Quarantine – as the days roll on – Coronavirus 2020

How are you getting on? I have to admit that today is the first day when I’ve felt a bit fed up of all of this so I’m glad it’s a blogging day. With the possibility that somebody has happened upon this post few years on from now, let me just apply some context. We’re now in the eighth week of quarantine and in Boris Johnson’s broadcast on Sunday evening it became clear that for a lot of us, it’s going to continue until at least July. Up to now the lockdown has been extended via three weekly announcements. However people have been crying out for more certainty – and of course now that we have it, it feels tough. We’re just going to have to get on with it though so today’s post is an update on how it’s going here, along with a few outfits. Quarantine – as the days roll on.

As I’m sure you’re finding, nothing much has changed. The five of us are still in lockdown together and I continue to be grateful for that along with the glorious weather that we’ve been having and for the amount of space that we have which helps us to have time apart as well as together. The boys have their own rooms, we have our garden office as well as three living rooms and a breakfast room so there’s always a spot that we can retreat to if we need time alone. However over the last week I’ve found that the boys are emerging more often for serious chats. As it becomes more obvious that this virus is going to change our way of living for far longer than we initially expected, each one of them, unprompted by us, is starting to reassess their plans for the future.

The eldest had the call we’d been hoping wouldn’t come last week. As you know, since graduating he’s been waiting for a particular role in sports marketing in London that that was due to become available just as lockdown hit. At first it was delayed and now he’s been told that it probably won’t happen this year. Here he was last week, just after the call, swallowing his disappointment and beginning the fruitless search for a new opportunity.

Quarantine - as the days roll on

His dreams are wrapped up with working in London just as mine were and I know how brilliantly he’ll do if he gets the chance – but when it will come along I don’t know. He’s managing to be both pragmatic and stoical though and I really admire the way he’s coping with being thrown back into his childhood – at home with us at the age of 23.

The extension of isolation is a particular challenge for the middle boy. He’s the most naturally gregarious member of our family. As you know he thrives on an audience, he loves to collaborate and he excels at working as part of a group. His hopes and dreams lie with beginning his university course on 20th September and I’m worried that it might not happen – his practitioner’s degree in acting would be almost impossible to start from home. At the moment I’m trying to dripfeed any warnings of delays that I spot but I sense him sticking his fingers in his ears. He’s already adjusting his outlook for his long term future though and is starting to think about the possibility of doing a PGCE after his degree, given the likely outcome for arts and theatre budgets after all of this.

Next month’s calendar is filled with the ghosts of all the university open days that we were due to attend with the youngest. You may remember that we made them into a rite of passage with the others, staying overnight when we could and spending some special times with them so we’d all been really looking forward to it. I think open days are important. We didn’t have them when I applied to uni and I remember going for interviews at my five choices to find that I could only picture myself at one of them; thankfully I got the grades I needed. I know quite a few of you are university based so am I right in thinking that it’s unlikely that open days will go ahead – even in September? And there I am asking for a crystal ball – as I do so many times a day.

If that’s the case we’re going to have to help him make choices based on prospectuses and the insights we gained after visiting some of the unis he’s interested in with the other two. However the big change for him is that he’s now looking into a military bursary because he feels anxious about graduating into an economically uncertain future with a large university loan. It’s a minimum eight year commitment that would change his path forever and I don’t think it’s a route that he would have considered if coronavirus hadn’t come along.

So what I’m saying is that coronavirus is already altering not just our present but our future too. Of course our family is just one tiny example of the way that certainties have been tipped upside down in the space of a few weeks. Our children are in a relatively fortunate position because whether they like it or not, they have us hovering behind them. There must be lots of teens and young adults all around the world who feel very adrift. I worry about my boys but I’m glad that they come down to talk about it on a regular basis and then go away to process our conversations. I’m grateful that I have the time at the moment to drop everything when they need me to, these openings can easily pass if you’re not there to seize upon them.

Of course the other good thing is that while I’m busy talking about their careers I don’t have to think about mine. I have no idea how that will pan out after this but I’ve rebuilt it before and I will again. It’s struck me so many times that I mentioned the difficulties of the last recession in a post in January with no thought that it could ever come again. As I so often say on here, it just shows how easily life can spin on a sixpence.

Before I move on, please don’t think that I’m trying to make out that our situation is worse than anyone else’s. I know how fortunate we are and that there’s no point in worrying too much about what might be because it just as easily might not. For the most part I’m focusing on the day in hand and appreciating the simpler pleasures of the times we’re in. And I still find that making an effort to wear something I love makes a difference to how I feel. Here’s a round-up of outfit pictures from the last week.

Quarantine – as the days roll on – recent outfits

Hasn’t the weather been fantastic? Whenever I’m out walking with Teddy people stop to talk about it which I know is a very British thing. I notice that everyone is wondering if it’s a result of the decrease in human activity and its impact on the planet because we’ve really never known a spring like this one before. Anyway, I’m wearing this skirt a lot, some of you won’t like the fabric but I find it’s easy to pull on and it washes easily without any need for ironing. I’ve bought the midi length but there’s a shorter version for petites in red or blue – and I’m very tempted to buy the blue.

Midlifechic Quarantine - as the days roll on

Skirt with low side splits (true to size); slingbacks (true to size, gifted SS20); Midlifechic t-shirt (past season)

A takeaway coffee from the farm shop is our current luxury. We’re surrounded by history where we live and I keep saying to Mr MC that with our narrowed horizons, we must be experiencing a similar lifestyle to the first residents of our house back in 1715. A takeaway coffee helps me to maintain my foothold in the 21st century.

Quarantine - as the days roll on

T-shirt tank (true to size); Boden skirt (SS19); Boden shoes (SS19); Sunglasses

Ted is still one of the best things to come out of this year, despite the fact that he has a new hobby of digging up anything I’ve planted which doesn’t help me with my reluctant gardening. Even so, he brings joy to every day.

Quarantine - as the days roll on

Sweatshirt (size down for a non slouchy fit, I’m wearing a small); jeans (a size 12 is a 28″, currently 30% off)

I bought this dress a couple of months ago but needed to wait for bare leg weather to wear it. It’s great for breezier spring days like this when I need the option of sleeves.

Midlifechic Nikki Garnett

Shirtdress (true to size); Jigsaw sandals (SS17)

It’s that skirt again, I told you I’ve been wearing it a lot!

Midlifechic Quarantine - as the days roll on

Skirt (true to size); Hush t-shirt (SS18); Cleverly Wrapped Sandals (gifted SS19)

And then yesterday it suddenly turned cold so I was able to wear a new favourite cardigan. A few people have been in touch to ask for suggestions of cardigans that aren’t old ladyish. The trend this year is for these slightly chunky styles that almost look home knit. I’ve struggled to find one I like because they usually have dropped shoulders but this one is a neat fit with the deep ribbing at the sleeve and hem that I love.

Nikki, Garnett, Midlifechic 2020

Cardigan (true to size, also available in black); Boden breton – ancient; Hush Jeans (gifted AW19), Boden loafers circa 2009

However the absolute bonus is that it has dinosaur buttons which make my boys smile every time they see me.

Quarantine - as the days roll on

Quarantine – as the days roll on- highlights of the week

Running with my boy(s)

Even though the days merge into each other, there are still highlights. After working so hard at the gym for the eight weeks before quarantine, I find I’m hooked on the sense of a physical challenge and so as I’ve mentioned, I’ve started running with the eldest. It doesn’t come naturally to me but it’s teaching me a lot about mental discipline which is useful at the moment. However we’re feeling and whatever the weather, we make sure we hit our three sessions a week as hard as we can. And now that we’re running much further the youngest is joining us sometimes too. The time spent with them doing something I never thought I would is a highlight of quarantine and so I take a photo every now and then to treasure.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic 2020

VE Day 2020

And VE Day was wonderful. We had a sausage sizzle down on the half built jetty (we have another delay as they wait for more structural parts to be delivered so it won’t be ready for my birthday but it doesn’t matter.) As the sun started to set they created a makeshift firepit from a broken wheelbarrow and we stayed there until after 1am, playing games that the eldest has brought back from his student nights out. Some involved telling stories and others had forfeits. It was a night filled with laughter and we learned a lot about each other, particularly with “never have I ever”… as you can imagine!

VE Day 2020, Midlifechic

They’re more memories that we wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for coronavirus because we’d all have been doing other things.

It also gave me the chance to tell them about my dad who spent VE Day in a Lancaster Bomber dropping food parcels to the Dutch as part of Operation Manna. After years of occupation there was a famine in Holland and people were starving.

Operation Manna

His plane carried the reporter from BBC Radio who spent a lot of time talking to my dad and later sent him a copy of his transcript which I still have somewhere. Dad used to say that the trickiest part was flying low enough for them to be able to drop the parcels accurately and although the plane shook like crazy (you can see how big it was above) they could see the faces of the people they were helping. It must have been a wonderful moment in his war.

Operation Manna

I feel very proud of him and it helped me to remind the boys that my own parents went through so much more than we’re living through now.

Fred Sowerby

And so that’s been my week, I hope you’re all getting on ok – do let me know. Now that it’s been confirmed that hairdressers won’t be reopening until July at the earliest, I’m going to have to ask Mr MC to tackle the back of my head because I have a real mullet going on. And if this is the biggest worry of my week I’ll remind myself to be grateful… even if it does go horribly wrong!

Disclosure: ‘Quarantine – as the days roll on – Coronavirus 2020’ is not a sponsored post

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