Southsea Lifestyle – Free Magazine for Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney & Gunwharf Quays

Isolation – Week Four


Why I miss washing my kid’s school uniforms.

It’s four weeks since I wrote my last piece about being in isolation. It’s tone possibly a bit smug, but I didn’t believe how horribly the virus would take hold and that we’d all be in isolation for a few months.

I did enjoy the selfishness of that week. Since then, its’ been full on lock-down. I only work part-time, but my husband is full-time and working from home. High-level blokey Zoom meeting chats echo round the house (a bit like Dom Joly if you remember that), accompanied by the kid’s urgent queries of “what’s for lunch”, and “I don’t have any clean clothes”. 

I miss the hallowed tranquillity of that top bedroom…  but – to be fair my children have been amazingly upbeat and easy going – they can’t really help needing food and clean clothes… (school clothes are made of tough wipe-clean technical fabrics that can take a whole week without seeing a washing machine, not so trendy cotton jogging bottoms and hoodies…). Still at least it’s been sunny – pegging out the washing is a new daily ritual.

Some new observations:

Culture Vulture-  things I think about (but never get round to doing):

High-level art projects, worthy high-brow books, ambitious cleaning projects, helping the children with their home school projects

Culture Vulture things I can recommend:

Roger Allam as Prospero in The Globe’s Tempest (Globe TV)

Tiger King, Netflix,  – so sordid it makes you glad to be inside

Friday Night Dinner, Channel 4 – not quite as good as previous series

Jane Eyre, NT Live – I thought it was pretentious at first, but loved it 

Bolshoi live stream – see its Youtube channel (scroll down past the Russian bit for details..)

Mariinsky Nutracker – the whole thing is on YouTube

New skills learned:

  • Washing my hands like a surgeon
  • Looking at the camera on video calls instead of staring at my face 

New words I’m glad I’ve learned

  • Houseparty, Zoom, Google Hangouts, NHS clap

New words I wish I hadn’t learned

  • Tiger King, furlough, social distancing, R-nought, PPE, BC (Before Corona).

Clichés I’ve overused

  • “at this moment in time”, “in the current climate”, “unprecedented”

New dilemmas? Essential or non-essential?

  • Driving to Ocean Park to buy cat litter? (I need the litter and my car needs using so it doesn’t conk out)
  • Walking along the seafront and really enjoying? I do live nearby, but I feel like Sandra Bullock in ‘Birdbox’ every time I go out.
  • Buying a few items and not a massive shop at Waitrose? And also: buying novelty items large boxes of chocolates, wine, flowers…
  • Playing ‘rugby’ with family on the Common; we have a tiny backyard and the kids are climbing the walls (metaphorically)?
  • Ordering gym clothes, painting kit, crochet wool on Amazon to keep sane? Is it fair to expect drivers, etc, to risk their health for this stuff? 
  • Ordering pizza to keep the kids’ morale up (same point as above)

Things we have not run out of:

Toilet rolls

Things we have run out of:

Flour – it disappeared for a while, but I made a very nice polenta and ground almond cake.

Beautiful things:

The stars at night – so big, so clear

The blossom coming out – spectacular

The sea view – eerily blue 

The birds – tweeting like crazy

People’s bookcases in the background on tv – reminder of all those interesting lives. 

NHS clap – amazing to hear the whole city (maybe whole of Europe?) clapping. 



by contributor Emma Beatty

Posted in: Articles, Family, Local & Community