A blog about lockdown, the elasticity of time, slack parenting, silver linings and corporate heroes.
The current situation
Due to the selfishness of a significant minority of the British public, who ignored the official advice and visited beaches, farmers’ markets and other tourist attractions in droves at the weekend, we are now in lockdown. Although, I think it was inevitable.
Boris Johnson announced in a sombre televised address on Monday night that we must now stay home, to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. Practically, that means we are allowed to exercise outside once a day, if we stay two metres apart. We are allowed to shop only for food and medicine, as infrequently as possible. We can travel to work, only if that work cannot be done from home, or if it’s in one of the essential services like the police, NHS, food distribution etc.
Seems pretty clear to me. However, the tubes are still full of commuters, sitting right next to each other and jostling for space in carriage aisles. And the police had to break up a picnic on Shepherds Bush green yesterday.
This is not a holiday folks!
My mood is changing in direct proportion to the amount of social media I consume. I have had to leave WhatsApp groups and unfollow friends on Facebook whose ill-informed and panic-amplifying posts fed my anxiety.
There is a lot of anger and misinformation out there. Like Brexit before it, Coronavirus has once again divided the nation: into those who are staying at home and urging others to do the same; and the selfish a***holes who think they’re invincible. (Please note – those of you in healthcare, retail, and other critical roles – I am NOT talking about you).
The days of the week merge into one when you’re in lockdown. My routine is simple. I get up at the usual time for a working day, despite having very little paid work to do. Dressed in something with an elasticated waist and with not a scrap of makeup on, I walk the dog in the woods – my only outing for the day. The weather has been incredible this week which makes this peaceful time my favourite part of the day. I take photos to stare at longingly later.
Mr Maven is working on his consultancy business in our back bedroom and we only see him at mealtimes. Last night he finished work at midnight. Our lives couldn’t be more different. At least temporarily I’m now a stay-at-home mum and homeschooler. If last week I felt like a clueless actor in a horror film, now I have a bit part in a period drama.
As far as the kids are concerned, they have a basic, flexible timetable created with their input, including time for learning, exercise, chores, creative stuff and gaming/screens.
Day one was a success. We rubbed along well together, supported and motivated each other. Day two, not so much. They avoided, I nagged, none of us were happy. We’ve now adapted the timetable so that all school work is tackled in the morning, leaving the afternoon for their walk*, footie in the garden and screen time.
I recognise that I need to loosen up. We all need to adapt to this strange situation and find compromises. My priority is that the kids feel safe and happy, so I need to back off. This approach won’t work for everyone, but today at least, it’s working for us.
*The dog is getting three walks a day – one from me, another from Mr Maven and a third from the kids. She is literally living her best life.
As with last week’s post, I need to spend time focusing on the positives, otherwise I’ll go mad. Here are my silver linings:
It’s important to keep things in perspective. We are in lockdown for a good reason. Our family and friends are currently healthy. We have a roof over our heads and a garden for fresh air. If we stay in and stay away from everyone else, we help break the chain of infection, giving the NHS a chance to treat those in need.
I’m pretty sure when we get out the other side of this, we will be changed. We will have a new appreciation for teachers, nurses, doctors, retail staff, perhaps even politicians. I would like to think we will appreciate our freedom and friends and will be more mindful of our elderly neighbours. Mr Maven and I are already thinking about how we’ll spend our first post-apocalyptic date.
The ‘not enough time’ excuse doesn’t wash anymore. I have time to learn to crochet – the yarns and needles are in a dusty box just waiting to be liberated. This is the perfect time of year to plant flowers and fill up the empty beds in our garden. OK, so I have to learn how to do it, but it can’t be that difficult.
I’ve also signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder, but haven’t had confirmation from them yet.
Now is the time to get shit done. And also take time to relax.
Imagine if we had been isolated during our childhood, without the messaging apps, social media and video technology. There were no box sets, just three TV channels, one of which transmitted snooker almost exclusively. We’d be fighting for custody of the landline. And imagine how busy the shops would be without Ocado and Deliveroo. I’m being ridiculous of course – no one can get an Ocado delivery anymore.
I am so grateful that friends have checked in regularly, as I’m doing with them. I had a response to my last blog from an ex-colleague now living in South Africa who I haven’t seen since 2014. Why wait? This is the special occasion.
My Friday Pilates class now takes place online, in my bedroom, in my underwear.
Cheeky G&T at 4pm? Hell yeah, we’re on airport hours now!
And now for some…
Good news from across the world
This week I’m focusing on the corporate world. I’m not going to focus on the corporate baddies (Sports Direct, Wetherspoons, I’m looking at you). There are plenty of wealthy corporations doing good in the world. Here are a few examples of corporate heroism:
Unilever is donating €100m worth of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food, delivered through national health authorities and NGOs to help the fight against the pandemic.
Leon, the fast food chain is giving all NHS staff a discount of 50% on takeaways. The company has said that if it makes a profit during the crisis, it will spend all of it on feeding hospital teams. It has also turned several of its stores into mini supermarkets.
The supply of ventilators in the UK is up to 12,000 from 5,000 thanks in part to some manufacturing help from the McLaren F1 team, vacuum makers Gtech and the best thing to come out of Coventry since the Specials, RDM Automotive. The UK Government has asked Dyson to make an additional 10,000 ventilators.
That’s it for this week. Is there anybody out there? Please check in with me. As always, I’d love to hear from you, I’m an excellent listener and want to know how you’re getting on. Please leave me a comment if you’d like to share your thoughts.
Much love, Vx