From a distance, Day 3: The Coronavirus Diary

On Thursday an email was circulated at work, advising all staff that they would be required to work from home until April 1st at the earliest. It coincided with the request from the government for people to socially distance from each other; to avoid crowded places; for schools, creches, museums, theatres, sports events to close and for people to be extra diligent in washing their hands. All to combat the spread of the virus named after a Mexican beer.

While it is true that I was slightly sceptical of the need for such measures, I was also aware that having had Type 1 diabetes since the age of 4, several decades ago, I would be categorised as high risk should I catch the virus. I grumbled to myself and cancelled my holiday to Latvia and Lithuania next week. I also engaged in a spot of panic buying in the supermarket – I bought the last carton of quail’s eggs in Marks and Spencer. I’ve never eaten these before but maybe the virus will irreparably damage the quail’s egg industry?

Friday and Saturday were non-eventful. Over the space of two days I read the book ‘Edgewise: A picture of Cookie Mueller’ by Chloe Griffin. The book is an oral history of underground film actress Cookie Mueller who achieved notoriety in the early 1970s by acting in John Waters’ thrash classics ‘Multiple Maniacs’; ‘Pink Flamingos’; ‘Female Trouble’ and ‘Desperate Living’. Upon moving to New York she continued her career as the ‘queen of downtown’ where she was a drug dealer; art critic; go-go dancer; magazine columnist and writer. I had seen all her films and read some of her books so I was keen to learn more about her. What a life.

Over the course of the two days I only ventured out to the shops for food. The pasta and toilet paper shelves remain bare in all local shops. Thankfully I have been stockpiling toilet roll for months already. This has nothing to to with the Coronavirus. It’s more related to my absentmindedness. On several consecutive trips to the supermarket I remembered that I was down to my last roll, and purchased fresh supplies. I now have sufficient supplies to take me to Christmas.

I received several phone calls over the days – which was pleasant – including a call from my sister who called with her two year old son, who told me all about the cat in the back garden.


Day three of the social distancing experiment was bright and sunny. The thoughts of another day cooped up in my flat didn’t thrill me. I wanted to go for a walk but my usual treks – the Greystones to Bray Walk or the Howth Head Cliff Walk would require me to use public transport. Instead I decided that I would walk out along the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay out as far as the Poolbeg Lighthouse. From my house this is a five mile walk. The wind was blustery today and I was surprised by the huge number of people who had the same bright idea as myself. I made sure that my favourite piece of graffitti was still visible on the rocks. Happily Jimmy still loves John. I have no idea how old this scrawl is – I noticed it on the first time I did this walk four years ago. I am not normally a fan of graffiti but this one strikes me as lovely.

I am now home again with a pair of sore legs after my ten mile exertion, feeling quite wholesome and healthy.

Another fortnight of this is going to be quite challenging. It has to be done however.

Onward and upwards.

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