Well 2020 was certainly a year like no other, wasn’t it? Who would ever have thought we would have ended up stuck at home for weeks on end, with school off, exams cancelled and stressing over the availability of toilet rolls, soap and pasta in the supermarkets.
The year started with my husband, daughter and I doing a double parkrun – the second one for my husband and I, and the first for my daughter. Three days later, the panto my daughter performed in was over and she was understandably very sad. It is her life for eight weeks of the year and coming out of that bubble is very hard. My son had his GCSE mocks as soon as he went back to school. He did very well, but still with a bit of room for improvement, after not a lot of revision. Also in January, he did his first long jump since fracturing his pelvis nearly seven months earlier. And I was the first woman across the line at parkrun for only the second time ever!
February was a fairly quiet month, which saw my son compete in two more indoor athletics completions. In the regional championship, he came second in triple jump and got a PB. In the national competition, he jumped a long jump season’s best of over 30 centimetres. My husband, daughter and I went to see The Boy in the Dress at the RSC in Stratford. I’m so glad we did, because we weren’t to know it would be the last time we would go out in public for a very long time. My eldest took his dad’s place at the Bourton 10k, having only gone back to running a few days earlier, and my daughter took her Intermediate Foundation ballet exam.
I had been dreading March, because of my son going travelling. But it turned out that March was a lot worse than any of us could have imagined, thanks to coronavirus. Life as we know it changed completely – parkrun was off, ballet was off, Scouts was off and athletics club and all competitions were off. Then we heard that the schools were closing indefinitely and my son wouldn’t even get to do his GCSEs. That was a real shock. In the midst of all that, my eldest was in Australia and desperate to get home. He made it home five days earlier than planned and we were all very relieved. It wasn’t just schools off, we went into lockdown- not allowed to see anyone from outside our own homes, only allowed out to the supermarket and once a day for exercise. My kids were surprisingly happy at home. In the middle of the month, we heard that Brighton marathon was cancelled. At the end of the month we heard that my son’s rugby tour was postponed (it was later cancelled altogether), along with Tewkesbury half marathon in May, while Cheltenham Challenge half marathon in June was cancelled completely.
At the start of April, my son was furloughed. That was a new coronavirus-era word for us – basically laid off from work for a month, with the government paying 80% of his salary. We all got used to life with five of us at home all of the time. We’re lucky to have a fairly large house and garden, so we had the space to stay away from each other when we needed it! We embraced cooking proper meals and watching TV together in the evenings. During April, I went down with the virus myself, which was a real shock. So my family’s world became even more restricted, with two weeks stuck at home in self-isolation. I was very impressed with how they coped. At the end of the month, my son heard he had another month of furlough and my daughter heard that she had got merit in her Intermediate Foundation ballet exam.
May saw lockdown restrictions ease slightly. People were allowed to meet one person from outside their household in a public place and we were allowed to exercise more than once a day. Not a lot changed for us, but we fully embraced the extra exercise. We still had five of us at home, in fact my eldest heard that he had been furloughed right until the end of June.
Lockdown restrictions were eased in June. Some kids in reception, year 1 and year 6 went back to school. You could meet in groups of six outside and non-essential shops opened. Halfway through the month, my husband suddenly decided to go back to the office. At the very end of the month, my son finally came off furlough and went back to work. My daughter’s school decided that the year 9s should start on their GCSE courses in June, so she was busier with her schoolwork.
My younger son not only missed all of his GCSEs, he missed his prom too and countless athletics competitions. Lockdown restrictions easing meant the two kids could do sprints training with their coach at a local park, but the stadium still wasn’t open.
Official (not)parkrun was launched in June, which gave me a bit of a buzz when running on a Saturday morning.
Read about the second half of the year in my next post…