How to spend 10 days of self-isolation.
What do you do when you are handed ten empty days?
A simple enough question, and one I'd rather not answer, but here we are, answering it nonetheless. You see, when I got in from my proper job, a gap-filling exercise until Tim gives me a job, my phone buzzed in my pocket with a notification from the Test and Trace app. The excel spreadsheet had worked out that I had been near someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 and I should self isolate for ten days. 10 DAYS. 240 hours without leaving my house. So I can't head off to film any projects that I can't shoot in my garage, I can't go to the supermarket to get produce for anything for Foodtribe, I can't go out and continue shooting for the book I'm working on. Nothing. Diddly squat. I was to be stuck at home for a week and three days.
And then it dawned on me, I have been given a government-mandated excuse to do all the things I keep putting off. That Airfix set I started in the summer before my Masters' project took over. The new grille element that I need to fit to the Jimny, let alone cleaning the thing. The carburettor rebuild my motorbike is crying out for. Playing my guitars for the first time in six months. The list was and is huge. The question is, how much would I cross off? Well, what follows is going to be essentially a diary of what I got up to as an automotive content creator while self-isolating. Hopefully, it'll be interesting and not just 10 diary entries surmising me drinking ungodly amounts of coffee, and watching day time telly.
Friday 15th January 2021;
Dear Diary, today I was told by my phone to not do anything. I've decided to ignore that and do a lot of things. So much that I wrote a list. Doubt I'll cross much of it off though...
Yup, Matt Hancock has decreed that I have ten days in which to complete all of that. Essentially. So I immediately started by washing my hands because I'd just come in from work at the post sorting office. I dumped my clothes in the washing machine for a hot wash with a laundry cleanser in and took a hot shower. Can never be too sure! And then I sat down and made a pot of coffee, and watched Wandavision while building a Lego set my girlfriend had drunkenly ordered me. Made dinner, Facetime'd my friends from my uni days and went to bed. Tomorrow will be more productive.
Saturday 16th January 2021;
Woke up at 8 am, three hours after I normally would for work, stared at my phone for an hour, went downstairs, made some coffee and toast. Looked at my phone while enjoying the coffee and toast. Loaded the dishwasher. Small work out, shower and brush my teeth to give the impression that I was lining up to do something productive with my day completely ignoring the fact that by this point it was 11:30 am. Now I'm sat at my desk staring at that list wondering where to start. I'll report back if I do.
Had lunch and did some Airfix through the afternoon. Sat tucked away in the garage with a little heater on, the world to myself gently filing and easing parts together, test fitting, checking assembly diagrams and sorting paints. An almost yogic bliss of calm. A quiet evening watching the X-Files with Georgia and that was that rather.
Sunday 17th January 2021;
Grandma got her first vaccination dose today, so that was some good news. I ended up cleaning the bathroom and while I had the cloths and sprays out, did the interior of the Jimny too. It'd been getting into quite a state recently with my antisocial work hours leaving me with very little chance to bust out the hoover. At this point, the carpets were mostly sausage roll crumbs and mud and the smell was getting quite noticeable. So a good hour was spent with the doors and tailgate flung wide open, hoovering the carpets and seats, wiping the cupholders, plastics, dash panels, before setting about the glass. Being laughably poor at timings and being punctual I usually end up setting off to work at 5:30 am wiping the inside of the windscreen with the back of my sleeve, so as you can imagine it was a soft-focus, blurry mess of smears. So polishing up the interior has been on the to-do for a while, despite not being written on my list. Another good job done then.
Now 100% sausage roll crumb-free!
The evening went as follows; Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow, Attenborough, X-Files, sleep. Hardly thrilling stuff.
Monday 18th January 2021;
Coffee, Joe Wicks, Coffee, Tesco Delivery, Coffee. Now what? I remembered that I needed to cancel the shifts I was supposed to work this week, so I hopped onto my work's account, cancelled the shifts with a little note telling them to check their emails and that Matt Hancock has locked me in my house. No sooner do I cancel the shifts do I find I'm immediately booked back on them. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen that I have my doubts about the cognitive powers of my colleagues and management at work, but this was God-tier levels of stupidity. So another round of cancelling work and notes and we await to see what'll happen. Think I'll have another cup of coffee.
Spend the afternoon working on a video script, running numbers and just mucking with the fabric of reality. That'll make sense when the video in question is out.
Tuesday 19th January 2021;
Cleaned the outside of the Jimny in the morning. It's now shiny and fresh inside and out. Coffee. Writing. Tea and cake on Facetime with my friends from undergrad. More writing. A fairly uneventful day, but that's the fun of being stuck inside.
Wednesday 20th January 2021;
Started the day with some coffee, there's a pattern forming here I'm sure you're aware. Filmed the Formula Food; 2020 Season Review. Watched the inauguration. Called Grandma to wish her a Happy Birthday, even though she only lives at the other end of my road I couldn't walk by to see her.
Thursday 21st January 2021;
Coffee, which shouldn't come as a surprise by this point. Edited the Formula Food review together. This would then take 7 hours to process, only for me to notice I hadn't put the proper title card in and would proceed to swear loudly, adjust it, and leave it to process once more. And courtesy of the ingenious design of the Macbook whereby they place the fan nowhere near the processor, to try and keep my laptop cooler than the centre of the sun, I had to leave my laptop in the garage overnight while it did its thing.
Also spent some time working on my Airfix kit again. Getting some primer onto the major parts, as well as my thumb. Thursday night is quiz night with girlfriend so we quizzed the evening away. Also took a nice long exposure of the night sky so I'd have something to do on Friday - edit the photograph.
3026 seconds of exposure. I'm not sure if the straight line in the middle is an alien or a plane passing overhead. I vote alien.
Friday 22nd January 2021;
You guessed it, a hot cup a' Joe to start the day. Uploaded the Formula Food video and then set about looking at the grille piece I'd ordered for the Jimny. At some point previously, I had collided with a blackbird, Turdus merula, while doing motorway speeds along the M2. I was the one doing the motorway speeds I should point out. The blackbird was doing about 15mph before suddenly decelerating in one direction and rapidly accelerating in another as it bounced off the front of my bonnet, the windscreen before tumbling off behind me. As a zoologist, I was mortified. As a petrolhead I was fuming because upon connecting with the front of the Jimny the blackbird, seemingly being made out of a non-Newtonian fluid assumed the strength of a brick and cracked one of the little grille elements that line the front of the bonnet. A plea on the Jimny Owners Facebook group for a replacement was quickly met with a response. £10 incl P&P and one replacement bit would be mine.
So that'd be the morning's entertainment. Removing the old part, and fitting the new part without damaging the fragile little fur-tree clips that I'd need to hold the part in place. And you can watch how I got on with that below.
A nice not-broken bit.
A bit more time spent on the Airfix, this time fogging the lower parts, and underneath the wings matte black. A quiet afternoon followed with work on that video starting, followed by some Friday night telly, and the latest episode of Wandavision.
A glimpse inside my garage.
Saturday 23rd January 2021;
Coffee, video work, some writing on a different project, sorting through old files. Nothing hugely of interest.
Sunday 24th January 2021;
Oh boy. As usual, coffee, this time accompanied by some crumpets, one with a large mushroom (do it in the microwave up-ended with butter on its gills, and a twist of pepper) laid to rest on a Bovril and butter smothered crumpet. The second with lemon curd. A stunning pairing (I appreciate this is more Foodtribe-y content, but here ya' go!). Lunch prep, clean the bathroom, move all my CDs up to the loft, then it started to snow. Now let me tell you, as a zoologist I've been hankering to get out of the house since I was locked in it. Beyond the odd obese pigeon, the views from my house are largely devoid of wildlife, so I was missing seeing interesting things. And coupled with the snow, and a desire to capture it for my on-going project, I snuck out. On my own, into the wilderness with no-one about. An hours fresh air tramping through the snow, the fine powder crunching gently underfoot felt like bliss after a week or so spent confined to my house. I saw a buzzard and watched it feed a while. Then home, a quick hoon in the Jimny in front of my house to get some footage for a new title sequence. What followed was lunch and an afternoon spend editing photos, writing, editing videos, and perusing bulbs to upgrade the candles in jam jars the Jimny currently has. Attenborough, X-Files and sleeping my way to freedom.
Here's said buzzard
On the wing - if you like pictures of animals check out @jesseoutinthewild on Instagram.
Coming in hot!
Monday 25th January 2021 - Freedom;
And that was that. In ten short days I had achieved but a fraction of what I'd wanted to, achieved some bits I hadn't expected to, and finally made some more progress on my Airfix kit. Although I'm sure there's another can of paint that is supposed to be on its way? I appreciate that this probably hasn't been a largely entertaining read, but it's been something to do to pass the time.
Oh, and how did I spend my first day of freedom? Coffee, shower, editing, big walk, editing, dinner, writing this. Tomorrow? Coffee and slip-sliding my way to work for 6 AM, which is going to be a shock after lying in until 8:30 most mornings... wish me luck!