The Beer Chronicles Part 2 written 20 March 2020

If you didn’t get to read Beer Chronicles part 1 (which was posted originally under a different title), please message me.

So, 17th March 2020, St Patrick’s Day, a day when all the parades in Ireland, north and south were cancelled and pubs in the Republic shut. We really had the luck of the Irish that day, our test results came back negative, and for the first time since coming back we slept a full night.

However, spare a thought for Martin and our colleague. While we tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, the CDC advised their hotel to put them into isolation too. So frustrating for them and I am frustrated and disappointed too because in my colleague’s case, she probably had no more than 5 minutes with Eleanor and I didn’t even see her! I understand why, but it is super frustrating because they had done their time, they were enjoying the beautiful weather, Martin was running round the lake which was excellent for his wellbeing. So now that they are cooped up, and I am worried for them. And I can do very little.

E and I are doing fine. We are living like Pavlovian dogs, the doorbell to our room rings 3 times a day, we open the door, pick up the food, peruse it and pick at it. We have given up on breakfast instead having coco pops out of mugs. I have a philosophy that this isn’t quarantine, this is actually a weight loss programme. It compensates for the cheese, bacon and egg sandwiches and all other glorious foods I had in Northern Ireland.

We are allowed to have two deliveries per stay, one delivery from school arrived on Tuesday which contained fruit and water and snacks. We were delighted when our doorbell rang twice at dinner time on Tuesday. It was the best present we could have had. So our spirits are doing ok. Today we are planning our shopping list for Sunday for week 2.

Martin and I have now been apart for 8 weeks. Enough to test any marriage. You have to keep talking through the separation. We struggled when there was an 8 hour time difference, but we made it work, and hopefully these two weeks of both being in enforced isolation, in the same time zone, in the same city will make us stronger as a couple. But what of the people in isolation together who don’t have a strong foundation? There may be a spike in the birth rate in 9 months time…. or there may be a spike in divorces…

As a family solicitor, we always knew that the busy time was in January, suddenly all these couples were finding that spending Christmas together was fraught and many decided to end their marriages. Now with social distancing being encouraged in the UK, and many children staying at home, relationships are about to be tested to the max. Be kind to each other. Play games and don’t be on devices all the time. Get to know one another again! But equally do respect their space. Everyone needs their space – but everything in moderation. Don’t withdraw too much.

I have also wondered if people have begun stocking up on alcohol, we hear about the stocking up of toilet roll (why oh why?). As someone who brought 1 bottle of white wine, and 4 bottles of cider into quarantine with her, I thought whether that would be enough. I am in still in charge of a child. I am responsible. 5 days into this adventure I still have 2 bottles of cider and the bottle of wine left. But what if people are not as self controlled.

What of the couples in abusive relationships. What about the husband and wife who are fearful of their other halves behaviour? What of the children potentially in the middle of that? What about the children who are known to Social Services, CAFCASS and the court system? The wheels of justice never stop, but is the court service up to delivering family justice online? Thousands of children go to school to be in a safe space. A school lunch might be the only meal they have access to.

So just keep an eye on each other, never has the guiding and scouting motto seemed more apt “Be Prepared”. ( I made a washing line from the cord of the shower last night to hang our undies on) – That motto though doesn’t mean stock pile and have your shelves look like a Tescos shelf. Baden-Powell wrote in Scouting for Boys that the motto means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” Your duty at the moment is To Be Kind and reach out to people who need you.

But the promise, that millions of us in scouting and guiding have made, whether active or lapsed…is “to serve … my community, [and] to help other people”, Girlguiding in the UK also has a version for younger members “I promise… to be kind and helpful.” Never has that promise meant so much, the other part of the Promise is “I promise… to be true to myself”. Be honest about how are you feeling and reach out to people. No one is alone in this. As I type this blog, Gerry and The Pacemakers, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has just played. Radio stations all across Europe have just played it all at the same time, 7.45am GMT. An idea of Sander Hoogendoorn of Dutch station 3FM.

So as people social distance themselves from loved ones, talk to each other. Reach out, message them and be kind to each other and ourselves.