JENNI MURRAY: First it was Christmas …now I'm on my own until Easter

JENNI MURRAY: First it was Christmas …now I’m on my own until Easter!

  • Jenni Murray spent Christmas alone to avoid the risk of spreading the virus
  • She says anyone from Kent or London was considered a pariah by rest of the UK
  • She admits to being truly scared as she calls for the nation to pull together 

How my heart sank on Monday evening as I tuned in to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation and the announcement of national Lockdown 3.

I had dutifully spent Christmas and New Year alone in London, not wanting to risk taking the wretched virus and its new strain to my husband and son on the south coast. Not that I had any symptoms, but I was Tier 4; they were Tier 2.

It was very strange to be in London. No pubs, no restaurants, no sense of the season, despite the decorations. A few people were trying gingerly to get on as usual, slipping, masked, into supermarkets, but the great city felt grey and quiet. Anyone from Kent or London was considered a pariah by the rest of the country; a potential source of the new strain.

My second son was also stuck in London. We met briefly at his front door for an exchange of gifts. I had so hoped for things to ease and be able to see and hug the people I love. No chance.

Jenni Murray (pictured) who spent Christmas and New Year alone to avoid the risk of spreading the virus, calls on the nation to pull together 

Maybe I should have shot off after Christmas and risked going from Tier 4 to Tier 2, but it seemed a ridiculous idea when it was obvious things were getting worse. Now it looks as though I’m doomed to be alone until Easter.

And Lockdown 3 feels altogether more alarming and scarier than in earlier months, as the virus becomes so much easier to catch.

Yes, we’re hoping that the vaccine will get us out of this mess — and let’s pray the ‘fair wind’ Boris needs to vaccinate 14 million by mid-February prevails — but the figures are frightening.

As the number of infections and deaths rise, previously sanguine friends, and I count myself among them, are terrified. My North London neighbour who teaches in a primary school is relieved she doesn’t have to go to work. Parents I know are drawing their children close to them.

One friend, a widow my age, who lives alone, cried when she told me she wouldn’t dare to so much as go out shopping for food and couldn’t get an online delivery. Her stocked freezer would last her a week, she reckoned. Then what?

Another couple, both retired professionals in their 60s, are so afraid of the virus and alarmed by news reports showing whole families in hospital, that they won’t so much as pick up their post until four days after its arrival and then they disinfect it before opening.

During the earlier lockdowns I was careful, but far from cowed by Covid. I happily went into the BBC, had my temperature taken and interviewed people down the line for Woman’s Hour, making sure my hands and equipment were sanitised.

I was first on the list for appointments at the hairdresser and the nail salon in July. Those things really seemed to matter.

Jenni (pictured) revealed she’s truly scared of the virus, for the first time since the pandemic began 

Then I took part in ITV’s The Full Monty, getting a test before every gathering of the cast. I even went to the Daily Mail studio to be photographed, carefully following the rigorous temperature checks, social distancing and mask rules.

This time I’m staying put. There’s more to worry about than my lockdown hair and fingernails. This virus has no intention of giving up its rampant attack on the human race and, for the first time, I am truly scared of it.

I shall walk alone with my dogs in the park, keeping a distance from those who jog too close and shop weekly, masked and gloved.

The vaccine may well show us a way out, but I will try to make sure I’m not like the young soldier shot and killed in the days leading up to the end of World War II.

This will end, but not yet. We all have to pull together. Don’t pick it up, don’t pass it on, resign yourself to Zoom. Stay well.

When will people realise puppies are fur-ever?

Jenni urges people not to be seduced into buying a dog, unless they’re going to be devoted for as long as the dog shall live

I can’t stop thinking about all those poor little dogs who thought they had found a forever home, but are now the ‘lockdown pups sent packing’.

Hundreds are being offered for sale online or are languishing in rescue centres.

They did nothing wrong, but those careless, cruel former owners did.

I have never owned a lone dog. When Butch came along 15 years ago, I quickly found Frieda so he would always have a companion.

Did these temporary dog lovers think about companionship or expense? Pet insurance and vet bills are costly. Food for my dogs is about £40 a week.

Please, as we enter another lockdown, don’t be seduced by a cute little ball of fur unless you’re willing to return that devotion for as long as the dog shall live.

  •  There was nothing to celebrate in the PM’s address on Monday except the reference to those facing domestic violence.

He specifically stated they have the right to leave home in order to escape.

I’ve never heard such an acknowledgement from so highly-placed a politician of the dangers that many face.

Please, Boris, make sure they have somewhere safe to escape to and keep the rising incidence of this crime at the top of the political agenda.

We’re snot amused

‘Trust the science’ has become such a familiar piece of advice in recent months, but I was somewhat horrified by the latest tip, found in the magazine Men’s Health.

The headline read, ‘Why you should be picking your nose and eating your bogies to boost your immune system.’ What?!

Dr Meg Lemon, a dermatologist who treats people with allergies and autoimmune disorders, recommends it, along with eating any food you may drop on the floor. It will, she says, expose the body to friendly bacteria that could help fight infections and allergies.

I remember my grandmother, who kept her house clean, but was not hung up on hygiene, often saying: ‘You’ll eat a peck of muck before you die’.

I’m sure she was right, but I think, in the current circumstances, I’ll just take the vitamin D and wait for the vaccine!

Forget Thatcher, Joan’s the real iron lady 

Jenni revealed no one has terrified her more as an interviewee than Dame Joan Collins (pictured)

After Margaret Thatcher, no one has terrified me more as an interviewee than Dame Joan Collins.

Maybe it was because I couldn’t see past Alexis Colby, the vengeful former wife of the oil tycoon, Blake Carrington, in the TV series Dynasty.

The real Dame Joan was charming, funny and giving, but also just as much of an iron lady; you knew right away you wouldn’t want to cross her. Now at 87, she’s as gorgeous and sparky as ever.

She claims she hasn’t been to bed with that many men, tells us she turned down Bobby Kennedy because they were both married at the time and admits to a two-year romance with the young Warren Beatty.

But what does she mean when she says, ‘He was forceful in the feathers’? Never heard that one before!

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