Corona Journal, 1 April: Day 17

9am Wake up from dream in which I burst into the Rough Guides office and demand my job back, insisting I’ll be ‘the best damn editor this company has ever seen’. Is everyone else having really weird, vivid dreams at the moment? Flatmate told me about a dream he had where celebrity corona patients (namely Tom Hanks and Prince Charles) sang ‘Imagine’ to him on a video conference call, and my brother tells me he has dreamed about his favourite breakfast cereal for the past 3 nights in a row.

12pm Just finished the Italian and French lessons – they went well! Tutoring polite, enthusiastic 11- and 15-year-olds is easier than babysitting reluctant 4-year-olds over Zoom. Who knew? I actually (dare I say it)… enjoyed myself?

3pm Am in bed, attempting to finish the book we’re discussing at virtual book club tonight (Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). It is very unlike me not to have read the book (especially given that I host the book club) but, contrary to expectations, I haven’t been in the headspace to do much reading recently. Especially now that I don’t have a commute, it’s difficult to find little pockets of reading time. I have 200 pages to go and 4 hours until book club; I think I can do this.


4pm My eyelids are drooping. Think I will just have a little half-hour snooze.

5.30pm Bloody hell.

6pm I’m not going to finish the book now so may as well go to Sainsbury’s for book club supplies. If going for a daily walk is going ‘out’, then going food shopping must be going ‘out out’. The queuing outside and being nodded in by stony-faced bouncers sends shivers of excitement down my spine.

6.30pm Gripped by what boyfriend calls ‘yellow fever’ (because of the yellow ‘reduced’ stickers), I arrive home with a ridiculous assortment of ready meals, fish cakes, carrots, spring rolls and jam yum yums. It’s not quite the same as my reduced Waitrose haul but I’m still feeling weirdly proud of myself, as if I foraged this food directly from the forest.

7pm Virtual book club. Find a rogue orange that escaped juicing yesterday and make myself a mimosa in defiance. Like the grandma I am, I manage to set up the wrong kind of Google Hangouts (who knew there was more than one type?) and a tech-savvy friend has to help me out. Only one of us has actually finished the book and our overall insights about seem to amount to, ‘it was ok’. It is lovely to see everyone’s pixellated faces and chat nonsense like we usually do.

8pm Wonderful news! We have decided to do two rounds of book club this month. The theme is simply ‘trash’, and in two weeks time we are going to be discussing ‘Night with a SEAL’ by Cat Johnson (Book #1 in the Hot SEALs series, obviously). It’s 68 pages long and looks like the delicious rubbish we all need right now. It’s also free to download which is helpful. Then, in a month we’re going to talk about Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes which we chose because it’s the first book that comes up when you google her name. Minimum effort is a big requirement of this month’s book club.


8.30pm Already obsessed with Cat Johnson, whose Amazon bio describes her as “an author of contemporary romance in genres including military, cowboy, ménage and paranormal … a self-proclaimed promo ‘ho [who] owns an entire collection of cowboy boots and camouflage shoes for book signings”. I read this description out loud to flatmate and boyfriend. Flatmate eyes my mimosa and says he bets this would be Cat’s drink of choice. I agree; there’s definitely a touch of the promo ‘ho in me too.


9pm Chant ‘Tiger King, Tiger King’ at boyfriend until he reluctantly turns off the x-box. We re-watch the first two episodes for his benefit, and by the end of the first episode, he is wide-eyed and incredulous. Even he cannot escape the lure of the Tiger King.

1am Wide awake. This is what I get for doing no exercise and taking naps during the day. Brain is chasing itself in circles, singing the circus theme tune and trying to translate iconic lines from The School of Rock into Italian. Wonder again if I have gone mad, a new daily ritual.

I hate to be this person (that’s a lie, I love the attention) but I’ve made the Corona Journal into a newsletter so you can get it emailed to you every day. Each post/email takes 1-2 minutes to read and let’s be honest, what else have you got to do right now? Also, sorry. You can subscribe here.

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