Reasons to be thankful
It was becoming increasingly clear to us in February that our Easter trip to Rome was unlikely to go ahead. Our youngest daughter would have been singing in her school choir in St Peter's at the Vatican - a once in a lifetime experience. Italy shut down and shortly afterwards we followed. And ever since then, like everyone else, we've been at home, No carafes of chianti or a single gelato,
Initially we were a bit down about it all. We'd been on the choir tour to Belgium last year and nothing had quite prepared us for cathedral acoustics and the beauty of the music, so Rome was going to be emotional. But over the past few weeks, we've felt a strange change in attitude and a calm stoicism has come over us as we've learnt to live with what we have.
In a heartbeat we all went from headless to-ing and fro-ing, to staring at diaries full of pencilled in dates and dreams. How were we going to fill the days?
Extraordinarily, here in West Sussex, we have drifted into our quarantine bubble surprisingly easily, and having time on my hands has been a rarity I won't forget.
Walks round the bluebell woods (that I never got round to doing last year); watching total rubbish on TV (although not quite the drivel the children can sit in front); painting the old kitchen dresser, digging and planting an entire vegetable patch and most gratifying, pulling out every single little weed. The garden has never looked this immaculate and we've spent more time actually sitting in it than we ever have before. I've never loved it or appreciated it as much as these past few weeks. At the end of it is a footpath that rarely gets used. Now, a steady stream of neighbours walk by and we get our dose of human contact. At a distance of course.
I've had long phone conversations with friends I've not chatted to for ages - on the landline and on the sofa - not a crackly catch up between picking up children and working out where I need to be next. I've got to the bottom of the freezer... not everything could be salvaged. And I've filed every single piece of paper in my office and still the days don't feel like they're dragging.
My husband has grown a beard, and I rather like it, and sort of think he should keep it when we're all allowed out. But best of all though, and for which I am truly thankful, is having so much time with my girls. We've danced round the kitchen in the middle of the day; painted each other's toes; explored places on our bikes we've never been to in over 12 years of living here, and raided the dressing up box for wigs and costumes. And not once have I had to say "not now, I don't have time".