Lock­down has be­come the ul­ti­mate stay­ca­tion

Vir­tual di­ary dates shunned

Perthshire Advertiser - - HCEOAVDIED­R-1H9ERDEIRE­CTORY -

Amid the cur­rent frenzy of on­line yoga classes; book clubs with anony­mous co­horts and self­help ses­sions from en­thu­si­as­tic pro­fes­sion­als, we’ve taken an al­ter­na­tive ap­proach: fol­low­ing our own path.

Oh, I know what ev­ery­one tells you: “Stick to a rou­tine. Keep in touch. Try new ac­tiv­i­ties. Eat at the same time.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you.

Like Brid­get Jones, for the first fort­night of im­posed con­fine­ment, I drooled over the myr­iad of neu­ron­stim­u­lat­ing ‘groups’ pop­ping-up around me.

The pres­sure to joinin was enor­mous; my elec­tronic mantle­piece had never sup­ported so many in­vi­ta­tions.

‘Come along and take part’ they all trilled.

Su­doku Club from a Lon­don friend keen to nur­ture my men­tal health;

Pi­lates from a Scot­tish friend keen to look af­ter my phys­i­cal health; even a ‘vir­tual dachs­hund walk’ along a make-be­lieve beach!

Good­ness, what to do next?

Like most of the UK, I se­cretly sus­pect, ini­tially our daily rou­tine was to be punc­tu­ated by dis­tinct ris­ing times, rig­or­ous cof­fee breaks and for­mal ex­er­cise rou­tines.

Oh yes, we would come out of this COVID con­fine­ment very much fit­ter, slim­mer and so ter­ri­bly well read.

Not so.

Try­ing to mould teenagers into a par­entin­duced rou­tine is like herd­ing the prover­bial cats - re­ally not very likely.

Many bat­tles about daily gui­tar prac­tice; ab­sorb­ing a page of the de­light­ful ‘Shake­speare for ev­ery day of the year’ and drink­ing wa­ter “at your usual break times” fell on very deaf ears.

Re­treat­ing to the kitchen sink, spit­ting and splut­ter­ing, I de­cided that my heart rate just couldn’t han­dle the ten­sion; feed­ing ev­ery­one, just keep­ing safe in these trou­bled times, is, well, frankly, as much as I can cope with.

What a fail­ure.

And so, tah, dah; we’re go­ing it alone!

Fam­ily life has slipped and mor­phed into the ul­ti­mate stay­ca­tion. Now it’s get up when you feel like it; shower if you feel like it (one less bath­room to clean is fine by me); the kitchen doesn’t close at 9pm; Dis­ney+ is hav­ing the life squeezed out of it; ev­ery­one’s daily walk­ing al­lowance is grate­fully re­ceived by our four-footed friend, bed­time is open to de­bate. “An­other episode of Sher­lock any­one?” Oh, why not.

Ev­ery­one is happy. No more bat­tles, per­sua­sion or con­flict. And it’s ab­so­lute bliss. Tak­ing the foot off the com­pet­i­tive pedal has been a rev­e­la­tion.

The trusty iPhone keeps send­ing me no­ti­fi­ca­tions of my past life: “swim­ming to­mor­row at 08.30am” (08.30am for good­ness sake, these days that’s the mid­dle of the night!); “youth the­atre at 7pm” (er, I don’t think so, that’s Archers’ time, my lit­tle corona-free daily bub­ble); “noon, walk with ‘friend’” (no chance, prob­a­bly drink­ing cof­fee).

I know it’s all wrong, we’ll prob­a­bly (hope­fully) emerge to dis­cover that friends have gained PhDs in nu­clear physics while we’ve been stock­pil­ing ‘Gos­sip Girl’ in­tel.

Like ev­ery other house­hold, we’re try­ing to make the most of the en­forced fam­ily ho­mogeni­sa­tion as best we can. It’s not easy and we’re learn­ing ev­ery day.

There is one re­quest that I have ac­cepted; ‘adopt a grand­par­ent’. An ap­point­ment in the di­ary that is very def­i­nitely be­ing kept, no mat­ter what Net­flix may have to of­fer.

Put the ket­tle on.

No more bat­tles, per­sua­sion or con­flict. Tak­ing the foot off the com­pet­i­tive pedal has been a rev­e­la­tion Mairi Fraser

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