Tuesday, 17 March 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 1

And a little reintroduction. Been a while, how are you all?

Life here has changed here in the past few years. Amana and I have been joined by the delightful little wild man Dylan.

Wild man very much enjoys washing machines, noisy toys, and anything he can flick or flap. 

Our lives are now lived with a backdrop of Peppa Pig or Charlie and Lola. No level surface is safe from being crawled on or cleared. Eggs belong on the floor, in pieces, not in the 'fridge. Cat food is the most delicious substance on the planet. No door can be locked against him, no night can be slept without him, and life is immensely richer, busier, smellier, and just generally wildly different than it has ever been before. Walking and running is fun! 

So, current update. One amazingly awesome teen, who has gathered numerous extra health complications in the past few years, but prefers to maintain her privacy online - all posts will be approved by her before posting. One very active, currently undiagnosed "but there's definitely something" three year old, who needs many hours running around outside in all weathers and unfettered access to the park and preschool in order to keep all of us sane. And one of me. A bit older than before, a bit more tired, but still essentially me. 

Enter Coronavirus. You knew it would take something dramatic to get me back here, right? Not don't worry, we don't have it. But as of today, we find ourselves out of step with the rest of the UK, having withdrawn both children from school in order to mostly stay home and avoid other people. Social distancing, here we come. 

For any of my non-Brit friends, current situation here is that the general population is advised to work from home if possible, avoid cinemas, theatres, pubs and large gatherings. The Church of England has said that churches should remain open, but not hold public services. All clubs, societies, activities have been paused. Universities have sent students home and many are switching to online lectures for the summer team. Schools, bizarrely, remain open. But students with underlying health conditions can stay home. Strange times. 

So - day one of social distancing. We are supposed to stay 2metres away from anyone else. Outdoor exercise is encouraged. Shopping is not. This morning, I attempted to book an online delivery slot. All delivery and click and collect options for all our local supermarkets are fully booked for the next three weeks. It's a good job we've got a large freezer. Crucially though, we only have 1/3 of a tub of Pringles, Wild Man's only acceptable substitute for cat food. Grolly will not be impressed if the Pringles run out. 

So we take a midday health walk. Picturing blue skies and birdsong? Think again. The boy likes traffic. The girl likes Scania Lorries. We walk around the ring road. It works - many lorries, few people. Every one we meet slithers away so we maintain our 2m distance. Are they ill and attempting to keep us safe? Or do they think we will be the ones to spread the plague? 

A has decided to follow her school timetable at home. More or less. I'm not sure where eating the donut with yellow sprinkles comes into the curriculum - perhaps I'll get her to estimate the number of bites beforehand next time. A bit of maths. A bit of English. A lot of colouring. 

Decisions everywhere. Some being made for us - it's easy to decide not to go to church when church won't be happening anyway. We rather enjoyed the church's first livestream on Sunday; I hope something like this can continue for us all as we stay home. Do we continue to welcome our carers, who will be moving from vulnerable child to vulnerable child, whilst also having their own non-vulnerable children in schools? Can we manage without them if we don't? Visiting therapists? Hospital appointments? Yesterday we cancelled our Easter holiday plans. It'll be the first time in many years we haven't been to Tenby; it'll also be the first time in many years we've spent so long not seeing the friends we were planning to go with. 

Our verse for today: Matthew 28:20b And I am with you always, to the very end of the age. 

Song for the season: 
20 seconds to the chorus. The perfect hand washing anthem for our times. 

So that's us. Day one nearly done. The homeschooling I said I'd never do being partially maintained. The smallest one very unimpressed at the lack of social activities. But so far, all dressed, all fed, all reasonably clean. See you tomorrow maybe. 


Jeanne Fitzgerald said...

Thank you for posting. I have so enjoyed reading your blog and keeping up with your family in the past. I live in the United States (Virginia)--we are pretty much in the same social distancing situation as you right now, although the grocery pickup wait time is 3 days not 3 weeks here. Your government sent coronavirus modeling information to ours that really helped our administration make some tough decisions. For that I am very thankful.

Best wishes for your new home schooling.

Ann said...

I was thrilled to see a post from you, Tia!! I have continued to check your site over the years that you've been too busy to write, and hoped all was going well for you and Amana. How exciting that you have another member of your family now! Having a boy, I know that they keep you very busy - and trying ahead of time to figure out what they will get into next, so that you might have a bit of an advantage when that happens. Coincidentally, many years ago my husband told me a story about, as a little boy, going along with his parents to the store, and being mesmerized by a display washing machine that was filled with either ping pong balls or poker chips (cannot recall which now) that swirled around and around.

I am still trying to imagine Amana a teen, as I keep thinking of her as the young girl in the last pictures you posted. I remember her being very determined, and bet she has become quite the young lady! And, I'm with her - cannot concentrate on schoolwork without some sustenance, and a donut sounds like the perfect choice!

It sounds like your situation during this virus is very similar to ours here in the States, although our schools (public and private) have all been closed for a variety of periods - some until the end of March, others through the middle of April. Coincidentally, I am also in Virginia, like your first commenter. I am in a very rural area, the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. For some reason, toilet paper and water were the first to be emptied from the shelves, then hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies, and finally bread and meats. I have heard from some that they are going from store to store to find supplies, only to be disappointed. I also heard that two people had a fight in Costco, over a bottle of wine! Interesting what happens during times like these.... That said. there are many who are doing good - picking up food, paper supplies and meds for elderly folks, sharing extra food and supplies they have, etc. In this area, people are even sharing eggs from their chickens and baking bread for those who need it. I hope that you are somehow able to find a supply of Pringles!

Best of luck with having everyone home all day - good job having everyone fed, dressed and reasonably clean, as that is an accomplishment! I hope all of you manage to avoid the virus - and look forward to seeing more posts from you.


Ann in Virginia
PS I often think of your brother and sister-in-law, too, who spent that wondrous year in Tanzania. Hope all four of them are doing well, also.

Tia said...

Thank you both!

Amana is indeed a beautiful teen these days. Our schools are shut now I think until September at least - usually we would be in school until July so that's a massive massive change for everyone here.

My brother and sister in law are indeed doing well; they still have close links in Tanzania but live back in England now and their children are also in secondary school now.

Danni said...

Yay you're back! I'm glad you and Amana are doing okay, and Dylan sounds awesome. Is he happy flapping in that photo? I like happy flapping. My (also autistic) spouse looked at the photo and told me that's the same model washing machine we have. We both liked watching washing machines when younger.

We've just started self isolating as well. Luckily spouse has a job that can be worked from home. We found a delivery slot with Asda for Sunday, but we went in to edit the order today and most of it was showing as unavailable. I hope you all adjust to the new situation okay. *Squishes*

mq cb said...

I am so pleased to see you back. I have wondered how you and Amana were doing during the current situation, and I'm glad to see that you are both thriving. I shall check in every day, so please do write! Stay well.


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