Day 14 – 31 March 2020

Officially our self-isolation is over, although we’re under the same general restrictions as everyone else. Tracy celebrated this not quite freedom with a trip to Tesco. So we had a celebration lunch of brown food!


With Tracy having Tuesday off I spent most of the day working. I started a bit later than yesterday, logged in about 0715 and read the sitrep with my breakfast. A day of meetings followed, most video but a few straight phone calls. Outlook only worked when I use it live, which eats bandwidth like a teenager. So mostly I was in the web browser version, which lacks functionality but at least it works reliably. Things are starting to make more sense, as a team we’re almost adapted to working from home. Our role is taking shape, and in the absence of direction we’re radiating intent and doing things that help. Or at least I hope so.In between meetings I managed to go to the pharmacy to collect my prescription and then take it to another pharmacy that had the inhaler in stock. This was mostly down to Tracy, she used her knowledge of community pharmacies and rang round while I worked. Thanks to the miracle of work smartphones I also managed to keep working while I queued (distantly). So I’m good for another four months with my inhaler.

School at home

Alexander spent most of his day on art homework. He got to grips with gimp, and also a stylus for the touch screen on his laptop. So mostly what he did was teach himself to paint on a computer. He also built a Lego version of the BFG from Doom and posted it on r/doom and got over 2000 upvotes, which he was pretty chuffed about.Lucy got a large box of crafting supplies from the Tesco trip. This fed into her art lesson where she made ‘Spoonie’ to go with the Forkie she made at school after seeing Toy Story 4. Other lessons included reading, a maths worksheet and learning about the body with Tracy.


Thanks to Tracy’s monthly shop we have plenty of everything. We should only need bread, milk, eggs, cheese and fruit over the next few weeks. This is pretty much our normal state. The only thing we don’t have is strong white flour. I usually make bread, usually for pizza dough, every other week or so. This is one of our more common Saturday evening treats. So I guess I need to find a method that uses plain flour, which we do have.Today’s food was a buffet of ‘brown food’ for lunch and Tracy’s home made shepherds pie for dinner. ‘Brown Food’ is a term we’ve picked up as a family for the sort of frozen oven food that you get for parties. It’s nearly all shades of brown. Our smorgasbord included chicken wontons, breaded mozzarella bites, jalapeno poppers, chicken fillets, prawn toast, spring rolls and tortilla chips. It was very nice.


Lucy managed to join in an online martial arts class. We hooked her laptop up to the TV and got zoom working to join the class. I was working in the background while she did her exercise. It was pretty interesting, the instructor muted all the lines and she was able to see who was doing what. It was just like the sessions I’ve watched in the dojo where the kids were called out either to praise or speed up in s friendly way. They all got involved positively.Later on, after dinner, Alexander and I went for a walk round Merstham. We took a circular route through the back streets avoiding other people. We went over the railway bridge, saw the pizza project was still doing takeaway, and came back down under the railway and through the rec to keep us moving the whole time. We had a pretty good chat while we walked. Mostly about how to make daleks scarier and more intelligent as an adversary for Doctor Who. For the first time in a while I’ve comfortably got in over 10,000 steps.I’ve got the Tiger King in the background while I’m writing this. It’s a pretty messed up story, if it was presented as fiction it would be seen as too far fetched.

Day 10 – Friday 27th March 2020

Milk, bread and orange juice in a box
Key supplies from Fresh Connect, a local wholesaler, about four days worth of milk, and a week of bread. (Photo: James Kemp)
Two boxes of really great quality fresh fruit and vegetables from Fresh Connect (also butter and cheese). (Photo: James Kemp)

First thing in the morning, about 7am, we got a good delivery from Fresh Connect, a local food wholesaler. It was a real boost to morale, we now have bread, milk and cucumber, all of which we’d run out of. We also have some really fab quality fresh fruit and vegetables. It was a pretty awesome start to the day.

Alexander making a cake, and cleaning up some of the mess he’s making! (Photo: James Kemp)

We all had some fresh orange and toast with butter for breakfast. It’s comfort food. Alexander also got on with making a layered chocolate cake with the flour that arrived in the degusta box the other day. The pulled pork turned out okay, but has gone into the fridge for Saturday. Tonight we’re having fish cakes, freshly made.


Alexander completed all the assigned homework, and Lucy was really good at doing her work too. For most of the afternoon they went upstairs together and built a Lego rock concert. Pictures to follow when they’ve finished making it.

So Tracy and I were able to get through quite a bit unmolested. I managed to write some weeknotes as well as deal with all of the days emails and write notes from the meetings I dialled into. I also checked my DWP laptop and forwarded over the essays that I need to write as part of the Project Leadership Programme. If next week is the same as this week then I might just manage to finish them both.

Ending the working week

What I did do was tell my team to make sure that they put all the work laptops and phones away for the weekend. It’s important that we have a break and a clear separation between work and home. Usually we manage that through our commute, but when working at home, especially for the prolonged period that is likely we need to act deliberately to get that separation.

At half past five, after sending a message to the team that I hoped they were already logged off Nf enjoying the weekend, I put all my work stuff away. I closed the laptop lid and out it in my work bag, along with my headset, charger and notebook. I switched the work phone off, and zipped up my bag with it all inside. Then I hid the bag under the table where I wouldn’t see it.

After doing that I put my shoes and coat on and took a short walk round the green in front of my house. I walked round it for ten minutes taking care to stay well away from the few other people that I saw. Then I came in and started my weekend.

I recommend it to you all. Put some space between work and home.

Have a great weekend!