Hello everybody, I hope hope you’re all ok out there. We’d never have imagined a week like the one we’ve just had would we and who knows where we go from here? For now, I’m going to try to keep up with a weekly coronavirus update even if it’s just as a kind of social diary to log how this bolt from the blue affected an ordinary family. So here we go – Coronavirus diaries – lockdown week 1.
Coronavirus diaries – lockdown week 1
Mothering Sunday, 22nd March
Sunday was Mother’s Day and it was a gift just having all three boys at home. This time last year it didn’t look as though I would, we anticipated that the eldest would probably be busy in London and the middle one was likely to be at university so their ebullient company was a bonus. We’d planned to go the The Inn at Whitewell for lunch but of course it wasn’t to be so instead we had a relaxed breakfast with cards and thoughtful little gifts and then took Teddy out for a walk on the shore. We’re so lucky to live where we do, it’s easy to find completely isolated stretches out here and the boys messing around on the salt marshes together was a sight that I didn’t think I’d see again. We’d gradually moved from these joyful boghopping days with two boys in 2015
… to only having one boy for Mother’s Day in 2018…
…to suddenly having them all back together…
… and with nothing much else on the agenda we had the time and space to appreciate how fortunate we are to have this…
… just a ten minute walk from our front door.
After a while we jumped into the car and went to visit my parent’s grave, taking flowers for my mum. They’re buried in the village that I grew up in so I always wander round and say hello to my niece along with so many other people that were a part of my younger days. I should add that we wouldn’t ordinarily have taken a photograph but the youngest is putting together a photographic coronavirus diary for a school project and he took this – I love the way that he’s caught the shaft of sunlight.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at home. I tried to get a sensible Mother’s Day photo with my boys but as always it ended up like this. I’m astounded by how tall they are now. Sunday was a special day.
Coronavirus diaries – Lockdown Monday, 23rd March
On Monday Mr MC and I went to work as usual. We’re phenomenally grateful to the loyal clients who are sticking by us and we’re determined to work harder than ever for them. I was concerned when the eldest came to say he was heading back to his student house. His former girlfriend has suffered a tragic loss of the worst kind and even though he’d advised her not to, had driven up from the south coast wanting to see him. It was difficult but at 23 we have to let him make choices of his own.
At 8.30pm along with the rest of the nation, we tuned into the Prime Minister’s broadcast and heard that from midnight we would be on lockdown. I then proceeded to have a rather fraught conversation with the boy on WhatsApp, confusion being caused by the fact that I thought he would have heard the announcement but by this point he was back with his friends in their house and their minds were focused on the FIFA challenge on the XBox.
I’m sure that those of you with young offspring will be familiar with the frustration of trying to communicate with someone who’s playing for England in the most important match of the season. Strong words were required, much to the amusement of the younger two for whom the family WhatsApp group had become the highpoint of the evening’s entertainment. However get through I did and he finally agreed to be collected at 11pm… after their takeaway had been delivered. I know quite a few of you were in the same situation with your young ‘adults’ on Monday… testing wasn’t it?!
Coronavirus diaries – New world Tuesday
Tuesday saw the start of our new routine. School began online for the youngest – I often feel sympathy for the staff there, I can imagine that teaching at a boys’ grammar school comes with its own particular challenges. Right now those challenges are technical and his first lesson began with five minutes of high jinks with the teacher not realising that she’d assigned each boy with her own level of permissions so the class could easily be hijacked. After a while though they settled in and got on as well as they could.
Meanwhile for us down in the office, paid projects were continuing to drop off. We were contacted by the group heading up the coronavirus efforts in the village. They were struggling to get communication out – their initial plan of printing a booklet was no longer an option because the printing companies are all closed. It made sense for us to focus the day on building a website to make it easier to co-ordinate information and sources of help. I put us down as the volunteers for our road and wondered if we’ll get any calls.
Coronavirus diaries – Workout Wednesday
Our gym started to stream our Academy classes live online and so we did two garden workouts in the sunshine and the middle son joined us too. Obviously we don’t have the equipment to go at our usual intensity but it’s better than nothing and it felt really good to see the friendly faces of our trainers. Here’s Ted, eager for the class to start.
I’m remembering how much food it takes to keep three big boys and Mr MC fed so I’m feeling alarmed that the supermarkets are talking about restricting deliveries to 80 items. I’m going to have to focus on batch cooking, although the baker and pie shop have closed in the village at least the butcher is still open to regulars.
It’s so lovely having the eldest at home, I’ve missed the sight of him kicking a ball about in the garden and Ted’s always eager to play although the football doesn’t come out of it very well.
Coronavirus diaries – On a mission Thursday
Thursday began with a grumpy youngest. His form teacher had insisted that all boys were online at 8.30am for their usual form session. She went on to hold a thirty minute breathing session with them to help them manage their mental health. It was very thoughtful of her but the consensus among her 16 year old students seemed to be that their mental health would have been managed better from their beds.
I’d had a message from my old Pilates teacher telling me that she was going to do an online class so I persuaded Mr MC to join me. She ended it with ten minutes of meditation and just as she began, the youngest appeared in the room with his breakfast. I’m not very good at meditating at the best of times. She started by getting us to relax our limbs and as she progressed to ‘relax your ears… and now relax your teeth’ the sound of the boy choking with laughter ruined any chance I had. However we persevered on to the gratitude. She asked us to think of ten good things and prepare to shout them aloud with her. Ten times she chanted “I am grateful for…” and ten times the youngest bellowed out his name in response.
In the afternoon the first calls for help started to come in from the website. There’s an assisted living development for the elderly based in a lovely old manor across the road from our house. Most of the residents are in their 80s and 90s and the manager explained that she’s running a skeleton staff and has her hands full trying to get them to stay in. So I took on a shopping list and went out to find the things they needed. It was an insight into the frailties of being old and as I went from chemist to chemist I realised how vulnerable they are with medicines running out everywhere. However as you know I like a shopping mission and I succeeded in the end – I have to say it felt good to have a reason to be out too.
And at 8pm the whole village erupted with applause and shouts and whistles for the brilliant workers of the NHS, it really was very moving. We must keep them and every other keyworker in our minds, it can’t be easy to keep on going while so many are able to sit at home eating biscuits, waiting for the storm to pass.
Coronavirus diaries – Blogging Friday
And so that brings us to today and I’m blogging as usual. We aren’t feeling particularly perky because none of the government measures announced so far are of any help to our business, we seem to fall into the small print of exceptions every single time. However we have faith that the people who advise us will find a way. We pay lots of tax and NI throughout the year so surely it’s an oversight that there’s no help for small companies like ours.
I’m going to head out into the sunshine now because I believe this is our last day of it. I wonder if this will all feel more serious next week when it’s cold outside and the reality of lockdown hits home. At least the clocks will have changed and we won’t need to grieve the loss of an hour’s sleep at the weekend because without an alarm, what does it matter?
I hope you’re all ok wherever you are and that the people you love are safe and well. I’m sure it will be a quiet weekend for us, we have a board game night planned for tomorrow which should be fun as long as they don’t insist on Monopoly. What else can I suggest? As well as my garden Pilates and gym workouts I’m enjoying the Great British Home Chorus much to the distress of the boys and to further their pain, there’s a daily singalong at Rock Choir – 3pm on Facebook (thank you Anneliese). I’ve just downloaded Those Who AreLoved to my Kindle so that I can feel the warm sunshine of Greece – maybe we could read it together and have a bit of an online book club. And Mr MC and I are making great headway with Grey’s Anatomy on Amazon Prime – surely this will be over before we reach Season 16!
I’ll end with the five things that I’m grateful for today – in addition to the youngest son and his mischief of course:
- The laughter that we’ve had in our house this week, I’m glad we’re a family that knows how to find the light in every dark situation.
- The lingerie that I’ve saved for best for so long, I’ve decided that now is the time to wear it and it feels great.
- The telephone – I’ve had lovely long conversations with people I haven’t spoken to for a while. Suddenly everyone has time.
- Nature – spring is oblivious to all of this and it’s bursting forth regardless. It’s symbolic of the way that we’ll all rebound when the winter of coronavirus is over.
- You – it was lovely to hear from so many of you around the world last week and I know it really helped a number of readers who go through the comments but don’t take part. I’ve had quite a few emails asking me to say that it’s helping some readers who are isolated to feel less alone so thank you. You do more than you know.
I’ll be back again next week with another post and more coronavirus diaries at some point although I think my community role is going to get busier so I may not be able to stick to the usual schedule. In the meantime, do add any ideas that you’ve had for lockdown pick-me-ups to the comments. Keep smiling and just remember how much we’ll appreciate the simplest of freedoms when all of this is over.
Disclosure: ‘Coronavirus diaries – lockdown week 1 is not a sponsored post’
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