Quarantine Day Two – meat (?) pies, insomnia and talking to myself (again)

Near the end of my first interminable blog post about quarantine, I asked “am I to be deprived of the daily public health checklist call that was the highlight of my last quarantine?”

With perfect comic timing, minutes after I hit publish, the phone rang. The usual rigamarole about personal details, contacts, past history, vaccination (yep two AstraZenecas) etc etc. We confirmed I wasn’t pregnant, that I was able to safely mobilise, not a smoker, etc. Then the questions which I will be asked every day – how am I feeling, do I have any covid symptoms, how am I coping (subtext, “you’re on the tenth floor, you’re not thinking of prising that window open, now are you?“) and do you need any medical assistance. Last time round I played a game to see how quickly I could answer these four questions and let the poor probably-underpaid person on the other end get on to the next call. At one point last time round, with my sleep patterns in a real mess, I wondered if I might in fact be unwell. Unscheduled COVID test came back… negative. THIS time, well, it turns out I’ll be having COVID tests on days 5 and 9 as well as 13. I think this is because there have been a couple of instances of people getting ill mid-way through, and the more data points you have, the better you can track – and also the quicker you can isolate the Typhoid Marc or Mary. The good news is that I wouldn’t get shunted out to The Other Facility just on the basis of swabs – there’d be a drawing of the blood too. Fingers crossed it does not come to this, obvs.

No sooner had I finished that than there was a knock at the door (who knew quarantine was like Piccadilly Circus). It was… a care package from my wonderful friend Heather. Stationery! (I have a think about stationery – the promise it holds out of being organised, focused etc. Nowt techno-fetishistic about it, nooo. Not a cargo cult at all, at all…)

Here’s a picture of the document wallets, post-it notes and so on.

I then got some Magpie indexing done. The Magpie was the newsletter of the Manchester Wildlife group: I was recently given an almost complete set (1986-2005) and there is such gold in there. I photographed the lot before leaving the UK, knowing it would be a good “take your mind off” job to do in quarantine. I am trying to teach myself better info management techniques. So I am reading them (skimming bits) creating tables of contents and also screengrabbing relevant bits (at the moment mostly about Hough End Fields, but soon we will get to Global Forum ’94 and the Local Agenda 21 farce…

Dinner was, well, fantastic – the way to my heart is through (veggie) burgers and chips.

The nutella desert didn’t hurt either (yes, I know, palm oil).

Read about anthropology being categorised as “stones, tones, bones and thrones” possibly in the introduction of this what I gone done brung with me.

Introductory Readings in Anthropology

Or possibly in one of the links I followed in Gillian Tett’s Top 10 books of everyday social anthropology (I want to buy and read all ten, obvs).

Read a good thing on generational amnesia and the shifting baseline fallacy. Found myself aimlessly websurfing, which is a Bad Thing.The fatigue was properly kicking in, so I did two things. One, this

And the other this

That’s right – another go at adulting, via the 43 folders/Getting Things Done system. Wish me luck!

Did then actually get a lot of sleep (2 hours?) Listened to some Radio Adelaide Deadly Beats – this song stood out

When you’re not able to sleep you may as well get some work done. For me, it was more Magpie… – indexing issues 6 to 10.

Did, for the benefit of any mental health care professionals reading this, get some more sleep…

Breakfast was pancakes. God, the sheer hell of quarantine. I don’t think I can cope any more…

This morning I spent a good fifteen minutes talking to myself, out loud.

For the benefit of any mental health care professionals reading, I’ve been doing this a lot.

No, wait…


That’s the old voice recorder of Dr Wifey. And the lead. And for a year now I’ve been walking around the local park with a backpack full of bricks and weights, talking out loud about, oh, climate change, climate change activism, TFC, “etc” and then running the recording through the amazing Otter transcription software. Have been able to get a lot of thinking/writing done.

Today, 15 minutes of walking from the door to the window and back, including with grapevining (physio talk for sideways walking with one leg in front and then behind the other). Mostly talked about what I need to get done in quarantine (which includes, for any mental health care professionals… goofing around and watching some tv. So tonight, Black Mirror, tomorrow Insiders and an old movie. Then some Wimbledon (go Roger!!), then on Thursday the new season of The Good Fight, starring an older version of my friend Chloe).

The police phoned, the subtext being “you’ve not done a runner. Good!” Sooner or later they will be at my door. Or maybe they’ve knocked that off? Who knows.

Nice long hot shower, a strategic kip, a phone call from the aged parentals, whom I am here to visit. Read a bunch of articles from the issue of Arena my friend Heather kindly bought for me. Guy Rundle on fire about states and borders, and also on Adam Curtis’ documentaries…

Lunch. Which, um, I am pretty sure involved dead animals. Oops (these things happen.: the kitchen is having to dish out food for, what , a couple hundred people, all at the same time.).

Then at just after 2pm, the call from public health. I think I got it done in a minute, but wasn’t timing. So, no baseline established… Tomorrow…

Boff, got some more sleep, which was nice (needed!)

Got some more indexing of The Magpie done too.

Various email and Twitter chats (the ability to keep chatting with people on the other side of the world, effortlessly, is astonishing to this old man, born when computers were still big things in rooms (“mainframes”) and whirly magnetic tape… ) That’s important, according to the people who study and think about this stuff.

Dinner was served at exactly the same time as yesterday. It was delicious and huge. That green thing under the tortilla chips is half an avocado… I’m clearly going to have to walk and talk for longer if I want to emerge no heavier than I came in.

Right, now gonna just chill, read fun stuff and watch an episode of Black Mirror…

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