I think we’re about five weeks into lockdown now in the UK and I’ve written nothing of use in that period. So perhaps now is as good a time as any to jump back on the creative horse.
Unfortunately the scope of what to write about has diminished somewhat as there are no fun days out to talk about. No nice meals at restaurants, no trips to the coast, no drinking cocktails in bars with friends. Not much of anything really.
But the passage of time waits for no man, and we’ve made it successfully through over a month at home without going completely bonkers. Partially, yes, completely, no. So here’s how we’ve been surviving lockdown…
Keeping A (Vague) Routine
Before anyone gets all jumpy, I don’t mean I’ve been getting up bang on 6am every day, smashing a workout, preparing a power shake for breakfast and timetabling every minute of the day.
Far from it. I mean there are days when I haven’t got out of my PJs before midday. Or at all. But I’ve found it useful to stick to a rough routine, and we tend to do certain things on certain days to tie the week around. If nothing else it has helped me to remember what day it is!
Things like the weekly shop, events on Zoom, working from home, blogging and trying to encourage Joshua to spend more than 39 seconds on his schoolwork before asking for another snack. Tough things, but things that I’ve found quite useful to do around a rough timetable so that the weeks don’t just drift away and I can feel like I’ve actually achieved something.
Embracing Virtual Socials
Ive always hated Bingo with a passion and had zero interest in Scrabble. But somehow during lockdown I find myself strangely drawn to playing online Scrabble with strangers and partaking in weekly Bingo sessions via Zoom.
I won’t profess to being the best at Scrabble but I’m definitely improving and have beaten everyone I’ve played at least once, apart from one particularly annoying friend. It’s the kind of game you can pop in and out of and it’s nice to think there’s another actual human at the other end. Once I blocked all of the bloody bots that is! If you’re on Words With Friends 2 hit me up…
Along with Zoom Bingo we’ve also been getting involved with weekly Zoom Quizzes every Saturday evening with chat afterwards until the small hours with some of my blogging buddies. Surviving lockdown is definitely easier with friends to chat to. We haven’t won either Bingo or a Quiz yet but I’m sure our time will come – hopefully before the end of lockdown…
Sarah can’t leave the house at all due to being on the shielding list, which must be a nightmare. Fortunately I can still escape from time to time for the weekly shop or for my daily exercise. I don’t go out every day, especially if we’re able to do some stuff in the garden, but it’s sometimes nice just to get out for an hour. Today I walked through our local woods on my own for a while and it was lovely!
My weekly Sainsbury’s shop has quickly become the highlight of my week, as I’m quite a social person and really miss being around other people. I mean, yes it’s not much fun trying to keep 2m away from every other shopper and it’s a pain having to wait for someone to select the exact cheese they want before you can approach the cheese section, but it’s just nice to see some people.
The absolute highlight is the checkout! On Tuesday I managed to have a full 15 minute conversation with the person on the till from the other side of the perspex partition as I packed my shopping and it was lovely! I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed just talking to people until all the people went away.
I’ve now replaced my checkout selection criteria below with whoever looks the most chatty!
Finding Quality TV Shows
Obviously an important part of surviving lockdown has been finding something half decent to watch on TV. In fact even a quarter decent is fine at the moment!
We haven’t approached the epic Tiger King yet, although I’m sure that’ll come as the weeks go by. But we have been working our way through the brilliant Line Of Duty, although annoyingly it got taken off Netflix half way through Season 3!
We’ve also been watching Gino, Gordon and Fred touring America, along with the usual selection of Criminal Minds, Homeland, SEAL Team and anything else mildly exciting that has come out of the US in the past year or so!
Yes, I appreciate that ‘keeping fit’ would imply that I had some fitness to start with, but either way I started with good intent when lockdown kicked in. I did 11 Joe Wickes workouts in 14 days and was really enjoying it and feeling pretty good. Even Joshua was getting stuck in:
Then Joshua lost interest completely when the Easter holidays began, my left shoulder was getting increasingly more painful and slowly but surely we did them less and less. This is very much in keeping with this theory (although you wouldn’t know it, given the effort I put into making this graphic 😬).
The plan was to get back into them this week when Joshua ‘went back’ to school, but Sarah has been feeling rough and I really can’t be arsed! I have been doing a few sit-ups and planks and all that jazz when I wake up though, so that’s better than nothing right?
Anyway, I did sign up for a new gym just before lockdown started and it was due to open on 6th April, so I’m guessing lockdown was the universe’s way of telling me not to bother. And who am I to argue with the universe?!
I also began the process of surviving lockdown with good intentions in terms of getting things up together around the house and garden. This goal has had more success that the getting fit one, although to be fair my goal of world peace and becoming a millionaire have also had more success than my goal of getting fit.
First task was trying to make the front garden look less horrific. This is how it looked when lockdown began:
You will note the delicately placed ivy and stunning array of ornate bushes and mature trees, hidden behind aforementioned ivy. In fact it was pretty much a knackered tree protruding from the top of a sea of shitty, rampant ivy. Delightful.
Look at it now. JUST LOOK.
Joshua helped, of course. Here he is raking…
It certainly makes for a nicer view when we’re doing our NHS clapping from the balcony now!
I also spent a lot of time redoing our understairs area and putting up the coat rack and shoe rack we got for Christmas. So all in all, DIY has been a winner in the midst of a sea of shite.
Of course, a lot of lockdown has involved helping Joshua learn things. Or trying to at least.
At various stages in the past I half-fancied being a teacher. The only minor things that really put me off were the ideas of dealing with children and dealing with their parents.
Apart from that I was quite keen.
However, since playing teacher with Joshua I’ve reassured myself that not pursuing the teacher pathway has definitely been very beneficial to my sanity.
Now, I am quite happy to brag about the fact that Joshua is pretty bright. His reading is really good, he picks things up pretty quickly, enjoys learning new things and he is good with numbers. Much like his dad when he was younger 😎
However, at Home School his love of learning has been battling constantly with his love of snacks and his love of running around the place like a miniature stuntman! When he’s in the zone he’s awesome, but keeping him focused is a bit trickier. Yesterday we combined his love of learning with his love of snacks. Perfect!
But, of course, he’s only five so it’s not greatly surprising that he wants to be off doing a hundred different things at once rather than retelling the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff or writing an information sheet about Scotland. Surviving lockdown is definitely tough on the kids too…
Enjoying The Garden
Fortunately surviving lockdown so far has been aided by some pretty decent weather, which has meant we’ve been able to get out in the garden a bit.
However, my version of relaxing in the garden is this:
Joshua’s version of relaxing in the garden is much more like this. It generally involves us bouncing up and down for what seems like hours on end trying to dodge a large yellow ball, in a game which has constantly evolving and dubious rules:
Rediscovering Former Hobbies
OK, in reality it’s only been one hobby and that hobby was playing games on the Xbox! Bizarrely some of the games I loved playing about 20 years ago are still around now – things like Zoo Tycoon and Theme Hospital, albeit with flashier graphics and new names now.
For someone like me who craves a constant sense of achievement those types of games are really handy and they also pass an evening pretty easily if there’s nothing else to do.
We’ve even been playing a few games together – Sarah and I that is – including the wonderful House Flipper where you buy abandoned houses and do them up for profit. It has the benefit of satisfying my urge to knock walls down and do up houses without the rather restrictive financial restraints of real life! Marvellous.
There was a time when if I fancied going out for the evening, or even for the whole day, I could actually do so. Amazing, right?! I even had some free time when it was just me in the house occasionally, so I could put some excessively loud music on, watch some shit TV or get some stuff done.
Although it feels like a whole other world, it was only 5 weeks ago! 5 weeks ago we were all having a nice walk together in the countryside.
6 weeks ago I was in London at a show with Joshua.
2 months ago we were out in Oxford having cocktails and watching a jazz pianist!
Less that 3 months ago I was having a fun time at Butlin’s.
Last May we were getting ready to go on holiday to Ibiza. Weird.
Dicking Around On Social Media
Finally I’ve spent a lot of time doing what I do best – aimlessly scrolling through the internet and trying to say amusing things on social media. Oh and I’ve also been writing a few reviews about stuff Joshua has been sent to keep him occupied.
Things are pretty hard right now, but the main way I have been surviving lockdown is through excessive positivity and a bit of humour where possible.
So there we go – a few ways in which I’ve stayed sane and reasonably healthy during the lockdown so far. Hopefully this time next year I’ll be back to talking about fun stuff again.
Stay safe everyone 😘