We Connect by FIDEM Charity Foundation

A Week in the Life of a COVID OAP


Not that I need an excuse to wake up late, but habits die hard. There was once a difference between the work week and the weekend. 

Now of course, with nowhere to go, the temptation to lie in is greater. 

COVID-19 has hit many people in terrible ways, principally by killing them. At first, we all thought this was to be an international cull of the elderly, while the young would be left unscathed. Scary. How did ageing creep up on me?

To be fair there had been signs, but I chose to ignore them as I was freer to do what I wanted than ever. I could misbehave as far as my body would allow. I could go out whenever I wanted and stay out late since there was no school or work the following day. I could travel during term time and, in theory, sex, drugs and rock 'n roll had no consequences.

That was before this ghastly virus. 

Suddenly, I was being treated worse than a recalcitrant teenager. I wasn't just given a curfew, I was grounded. While I scoffed at such treatment when I was young, all it took was defiance to break free. Now it's not so easy. For all my swagger, I'm actually scared of dying, especially like this. 

So I have to obey, I'm locked in, but I have to get out of bed, I have to obey the rules, I have to wash my hands a hundred times a day and make sure I make a plan to stay sane in the hours left over. Of course, there's no divine help either as the churches are closed.


I never thought taking out the rubbish warranted being on the day's agenda, now it is, same as waiting for the groceries to be delivered and allowing enough time to wash them down with soap. Ye gods, I can't stand housework, and now there's ten times more and nobody to help do it. 

Still, I get to schedule Facetime chats with friends. There's always the worry that they're going to call first, before I've put my face on. And yes, I'm still vain, so Apple really needs to come up with decent image enhancement. Make-up is not enough.


Get up and exercise, this is what we've been told to do. Besides, it delays my tryst with the daily cleaning chores. I do about half of them and then break for lunch. I need to keep up with the news too, but OMG that's grim and then...surprise!

I've always loved Dame Judi Dench, even before she became a dame. But today she really came up trumps. How can you not be inspired by a woman who is Vogue's June cover girl at the age of 85? It doesn't end there. She's the oldest cover star they've ever had, looking super glam, with a toyboy of 77 in tow, professionally very active and super-connected to friends of all ages.

I get back to the chores, but soon tire of that. As Scarlett O'Hara rightly pointed out - I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

I must slot sunbathing on the roof into tomorrow's plan. Much more fun.


In fact, Wednesday turned out to be as exciting as Christmas, but different. The delivery man didn't come down the chimney, and we paid for the masks, gloves and visors we got. But wow, the thrill of having what I've always wanted -  at least in the last five weeks - outdoor gear which will enhance my appearance with enough mascara, and get me through the health centre portals for my blood tests. 

Funny that, in my youth, I only remember having blood tests when I had my tonsils out and when I had kids. Cholesterol, diabetes...never gave them a thought. Need to pay attention now as COVID-19 has a particularly nasty streak - preying on weaknesses. So we eat plenty of fresh veg. Thats mostly why I need the gloves, to protect my hands from looking overly bucolic with all the peelin' and choppin'.


Drove the car around the block to charge the battery. It felt as thrilling as sneaking off in my Dad's car for a joy ride almost half a century ago. I shouldn't have said that, I feel even more geriatric now. 

The truth is, many of us still feel quite young, and this being locked up for our own good is frankly insulting. I was quite taken aback before the lockdown even started when my son found out I had been to the supermarket - "well, you're not doing that again"!

I was shocked, speechless. It seemed like revenge coming from him. Truth is, he was right. I also want to be physically close to my grandchildren, but I can't, so reading poems by William Blake and showing them his illustrated texts online is the next best thing. We do need to keep safe.


Keeping safe has made the last few days pass as quickly as the last few weeks, yet we seem no nearer to being free. 

It's impossible to predict when we, the old folks, will roam the streets and enjoy cold beer on the beaches again, even as younger members of society start to go back to their workplaces with what were unimaginable restrictions a couple of months ago. 

I think that's the hardest part, not knowing how long this will take and how many precious months, hopefully not years, as vital, energetic human beings with lots to contribute we are wasting hanging around at home.


Looking back on the week, I think I haven't done badly. I've been in touch with friends. There were things I've left unfinished, but also things I've achieved. 

Time to celebrate. 

My husband suggested we enjoy a pre-prandial Negroni on our beach chairs on the roof. That was my mistake. I thought I was the same girl who could drink everybody under the table, but one glass of the tipple was enough for me to make a hash not for, but of lunch. 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. I intend to.


Postscript 1. Negroni: Campari, vermouth, dry gin, orange peel.

Postscript 2. On Judi Dench becoming a dame: The evening of the day Dench got her OBE, she was on stage doing a play. During the play, her co-actor whispered to her: "now you've got your OBE, I suppose a f*** is out of the question?"