It might seem a strange time to replace my car, since travel restrictions may soon be in place as Ireland prepares for a potential lockdown, but my car has been in the garage for several months, and I need another seven seater. My mechanic made clear that it’s more expensive to fix my old car than buy a secondhand one. Yesterday I bought the exact same model- a Picassa C4- (though much cleaner!) so I’ll have spare parts.

With that problem solved, we went to lunch. The restaurant we went to had everyone spaced well a part and the room was well ventilated. There was almost a sense of normality. The family next to us had two kids and the parents made friendly small talk with us. No one mentioned the C word.

Knowing it might be our last trip to the city for quite a while, I decided to pick up some essentials for my kids: new pjs, underwear, socks, and a hoodie for the littlest one. I also couldn’t resist a few more secondhand books for what I think of as my Lockdown Collection (to be shared with my 15 year old daughter Miss E). Some of the books below were given to me for my birthday last January, but I still haven’t had a chance to read them. Here’s hoping I’ll finally have some time!

Have you ever been to Cork City on a Saturday afternoon? It’s a vibrant college town and the streets are always bustling with shoppers. I love trips to the city. They cheer me up no matter what season it is. Well, yesterday it was like a ghost town. I’ve never seen H&M so tidy with everything hung neatly on the hangers. The staff easily outnumbered shoppers. It was eerily quiet. No need to worry about social distancing! I had my one precious tube of antibacterial cleaner (usually reserved for my nappy/ diaper bag) in my pocket all the same. For the first time I didn’t have to wait in a line and breezed up to the checkout. In and out of the shop in no time.

Restaurants were more than half empty as we looked in the windows from the street. Several pubs were closed. There were a few people out and about but I’ve never seen Cork so quiet.

View from Opera Lane, Cork City

The government announced today that all pubs will be shut down with immediate effect until the 29th of March. The public are also being urged not to attend house parties in the interim. Try getting that through to the teenagers and college students! I need a chain to keep my 17 year old son in the house… because reasoning doesn’t seem to be enough.

I’ve heard from a reliable source that we can expect another big change to be announced tomorrow. I’ll say nothing until it actually happens because there are enough rumours circulating as it is. Let’s just say we’re trying desperately to replace the hens we had before Mr Fox ate them a while ago. Fresh eggs are awesome. I’ve also been digging though crap in my utility room to locate vegetable seeds I stashed last year. It might be a fun activity to plant them in the conservatory and start preparing the garden for spring.

I needed milk this evening and was reassured that the local shops have had deliveries since I last popped in. There weren’t many people out and it was much calmer inside Lidls. I think most people have stocked up by now. There was even some toilet paper! Everyone is hunkering down. “It’s the calm before the storm, ” said the man at the checkout. Yes, that’s exactly how it feels.

I’m nervous as hell. My daughter said she expected me to be one of “the chill people,” but I’m in survival mode making practical checklists. Extra gas bottle? Check. Firewood? Check. Spring water? Check. Paracetamol? Check. The list goes on and on… Check, check, check. Last night my dreams were repetitive, circular, going round and round about the damn virus. It’s the only thing people are talking about.

How are you coping with the chaos? I’ve decided to limit my news consumption and reduce the amount of screen time each day. I’m attempting to stay present and focus on what’s actually in my control to help combat feelings of anxiety. I’m also trying to breathe. (Thanks for the reminder, Mare! Check out her awesome blog This Experimental Life to see how to gracefully meet life’s challenges with your humour intact). Today I cleaned the house and tried to stay productive. I cooked a delicious fish pie that was both healthy and comforting (Pinot Grigio helped). Feel free to try the recipe. I used a chowder mix from my local fishmonger and substituted diced carrots for corn. I also used 2 leeks instead of spring onions and chives. Yum!

Last night I also succeeded in unwinding the wool I had managed to get into a gigantic knot. It took an entire week and several friends to help me unravel it! My partner begged me to let him just buy another ball of wool, but I’m stubborn and found it strangely therapeutic to untangle the knots. It proved to be a lesson in patience, something we could all use more of in these trying times. Now I’m all set to start on my next project. I’m not sure I’m ready to knit socks, but I’ve exhausted my capacity for making hats! Wish me luck. 🙂

14 thoughts on “One Lonely Shopper in a Deserted City

  1. Do cast on socks:) They are my favorite calm knitting.
    This whole situation is just anxiety producing. It really shows how small the world is and how we have to look out for each other. My 17 year old son can’t understand why he can’t meet up with friends and hang out. At that age they just don’t understand. Stay well and avoid the news as much as you can. I look forward to hearing about your new chickens:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. My nerves are on edge wondering if I’ll ever see my mom and other elderly family members in Ohio again. The teenagers have no concept about mortality and feel invincible. None of us really know how to deal with this situation. Like you said it just shows how connected we are. I hope the kindness and caring will outweigh the greediness and fear we’re seeing from some people.

      I wish I could knit like you! Here’s hoping sock knitting will have a calming effect on me too. ☺️ Fingers crossed we can get the chickens.🤞🏽 Suddenly they’re a hot commodity like toilet paper.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Since this madness began I decided to visit the supermarket today to see the chaos for myself. Well I was not disappointed…shelves were empty. Strangely I do not feel any fear or sense of impending doom. God is always in charge. We do have enough food and supplies to last as we always buy bulk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’re prepared and have your faith to see you through, Pene. Are your 7 & 15 year old still in school? My teenagers are also feeling anxious as rumours abound. We’ve heard there are now 7 cases in our tiny town which is very closely connected. Anytime someone passes away we’re likely to know one of their relatives, if not the person herself/ himself. I hope the social isolation works and that we will see a big reduction in cases in a few weeks just like China! Be well my friend!


      1. The kids are currently out of school and they have extended the break, and will update as the CDC advises. My daughter is old enough to be scared and the kiddo is just living, lol
        I have not been letting him lay in bed with us since I attended to a suspected case 5 days ago, just keeping my distance really from everyone and sleeping in a separate room. My mom is in her 70’s and I certainly don’t want her with anything…so I have been chillin by myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you and your family stay well. It must be a real worry in your profession, especially with your mom living with you. Kids are great though. They’re so focused on the present. I bet your youngest misses cuddles with mama, but this will hopefully be behind us soon! Stay strong❤️

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  3. Thank you Robin 😉 Sounds like you are doing all that you can, and you found toilet paper! Victory!!! I’m sorry you’re feeling nervous. Do what feels right. Guided meditations really help to calm my mind and relax my body. If I can’t turn down the volume in my brain with the meditations I close my eyes, focus on deep breaths and repeat the word “breeze”. For some reason that word calms me down. I think about the muscles in my heart remaining calm and relaxed.
    I’m a fidgety person by nature. So I’ll read a blog, poke my head outside, do some dishes, read another blog etc…….I’m like a humming bird lol
    Headed to clean the home of a family with 3 youngsters and a puppy today. Mama is going stir crazy with everyone home and not being able to go anywhere. They are lovely, I’m happy to be a welcomed distraction for them.
    ((((HUGS)))) to you and yours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you like I can send you some toilet paper! Not so sure about the pet wipes…😅 Sorry to hear people are hoarding where you live too.

      Great suggestions! I need to get back to my mat and start my yoga practice again. Moving meditation works best for me.

      That family is lucky to have you! I took my little man for a walk to town today to wear him out. Needed to clear the cobwebs in the fresh air! Going to make soup now and chill for the rest of this rainy day. Don’t work too hard! Hugs to you too x 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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