Like many others, my family and I have self-isolated from today.

We’re all in this together and it’s vital that public health guidance is followed to protect the most vulnerable. Self-isolating, limiting social contact, washing hands and cleaning surfaces – these are the tools we have to combat this outbreak.

I will remain in self-isolation for 14 days and work from home as many others are already doing across the city. I am in constant phone contact with officers, city stakeholders and Cabinet colleagues (including a conference call with my entire Cabinet today) and will continue to keep the public informed of the evolving situation in Bristol. I am grateful to all the people who are stepping forward to pledge their support across the city and I urge everyone who can and wants to volunteer to sign up to Can Do Bristol’s coronavirus response page so we can make sure you are delivering the biggest positive impact possible.

I thought it would be useful to keep a bit of a record of my family’s time in isolation.

I want people to know they are not alone. I was surprised I felt a little bit stigmatised. I had to remind myself, this is the new normal, that we haven’t done anything wrong. That’s the message I want to share with others. This is what we have to do.

It was quite a confusing decision for us, actually. Every cough and sneeze caused questions. But I have this approach to life that says “Ahh, stop moaning, there’s nothing wrong with you”. So my wife and I had a conversation about where we set the bar for stepping into becoming the “self-isolated”. It’s not an exact science, and I can’t remember the last time I heard a cough. But we’ve arrived at this place now.

Now we face the many challenges of managing and educating our children, managing ourselves in a confined space and managing our work. I also have to think about my Mum. I had to have the conversation with Mum about going into self-isolation to safeguard her health. Today I talked with my brother about the conversation he had with his Mum.

We planned our first full day at home and put together a mini timetable while we await resources to be sent from their schools. For my eldest (12yrs) we’ll be getting on top of homework and watching a documentary on the crusades (his history project). We’ve found some great maths and English resources on the BBC website for my second (9yrs). For my youngest (4yrs) we’ll do some maths with the abacus and practice some writing. Then I had a warning from a friend who home schools not to have too high expectations for my education regime! 

We’ll also be getting a few press-ups in…

I’ll share more insights over the next fortnight.

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