For the past 18 months, we have all been living under the shadow of Covid. Sometimes, for example in periods of national lockdown it has deeply impacted on our lives, at other times its like the white noise of daily life. This week showed that when least expected it can suddenly have a starring role in daily life again.
Monday morning was a typical morning, until I received information that a colleague whom I had been in close contact with the previous mid week had tested positive. Later in the morning it was shared that there were also Covid cases in my son’s class and for his taxi companion. Although we had done our twice weekly testing on Sunday evening and were clear, we were asked to do a PCR test for our son so I booked one for him and myself. If I was going to drive to the testing centre, it seemed daft not to, given the proximity to a case myself. Fortunately we had the results by 9am the next morning, (a 15 hour turnaround, amazing) and as were both negative carried on our normal day. However, by Wednesday the decision had been made to close our son’s class for a week to minimise the spread. As Mr S has a temporary job at present this did impact on our plans. I had needed to change my day off this week to support my daughter’s Inset day and in trying to work out the best plan, Mr S ended up taking a day off for childcare as I had an important meeting at work, which could not be rearranged. Having worked at home for two weeks due to my operation recovery, I also felt it would be too cheeky to ask for additional support. However, I did have the mum guilt at not being able to have a day at home with my son, especially when on Friday my daughter and I had our prebooked Christmas shopping trip. To make amends, we have treated him to the new James Bond movie on Sky (£16!!!!) and we sat down to watch it together this weekend. He really is not happy with that ending whilst I, for whom the last Bond film I saw was Octopussy in the 80s can’t stop thinking about the film and surprised myself by really liking it, despite all the guns, action sequences etc. Typically I get into James Bond and then there’s that ending!
Our son is in a strange situation, he continues to test negative, so he and Mr S have been out enjoying walks, a hot chocolate at a favourite café etc.. Mr S was telling me that when the class had a TEAMS meeting, they were all taking about what they were doing and it was shopping, meals out, visits to grandparents etc.. I’m not sure how this is helping to minimise the risk of spreading the infection which was the reason behind the class closure, but all the activities are within the guidelines.
In addition to the personal impact of Covid this week, there has been a new variant discovered and following a press conference with the PM tonight, Saturday, some measures are being reintroduced, mandatory testing on arrivals into the UK, more booster jabs and mask wearing on public transport and in shops. We did travel by train yesterday and I did insist that my daughter and I wore masks, on the train and in shops too. The mask wearing was mixed, probably more in the shops than on the train. Its such a strange situation, I am triple jabbed, my daughter has had hers too, we wore masks and washed / sanitised hands frequently so there’s little more that we could have done to keep safe. We need to start living again. I have a spa booked next week and hope that this can go ahead, it feels that you cannot make firm plans at present, there is always a proviso to all activities.
Yesterday was a lovely day with my daughter, the most normal big day out for a while. When I was a child, a day’s Christmas shopping with my mum in London was always such a treat. We would start in the Harrods Christmas shop and finish on Selfridges on Oxford Street. For us now in our location, a day trip to London would be quite a push, so we headed to our closest city, Southampton which is around a 90 minute journey by car and train. We started in John Lewis, in the department they have named this year as their Christmas Emporium, it houses the best Christmas displays I’ve seen in a shop for years. There are so many different themed trees, lights and tableaux, its so beautiful, my daughter was awe struck and we did buy some gorgeous decorations.
A trip to a city is a big deal for me and I was mega organised with my lists. I had done the background research on where all the shops I needed were and had even had a recommendation for a lunch venue where the mocktails and Cuban inspired food were stunning. At first my daughter had been bemused when I asked for all her details, which shops she wanted, present list etc.. but I think I won her over on the day. It was just the best day, 20K steps, Starbucks Christmas drinks, lots of presents purchased, a first trip to Victoria Secrets which is apparently essential for a teen girl, a pretty German Christmas market (although full of tack as traders can’t get here from Europe due to Covid and Brexit) and lots of sparkling, twinkling lights. My daughter loved it and wants it to become our annual tradition. It was perfect timing for an Inset day, so hats off to whoever planned Inset for Black Friday.
We were lucky that we went to Southampton yesterday as the storm which followed has closed the railway line today and it has been so bitterly cold. We had a trip to the farm today as my daughter was volunteering and my son and I went for a very skin tingling, icy cold walk in the neighbouring fields. We ended up warming up after in the cosy farmhouse kitchen with fresh pains au chocolat, so it wasn’t all bad!
In spending one evening on PCR testing, another having my nails done and a third on youth club taxi duties, there was little time for reading and television this week. I did manage to watch the Bake Off final and despite my disappointment at Jurgen leaving at the semi final, my second favourite Guiseppe won. It is such a wholesome, friendly programme that really lights up autumn nights. I feel bereft when it finishes, and even worse when Strictly ends too. Now that its finished and I’m not a I’m A Celebrity viewer, I really need to make a start on Christmas films next week and embrace the season. I normally argue that Christmas doesn’t start til December 1st but as we were Christmas shopping yesterday, we played and sang along to my Christmas playlist in the car and I’m ready to go early this yea, we need those sparkles more than ever.
If all goes to plan, next week should be a busy one, hopefully I’m off to the spa (if my son is back at school ) and then its the town’s Christmas market next Saturday (Covid regs permitting) However given the current situation, I am realistic that it could all change within days.