Well, it has been another week, hasn't it? I don't know about you but it feels like the ground is shifting beneath my feel at the moment, as we enter such strange and scary new territory. As of last night, the UK is now under a three week "lock down", during which movement is limited and only the most essential travel to work or to buy food/medicine is allowed. I miss normal life, I miss going to work (I really like job and my colleagues and promise I will never moan about work again!), I miss the freedom from worry. So, I am taking comfort in the everyday: whether it's changing the bedding, bringing fresh flowers into the house from the garden, opening the windows, listening to birdsong, gardening, baking bread - all of these things are my constant and they really help me.
I'm reluctant to call our current educational situation homeschooling, as that relies on access to libraries, museums, parks and all sorts of other places outside of the home. Instead we're doing a kind of remote learning, where the children have work set from them by school which they submit and receive feedback on, a mixture of daily tasks and longer term projects. Bella's Year 8 homework is pretty much all set and assessed online by her teachers anyway (apart from practical projects) and it's a way of working she's familiar with, so this just feels like an extension of her usual work. She has certainly been given plenty to be getting along with, and I admire her focus and motivation. Angus, however, has found this new way of learning more challenging and is hugely missing the routine and social interaction of school. Luckily, he has to do a project on D-Day while he's off and WW2 is one of his favourite topics ever.
I was very relaxed with the introduction of any kind of homeschooling routine last week (mainly because I felt so unwell, although I am feeling fine now) and so there is no colour-coded timetable here. Instead, we start the day with PE with Joe (on YouTube, it's a fun 30 minute long exercise session by the trainer Joe Wicks at 9am) then spend the morning doing school work. I dip in and out of this while getting on with other jobs in the background. After lunch, I try to encourage creative things, so they can craft, build lego, bake, help me garden, read, or just do whatever really, so long as it's not on a screen. From 4 pm the Xbox and TV is allowed, and so far this seems to be working. But it's early days.
We've been making good use of all kinds of things that have been stashed away in cupboards, like these cardboard letters which I bought about ten years ago.
Bella has been having a lovely time painting them, choosing the B for her room...
...and giving me the G as a Mother's Day gift.
Mother's Day was a strange and muted affair, and it was hard not be able to give my own lovely mum a big hug (everyone taking social distancing very seriously here!) but I did bake a batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls as a treat for breakfast.
They were incredible - especially the way the sugary cinnamon filling melted and formed a crust on the bottom. It reminded me of lardy bread, which I used to eat when I was little. I don't think you really see it much anywhere now.
Pottering with houseplants is very good for calming the nerves.
My monstera plant in the hall was almost as tall as Bella, so I took a couple of big cuttings from it, planting one in water and one in soil, in the hope that I can propagate them.
I have no idea what I'm doing but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Looks at this leaf here, about to unfurl - it reminds me of those biscuit wafer things you get in ice creams.
I have been spending so much time outside gardening, especially now that I feel better and the weather has been so good. Slowly going around weeding, cutting back, tidying, trying to remember what grows where so that I don't accidentally pull up a baby plant thinking it's a weed....
In the odd quiet moment I've been working on this bracelet, slowly getting the hang of the beading technique.
It's all so strange and unsettling but we must remember that it's not forever, and we will look back on this time one day. Please look after yourselves. I'm going to have a glass of wine and cook dinner now. Chin chin.