We’re two week’s into Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing. It’s incredible to me how much life has changed in such a short period of time. Our world, which was so recently busy with activities, people and plans has reduced to our four walls in Herne Hill. The diary is empty and things that until recently barely thought about are occupying substantial amounts of time and thought, like buying food or planning a simple walk to avoid other people. It’s just bizarre.
But there are positives – and things I am really valuing and hope continue when this is long behind us. Our street and neighbourhood has really come together to support each other, we’re talking much more frequently with friends and family, the air in London is so clear and quiet with no planes or cars, and I’m taking time to cook and bake more (partly because I am much more conscious of reducing food waste as things are so much harder to come by).
I wanted to write a few blog posts during this time so I don’t forget our experiences. Work is still insanely busy, and I’d be lying if I said the past fortnight had been easy. Matt and I are just about managing a shift working approach where we each get some uninterrupted work time while the other is with the kids, although we often find ourselves on conference calls with the children popping into shot asking for snacks. Our attempts at homeschool have had mixed success. I’m not a natural primary school teacher (!) and maths has changed a lot in the past 30 years! Luckily our school is quite relaxed about it at the moment, so we’re not pushing it too much.
We start our days with the PE with Joe lesson online (like half of the country I think!) – I think Matt and I have been more enthusiastic than the kids some days, but it’s a nice marker to get the day underway.
We try and do a couple of hours of more structured schoolwork in the morning with some English and Maths worksheets, online games etc.
And then in our afternoons, we’re more relaxed with what they get up to (trying not to spend the whole time on screens!). We’ve been using Zoom a lot, and every afternoon Alex and Sophie spend 30 minutes chatting to my parents. They are reading books to them which is brilliant, working their way through the Roald Dahl back catalogue. So far they’ve read The Magic Finger, George’s Marvellous Medicine and half of The Twits. Sophie also spent some time knitting with Grandma which was hilarious.
We’ve tried to do some music, with Alex doing his guitar lessons on a video call, and doing bits of clarinet practice for school.
I’m particularly pleased that Sophie is showing and interest in the piano, so I’ve been doing bits of that with her.
We are pretty useless at arts and crafts, but Alex and Sophie have done a spot of painting in the sunshine (and Sophie has big plans for next weeks apparently)
Like the rest of the country (who are lucky enough to have supplies of flour), we’ve done lots of baking – and I fear that my recent 6 months of fitness and healthy eating have already been undone!
We’ve baked cakes (with some very over enthusiastic decorations), banana bread and some attempts at bread. Today I successfully made soda bread to go with some homemade sweet potato, squash and red pepper soup.
We’ve done plenty of video calls, including ones with my Great Grandparents, parents and brother – four generations in one conversation over hundreds of miles! Alex and Sophie have also chatted with their school friends online (although they mostly talk nonsense and spend most of their time looking at themselves on the camera!).
We have been getting out for short local walks as our daily state-sanctioned exercise! I’ve just read that some of our local parks are now closing because so many people weren’t following the distancing rules during the sunny weather today (super annoying), but before that we’ve walked to Sunray Gardens…
And Ruskin Park:
I love these two photos of Alex and Sophie jumping, looking so free and happy:
Clearly I’m only sharing what I have photos of – and I don’t want to suggest that it’s been all smiles! We’ve had plenty of tears and tantrums about school work, family dinners, screen time, and we’re all a bit unsettled by the sudden change to our lives. I hate losing all the things we had been looking forward to like holidays, theatre trips and nights out. We’re still figuring out how to make our jobs and childcare work alongside each other, and we’re not getting enough sleep! But I know we are lucky, so I will keep focusing on the positives and all the many things I am grateful for.
I’m not sure who reads these posts, but I hope you are all healthy and coping okay. If you ever want to get in touch, you know where I am.