During this unprecedented period of lockdown, I’ve been trying to note down a few things I’ve observed in my reaction to changes to my normal activities. This has been an awful situation and what follows is no way intended to diminish the suffering and grief experienced by too many people. This is about me reflecting my reactions.
Things I’ve appreciated
- Working from home more. I’ve worked from home for a day a week for the past 5 or 6 years, but over this period it’s been more common for me to work from home for 2 days. I know I’m more productive at home and can focus on work for extended periods of time, with more control over my time. For each day I work from home I save over 4 hours travel time, and whilst a good proportion of that is normally spent working, being more flexible in my schedule has compensated for that.
- Getting back into exercise. In the early part of the year I didn’t do as much cycling as I’d planned, which has slowly been ramping up over the lockdown period. We’ve also been doing more local walks as a family and discovered some new footpaths on our doorstep. Additionally, the kids and I have been doing some runs together which I’ve really enjoyed. None of them have ever wanted to cycle with me, so to be able to do some collective exercise has been lovely, plus my two eldest kids are fast and have forced me to up my running game. The other benefit of lockdown has been the reduction of cars on the road, and although I tend to cycle on quieter roads anyway, having an absence of cars has been lovely.
- Being free in the evening. The combination of kids activities, running a Cub group and “playing” football normally means my evenings feel pretty short. When that is combined with my long work days I can feel myself getting more tired as the week progresses. Instead, we’ve tried to do stuff together as a family each evening, alternating between a games evening and watching a film/box set and combined with less days commuting I feel less tired overall, which has got to have an impact on my overall effectiveness.
- Not having to go activities I’d rather not. Without getting into specifics, there are quite a few things that I end up going to in an evening or weekend that I’d much rather not. As grumpy as it sounds, this also includes some social activities. Frankly I’ve enjoyed just being at home at a weekend and arranging a schedule around our family.
- No shopping. I’ve not missed shopping in any form. We’ve shopped online and although that’s often an excuse for a cheeky coffee shop stop, I’ve not missed that either. We are lucky to have a bean to cup coffee machine home and are currently getting through about 3kg of beans a month, which is over twice our normal rate.
- Cooking family meals. Several years ago Mrs C and I worked out a plan where she makes the meals in the week, due to me working longer hours and I pitch in more at a weekend. I’m ashamed to say that the reality has been very far from that. However, during lockdown I’ve been working my way through The Curry Guy books and have been making something pretty much every weekend, which I’ve really enjoyed and there are some new family faves emerged. I can see there will be some hard choices to make when we start inviting friends round for a meal again. Also, the kids have been making a meal each during the week, and I’ve been delighted to see them develop their cooking skills, going from requiring lots of supervision in March to being self-sufficient by June.
Things I’ve missed
- Physical Bookclub Meetings. We’ve had virtual meetings, which have been good, but the conversations have been a bit stilted, or more managed, and one of our members has not felt able to join in this way. Additionally, Mrs C’s challenge to make a unique cake/biscuit for each meeting has been paused, which is frankly a travesty.
- Gigs. I really love discovering new music and going to small venues and seeing bands just starting up. My friend Mike and I joined Tim’s Twitter listening party a couple of times, which was good fun, but scratched a nostalgia itch, rather than experiencing the buzz of live event.
- Boston United matches. I try and go to a few matches each season, and we were having a pretty exciting run of matches. I don’t miss the long drive back after a defeat.
- Cubs. I’ve been a Cub leader since 2008 and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We’ve had to cancel two camps as result of the lockdown, which has disappointed the young people. Despite it being a lot of extra work, much of which goes unnoticed by the parents, not having that as part of my life each week has been a big gap. I’ve tried to provide materials and things for them to do during lockdown, but it’s not the same.