How are you all doing? What strange times we are currently in. We do hope that you and your family are ok. It will come as no surprise to you that Ruby the VW camper is parked up on our drive and has moved only 3 times in the past month. The only thing thats stopping me from bawling my eyes out about this is the knowledge that everyone is in exactly the same boat. We, and the rest of the world, are officially in Lockdown due to COVID 19. Its taken me ages to write this post and I apologise for that. Like many I think, I’ve struggled with motivation – especially when it comes about thinking about my main passion, travel!
The Good news for us is that so far, both Keith and I and all our family and friends seem to be in good physical health. Our heartfelt love and sympathies go to anyone who can’t say that. We all are taking it seriously and staying at home. Keith hasn’t been out of the village for 4 weeks and I’ve ventured to Thetford twice and Diss once for shopping for us and vulnerable families in our village. Mum is managing to carry on working in her care home and despite being desperately lonely at home and sad that she can’t see us face to face, is doing well and we are very proud of her.
Keith’s Mum, Dad and Stepmom, all in their late 70s and 80’s are self isolating in their houses and slowly getting to grips with technology which is enabling them to get through their days a little happier than without. Keith’s Dad has used Zoom to sing in his Male choir and do yoga classes and Keith’s mum has today managed to get Netflix up and running- even if the process was one of the most stressful achievements to date for the three of us to date.
My Dad, who has been furloughed, is enjoying his time at home and feels very lucky to have things to occupy him, 80% of his salary, a large garden and a box of Laithwaites wine to work his way through. My soon to be Step-mum Jenny is working from home as normal and now has her own home office set up which has made her find her work/life balance again.
We are all so thankful for technology and social media to keep us connected with each other.
So what have Keith and I been up to for the past month? Obviously all travel plans are currently grounded. This is a shame as we had some cracking things lined up.
We should have been in Vietnam and Cambodia – we were due to fly out on 24th March. Obviously this got postponed and whilst we knew it was for the best, we were still pretty upset. It’s taken us over a year to save for and we’d been counting down since day 400 and something. Fingers crossed we get there in October.
The first week of schools closure was spent trying to shift our entire workload online. We’ve never really done any video calls ever so we got to grips learning about Zoom, FaceTime, Skype etc. This was exhausting, but we got there with the help of our friends and lots of test calls. Our emotions ran up and down like a rollercoaster, and I feel like I aged 100 years in that week. It was important to us to get this set up though as both of us are self employed so financially it needed to work otherwise our ship would sink.
Then came the news of the Lockdown and 1 exercise per day etc. We got ourselves into a routine of walking about 3 miles around the perimeter of the village. We had up days and down days, and I really struggled with motivation and focus- or lack of. I couldn’t get into any books or series on TV. Thankfully the weather was nice, so I just sat in the garden and mindlessly scrolled through facebook when I wasn’t teaching. I also had some lovely catch ups with friends and had our village book club meeting online. I signed up to the village volunteer scheme and did a couple of errands for people who couldn’t leave the house and also discovered Zoom Zumba.
As the days ticked by, we began cooking some different recipes which we thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe that was our motivation returning – from then we began to get started on some jobs that I didn’t even know needing doing. I’m sure we’ve all got a list like that!
First – we attacked the greenhouse. It didn’t fair well in the recent stormy weather so we dismantled it and this was a wonderful success as it doubled the size of our patio. We had a couple of gardening days in the glorious sunshine.
We had a mass clean out of the shed. This was really satisfying too. I never knew I could find happiness in screwing screws into the shed walls to hang things on! I tidied the baking cupboard and was horrified when 95% of it was out of date by roughly 8 years! On a roll now, I attacked my craft box, and tried my hand at metal stamping.
I carried on cooking new recipes – a particular highlight was following Wagamama’s on Facebook and learning to cook their famous Chicken Katsu curry. Other highlights were Tom Kerridge’s Herb crusted salmon with wild garlic potatoes and our Easter Sunday Roast lamb. The weather was great so Keith sparked up the BBQ a number of times and we were beginning to feel like this was a staycation rather than a lockdown.
This week, has mainly been about our return to work next week. We are thankful and grateful that our students seem to be open to the idea and in a position to continue with online music lessons and as such we are looking at teaching about 75 individual music lessons online per week. We know this is going to be exhausting, but it will give us a routine and a distraction, not to mention pay the bills. Online lessons seem to generate at least double the work per lesson, but also have made us think of new and exciting teaching resources. This is something thats been fun to develop. I’ve managed a couple of crafts this week – one for our postman and one to display my earrings on.
We’ve enjoyed our village walks, especially with all the blossom on display. I spotted a Stoat the other day and also Greater Spotted Woodpecker (not quick enough with the camera though). Keith spotted a grass snake too!
I’m sad that it doesn’t look like Ruby will get to Switzerland in May this year as planned. But Switzerland will still be there for us once things go back to normal.
How are you all getting on? It feels good to be writing again, even if it’s not about out our travels. We’d love to hear from you in the comments – let us know what you’ve been up to. Have you been watching any good series/films? Reading any good books or cooking any delicious recipes? Share them in the comments. It would be great to connect.
Until next time – keep safe and well…. and stay at home!