Until July, I was keeping pretty up to date with my Coronavirus diary post on this blog. I think just the ongoing nature of the situation made me lose interest in keeping the post live but as we are now here at the end of October and facing the second wave, I thought I would update what life is like and our new ‘normal’ This will be a purely home angle, no politics although there’s a lot to say …
We are currently in the first tier, ‘medium’ which means that we have the fewest restrictions, we can meet with friends in groups of up to six inside and out, drink in pubs until 10pm and generally get on with day to day life, as long as we have a face mask and sanitiser! Our children are both at school and amazingly have not yet been in self isolation for a 14 day period as there have been no cases in their ‘bubbles’. I am working near enough as normal, at my place of work, as I have done all this year. However, much of my work is online now, especially meetings and I think this will continue indefinitely and is one of the areas where things might not go back to what they were before lockdown.
We are being careful around our parents, we have first met part way between homes at a country park and now have travelled to their houses to see them but not stayed over. This has been difficult over half term, all our normal has changed. It was sad today to be reminded that this day last year, we were ice skating with my parents and cousin. The pictures look so strange now, so many people safely in one place, creating such a lovely atmosphere. Its the social contact I really miss. Whilst I’m still running, I miss parkrun and its community. I miss my Saturday routine, a run, a coffee, a trip to the shops and then back home to watch the sport. Its all different now, at present there is no parkrun and no crowds at professional sports matches. I have been shopping but when I’ve been in the shops there is minimal stock and its easier to buy online. Shopping isn’t fun, its functional.
However, despite the challenges, I do try to embrace the new normal. I have been out with friends to outdoor cafes, this was made so much easier when the children returned to school and there were so many months of our lives to catch up on. This week, I met up with friends with whom I go out every half term on an evening (we’re all teachers and tend to live by the school year) Our last meeting was during the summer holidays, when it was pleasant to be outside on the quay. However this week it was dark and cold and given our jobs, all working with vulnerable children, we weren’t keen to risk being inside for the evening (or 10pm when pubs close) We ended up at a friend’s house as her husband created an amazing outdoor space in lockdown, it is stunning and with a log burner made the perfect environment. It was a fantastic evening, we were warm and cosy and the clear skies and bright stars made quite a backdrop. It was so good that we didn’t realise how late it was until the church bells chimed for midnight, given the times, it seemed unreal to still be out after 10pm! We all made it special, I bought fancy hot drinks, there was freshly baked cake and we were all wrapped up warm, it made life feel a lot more enjoyable. Sometimes its just about the little things and making your normal work in different times.
Another example of this was a virtual 10k I did today. I had entered a 10k for June which was cancelled, so I had written off a race this year and just got on with my running. However, I read about the London 10k becoming a virtual race, £15 for entry with a medal and a technical t shirt and decided to give it a go. I liked the concept, you had a week to complete a 10k route of your choice and to upload evidence and it would tick off one of my 20for20 list. To further embrace the idea, I created a playlist full of London themed songs and set up an app to record my time and distance. It was simple fun.
Despite trying to adapt my likes to 2020 style, there are some things which simply can’t be replicated. I miss live music so much, the theatre and a big blockbuster at the cinema. The arts are so important in my life and I feel bereft at present. I would love to potter around a gallery. I want to be around others, be at big events, get the buzz of being in a crowd. Christmas will be very different this year and it will feel sad not to be participating in those festive favourites. Its only made me even more determined to celebrate every little thing in years to come and embrace the now.