Thursday 26th August was a shocker of a day, one I won’t forget in a hurry. We woke up at 6.15am to find out that we had gone in to lockdown at 6am this morning. All of the city of Dong Hoi and the district of Bo Trach (where we are) had been placed under Directive 16, for 7 days, which was the strictest we have had since the pandemic began. When people had found out it had gone nuts in Dong Hoi with everyone panic buying and crowding at the market. Veronika had been told to stay home but Captain Caveman, who had been advised of no training the night before, set off to Phong Nha – he had stuff in the wash that needed sorting at the Glass House and we didn’t have much in the way of provisions. He only stopped at the shop to get some veg and eggs where the seller tried to persuade him to buy more eggs but he had no idea what was about to unfold. Veronika, despite being told to stay home, decided to try to take her motorbike to the Phong Nha Farmstay but got turned back at a blockade on the country road between our village in Khuong Ha and their village in Cu Nam – she said the guards were shouting “No!” at her. So, in short, Day 1 of zero notice lockdown wasn’t boding well for my fellow housemates’ ability to #STFAH so far – of course, had I lived alone, I’d probably not have even noticed there was a blockade. I didn’t check any other news and we forgot to have breakfast in all the excitement but Captain Caveman rustled up a lunch of bacon (from Stu), cabbage and potatoes and it tasted remarkable. Day 1 of this 7 day lockdown meant that any arrangements we had, in pen or pencil, were being moved out of this week’s diary again. I was looking forward to my last pizza night tomorrow so that was postponed to the week after, not knowing if it would happen or if I’d have left already. But the biggest pain in the bum was sorting the flights out, which luckily we hadn’t booked yet; Danny, my driver to Hanoi, called me as soon as he realised we were in Directive 16 to say that he could still take me and not to worry, he would just have to meet me at a border on the Highway. We had a beer and some popcorn in the afternoon and were looking forward to left over beef stew for dinner which we had simmering in the rice cooker. One thing was for certain, Veronika certainly had enough soup to last her the week so she needn’t worry about going hungry. Captain Caveman and I were a bit worried that we might not have enough food to last us the 7 days so we prepared a list for Duyet to buy at the local market; fruit, veg, eggs, bread and rice. He wasn’t sure if the market was open but he would check in the morning to see if he could get us any provisions.

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