Lockdown 7/Furlough 4: a social week

I forgot to mention that our cat turned one on 4th May (Star Wars day). We made her a cake.

Where has the time gone – already into week 7! I thought I’d try to keep this week short and to the point, as I’m conscious that I sometimes ramble – though one thing at the moment (and being alone) is that I have plenty of time to muse.

Tuesday 5th May

Got up, made (and drank) coffee, fed the cat, did yoga (Yoga with Adriene ‘Home’ day 5 – I’m in line with the date this month so I don’t forget where I’ve got to!).

RICS Planning and Development conference. Got bored in the middle and went for a run, put clean sheet’s on Alex’s bed, emptied the bins. The bluebells still look great in the woods (the photo doesn’t do them justice).

The other parts of the conference were, however, excellent. Speakers mentioned the lessons learned from the pandemic, and how it has sped up some of the things that were already happening (as I think/hope I said a couple of weeks ago). There is no doubt that the pandemic has sped up the rate of change towards home working; the decline of our High Streets as we know them; an increase in online shopping and possibly an increase in ‘community’ and neighbourliness.

Personally I think we should get rid of our out-of-town shopping, keep retail in-town, and change the out of town retail areas to residential. After all most out of town units are of a pretty simple construction (steel portal frame and cladding) which would be cheap to take down and which could be recycled.

Zoom meeting with Caroline and Jo – singing while Caroline played the piano prior to Jo joining us. As nowadays I feel a bit sluggish after drinking alcohol, I have a bottle of prosecco to last for all 3 catch-ups this week and then I’m going teetotal for 3 weeks.


Why oh why did I drink so much prosecco last night? I woke up with a headache, having not slept brilliantly, and feeling a bit ‘meh’. Fortunately after a nurofen, a coffee, yoga and a chat with my boss I felt OK: and decided (after cleaning the downstairs windows) to take advantage of the still-warm-and-sunny weather and go for a run.

Talkin Fell is one of my favourite places ever. Today the clarity from the top made me feel more than ever as if I was on top of the world. I had decided to then try out a new route, so I ran over towards Forest Head and then from there back up the eastern side of Simmerson Hill to Gairs, before turning back towards the car.

It was an eventful run. There’s a lot of industrial heritage up round Forest Head: the remains of mines and quarries and (I think) lime kilns; part of the run was along a disused railway line. I saw a deer watching me, on high alert and ready to run if I proved to be dangerous; more domestically a donkey lazily stared at me, wondering why I was up there.

As I ran back towards Gairs I saw a bird of prey overhead, which looked a bit like a Spitfire; I was also looking out for black grouse. Just as I got to Gairs I met a guy carrying a camera and binoculars, who was out wildlife spotting: he told me the bird of prey might have been a Merlin, and that there are lots of black grouse up there. He also said there are a lot of voles this year, so there are many predators around.

I’d seen some cows as I ran down the hill, and he warned me they were a bit aggressive – mothers with their calves. As I ran along the track to get back to the gate to go downhill, I had to slow up, the cows looking at me very distrustingly.

I got home and had a cup of tea in the sun in the garden.

Thursday 7th May

I love Zoom. Last night the commercial property team from work, of which I am part, had a quiz night (the boss won – I could say that we let him win to be diplomatic, but we didn’t – he just knew more than we did). There was then a work zoom catch up this afternoon, with some talk about how and when we might possibly re-open sites and get back to work; and then another catch up call with my ‘Chatty Bessies’ mates (the people I sit closest to in the office).

My run today was just under 10km as a sort of recce to find a 10km route for the virtual Staveley trail race on Saturday, which my Head Torches friends and I are doing. I wish there was a way we could all run and talk at the same time – though I suppose in a real race we wouldn’t but would just chat at the end. Perhaps I’ll suggest that we ‘Zoom’ at the beginning and at the end.

Then of course as it’s Thursday it’s theatre night. I’m just finishing off some Italian, going to do some singing practice, and will then sit down with a bowl of one or both of the lovely soups I’ve made, and enjoy Antony and Cleopatra from the National Theatre.

Cycling makes me happy

Antony and Cleopatra was fantastic: Ralph Fiennes was dead fanciable as Antony, and the story meant far more to me now than it had to me forty years ago when I studied it for A level. Tonight as I’m writing this I’m watching La Traviata from the Royal Opera House – another story of the conflict between passion and duty.

I was feeling a bit low this morning, partly I think because of the news that it may not be possible to do choral singing until a vaccine has been found. My singing teacher feels really low: singing has been her almost her whole life. She’s such a lovely bubbly person that it made me even sadder that she was sad. My singing lesson was cancelled as well as she had slept badly and was in pain.

So I didn’t feel particularly inclined to do any exercise, and the yoga class this morning was a relaxing one rather than an energising one. However the weather was dry and not windy, and I started thinking that I’d probably feel more cheerful if I did go for a bike ride. Out I went (rather than cleaning my upstairs windows), and within minutes felt that sense of freedom and exhilaration that comes from being on the open road under your own power. I cycled up to Anne & Mark’s to deliver some books, and then sat in their garden at a safe distance from them and had a chat. It was lovely to see them, and cycling home felt a lot easier than cycling up there had.

The Weekend

Saturday was the Lakeland Trails Stay at Home Staveley trail race. At 10.30 a.m. a whole load of us ‘Head Torches’ left our various houses to run 5km, 10km or – in Mark’s case – 18km. It was a beautiful but already warm day (and Strava measured my distance wrong – I did the same route as Thursday but with an extra bit, and Strava told me it was slightly shorter – I checked it on a couple of websites when I got home).

The kids were meant to be arriving on Saturday but decided to come on Sunday instead, so I made some cakes for people – having finally obtained self-raising flour and yeast – and delivered them.

The children being here ended up being really difficult. I think they’re probably getting a bit wound up at the restrictions in their lives: they probably couldn’t express exactly how they’re feeling, but there’s now no real routine to their life (I try to impose some but it doesn’t go down well; and I try to spend time with them but they don’t want to do many of the things I suggest, although Bella and I did play Trivial Pursuit) and they don’t know when they’ll be going back to school. It’s a strange time for them, as for all of us: but I’m determined they’re not just going to spend the entire time on the xbox.

As a result of their bad behaviour I took them back to David’s two days earlier than I had intended. I feel disappointed and a failure as a mother – it always seems that other people manage to control their children far better, though I’m not sure that really they do.

I’m so sad that the coronavirus has set people against each other at a time when we need to pull together: that people are getting angry with each other for having different opinions, in the same way as they got angry with each other about Brexit or about climate change. It’s human to feel passionately about issues but there’s far too awful a history of people’s strong beliefs ending in bloodshed. On top of my sadness about the anger thrashing around at the moment is my sadness about the way we’re treating our beautiful planet, which deserves to be cherished; and then a sadness that I see my children so rarely and that it is so stressful sometimes when I do. Perhaps when I see them next we’ll have a lovely time.

Lockdown update

Meanwhile our lockdown has been very slightly lifted and it will be interesting to see whether people go mad over the next few days and weeks and we end up with increasing numbers of virus sufferers; I think I could now meet up with Penny to go for a run in a quiet part of the Lake District, but I’m not totally sure I want to quite at the moment: it doesn’t feel quite right. I also found out that apparently we’re not allowed into people’s gardens – which seems a bit crazy if it doesn’t entail going through their house and you keep 2m distance. Hey ho. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

Tonight was Macbeth from The Globe – another great theatre providing free streaming. Looking back over this I haven’t been brief; and in fact quite a lot has happened in a week – last Monday feels a long time ago!

3 thoughts on “Lockdown 7/Furlough 4: a social week

  1. Elizabeth May 12, 2020 / 11:40 pm

    I had to chuckle about the comment about rationing the alcohol followed by the effects of said alcohol! I am sorry that your kids are so discombobulated. It is a tough time and can’t be made any easier by two households with what looks like two different ideas of how to spend time. Love that you are binging on Shakespeare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sarahjlewisbriggs May 13, 2020 / 3:28 pm

      I love the word discombobulated. It’s kind of onomatopoaeic, isn’t it (not sure if I’ve spelt that quite right!).

      Liked by 1 person

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