I don’t think there’s many places in the world that haven’t been touched by Covid 19, the Coronavirus pandemic which is still rising and spreading. Thankfully China is coming out the other side, and cases were slowing (until today) in Italy. I think everyone is waiting to see what happens once lockdowns and restrictions are raised. With people and governments praying that any second waves will be more minor, and there will be some immunity benefits before vaccines can be tested safely, and mass produced.
Home schooling and working from home
In the UK like, so many other places, we’re on pretty much lockdown. Schools are closed – we don’t need to use school (the OH falls under food production key worker) because I can work from home. So N is doing school work at home. Luckily he’s at an age where he’s already done a year (in a mixed year group class) of maths so he’s simply got worksheets to work through, which he loves. No teaching from me required.
English seems never ending, which he doesn’t like anyway. So that’s hard going – he doesn’t enjoy it, it takes him a long time, not helped by him faffing and trying to avoid doing it, and his work is sloppy. Without a teacher’s expectations, he doesn’t care about mine. Although maybe I should start sending work through to his teacher to maybe kick him up the backside a bit.
Added to that him having to read at home which he’ll get away with usually because he has 20 mins of homework daily anyway, and reads in school. But no avoiding it now.
My work are a good workplace who really care about their staff, so the majority of people were working from home a week before lockdown, or at least from halfway through the week. I’m set up at home; zoom and MS teams are my friends for staying in contact with work colleagues and friends; and we’re ensuring we have virtual drop in chats if we need to see faces. I think I’m having more calls now than I was previously, because before I’d be in the office more. However emails are never ending and it means it’s so much harder to actually get work done.
I’m an extroverted introvert, I like to be around people, so working at home just isn’t the same.
The actual work is having to change – push back some things, hopefully bring forward others. And my businesses I work with are those trying to get food on the shelves for the public, so there are other priorities at the moment. Any of us also have children at home, so we’re having to be flexible around that, and recognise that not everyone is going to be available as much as usual. We’re certainly working for a good company compared to some you hear about from workers and in the news.
Family and friends
I think I’m probably chatting with people outside of work more frequently, mainly via local whatsapp groups. Either mums of our year group so the children can meet up for daily drop in lunch sessions to chat, pull faces, or sit mainly in silence like N does. Or in the village mums group which shares tips on getting through it with children at home.
N is having daily drop in lunch video calls with his year group at school so he is seeing them. But he’s very quiet watching and listening. Although he’s got tinnitus at the moment so I think that’s making it hard to hear when lots of people are talking.
I do need to put in calls with other friends living further away, and now we can’t mix with family outside of the household, my brother will be stuck in his flat and not able to just drop in as and when he fancies it.
Since I’ve been working from home I’ve not been nipping over to the farm, although N was – he’s not been since lockdown. The in laws are 70+ but the farm is almost like a household across the 2 houses – the OH mainly ate meals over there during the week and always has breakfast there, and N always used to nip over at weekends for breakfast to con Granny out of a bacon sandwich. We’re conscious that we need to stay away, and hopefully they’ll still be getting their usual online food deliveries, otherwise we’ll have to make sure they’ve put in email orders to the village shop, or I’ll try and add things if I can to my shop.
Farming is a strange entity with lockdown. Farmers are pretty isolated at the best of times on their farms, but usually there would be people coming and going into the yard. Vets, tractor service people, fuel lorries, deliveries, other farmers. Usually there are regular break times morning and afternoon for them to catch up and work out what they’re all doing, but luckily with the weather and it being lambing season, they’re busier outside working all day, so there’s less breaktime needed.
The farm yard is much quieter too because although they’re still having to feed the cattle in the barns, there’s not as much hustle and bustle. But not being able to just nip over to the grandparents or go for a walk or bike ride up for N to see his cousin is definitely strange.
The roads nearby are empty too – they’re fairly quiet rural roads anyway, but you do usually have cars driving past and a lot of cyclist.. We’ve heard a few horse riders going past, but haven’t seen or heard any cyclists apart from our lodgers going out the other day.
We’d usually have gliders overhead from the gliding club as soon as this weather arrives, but nothing now. The skies are empty of aeroplanes with flightpaths unused, no gliders, and minimal vehicles on the roads apart from occasional tractors or farm vehicles going past.
Shopping is ‘interesting’. We have a chest freezer full of meat, and odds and sods in there, but it means I’ve no room to put unused bread or milk.
I had got a Tesco delivery booked a few weeks ago and it did arrive on Saturday, 2nd slot of the day. I was relieved as I had 13 substitutions, only 2 of which were rubbish. And only sliced bread was missing.. We nipped to the market to the bakery stall so we’re fine for the week. But I wasn’t able to get another online slot for 4 weeks after trying to book it, and there’s no way to book a further slot as there’s still non available. Everyone just wants to book online.
Thankfully our little village shop has the basics in – local farm eggs, locally baked bread, a bit of meat, and the rest. So it’s manageable. And I’ve also spotted a company locally who usually supply restaurants who are doing fruit, veg and dairy box deliveries. So if I can get orders put in for those in the week between my online deliveries that would be great.
I’m finding It confusing working out when I can actually go to the supermarkets as the mornings times I would normal shop in are now only for elderly, vulnerable and key workers. If I can avoid needing to go in around work, I’d rather. Plus of course, I can’t really take N with me, but he’s too young to stay at home if I’m driving into town and going shopping for over an hour by the time you’ve queued to get into the shop and then queued at checkouts. With the local shop under 5 minute drive away, I don’t mind leaving him for 15 minutes to nip there.
Social media and news
Unless you refuse to use social media and don’t speak to anyone, you’re unlikely to have escaped the news and knowing what’s going on around the world. There are so many people anxious and worried right now, whether they’re in a vulnerable group, or just worrying about family, jobs, money, and everything else impacted by coronavirus. I’ve been surprised by how different some friends have been to the extreme of worrying and shutting themselves off way before people were told to.
We’re quite pragmatic here and I’m lucky enough to have a workplace that can continue to work from home and is very supportive of those who may get ill or have to work around children when they can. I do worry about my brother being on his own – he has chronic fatigue syndrome and doesn’t cope well with colds if he catches them, so I’m hoping he doesn’t catch this. My in laws are over 70 so need to self isolate for 12 weeks.
N doesn’t seem worried – he watches the news and political briefings when they’re on, and is aware of why we have to social distance and stay home. Apart from only seeing friends remotely, lack of school or activities and not seeing his cousin all the time, things haven’t changed that much for him. It’s like a long weekend at home.
I do read the news and watch it everyday which is more than normal. We also have on the briefings and extra tv shows when it’s talking about coronavirus. We like to be informed, and think it’s important to be. I’d rather know than not know. I’m also a bit obsessed with numbers and stats, as I always have been. I studied a medical geography module at uni so can only imagine how much future students will study the Covid 19 spread for their degrees, rather than the Victorians getting water based diseases around water taps in the streets that we studied.
So far, I only know a couple of people who’ve self isolated due to symptoms, and none who’ve been tested. Let’s hope for the whole country, and the world, that all the lockdowns and maybe a miracle will intervene to reduce the cases sooner rather than later, giving them chance to develop, test and mass produce a vaccine.
What we’ve learnt since Covid-19 came into being
1, There are a lot of stupid people around who don’t think and assume rules aren’t meant for them.
People keep using the excuse that Boris Johnson hasn’t been clear enough when he proposed people should work from home, or that people could go out to exercise. To me, it’s been pretty clear. And if people use their brains to link what’s been said with potential danger, they should have been able to work out that work from home and stay at home means exactly that. As for get togethers and people going on holiday or to second homes….sigh.
People don’t like rules or being told what to do. It seems that outside work or school, noone wants to follow rules even if it’s for their health, those of others, and for the greater good.
2, People are selfish.
I always thought I was quite a selfish person. But I’ve been surprised at how little people are thinking of everyone else. Panic buying. Ridiculous. All of those panic buying have caused the shortages. People should be able to use their brains and realise that they didn’t need all the toilet roll, and even if everyone buys one extra to normal, that’s going to cause issues with retailers’ previous forecasts of sales.
I shopped as I did normally (although couldn’t buy some normal things I’d buy every week or at that point was short of), and so far have been able to get enough of what I needed. I did have a Tesco delivery booked via my delivery saver (2 weeks out, and another I couldn’t get for 4 weeks), but our small local shop has local suppliers so had eggs and bread, and enough veg although not everything I’d usually buy. Luckily we have a chest freezer full of meat, and with a larder I already have rice, pasta, loo roll and tins. But I’m missing knowing what and when I’ll be able to get fresh veg. Being on a low carb diet will prove challenging if veg are in short supply.
3, People can’t just take a rule at face value, they have to quibble.
This isn’t a situation for people to challenge the rules and moan. Just follow them. I’ve seen people asking why they’re being told not to travel to do exercise. Really?! Just follow the rule and if you want to know why, put your brain into action. Because you’ll potentially take the virus into other places and spread it further than just your area. Because you might have a car crash driving there and cause emergency services to be dragged out instead of working in hospitals to help people critically ill out of no fault of their own. Because it’s for your own good.
4, There are also some amazing people around.
Key workers who are probably scared for themselves and their families but doing their job to the best of their abilities. Also all of those people who’ve volunteered to help communities.
5, That we are very lucky living where we are.
I might moan about the farm and the fact that our family life isn’t normal. But living here means as long as we have food, we still have relative freedom in that we have a big garden and plenty of fields to roam without seeing other people.
6, While it’s frustrating that we’re all having to cancel parts of our life, we can live with that.
In the grand scheme of things, the blogging retreat which is likely to be cancelled in April, the 3 theatre performances (so far), a potential (fully paid for – wish I’d only paid the deposit) camping trip cancellation if Covid-19 continues into summer, all the school events and tennis that N is missing out on. There are bigger things to worry about. We can get back to those things afterwards.
7, Thank god for a good internet service.
I’m so glad I changed to satellite broadband last year, because living with the internet we had back then would not have been feasible to study and do school work to the extent we need to use it now.
8, Freedom is key to happiness and life.
While I miss seeing friends and family, it’s the ability to go where I want and when I want that I’m missing. After only a week under UK lockdown, plus another 5 days from when I started working from home with only a brief nip to a bakery, we’re only a short way into the potential few months we might be in this situation.
Life as we all know it is gone.
Onwards to week two and hopefully some better news to managing the spread of this awful virus.
How are you coping with everything going on at the moment?