Happy birthday to me. The lockdown continues, with knobs on. This means we’re not supposed to leave the house except to shop for essentials (as rarely as possible), or for medical reasons, or once a day for exercise, or to care for others. (This time last week, this was strong guidance. Now it’s an actual law, that you can be fined for breaking.)

This rather puts a spoke into any kind of birthday celebrations.

To be honest, I don’t mind. I needed to go to out to get Miranda’s contact lenses, so I added a shopping trip to that, and bought an expensive bottle of proper champagne, because the shops were nearly out of the cheap stuff. (I also bought one of the last half-dozen bottles of red wine in the shop. This crisis is revealing a lot about the nation’s drinking priorities – there was plenty of white left.)

Tonight, we will order takeaway and drink champagne. I’ve had plenty of worse birthdays on a purely personal scale. (Although on a global scale, probably not, which is a sobering thing to think about. Thank goodness for the wine.)

I’ve baked banana bread, and some scones, with variable success. (The banana bread is great. The scones taste ok, if perhaps a little singed at the edges, but they totally failed to rise.)

The company I work for has taken advantage of government schemes to help with this situation, and put all but a skeleton staff on 80% pay, but asked them not to work (because there’s very little work for them to do for various reasons). I’m in the skeleton team, but I’ve got a few days off right now, which means I’m noodling about with my own coding projects, so it doesn’t honestly feel a lot different, other than the freedom to get up and bake scones just because.

Miranda, working in comms for a large university, is having a bit of a time of it, as students are not unreasonably asking questions like “we’ve paid you quite a lot of money, what about the things you owe us like a degree show?” (It’s an arts university, and the degree show is how many of them get work afterward, so they care quite a lot.) Sadly, everyone is figuring things out one day at a time, and no-one knows what the answers are yet, which is making for a bit of a rough ride for those telling the students “we’re figuring it out and will let you know”, because displacement stress is clearly very real, and the students can (try to) control this in a way they can’t the rest of what’s going on. Plus, as a much larger org, moving very suddenly to remote working, the internal comms overhead to keep everyone moving in the same direction is much higher.

But we’ve both got computer games and telly to keep us occupied in the evenings, and things are, on the whole, going pretty well for us personally, a week and a bit in. We’re both thinking a lot about friends and strangers who are much less fortunate.

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