Our story so far…

So, it all started on 18th March when I scooped up Robin & Roy early from their respective schools, and together with one of my children, drove 7 hours north to our home in Scotland. We were loaded in with all our worldly possessions, 4 dogs, a tortoise and little more than room to breathe!

Eight weeks on and we are all doing OK! We have settled in to a daily routine of online school, our daily walk and an evening together of board games, TV or the WII party which has been dusted off and become a firm favourite .. the kids laugh hysterically .. mainly at my inability to achieve any of the challenges! Every Sunday is family zoom quiz night which everyone enjoys participating in and last week we ran the quiz, each leading a section, after Roy had pulled it all together on a fabulous interactive power point. This was particularly great for Roy’s English and confidence. It is fair to say we have all become completely obsessed with food … watching daily food programmes, reading recipe books, learning to cook, sharing the cooking and then enjoying a good critique of every meal and deciding what meal is next! Both Robin and Roy have enjoyed learning general food preparation skills through to delivering a whole meal to table and although there have been a few mini disasters they will both leave lockdown proficient cooks enabling them to look after themselves through university and beyond. It has been so rewarding for me to be able to share this passion for cooking.

We are blessed living here in the glen that the great outdoors remains largely open to us .. at least the view of mountains which surrounds us and our daily walk, although shorter than once and restricted to lanes, not the usual hillsides. Still, we are managing 5 km daily and the once a week 10-13 km to keep ourselves and the dogs happy and active.

Roy is also enjoying a 3 km run every day with my son and is rising wonderfully to the challenge of improving his fitness during lockdown.

Other activities have included a DIY session taking down an old fence and then upcycling the panels and nails to construct a hedgehog house and a cold frame. This is part of a bigger plan to start growing some veg .. the kids have planted seed potatoes and are having competitions with their beans shooting in anything from jam jars to empty loo roll holders & every part of every windowsill is taken with anything from squash seeds to tomatoes. At night we have been using the telescope here to discover planets and stars and often with the eye alone we can see the weather satellites and shooting stars and one evening the super moon in its full glory. They have even embraced my madness for sitting a while waiting to spot the deer in the forest, the hare, the red squirrel or the oystercatchers that frequent here.

Robin has frequently likened this experience to a holiday despite the fact she’s working harder than ever. I’m very conscious it is not a holiday, there is no social interaction other than through their online classes and the four of us. There is not even a trip to a supermarket as my compromised immune system will not allow such a luxury, so for shopping we rely on a super friend with a once a week doorstep food drop. But, the excitement at the smallest of things, like the discovery of eggs in the shopping, the appearance of butter after 2 weeks without and the final amazing appearance of flour and pasta, is palpable. I do believe simple things will never be so taken for granted.

When we first arrived there was a bit of fear and uncertainty (both feelings on my part alone I must add). Would we have brought the virus with us into the glen ? How would we manage without seeing my husband & other 3 older children? How would I manage with no adult contact? Would I be able to manage 3 children, 3 school timetables, the conjuring of meals and snacks on demand, all from very limited ingredients, and still muster all the enthusiasm for extracurricular. Living in our bubble we have become a tight unit , learning to share, finding flexibility, learning to have empathy, and to support and help each other with everything from being homesick to homework. It has been a challenge for all of us but I believe we have risen together and grasped it.

With our thoughts of others in such worse situations right now, I know this has been a journey and it will continue to be a journey for the foreseeable future, but it’s been such a positive learning journey and one that I hope they will look back on and hold quite fondly. Their eyes have been opened a little wider.