At the start of lockdown Jacqui Robbins was told she needed to totally shield herself – even, as much as was possible, from councillor husband Jim. The couple have written a weekly diary since then – now, as vulnerable people are told they can go outside, they tell us how that feels...

Jacqui’s diary

Tell me why I now love Mondays.

This week the lockdown rules were eased for everyone including those who are shielding, which meant I could pop round and see my mum and dad for the first time in three months.

As per the rules I was not able to go into my parents’ house, but we sat in the garden and I even brought my own lunch and drinks. I cannot tell you how nice it was to see them both in person and to have a proper catch-up.

My family and I are still very cautious round my parents.

They both have severe respiratory problems and my dad also has heart and kidney problems, so I would hate for them to catch the virus and I would hate it more if I passed it to them.

It was very strange to say goodbye to them and not be able to give them both a kiss and a cuddle.

I also met up with a work colleague for a walk round Coate Water on Wednesday. The scariest thing about this was getting in the car again after three months – to say I was a little heavy with the accelerator would be an understatement, but I soon got used to this again.

My friend Sam has also been furloughed from work, so it was great to chat to someone who is going through the same thing as me and to share our concerns for the future, and just share general gossip from the workplace.

I had an appointment with the asthma clinic at the Royal Brompton Hospital this week via a video link, which went really well. They are pleased with my progress and have confirmed that once I am off the steroids and waited a little while then I will come of the shielding list altogether – hurrah.

There have been some great innovations and ways of working to come out of this pandemic.

The Brompton has booked my next appointment for four months time and have agreed that we can do this via video link again.

This will save me a four-hour round trip to get there and save me a huge amount in petrol and parking costs. I also normally have to take the day off.

It feels like it has been a really positive week, which was topped off with a glowing school report for Georgia and a win on the National Lottery.

Jim's diary

It has been a good week, with some positive news for Jacqui and a decent week of home-schooling for Georgia.

I’ve had a Zoom call with work where we have been told that we shouldn’t expect to return to the office until October at the earliest so I’ll be spending a lot more time working in our spare room/office.

Jacqui had a call from the Royal Brompton Hospital saying that they are pleased with her progress, and if she keeps improving she’ll be removed from the shielding list in a few months.

With the shielding rules having been relaxed this week, she’s been able to see her mum and dad, whilst strictly social distancing. It was clear how much she had been missing them, so was great that they were able to spend some quality time together in the garden.

Georgia has started a new term of home-schooling, so we have a new topic which is Florence Nightingale.

We’ve already learnt lots about her and discovered she had a pet owl called Athena as well as learning about all the vital work she did to reduce infections in hospitals.

Like everyone, we’ve washing our hands more than ever over the last few months, and we enjoyed doing an experiment with some different coloured paints to test the best ways of washing your hands. It appears nothing beats hot water and soap!

We’ve been trying hard to support local businesses during the lockdown, and I’ve been really pleased to support two this week.

The Swindon Indoor Golf Centre is a brand new business and I was lucky enough to meet some of the team behind it at a charity event before the lockdown started. They have just announced that they will be opening on the June 13, and Georgia and I are very excited to be booked into the first slot on opening day. They use the latest video technology to let you play on virtual versions of the best courses in the world, but Georgia and I are booked in to play some child-friendly shorter holes. We can’t wait.

We’re also very excited to be off to the Cotswold Water Park this weekend to do some kayaking with South Cerney Outdoor.

I was really sad to see a social media post from them this week setting out how they had had to spend their Sunday evening clearing up after a number of people had ignored the fact that they were shut due to Covid-19, and had entered the site and used some of the equipment.

They had left loads of rubbish and burnt grass from lighting fires. As they are re-opening from this Saturday, we decided to book in to one of their pay and play sessions and support them.

Finally, can I thank all of the residents who have got in touch following some stories in the Adver about funding available to the council to temporarily change the road network to allow social distancing and to promote walking and cycling.

I’ve been inundated with messages and sent through a 12-page wishlist to the council this week collating all of your responses.