Not many people want to be at home. We’re lucky in that we’re not a vulnerable person, the OH still needs to work as a farmer with animals to feed and fields to tend. I’m able to work from home and have done from a week before lockdown in the UK. N is obviously off school at home with me. And it’s now the Easter holidays after 3 weeks at home apart from occasional visits to the local shop.
Our situation is strange because our in laws basically live on the farm next door. They’re old enough to be in the ‘stay at home for 12 weeks’ group, although they do still walk the dogs in the fields and do a little shepherding. So we can speak from a distance although avoid going in the farmhouse.
The only hope that we can all get through the lockdown is to make the best of it. We can’t go out and socialise, see family, eat out, go out as and where we want. But there are some positives to take from being at home with the family.
Positives about the Covid-19 lockdown
Normal family life
As a farmer, the OH is set in his ways. Tea is at 5pm, so when I’m working in the office and N is at after school clubs tea doesn’t happen at home. Usually 4 days a week he eats at the farm for tea (and lunch).
But now I’m working at home, he’s having his lunch at home with us, and dinner. I’s a push to get it on the table for 5pm with me working til then, but so far it’s not been far off 5 it’s been served up. I’m managing by having quick preparation meals I can prep at lunch time, or by trying to finish work a little earlier (I always start work earlier in the mornings when working at home).
While I never wanted to be a stay at home mum (and really still don’t), it is nice to have more meal times together.
Enjoying the stillness and appreciating what we have
Farming is a strange life to be part of. But we have the best thing that so many others don’t have and that’s space. It’s our land (and while we do have a public footpath through some of it, thankfully we haven’t been overrun with walkers), our garden, our place we can walk when we want. And N has the run of a large garden and drive to cycle his bike around without needing to go off the farm for a bike ride.
As well as the land and garden, we’ve got dogs to enjoy, plus walking the puppies who are getting so large now. And we’ve got lots of wild birds to watch as they come in to feed.
Semi isolation from people
Because we’re all on the same farm, across a couple of houses, we still see people out and about. They’re people we would usually see daily – the farm still needs to work, so the brother in law and nephew 3 are up to the farm driving around. There’s fewer deliveries and no people just dropping in for coffee break and a chat. But we still see people are ok, and going about their daily routine.
N is also still able to go on the farm with his dad to help work. Whether it’s feeding the wimpy calf that was born, or sitting on the mixer wagon, he’s got more of a purpose than just sitting in the house. It also means I can work. He’s really missing seeing his other cousin as they can’t pop in and play like they would usually do.
We also see our lodgers next door. As key workers they’re still going off to work. They’re also spending a lot of time throwing back our tennis balls from their garden. Oops.
Community spirit and support
Our village community is thriving. Aside from school and tennis mums, I’ve never felt part of the village before as we live about 1 mile outside. As well as our year group Whatsapp group, there’s also a village mums group. Many have children who go elsewhere to school, or their children are older, so I don’t know them. But it’s a great way to stay in contact, become more part of the village, share memes, tips, food delivery opportunities etc. Even when you can’t see them.
It’s also lovely that people want to help and make sure friends, family and neighbours are well. I don’t know what it’s like in towns and cities but here in villages, the community spirit and volunteering is alive and well.
Even before lockdown came in, people were setting up volunteering groups, looking out for those who couldn’t get to to food shop or get medical supplies. Our village e-newsletter and the Nextdoor app have been busy sharing offers of help, issues and places you can order local food deliveries from.
People are also looking to support local businesses. Local businesses who’ve had to close their normal work down, have turned to alternative methods to help their customers. Three local pubs are now offering takeaway services. A handful are opening pop up shops with essentials on sale.
Our nearest shop is also taking email or phone orders which can be delivered by volunteers to those shielding or self isolating. We have local companies who usually supply restaurants, pubs and schools who are now doing home deliveries of veg, fruit or daily/bread boxes, and one of the butchers is also doing deliveries. Entrepeneurial spirit continues where possible and they’re willing to put themselves at risk to help the communities they live in.
Working from home
For me work continues from home. I’m lucky in that I’m no longer working in food so I’m not a key worker having to go into work. My employer is well set up for home workers as a lot of the company already do it in normal times. But it’s great to have the support from senior management in ensuring everyone is doing ok mentally as well as physically. There are also lots of opportunities to see people, if only on screen.
Home schooling experience
Home schooling is a challenge, mainly because N dislikes English. So getting him to read and do an acceptable thoughtful piece of writing is nigh on impossible. But he’s getting lots of time inside, it’s been lovely to sit at the kitchen table together working, and we’ve had a bit of baking and tennis play. It’s time we don’t usually get together because of school and work. N also had lots of puppy time, more than he usually would, as well as looking after a runt calf they’ve named Maggot.
Some children are struggling with the whole situation, being at home unable to see people, or worrying that people they know are or could get sick. Luckily N is level headed and seemingly unbothered about the risk to anyone he knows. He watches the news briefings with us, understands social distancing and is aware that he can’t get too close to Granny and Gramp when they’re out. He asks questions, has opinions, but there’s seems no fear or anxiety so far. His biggest worry so far is whether we will get through the 25kg sack of potatoes we have. And how to keep cool when he doesn’t want to wear shorts.
I now have the bank holidays and week after Easter on leave from work. Usually we’d go on a couple of day trips, and maybe take a short mini break. But this time it will be spent at home.
No big family Easter turkey dinner at the farm with all the cousins around. Just days at home, maybe a few walks, board games, and hopefully a bit of outdoor sport in the garden. Maybe we’ll even get the camping stove out and try some camping meals and smores. And there will be a lot of laughs with dancing round the kitchen, N being silly and spending more time as a family together.
What are you finding are the positives of lockdown?