So as we approach the end of week 8 of isolation (in Ireland) I wanted to have a think back of some of the things I have enjoyed during lockdown.

  1. Spending more time with my children. Now I am not going to go all ‘superhero Mum’, preaching the virtues of perfect parenting. There have of course been times when my children have driven me to edge of the pit of insanity, only to be dragged back by a ginormous glass of Pinot Grigio and a 200 gram bar of Dairy Milk, that I had no intention of sharing. But on the whole, as soon as I abandoned my plans to win the ‘Homeschooler of the Year’ award, things went well. We’ve chilled, we’ve played a lot on the trampoline, soccer games, woodland walks, swimming in the Shannon. I should point out that those wonderful activities of family bonding have also been heavily interspersed with no doubt an unhealthy amount, of screen times (various flavours). Lets be real here, working from home and existing with your immediate family and no one else for 2 months, does demand a liberal attitude to Netflix consumption – it does on my house anyway! But even that has been great, Erin and I sit down every day now and watch olympic gymnastics routines. Something I never would have found the time to do before. (Erin’s favourite watch)
  2. The Dry Weather. To be fair, although Mother Nature sent us this virus requiring isolation beyond anything we have ever experienced, at least she sent the good weather (clearly a woman who has her shit together).
  3. Baking – I haven’t been baking personally, knowing the need to stay away from hospitals is vital at the moment, poisoning anyone with my cooking has not been on my agenda. I am fortunate however, that my teenager inherited her father’s cooking gene and she has rustled up a steady production line of wonderful smells and tastes to keep us all from missing local Cafes too much.
  4. Reading. Again, there have been no large bookshop orders required, I am after all a working Mum of 3 who is trying to write a new book and take on the smorgasbord of injustices the Irish Government has to offer, leaving my spare time somewhat sparse. But I have enjoyed the opportunity to sit and read a few, lightweight books. I haven’t made it to War and Peace just yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying the latest Marian Keyes book.
  5. Sending and Receiving Letters – It has been so lovely to sit down and write letters to people. Something I rarely do, except a quick note in Christmas cards. My beloved Grandmother and Grand Aunt died 8 years ago. I used to write to them every week and burst into tears at the post office when I didn’t need to buy my usual book of ten stamps. I haven’t written letters since then, but I hope I will continue writing them now. Saoirse also got a pen-pal and it’s so lovely to see her letters come in every week. There’s nothing nicer than getting an unexpected piece of post.
  6. Listening to The Birds Chatter. I am very lucky where I live that this is a regular occurrence, but it has been so much louder and clearer in recent weeks. It’s such a beautiful sound. It’s a sign of life and of joy.
  7. More Wildlife Around. Last week Saoirse and I popped to the shop (she stays in the car but just likes to get out for the drive) I slowed down to let a dog cross the road only to realise it was actually a fox. I love foxes and sometimes see them fleetingly at nighttime. But this fearless fella stopped in the middle of the road, gave us a good look and sauntered off on his journey. Watching videos of wildlife in the cities at the moment is brilliant, but seeing it live in real life is extra special.
  8. Lie Ons – I am not a morning person, unless of course you count the morning as 3am going to bed, never getting up. We have all set our systems to our own natural body clock and get up pretty much as we choose at the moment. It has taken me back to my student days, when one day I didn’t surface until 2pm. I’m not a great sleeper as a rule and toss and turn all night, so having a caring husband who lets me sleep when I need it is a real bonus at the moment (makes up for all of the flowers and diamonds he hasn’t bought me over the years!) Who knows, by the time we return to ‘normal’ maybe the bags under my eyes will be neat little clutches instead of the suitcases that have been there for years.
  9. Afternoon Drinks When Mick and I go away, or when I am away without my children, the ultimate indulgence is a cheeky pint or G&T in the afternoon(just to clarify that says pint ‘or’ G&T not ‘of’ G&T). Mick and I aren’t getting sozzled any day of the week now, we need to be on our toes with the challenges that sometimes present themselves at home, but it’s nice to know that on the odd occasion I fancy (or need) the afore mention glass of Pinot Grigio on a Tuesday afternoon, then I can have it.
  10. Community Spirit. Come on, you didn’t think I could do a top ten without a little bit of cringe worthy stuff now did you? You may have heard me on the radio back in March nominating a local Guard (police officer) for supporting us by making videos for my son Patrick who is Autistic and very anxious. Well as we approach week 8, the videos just keep on coming. Not one day has been missed, we get a new video from a Guard somewhere around the country. The local Gardai have visited Patrick on the days they know he has really struggled. I even met with the Inspector (at safe distance) to see exactly how they could best support us. I can never express just what this has meant to us. This is our personal experience of community spirit and I have seen thousands of heartwarming moments on social media, from drive by birthday processions, shopping for the neighbours, care packages being sent, just all round human decency at it’s best. So let’s keep that warm fuzzy feeling going when this is all over.

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