a lock down in the UK. Lets push it as far as we can.
6 March 2020
I go to a meeting for a party in September. We assume everything will be back to normal by then. I go on the tube: doesn’t look much different but the paper seems to make it look worse ( of course they do) by cutting and pasting every person they can find wearing a mask and overlapping the images so it looks like a Zombie film. It’s actually not that bad out there. Although People have started panic buying toilet roll, hand sanitiser etc. Not really sure what’s going on and this is just confusing.
7 March 2020
Italy gets hit real bad now and put -a new word- social distancing in place. And EVERY event slides from catering company diaries. Saturday. We have a dinner party at home for our friends birthday. We talk about lockdown’s without really know what’s going on.
Tuesday 10 March 2020
Italy went into a lockdown yesterday. I work on a tasting. Client turns up in gloves and mask. We talk the whole time about corona of course. They think their kids’ school will close end of this week. But all quite determined the party will go ahead in September. Except if their families can’t fly in from the States. I know this is the last bit of work I will do for a while . And that event in September may be the next one I do. Surely that will go ahead?
Wednesday 11 march 2020
One of the catering companies goes under. This is tragic for the events world. The news gets worse. Will we do a lock down too? This week everything is evolving so fast. The independent writes an article. Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills. Sums up my thoughts of the last week exactly. Let us carry on..
FRIDAY 13 MARCH (Can’t go unnoticed)
Jens company decide to do 4 day week & 10% pay cut. Some companies making staff re apply for fewer jobs. Some are shutting doors completely. Some are doing 3 days for 20% pay cut. But in the afternoon 3 big events cancelled for them and it already felt like discussions were out dated. Things are moving so fast. Government say pubs, bars restaurants should close. Our industry is going to be affected for the longest by the sounds of all this. How can anyone have a large event..Maybe until September. This last week really was the week that was.
17 March 2020
Government start social distancing. Another new word that quickly becomes commonplace. Whole households should quarantine if one person shows symptoms or been near anyone who has it. Over 70’s to stay home. My family have first WhatsApp family chat. Boris said he will not ban mass gatherings. But we know we are not going to be able to have them so what’s the difference.
18 March 2020
I go to supermarket to see what people are fussing over for the last week – Yep the shelves are empty and I’ve well and truly missed the boat for toilet roll. The most desperate I’ve let us get for it. Salons, bars and restaurants sense they need to close even though our government are not demanding it. But establishments feel it’s now their duty. People start circulating that the army are on their way in and the gossip goes that its to help with locking us down. Jens phones me with same news have you done a shop?? Yes but for how long.. Maybe 2 weeks. Nooo.
Another new word..Furlough announced. It feels like it’s time to give in to events not happening now. It’s all caving in. The economy will suffer enormously here. Where does the balance lie.
Friday 20 March 2020
Jens is working from home. But we expect he may not be going back into work next week. Fully expecting a lockdown for a couple of weeks. Like China and Italy & Spain. They mention social distancing could last up to a year. Can’t comprehend what this means for the events industry. The phrase “long year this weeks been” summed up the last week. Well could be said for two weeks actually. Start group facetiming with friends. AND I start an organic veg box delivery hub with my neighbours. Supplies are getting really short and so businesses are evolving if you have any kind of food outlet you need to get it out to domestic homes. Bloody hope people don’t buy food and then throw it away. Jens is working on plans for a home delivery service. They have supplies, kitchens and chefs all phoning him desperate to work.Everyone is desperate.
21 March 2020
Gym memberships get frozen! Which is great as we have started yoga every morning at home. And we have our first saturday night birthday party Zoom call. Another new word that will become commonplace.
22 March 2020 Over 70’s need to stay at home. Worried about my mom and her mental health. Now I’m making our own almond milk we’re baking bread. It’s turning into the good life but I rather like that anyway.
23 March 2020 Boris announces lockdown during the new 5pm briefing. We’re going to get used to these briefings with their cast of scientists and politicians.
24 March 2020
My first veg box delivery comes to my house. The neighbours love it. 25 boxes. At least this make me feel happy. I’m getting to know my neighbours. Really hope that this sort of thing continues when we return to normal. I suppose I’m expecting the boxes to continue for a month or so. A few people are self isolating so I’m running a few boxes to houses, knocking and leaving it there. One family were on a flight with someone who has since tested positive so they are all isolating. If I can help in some way like this I will. I took some milk to an elderly neighbour last week. Would love to help the elderly more. Shame the charity I work with on Sunday isn’t doing more. I don’t really know how to find the elderly.
25 March 2020
We venture out into Tooting. It feels wrong. We are technically allowed to go shopping. Tooting is quite. Very quiet I never thought it would or could actually happen. Like China ect. I felt very emotional. WhatsApp is so busy with jokes flying around the country. everyone is sitting ducks at the moment.
Thursday 26 March 2020
We do day two of Joe Wicks 7 days of lean except we cycle to Garratt park and complete it there. There’s a few people out all keeping their distance. Streets are empty of cars. Yoga in the morning and a Joe wicks in the afternoon. This needs to be a routine. NHS clap 8pm. I said last week when my brother was doing this every night in Brussels: we could never do it here. But we did and it actually worked. We even had a drive by with blues & twos from an ambulance. It was literally the most exciting thing that has happened in two weeks. The pace has reset and the terrible things we have been doing to our world seem to be lessening. It’s a chance to start again, slow down be with our loved ones more. I work from home a lot but having Jens as home is perfect.
Saturday 28 March 2020
We discover house party – and so does the world. This should help. The most used phrase is “It’s all so weird and “Such crazy times”.