Working from Home: House Arrest Week One

‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’…

By Simon Richardson (Editor)

Now then – how best to get through two weeks quarantine? We are about halfway through now and in all honesty it’s not been half as bad as we had been led to believe. That said, the word on the street is that week two is much worse.

On that happy thought I’ll let you into a couple of tips from our experience of enforced house arrest so far. 

Before we left for the UK Noni (my better half) did plenty of cooking and stocked up the freezer with all manner of goodies. Then, before we boarded the boat for our return to the Island, we did a big shop in a supermarket to stock up on fresh stuff….and wine.

You always think you’ve covered all bases, but in our experience you rarely have. It’s surprising, and a bit alarming, just how much food you pile through in a week. We are doing pretty well so far, though we’ve already had to call on the services of friends and neighbours for bits and bobs. Ten year old Ethan, who lives next door, has been a star, nipping down to the Co-op for us, and other friends have willingly pitched in.

We were so focussed on ensuring we didn’t starve that we neglected the other things you need to keep a household running. We have run out of various cleaning products, which has necessitated a further mercy mission from friends.

Putting out the bin is a funny one. Technically I have to open the gate and step outside with it onto the roadside. Rather than risk immediate imprisonment I’ve perfected a new technique whereby the bin is pushed as far as I can safely go, then it gets shoved into position with a long plank. (note to self. Remember not to trip over the plank after completing the manoeuvre).

As I’m working from home now much of the week is spent sat at my computer screen pretty much as before, so no hassle there – except for a problem with our work email server, which required Mannin’s long-suffering van driver, Stuey, to trek out to Laxey, pick up my computer and take it to Tony Shipton at Mannage IT in Tromode, for a bit of IT wizardry – then return it the following day (Thanks Stu). 

In normal times I like to go for a run at the end of the working day, but my tiered cottage garden doesn’t lend itself to a 5k yomp.

No offence to Joe Wicks, but bouncing around in front of the telly doesn’t do it for me. Noni meanwhile has found a Bollywood dancing app…mmmm?

After losing a stone in the run-up to my UK break it’s been a bit soul destroying watching it all come back. It’s disappointing that long weeks of summer torture, pounding the roads of Glen Roy, can be completely negated by a couple of weeks of inactive gluttony.

This weekend we are decorating our lounge. Noni has already made a start and I’m looking forward (mild exaggeration) to pitching in tomorrow. I have this lingering concern that we will empty the room, get all the dust sheets in place, clean everything within an inch of its life, and then realise we haven’t got any paint or brushes.

Whereas we don’t mind asking mates to help out with a pint of milk here and there, it’s a bit much to expect them to trek to B&Q armed with colour charts and a long list of DIY requirements.

All in all though I think house arrest is going quite well. We haven’t wanted to kill each other yet, and stocks are decent. I’m not saying I could hack isolation for as long as Nelson Mandela, but a couple of weeks is doable (is that really a word?).

Well, with the lyrics to Hotel California ringing in my ears ..’We are all just prisoners here of our own device’ – I’ll sign off, hoping that the bit about – ‘you can check out any time you like but you can never leave’ doesn’t come to pass. 

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