Coronavirus lockdown: On smuggling hairdressers in and endless time on Fortnite

Beatrix Clark with her George Clooney-themed Zoom backdrop. Picture: Mike Clark

Beatrix Clark with her George Clooney-themed Zoom backdrop. Picture: Mike Clark - Credit: Mike Clark

Hampstead’s Beatrix Clark considers whether it is time for an 80s-themed family cocktail party.

Another week, more of the same. Of trying to stay motivated and productive but instead spending hours googling loungewear and forwarding amusing memes on Whatsapp, unsure if an Indian couple calling their new twins Covid and Corona is actually funny or if laughing hysterically means I’m becoming slightly demented.

Of wishing I’d bought shares in Zoom and Majestic Wine, and wondering whether to risk prison by smuggling in the hairdresser. Of listening to ridiculous conspiracy theories I’d normally avoid with a niggling feeling there’s lots we don’t know.

As a family we’re hanging on in there. My son’s either in the bathroom listening loudly to drill or on Fortnite till the early hours and for once I’m not berating him. My daughter’s busy saving the world from her bedroom and my husband and I are discovering pockets of Hampstead Heath we never knew existed. I’ve posited the idea of an 80s themed family cocktail party but asking a 22 and a 19 year-old to dance to Tainted Love in the living room with their parents could be a step too far.

Like everyone, what we’d really like to know is when and how this lockdown will end. It’s an impossible dilemma – you can’t let people out en masse again while the virus is still rampant and you can’t prolong a nationwide shutdown which is already devastating the economy and wreaking havoc with people’s livelihoods, mental health and waistlines.

I don’t envy the decision makers but if this goes on much longer, will fear become so ingrained and attitudes so fundamentally altered that we risk losing aspects of the lives we’ve known and loved for years to come? Will mosh pits and music festivals become a distant memory? Will crossing the road to avoid fellow pedestrians and glaring at people if they sneeze become the new norm? Will Top Shop start selling denim face masks?

I really hope not. I hope that once it’s deemed safe to do so – which seemingly will take months – we put anxiety aside and embrace as we did before the cinemas, theatres, restaurants and music venues crying out for our custom, that travel plans and weddings are reinstated and that Brent Cross still has some shops left apart from Waitrose and M&S.

For the moment we await the elusive exit strategy with bated breath, and the recovery and return of poor Boris who at least brings some personality to those 5pm briefings. We decorate our Zoom backgrounds – I’ve just purchased a George Clooney poster for mine – go for a walk hoping we don’t get arrested for sitting on a bench, and eat tons of chocolate. We help those we can, count our blessings and hope, every day, that this extraordinary period in history we’re living through will soon be just that – history.