The Oliver family
Photographed 14th April 2020 - 23 days into lockdown 

It’s hard to believe that all of this happened so quickly although, in hindsight, we all knew from watching the news that the inevitable was coming. One minute everything was normal, and then a panic at work on the Thursday and Friday to get everybody set up to work from home. We all knew by then that lockdown was just around the corner.

Difficult as it has been - for all of us - not seeing family and friends, uncertainty about whether we’ll both have jobs in a few weeks or months, there have been plenty of positives: more family time and meals together, louder birdsong, longer sleeps, clearer skies, no commuting, quieter roads and fresher air. We hope that, once this is over, we can retain some of these simple pleasures. Time will tell, but we will try much harder than before, not just for the kids, but for our own sanity too.

Thanks goodness for unseasonably good April weather, without which our spirits would be much damper by now. Nothing beats naked sprinkler fun in the garden on a hot day, pretending to be fireman or cowboys or whatever else springs to mind. These are the things we want the kids to remember most of all.

In general, they have settled into their new normal fairly well and, apart from hugely missing friends and the routine of school (our most enthusiastic learner insists on wearing her school uniform most days), they seem relatively unscathed by the isolation. As before, they laugh, they argue, they cry, but now they have no intention of listening to either mum or dad when it comes to home schooling; a loose term at best. We decided early on that the benefit of time together far outweighed the negatives of learning less academically-speaking.

And when all is said and done it’s the fireman and cowboys we want to remember, not the difficult conversations through the glass with grandma and grandad, or being told that hugs with loved ones beyond our four walls are on hold until further notice.

In all this uncertainty, there is one thing we’re sure of - Heydon really is a little piece of paradise - and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Written 24th April 2020

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