Well, here we are nearly two weeks in lockdown 2 – the second English national lockdown. How is it treating you? Does it feel the same as the first lockdown?
For me personally, lockdown 2 doesn’t feel very different from the previous few weeks. In Gloucestershire, we were in tier 1 restrictions – which meant we could only meet in a group of six and that pubs and restaurants closed at 10pm. We weren’t going to pubs and restaurants anyway. And as a family of five, the rule of six meant it was pretty much impossible for us to meet up with anyone either.
So lockdown 2 doesn’t feel that different from tier 1 restrictions.
The biggest difference for us is that the kids’ activities have been forced to shut down again. This means no athletics training and no ballet. I really hope it doesn’t also mean no indoor athletics competitions early next year. My son is back to sprints training in the road and strength training at home, like he did all through the first lockdown. He’s started running a couple of 5ks a week just to keep his fitness up. (Although running long distances isn’t particularly recommended for sprinters and jumpers.) My daughter is doing ballet at home on her usual ballet days.
All of this, of course, means I have more time on my hands as I’m not driving the kids around. It has also taken the pressure off mealtimes, which is a big issue for us during the week.
For their sake though, I really hope these activities are back from 2nd December as they are so good for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Transmission of the virus outdoors is so low that the risks with athletics are virtually non-existent.
My husband and son both joined the gym when it reopened. My son is using it for strength for his athletics, while my husband is using it to try to relieve his chronic back pain – which sometimes affects his legs too. They had got into the habit of going four times a week and were really enjoying getting stronger. They are gutted that it has now closed. My husband bought some weights, which he has been using at home. Surprisingly, my son hasn’t used them much. They really hope the gym will reopen on 2nd December.
I am pleased that the kids are still going to school, although they have been home a bit more lately. On Friday of half term, we had an email from my daughter’s school to say that, on the last day of school, my daughter had been in contact with a girl who had tested positive for coronavirus. So my daughter was in self-isolation for the weekend and the first four days of school, which she wasn’t happy about! Luckily, as she had spent half term seeing friends and my parents, she didn’t become ill.
For lockdown 2, my son’s school has decided that, where possible, 6th formers should only be in school for lessons. Previously, the rule was that you had to be in school for the start of the day and could go home early only if you had a free lesson at the end of the day. He has one day where he doesn’t have a lesson until 1.30, so he has been home a bit more.
Having reinstated games lessons for year 12 after the first few weeks of school, my son’s school then stopped them when we went in lockdown 2. Games lessons are not statutory for 6th formers, so the school viewed them as ‘extracurricular’. As all extracurricular activities had to be stopped, games lessons were stopped too.
Ever since he came back from Australia, my eldest has been desperate to travel again. He lived in hope that it would be OK and had various weekend breaks booked from September onwards – which have all been cancelled or postponed. He had a week in Turkey booked from 6th November. I wasn’t keen for him to go because of mixing with so many people in the airports and on the aeroplane while the Covid-19 cases are rising. But he was determined to go and nothing was going to stop him. So, even though it was a shame for him, I was pleased that lockdown 2 meant he couldn’t go. He will be able to go at a later date when things look a bit better.
(We think we’ve all already had coronavirus, as a result of his travels to Singapore, Malaysia and Australia earlier this year. He arrived home just before lockdown started and felt ill a few days later. My younger son and husband had a mild illness a few days after him, before I had textbook symptoms. My son didn’t tell us until months later that he’d sat by a man who was coughing on the way home from Australia. But we can’t be sure as we weren’t tested. And there is also talk now of people getting the virus a second time. So I am still very careful with my hygiene and social distancing.)
My eldest has been working at home some of the time. He could work at home all of the time – in fact there was no pressure to go back at all after the first lockdown. But he likes working in the office and will use any excuse he can to go in. My husband has been in the office too. Only two out of a team of eight are in, which makes it easy to socially distance. Having spent the initial lockdown working on a stool by the bedroom windowsill (no wonder he has a bad back and legs), he is much happier working in the office.
I really hope lockdown 2 works to cut infection rates and hospitalisations. If it’s not good enough to get back to normal (ie the tiers) on 2nd December, I would really like to see priority given to sport and activities which are good for people – like grassroots sport and gyms. Why not prioritise those over pubs and restaurants?