My week (or two) The ones where I didn’t go shopping IRL

A belated post for the past fortnight, I feel that I’ve been busy but when I pause to try and explain why and what I was doing, I’m not sure what made it busy? Its been another fortnight of work, home school and family life. More is beginning to slowly open up and it was wonderful to have a Chinese takeaway for the first time in lockdown. The school work is lessening, so there is more time for little adventures during the week, my favourite open space reopened this fortnight, so we went there for a walk, play and to chill.

I’ve watched …

The Salisbury Poisonings.

This was a three episode series about the poisoning of a Russian and his daughter in the town of Salisbury. Its original broadcast was delayed from the start of lockdown and I could see why as it explained the impact of the poison and how it could spread quickly and kill, not too dissimilar from Covid 19. However it was a really interesting drama with strong characters and great acting.

Big Brother 2000

It is the 20th anniversary of Big Brother and Channel 4 have been showing highlights of the past series. I loved Big Brother in the early series and watching the original 2000 highlights brought back many happy memories of the summer of 2000. The final was the night before my friend’s wedding and we stayed in, watching Craig win and getting all excited about the wedding and life.

I’ve listened

On my Spotify, sometimes listening to one song can take you on a journey of rediscovery and this week I have been enjoying Del Amitri and Crowded House, good music for these times.

I read

I finished The Hate U Give and as a fiction book it has made me really think and be disappointed in our society. How can we still be accepting prejudice and racism? I also read Broken Places, Outer Spaces by Nnedi Okorafor. The author had a serious back injury due to an operation in her late teens which stopped her potential sporting career and led to her losing interest in her science studies. however from this adversity, she developed a passion for writing which led to her exploring her culture and becoming a celebrated sci fi writer. There is no bitterness in the tale and its an inspiring read. I also have started Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. There is a theme to my reading at present, I am trying to read novels written by black writers. I’m not sure how I can personally address the Black lives Matter movement but when in doubt, books are always a good place to start.

I made

The weather took a bit of a turn on some days and it was winter warmers for tea. I made a beautiful told in the hole, adding fresh fennel from the garden to enhance it. I love being able to pop out to our vegetale beds and pick some lettuce for salads, strawberries for pudding etc.. Our autumn harvest is looking very promising.

I visited

To quote my group of the fortnight, Crowded House, it feels like we’ve had four seasons in one day recently. We’ve had a mini heatwave (and ridiculous numbers of day trippers who seem to think that social distancing doesn’t count at the seaside) cold, rainy days and everything in between. I have been making the most of our local environment, we’ve had trips to the beach, the forest and a lake. I’ve been wild swimming and realised how much I’ve missed swimming, the feeling of being immersed in water.

I helped

Little Miss will have been off school for 6 months by the time she returns in September and this has been the perfect opportunity for her to try new looks. She has been dying her hair and this fortnight we went deep purple, my poor bathroom took a lot of the colour. It was a little dark and gothic, the bright pink has been my favourite so far.

Have a happy week.


My week … the one in which I tracked down a Nintendo Switch!

It’s a rather flippant title for this week’s post in what has been another difficult week. We’ve all had to examine our values and our need to empathise with others’ experiences to fully understand #blacklivesmatter. Sadly this has reignited the far right movement and suddenly after the unity of the lockdown parts of our society seem very fragmented.

However, this post is supposed to be about our little family’s week and here are some of our highlights…

I’ve read …

I’m slowly reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the slowness of my reading is because it is disturbing and uncomfortable reading, it doesn’t feel like fiction in the current climate, with a black teen killed by the police. I’m reading it for a variety of reasons, I want to broaden my daughter’s library to include more black authors and I wanted to check this book out so I could address the content. Its also been on my to read list for a while and if not now, when?

I’ve listened …

After reading Gretchen Ruben’s book Better than Before, I started a daily meditation and have now found a podcast, the Daily Meditation Podcast to support the meditation. I never thought I would last longer than a few days, but I’ve now done 15 days and am enjoying the daily quiet time. I like that as the podcast is released daily it is able to address the issues in our current lives.

I’ve refreshed and refreshed web pages …

I never thought I would be the sort of person to be chasing after the latest craze but for the past month I have been in my quest to find a Nintendo Switch. The children have been amazingly resilient in lockdown and really good, despite so many nice things being cancelled, holidays, cub camps, school residentials, birthday days out so we decided to treat them to something special for their birthdays and replace their old Wii with a new Nintendo Switch. What we hadn’t thought about was the impact of a global lockdown and increased demand so what we thought would be a simple purchase turned into hourly refreshing of web pages, signing up to email alerts etc.. This week, I managed to respond immediately to an email alert and buy a Switch which arrived this week just in time for a lockdown birthday. It was worth all the effort to see the delight on the children’s faces.

I had a takeaway coffee …

This morning, I had to pop to the Post Office and stopped off at my favourite indie café for a takeaway cappuccino. It was my first in 12 weeks and was divine, I bought little man a drink too and we sat on the beach wall to drink, with the sun on our faces, blissful. I’m a regular at the café and it was lovely to catch up with the owner and support one of my favourite local businesses. My friend and I go there every Wednesday for lunch and I can’t wait to resume that little ritual.

When we were in town there were signs for the first time of our little town and its businesses awakening after the lockdown, lots of shops are reopening next week and I’m looking forward to more normality, although I’m becoming more desperate to see my parents and have my hair cut, there’s a strange priority list from the government.

The last normal …

We have now been in lockdown for 78 days and we are very slowly beginning to be allowed to meet others outside from our household, in the open air with social distancing. Shops will start to reopen from next Monday and primary schools are opening for limited year groups. There’s no news on pubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres and the one I’m desperate for hairdressers. We have no idea when we will be able to visit people in their houses and stay a night away from our homes. When things reopen all is going to look very different. This has got me thinking about the last normal, when we didn’t realise what was coming. I look back on a couple of weekends with fondness now, at the time, they were just normal.

At the beginning of February, Little Miss was in her school’s production. It was a new time of the school year to do the show, but had been designed not to distract Year 11s from exams. The timing meant that of all the school productions due to be done this academic year, it was one of the few which happened. This was the last time I saw my parents who came down to watch the show on Thursday evening, before they flew to Thailand for a 3 week holiday. It seems so strange now that despite news about a virus that they still travelled and then returned home with no health checks. On the Friday, I went to do some collaborative work with a sister school with my colleague, meeting up with our peers, it was a really useful day and promises made for further visits and joint work, which are all are currently on hold. On the Saturday, my father in law came to stay for the weekend so he too could see Little Miss in the show, my sister and brother in law also decided to do this on an impromptu visit. My over riding memory is of us all in the fish and chip café in between performances, a big, loud table full of family, pots of tea and steaming plates of chips, it really is the simple moments which are the most precious. After the final performance, Little Miss and I stayed for a drink and dance in the theatre bar. The bar was packed, noisy and hot, reminiscent of Saturday nights out in my 20s and just brilliant. It felt a grown up moment with my daughter, chatting, high on excitement as we walked home on possibly that latest she had ever been out. This weekend filled with family has got me through those low moments in lockdown and the promise that we will get back to normal.

The final normal weekend was March 7th and 8th, it was a weekend when we knew something might be changing, but at the time it was all about hand washing. I did my parkrun, it was the penultimate parkrun and talk was about the possibility of postponing upcoming marathons, we hoped parkrun would be safe with perhaps a few alterations. After parkrun, I picked up Little Miss from her drama session at the local youth club and we headed to ‘big town’ for some shopping and lunch. Its these things I miss so much now, popping into a coffee shop for lunch. I remember treating Little Miss to a ruby pink hot chocolate which made her happy. I don’t always spoil the children, but I’m so pleased I did it on this day, no point waiting for treats which can’t happen now, carpe diem! We had to buy a birthday present for my nephew, we got summer swim shorts and matching flip flops for his upcoming holiday to Florida, I never imagined it would not happen and the virus would cause Disney Land to close. Fortunately as I was in the summer section I picked up a few shorts and t-shirts for my son as they had his size, these were very useful purchases and has taught me to pick up the things I will need when I see them, you never know what will happen to change your plans. Lockdown has given us the sunniest, hottest and driest spring on record and these clothes have been worn lots.

On the Sunday, we were still limited in our walks because of the storms and we walked through the botanical gardens of a neighbouring town, finishing up with a pub lunch. Whilst this sounds idyllic it was cold, windy and showery on the walk and the pub was packed as people tried to avoid the rain. I do remember having hand sanitizer in my bag and making everyone use it before the food, given the packed pub I’m not sure if the virus had been in the air that we could have avoided it given the lack or knowledge of social distancing. I’m not sure what we did after we came home, but I presume it was watching the football on Sky, ironing the school and work shirts and getting ready for the coming week. The ordinary which has now become the extraordinary.

Our normal will return, but for my wellbeing, I am working on this being a long term project. If it happens quickly, I will be delighted and relieved. I’m looking forward to the normal things on a weekend, a parkrun, a trip to the coffee shop, popping into shops, listening to the football results at 4.45pm on a Saturday afternoon, Sunday pub lunches and having school and work shirts to iron again. I will be so grateful for normal.

My week … the one in which we questioned our values.

Normally this is a great week as the school in which I work has a two week half term and I have a week in which to meet friends for lunch, potter about and simply relax. However, this year it was a week simply without work for me, or formal work as the teacher became home teacher again and we resumed home learning. I do like the little projects the children are doing but I yearn to be out and about. I’m going stir crazy at home and that’s with a daily walk with the children and time playing in the garden too.

I needed a focus this week and inspired by Gretchen Ruben’s book I read last week, I looked at developing new habits and foci. I have been out first thing everyday alternating with a run or walk. On the days Mr S works this has meant I’m out at 5.15am, but I have felt so more energised and positive. I’ve also done meditation daily for the last week. Of course the challenge now is to continue this next week when I’m back at school.

This has been a difficult week on the international stage and the racism witnessed in America has reverberated around the world. This is 2020 and the images are horrific, I do hope to do a post on this topic but I do not believe that racism is exclusively an American problem it is a world wide issue which we all need to address. There have been too many cases in my lifetime which should have changed our perspectives. Stephen Lawrence was a teenager similar in age to me and his murder really hit hard and we felt that it was for our generation to change society. Stephen would have been 46 this year and we are still fighting racism, its heart-breaking.

With the news coverage of Covid 19 and the waves of protest against racism, its a tough week. I came across this poem and it feels just right for this week.

It feels a little wrong to write about the sparkles of this week, after the preceding paragraph but for my own wellbeing, I need to recognise the highlights of week 11 of lockdown.

I read ..

I am part way through a book at present, but I did read a short story from Jojo Moyes catching up with Lou Clark, the main character and hero of Me Before You, After You and Still Me. I know she’s a fictional character but Lou feels like an old friend and I loved the catch up and got the feels from the happy ending. It was just what was needed this week.

Read on

I listened

I’m a big fan of Desert Island Discs, but this week’s episode was a bit different asking members of the public to nominate a song which has significance in lockdown. It was so emotional and I was a sobbing mess. Again, it was just what was needed this week, a reminder of the good in our world and our communities.

I recorded

One of Little Miss’ homework tasks this week was to learn the signs to Shotgun and to send a video through to her teacher. In my work, I use the sign language Makaton and was delighted with this homework. She worked so hard on the task, without my help and I was so proud of her when I videoed her, she was a natural. I think she would make a brilliant teacher when she’s older.

Next week…

I’m back to work on Monday and back to our new normal. Its unlikely that the children will be back to school this year as they’re not in the year groups invited in, so it’ll be another 6 weeks of home learning and then the summer holidays. 2020 is the strangest year.