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The Cloud and The Silver Lining

The current lockdown has presented many unexpected limitations. I fully appreciate and fear the enormity of this. But it has also awarded many out of the norm opportunities. (Please…I am by no means belittling the severity of what the entire world is experiencing now).

For me…personally…there is a HUGE opportunity to wind back to some basic, more gentle way of life which I would love to continue into the new post-Covid world. The Bygone era revisited perhaps?

I mentioned to my husband the other morning, that I felt no urgency. I always have a wealth of ‘things to do’ ranging from (ignoring actual ‘work’) family-of-five washing to fiddling in the garden, sewing bits and pieces and painting as much as I can. Necessary tasks and longed for activities; always ideas rich – time poor.

In these last few weeks, whilst the children have been at home without tangible friends, I have tried to make extra effort in different ways.

Taking a more ‘dig for victory ‘ stance in the garden for instance. We are fortunate enough to have a good size veg patch at the end of our garden and throughout the garden we grow fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, rhubarb and morello cherries, plums, apples, gooseberries, blueberries, figs, white Riesling and black Riesling grapes over the pergola and (fingers crossed) apricots this year . We are making extra effort with veg: mange tout (ALL other bean ‘seeds’ were sold out on the last Saturday before lock down) many types of lettuce – iceberg & little gem as well as lollo rossa, rocket and some frilly thing that I can’t remember the name of. Tomatoes galore – I can’t wait for a BBQ with burgers and our home-grown beefsteak toms as sown by Phoebe. And edible nasturtiums! This is a new one on us. They are Jody’s babies and that in itself means they are more likely to be at least tried in a salad.

But…luckily I have a garden.

Everyone has different troubles because of this apocalyptic, biblical curse. We have financial constraints – as do many. We have three children now being home schooled – as do many. We have a shopping list as long as your arm but no shops are open.

But….we have a garden.

Having your outside time curtailed is quite unimaginable as an adult. Imagine being a child with no let-out, no get-out. All friends are suddenly virtual.

Take my 15 year old son: PS4 FIFA replaces your Saturday league games and your trips to the Rec with your mates; utilising your MK Dons season ticket with your Dad, uncle and cousins most Saturday afternoons. Your FA Ref income…gone.

My youngest: permanent grubby knees as she is always out in the village – playing as an 11 year old does…or should. My 13 year old is decorating her own room and loves the virtual world anyway so happy bunny.

But (and it’s a HUGE but) they CAN escape to the garden. This is what makes me extremely maudlin: thinking on those who do not have that outside playroom. I am not bragging, but I am unbelievably ever so grateful.

SPORT: or lack of. Hubby and son are massive sports fans. But their cloud is my (very) silver lining. I now have a workshop in which to paint and upcycle to my heart’s content without inflicting the family with my nearly-there creations in our lounge. The kitchen is no longer years old darkened oak but now looks modern in white. Humungous declutter to boot!! My husband may now fully appreciate how it feels when he confiscates the PS4 controllers from our son for misdemeanors! Bereft.

Wii Challenge (I was told to leave the golf course and also the driving track but I came 3rd knocking down scarecrows whilst riding a cow – keep it clean). Phoebe has a Wii family challenge on the go and I will NOT win.

But I WILL win. I HAVE won. We have been flung together, are closer than ever (nearly), I have a lush garden and a sparkling home. I have inadvertently gatecrashed a party with my siblings and sang “Dem Bones” with my youngest whilst drawing the skeleton in it’s entirety covering both human biology and art in one fail home-school swoop. My husband and son have Grade 1 haircuts, middling has had a fringe cut in by me and youngest now has 2/3 purple locks.

These positive things would not have happened without lockdown.

For those who think I’m celebrating this worldwide catastrophe, please think again: we are a part-time and self-employed family who have seen what savings we have fall drastically (finance is my main job btw). Belts are not tight enough to withhold our burgeoning waistlines but there are too many positives here not to embrace.

Kindness, care, pleasant and unequivocal giving is current. May this continue long past Covid-19. But also the slowing down of life so it can be appreciated just a little more.

Finally, heard on the radio last week, a quote from Dr Seuss “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. Enough said.

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