Living La Vida Lockdown

(If the Ricky Martin song is now in your head, sorry for the earworm.)

It’s a funny old time, this lockdown. Bringing up lots of memories, days past relived, choices assessed, plans made for going forwards. Time has no meaning, any more – the days punctuated only by the alarm going off in the morning, the click of the letterbox when the post arrives, the occasional arrival of a van, delivering items to people on the street.

It’s no Vida Loca, that’s for sure. The biggest excitement is a trip to the supermarket, where people no longer seem to be bothering with social distancing, as though the past three months have been some awful and ridiculous dream, a figment of our collective imaginations, that we’re all now just waking from.

Lockdown is starting to ease here, though with different restrictions depending upon whether you’re in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. The revelations that a government advisor, at the height of the pandemic and while suffering from Covid himself, travelled 200 miles north to his parents’ house and then made a few daytrips while he was there, have helped to unravel the months of sacrifice and solitude, as have the misleading messages and constantly changing guidance. I think people are sick of it, too – the long queues outside shops when they opened on Monday perhaps an indication of how people just want to do something different.

But I hope we don’t rush back to the world that was.

Great change is happening, groundswells of movement. People continue to protest that Black Lives Matter (as they do, and should, and always have), and there has been a shift in understanding around the nature of work and what, really, is essential, and that the people who keep things running, who care and educate and deliver and feed us, should be paid a proper wage for the work they do. People are also discovering the communities in which they live, helping neighbours in need, supporting others. There is a chance here to continue, to forge a better world.

There has been bad behaviour, too, of course, like the aforementioned adviser and his lockdown trip (symbolic of a greater disarray among our government), or the people who trash our countrysides and beaches for some unfathomable reason. But hopefully the seeds of positive change have now been sown, and we won’t lose this momentum, reaping the harvest of better times in the future.

I’m still going on lots of walks, just as I always have, stories dancing in my head. The inability to focus which plagued me at the beginning of lockdown, perhaps linked to the adjustment of living in a strange new world, has long gone, and there are new stories brewing, new worlds to explore. We also, as a family, managed a trip to the beach. Not a long drive away, an hour or so, to a beach we knew would not be busy. We took everything we needed with us, and left nothing behind. There were other families there, but with enough space that we could all keep plenty of distance. It was good for the soul to be somewhere different, to breathe sea air, to see my daughter laugh as she danced in the waves. These are the small joys to be taken at such a time.

We’re also lucky that we still, as a family, have been able to work. Ineligible for any of the government support programs, we know we’re fortunate to have paid employment during this time. A lot of people are struggling, and the fallout from this will be felt for years to come. Another reason a better world, a more caring world, will be needed.

At the moment, though, I’m staying home. I’m a dedicated shopper, oh my goodness yes I am, but I have no plans to hit the stores anytime soon. This virus hasn’t gone away, just because lockdown is easing. So we will stay safe as best we can, and hope that the others we love can do the same.

So I guess this is a blog post about nothing much, really, because on the surface, that’s what I’ve been doing. But there have been seeds sown in both my personal and professional lives, and I’m hoping, just as I’m hoping to see in the wider world, for some positive results.

Hope you’re all staying safe and well x

Photos from a recent walk and our trip to the coast


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30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Twenty – Supermarket

img_1205It’s day twenty of the Thirty Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: Supermarket.

I was going to write a little piece about how I have to go to the supermarket tomorrow, and how at this time of year it’s heaving with people pushing overloaded trolleys and looking perplexed, as though they’ve never been in a supermarket before. But then it dawned on me that I may also be one of those people tomorrow…

So instead I’ve decided to set a timer again and see what happens. Twelve minutes. Here we go:

‘Christ,’ I mutter under my breath, as I see the last packet of carrots being scooped up. ‘Bastard.’ I shoot daggers with my eyes at the broad back ahead of me, pushing my trolley faster, the wobbly wheel screeching in protest.

‘Sorry, sorry!’ I smile, although it’s more like baring my teeth as I manoeuver past two old ladies, trying to resist the urge to shove their trolleys out of the way with mine. But there is no way I’m letting him get the last packet of Extra Fine Baking Potatoes. I need those potatoes. He’s already got the damn carrots.

Victory! I screech to a rattling halt, breathing hard as I grasp the corner of the packet with my outstretched hand, managing to flick it into my trolley. ‘That’ll teach him,’ I thought, as I glimpsed a cable-knit jumper clad arm reaching around me. ‘Too late, haha!’

Not very Christmassy, I know. But really, it’s every man (and woman) for themselves in the supermarket at this time of year. The chocolate aisle looks as though it’s been attacked by locusts, the few sad roasts remaining puckered in their plastic wraps, as though they’ve been prodded by many hands.

And I only have one thing left on my list to get. Executing a skillful manoeuver, I manage to dodge around two trolleys, then bypass a third, sliding through a gap between two young men and a pile of boxes to emerge in the baking aisle. There they were.

Eggs. There weren’t many left, and those that were left were the eye-wateringly expensive organic free range kind, but I don’t care. Six eggs are all that stand between me and victory. I surge forward, reaching out, when a hand comes down, claiming a box. A hand at the end of a cable knit jumper clad arm.

‘Dammit!’ I may have shouted that out loud. Heads may have turned. But I was so close! Then I heard laughter, felt arms come around my waist, a trolley bumping gently against mine.

‘Too bad, darling. Looks like you’re paying this week. And so close to Christmas, as well. Well-played, though.’ He laughed again, but a nice kind of laugh, as he came around to survey the jumbled mess of groceries in my trolley.

‘Well, I don’t care,’ I said. ‘And, did I tell you how nice you look in that jumper?’

‘Flattery,’ he said, ‘will get you nowhere.’

‘Just wait till next week’s shop’, I thought.

Well, there you have it. Twelve minutes done. Not sure what to think of it, though.


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