Life under lockdown: The middle of nowhere

Life under lockdown

What week of lockdown is it now? And are we still even in lockdown? I’m not sure I know any more.

Everything has felt rather aimless this week. I’m not sure I remember what life was like before. And I’m having difficulty trying to imagine what life will look like when this is all over. In addition, I have no idea exactly how we’re going to get there. With mass confusion over what the rules are any more – not least, it seems, from the government itself – it’s little wonder I’m feeling like I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere. And it seems I’m far from alone.

Tuesday 16th June

It’s like watching a yo-yo. First the government stated they were not going to support Marcus Rashford’s initiative to ensure free school meals for needy kids. Then they quickly changed their minds and said they would fund them after all. At a cost of £120 million, in the greater scheme of things that’s a drop in the ocean.

They seem surprised at the widespread lack of trust and faith in any of their decisions, though. Gee, I wonder why that could be?

Wednesday 17th June

I was listed as the number two dad blog in the UK by Vuelio today. It’s my third consecutive appearance in the top three (and fifth straight in the top ten).

Normally, there’s a big awards party in central London in November; I’ve attended the past two. I wonder if it will go ahead this year, or whether it will be yet another victim of pandemic restrictions. Who would have thought even three months ago that question marks would still be hanging over physical events close to the end of the year?

I only go to two or three blogging events a year and these are rare opportunities for me to meet up with many of my blogging friends. In fact, the last time I saw any of my fellow bloggers was at this very event last November. That’s a long time ago now. Sigh.

Friday 19th June

We’ve been having on-off discussions for the past week about booking ourselves a few days away in mid-July, for a much-needed change of scenery as much as anything.

A week after Heather first floated the idea, I was still on the fence. I suggested we canvass the children’s opinions too. After all, even if Heather and I were comfortable about going, there doesn’t seem much point if they’re not.

I thought they would all be keen to get away. But to my surprise they were all quite uncomfortable at the idea of going on holiday quite so soon. Mid-August, yes. Mid-July, no.

I’ve filed that away for future reference. As much as it feels like I’ve become a bit institutionalised over the past few weeks, it seems our kids are having the same troubles too. We’ll have to deal with that at some point.

So now we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have to make a final decision next week on our planned trip to France at the end of August. We could perhaps book something in the UK two or three weeks before in the expectation that France may be cancelled. But it seems a bit extravagant to put ourselves in a position where we might conceivably go away twice in quick succession.

As a result, we might end up with anywhere between two and no summer holidays this year. There’s a bit of me that says we should cross our fingers and hope that France happens. If it doesn’t, that will carry forward to next year and the money we save would go a long way to funding future trips to Australia and Malaysia over the next few years. But at the same time, the thought of six weeks at home over the summer with limited options available isn’t overly appealing either.

Stick or twist? It’s an impossible decision until we get more clarity on how the situation both in the UK and across Europe is developing. But we need to know soon or the decision will be taken out of our hands.

Saturday 20th June

It’s been 14 weeks since my last working day in the office, which I remember well because it coincided with my studio appearance on BBC Radio Berkshire. This morning, I was on the radio again – by phone this time – to talk about Father’s Day.

How is it 14 weeks already? Depending how I look at it, it simultaneously seems like both forever and no time at all. Schrödinger’s calendar. Heh.

It’s also looking increasingly likely our kids won’t be back at school at all until 2nd September – 10½ weeks away. Now that does feel like forever. As good as our kids are – but with the distinct possibility of no summer getaway this year – the idea of an empty calendar for the six weeks of the school break, with no holiday or holiday clubs to break up the monotony, is not exactly one that fills any of us with joy.

Today was also officially the longest day of the year. Although, let’s face it, most days since lockdown began have felt like the longest day ever …

Sunday 21st June

I think this might have been my favourite Father’s Day ever.

There was no seeing my dad. No going out somewhere nice to eat. No big presents. But it was just a lovely family day, where the kids presented me with their traditional hand-drawn cards, I got both a lie-in and breakfast in bed, and we did simple things that I wanted to do. Our now traditional long family walk. Dinner prepared by the entire family. And our house shaking with a combination of bad karaoke and dancing.

Sometimes less really is more. And sometimes the middle of nowhere isn’t such a terrible place to be.

Previous ‘Life under lockdown’ entries

Our ‘new normal’: March 15th-19th

And so it begins: March 20th-23rd

The shapeless monotony: March 24th-26th

A different life: March 27th-29th

Hanging in there: March 30th-April 5th

A marathon, not a sprint: April 6th-13th

So it begins again: April 14th-19th

Not what I expected: April 20th-26th

A never-ending hiatus?: April 27th-May 3rd

Months, not weeks: May 4th-10th

The long road back to ‘normal’ May 11th-17th

The end of the beginning: May 18th-24th

Time to take back control: May 25th-31st

Edging back to normal: June 1st-7th

Preparing for ‘the blip’: June 8th-14th


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