The current need for a diary
I used to keep a monthly diary from the birth of my boys until they were one year old. Diaries can be useful spaces to reflect, make sense of situations and move forward. But also to preserve moments in time, experiences and emotions. At the end of week 1, I decided to keep a weekly diary while the UK is in lock down from the 25th of March 2020.
This week was my first full week back to work after an operation and trying to fully recover. I guess when we get older everything takes longer. I just need to be (more) patient but I do need to acknowledge that I am making progress and hope to be fully fit again soon. Going back to work meant working from home due to the lock down of the whole country, well the whole planet almost. I have to admit that this situation despite the fact that it is so so worrying for all of us, made my return to work more manageable and flexible and I am able to cope better.
My boys are off school and Adam is working from home for over 10 years now. This has helped as hugely in the past with childcare when the boys are little but he also often mentions that he misses being in a physical place with people despite the fact he has daily meetings and interactions with his colleagues.
This week we have been hooked to our screens a lot. Well, the boys more than us, I think. Not really sure how they feel about the situation. The boys are off schools and their GCSE and A Level exams have been cancelled. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future and how it will all work out. I hope that the government and their advisors will move away from examinations in the future and explore more flexible options that empower teachers locally, their schools and students and enable them to work more closely with universities also. I decided to have a haircut on Sunday and Nassi who will be studying engineering from September, helped me. I call it our collaborative haircut. We created a shared memory we will always remember. The boys have also been really good with washing dishes and clothes and other things around the house.
I have been getting back to the rhythm of working. Supporting our colleagues on the PgCert and the MA is always a pleasure and helping them in these difficult times is really important. I also enjoy the webinars I have started facilitating with a colleague to help colleagues teaching remotely in this emergency situation and supporting them in other ways as well. One thing I can clearly see is the care they put into their work with students and how resourceful they are. The AdvanceHE webinar with Kathy Wright, Gillian Judson and Jesse Stommel was another highlight of this week. Creativity does seem to feature more recently and I just hope that creative practitioners will be able to have a voice and be listened too more than in the past as they dare to think and do the impossible and make novel connections that have the potential to bring new light and hope to this world.
My lock down started even before the operation due to health issues so I am used to being at home but I do miss going to the supermarket and buying the stuff I want or need. We haven’t filled our house with toilet paper. We only have a few pasta packages and some tomato tins and feta cheese of course. Adam does the shopping and I worry each time he goes out and what he may bring back with him. Online delivery slots seem to disappear fast but it is something I need to look into more closely and systematically. We hope to be able to continue our family tradition to make pizza on Saturdays but flour is nowhere to be seen in Glossop. Well, Adam got some from a tiny bakery but we are now almost running out. Food shortages also means we need to be more resourceful with our recipes and Jamie’s programme on telly has been useful but also some related exchanges on social media. I have tried to prolong the life of my oat milk for example but adding 50% water… we have plenty of rhubarb in the garden and it have been making crumbles but now need to move on and try some other rhubarb creations.
When I was in a lot of physical pain, I reached out to craft as the painkillers didn’t really help me. I continue crafting and this week I knitted some headbands. I tried a new pattern and while it said easy on YouTube I struggled to follow the instructions and gave up. I went back to my wood cuttings I made many years ago and started painting them and then I have written three picture book stories this week, all inspired by our current situation.
I find these various creative outlets for my emotions valuable as they enable my mind to wonder and wander and create something that makes me feel good. The meditation app in the evening helps me fall asleep and forget my worries for a little while. The breathing exercises really seem to help. And while I do most of these activities on my own with everybody in the house, the conversations with dear friends this week have also been equally important and re-assuring. We are not alone in this.
Stay home! Stay safe wherever you are, whatever you do.