Lockdown 2, home schooling while home working day 1

12 November 2020

8:25: Me “I’d better get up”. Si “Why?”
8:30: Me “Shit, where is Jess’ Teams log-in?”
8:32: Jess “Mum can I have crisps for breakfast?”
8:50: 6 kids are in the Teams meeting, but neither teacher is
8:51: Jess “Bye Izzy ha ha, you have to go to school and I don’t”
8:56: Kids speculating about well-being of the missing Mr Ancorn, using phrases such as “worst case scenario”
9:26: Mr Ancorn appears
9:27: Miss Taylor continues “…and once you’ve done all of those tasks, if you still want to do more, you can always read a book”
11:11: I’m actually hiding in the spare room, with my work laptop
11:59: Thinking about opening a bottle of Chardonnay
16:00: Major stress headache.

Jess points out that we forgot to give her any lunch.

House is a tip!

This is going to be a long 2 weeks.

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Autistic working mum, juggling in a pandemic

As a working parent, I am quite used to the juggling act of family life and work life, balancing the needs of my family, my job, and my own needs… usually in that order. Usually I can just about keep those juggling balls in the air. Working from home during a pandemic has certainly put my juggling skills to the test.

Cue flashback to the “old normal”, those days that weren’t unprecedented, when our efforts were not all “Herculean”.

Yes, some family emergencies and school events would occasionally encroach on my normal working time.

Yes, some project deadlines and peaks in workload could encroach on home time.

There was, however, usually a clear-cut boundary between my contracted working hours and my home time. I could say to my husband or kids “don’t bother me with this while I am at work, surely it can wait until this evening or the weekend”.

That work/life boundary was blurred when schools were closed from 23 March due to the pandemic and we all started working from home all the time. Some normality returned for me when my daughters returned to school in June, and I mainly worked during their school hours, but that respite did not last.

All too soon the summer holidays came around and I was back to working with constant distractions such as my younger daughter Jess with her running commentary about her Minecraft or Roblox games, her frequent photobombs of my online meetings with her requests for snacks and ice lollies, my husband Si’s electric guitar and other distractions.

Fortunately, the summer holidays are a relatively quiet time for my workload, so I was able to take annual leave every other week, but with all the lockdown restrictions I was not sure what to do with this time off. My maternity guilt nagged about not having quality time with the kids “making memories”. I worried about them whenever they were bored or low.

I am easily overwhelmed, due to anxiety and autism, and I particularly struggle when things are stressful both at home and at work at the same time, or when I have conflicting priorities at home. Even harder for me is when the needs of my children conflict with the needs of my husband.

Always worried that I could drop one of those juggling balls at any time, Covid then threw in another ball, one I needed to juggle in addition to all the other balls but without it touching them or my hands. I was losing faith in my own ability to maintain this next-level juggling act, because even if I could pick up a dropped ball it would be so hard to get the rhythm back.

I promise I am getting to the point now, thanks for bearing with me this far!

My daughter Izzy, 11, is from my first marriage. After spending the week in late August with my ex-husband Martin on his narrowboat, she came home on the Sunday with a sore throat, a minor cough and a mild fever. I was not particularly concerned at first and left her to sleep it off on the Monday while I worked from 8am to 2pm.

Izzy got up feeling worse, with a full-on temperature, a painful throat and a cough. Realising she was now displaying two of the symptoms for Covid-19, I messaged Martin to let him know and to ask if he and his wife were feeling OK. I mentioned it to my husband Si too, because he has type 1 diabetes so he falls into the Covid vulnerable category. I was due to work the first half of that week, and had planned to take the kids to see my mother-in-law in Dorset during my annual leave the last week of the holidays so I had to cancel that plan.

I was just about holding it together, until husbands past and current started to worry and expected me to perform miracles. We all agreed that a Covid test needed to be booked, but Si was worried about me driving Izzy to a test centre (I rarely drive, had not driven at all during lockdown, and the hand brake on our car was playing up).

I tried to book a home test, given the problem with our car, but the Covid test booking website was not offering that option.

Martin pressured me to book a test immediately that evening, because apparently Izzy had been in contact with various members of his family that week (annoying in itself, not to mention him dropping her back to me unwell). The test booking website was not giving the option of booking a test that evening, although it did say more slots would become available at 8pm.

Meanwhile I just wanted to console my tearful poorly daughter, to cuddle up with her and watch a film, conscious that I needed to isolate her from the rest of the family, but I could not bring myself to confining her to her bedroom, so Izzy lay on one sofa and me on the other sofa while Si and Jess avoided the living room. I was acutely aware that Izzy was just as concerned about the risk to Si and to her family on Martin’s side, yet she still felt hurt that we were not rushing to comfort her with cuddles and mopping her fevered brow.

At 8pm I tried again, but still the only tests available were drive-in tests the following morning. I booked for 10am in Droitwich, about 15 miles away, and attempted to de-escalate the meltdown that I had managed to keep at simmering point.

The following day, Izzy’s temperature came down a little, and her throat was even more sore. Si and I agreed that he would risk taking her to the test centre in the car, both wearing masks, while I stayed home and tried to get some work done. Getting Izzy out of bed and into the car was tricky enough, as she was feeling very sorry for herself and just wanted to sleep.

Leaving my phone on do not disturb, I tried to put my concern for my family out of my mind and get some work done. My manager was aware of the situation, as I mentioned it in our morning team catch-up. I was alarmed to eventually notice I had a number of missed calls from Si just after 10am, I had left my phone on charge in another room, and eventually a voicemail just saying “thanks very f***ing much”.

I tried phoning back, but no answer. My anxious mind whirred with theories about what might have happened. Had they been unable to do the test due to Si not having PR? Was Droitwich a test site for over 18s only? The meltdown threatened to simmer over, and I stared at my laptop unable to do any work, unable to think, brain foggy.

When they finally got home, I learned that parents are expected to administer the Covid test for under-12s, but Izzy had refused to let Si anywhere near her painful throat with the swab. The missed calls were from him clutching at straws thinking if I might be able to reason with her over the phone.

When Si did eventually manage to swab Izzy’s throat, he could see her uvula was inflamed and had a little white spot. That was enough to assume that this was a throat infection, but the whole family were obliged to self-isolate.

Meanwhile from one short phone call with the GP, Izzy was prescribed antibiotics for her throat infection, and by the time her Covid-19 test results came through negative she was already feeling much better.

Back to the new normal, for now, juggling act resumed… until those normal winter bugs inevitably go around the school wreaking further havoc…

World Mental Health Day 2020

“It’s OK not to be OK”… It’s not OK to not be OK, not for a prolonged period anyway. What that phase actually means is, it is good to be open about not being OK.

Yes we all have bad days and low moods, but if you are often full of dread, you have a low mood more often than not, you’re plagued with intrusive thoughts, experiencing anxiety attacks…

Listen to and notice your feelings and thoughts.

Listen to your own physical symptoms of anxiety (for me, this is like a writhing bag of snakes in the pit of my belly, my cheeks redden, heart racing, sometimes palpitations, sometimes breathless panic attacks strike when I am just walking down the street).

Do not listen to “this too shall pass”.

Do try to express your feelings to people who care about you, and they will listen. Be open with your line manager.

Go to your GP. Take medication if you need it, there is no shame in that, it can really clear the fog and help you function.

Refer yourself to your nearest Healthy Minds service, and don’t put that off – the waiting lists are long and growing and you’re nowhere in the waiting list until you take that first step.

Phone the Samaritans.

Text Shout.

Do not listen to people telling you (or you telling yourself) that it is normal to feel low, that everybody has bad days. You are likely to need a leg-up to climb out of this pit.

The Double Rainbow

Intersectional Diversity: The ‘Double Rainbow’ of Autism and LGBTQIA+

For Bi-Visibility Day 2020, here are my answers to questions I was recently asked about my lived experiences of the ‘double rainbow’.

Can you explain what the term ‘double rainbow’ means?

Studies show that autistic people are far more likely identify as a sexuality minority and/or a gender minority, compared with the general population.

Both the autistic community and the LGBTQIA+ community often use rainbow imagery, for example in the gay pride flag and the autism acceptance rainbow infinity symbol.

I came across the term ‘double rainbow’ on the website of the US charity Twainbow who support people who are on the autistic spectrum and the LGBTQIA spectrum.

Here in the UK, we have the charity AIM for the Rainbow.

What is the difference between Autism and Asperger’s syndrome?

Do they both sit under the umbrella of neurodiversity?

Human brains are collectively neurodiverse, not just people with neurological conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia. We are all wired differently, and neurodiversity is about celebrating and accepting all the different ways of thinking and cognitive processing, even ‘neurotypical’ brains. Diversity, including neurodiversity, is advantageous to us as a species.

An autistic person may be considered ‘neurodivergent’, which means our brains are wired a little differently from the typical brain.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a rather outdated diagnosis given to autistic people who do not have learning disabilities or language development delays. More recently, the diagnostic terms are usually Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).

My diagnostic report says I have ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’, but I usually just call it autism, simply because I do not think I am any more important than autistic people who are non-verbal or who have learning disabilities.

Not all autistic people are gifted or have a ‘super power’. One of my talents is my highly detailed visual and auditory long-term memory, which is both a blessing and a curse. It is tremendously helpful to me in my role as HR systems analyst, and wonderful for remembering dearly departed relatives and reflecting on happy memories, but I have seen and heard traumatic things that I would rather not recall so vividly.

In your opinion, do you think autistic and other neurodivergent people are less concerned with social norms and so are more likely to identify as LGBTQ+?

I have never been one to conform to societal norms to fit in. For example, I deliberately chose to have my first child before getting married. I also wore a pink and purple layered chiffon dress at my first wedding. When I married Si, I wore a dress my cousin’s partner made for me, a knee-length 50s-style dress in shades of silver.

I do think neurodivergent people more often value individuality in preference to fitting in, and we can also be very honest and open.

Personally, I do not believe that non-conformity affects our sexuality or gender identity, because I think we are born this way. However, we may be more likely to be more open about our sexuality and gender identity, compared with the general population, so perhaps more of us ‘come out’ as for example bisexual or gender fluid rather than keeping it to ourselves.

Do you think it is important to state or be open about who you are e.g. neurodiverse and / or non-binary and does this help others to better understand you and your needs?

This is very much a personal choice, and depends on your personal boundaries, comfort, and safety. People are more likely to be open about who they are if we all work together to build a culture where everybody is comfortable to be our authentic selves without fear of discrimination and prejudice.

Is it OK to ask someone to explain what a specific term means if you have never heard it before?

In my view, it is good to ask for definitions of a term you do not fully understand, rather than making assumptions.

It is not okay, however, to ask inappropriate probing personal questions. For example, it is not okay to ask somebody who is trans about what gender affirmation treatments they may or may not have had, or about the contents of their underpants. Asking for preferred pronouns is okay though.

Curiosity is good, but above all we must all respect every individual’s privacy and dignity.

There seems to be a double standard where autistic people are not taken seriously about their decision to identify as LGBTQ+. Is this something you have experienced?

Not personally, but I feel if anybody does not take my sexuality seriously this is more likely to be because they dismiss bisexuality as a phase I went through before I settled down (actually, it has been constant since my teens).

I understand that some trans and gender fluid autistic people are concerned that being open about their autism may lead to people thinking that being transgender is just an autistic thing, which may not be helpful to their cause for acceptance.

There is also the “eternal child” bias, where some people assume autistic people are not capable of knowing our own minds, due to our condition. That is a misconception, and a stigma which needs to be challenged.

It may also hark back to old attitudes from times when sexuality, gender dysphoria and autism were all considered to be mental health issues that could be “cured”. We are not quite at the end of the journey to acceptance.

Sexual orientation and gender expression may fluctuate over the course of person’s lifetime. Can neurological conditions also change and fluctuate?

I have not noticed any real fluctuations to my sexuality since I first became aware of it in my mid-teens. I did not become straight when I married a man.

I have more sensory sensitivities autistic meltdowns of greater severity when I am going through autistic burn-out, a state that resembles clinical depression and happens when I am overwhelmed for extended periods of time.

Over the years the impact of some autistic features may change. Sometimes this may relate to hormonal changes, for example sensory issues can be exacerbated by puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

What are some of the challenges that autistic and LGBTQ+ people face?

Coupled with the social differences of autism, such as coming across badly at times and having difficulties interpreting neurotypical cues and nuances, at times I have encountered difficulties forming both social friendships and working relationships with other women. Sometimes I have encountered bi-phobia, and my intentions have been misunderstood.

There are many challenges with being an autistic in the social and sensory minefield that is the workplace, but with a combination of formal reasonable adjustments and minor changes an autistic worker can thrive and add tremendous value. I do get overwhelmed when I am in lengthy or frequent meetings, due to the expectation to exhibit professional behaviours and demeanour for extended periods which does require heavy masking.

Autistic people can be tremendously loyal when we have the right support. I have worked for my employer for over fifteen years, which is testament to their supportive and inclusive culture.

What can allies do in the workplace to support colleagues who are neurodivergent and identify as LGBTQ+?

Well that is a big question, which I could talk about at length…

But in brief, we each have a role in working together to build a culture of acceptance, where it is not only okay, but encouraged even, to be open about any difficulties and support needs, an environment where each and every person belongs and can thrive as our authentic selves.

You’ll never run alone

I was due to run with two friends, but one pulled out due to sore calf muscles, the other with bad hayfever. “Sorry to let you down, Charlie” says one in the group chat. “That’s fine”, I replied, thinking “it is sometimes easier to run solo anyway, as I can play the route by ear and I won’t have to bother to socialise”.  Actually I’m pretty sociable when running, side-eye conversation flowing easily. Somehow social running is far less daunting than meeting a friend for a coffee would be. After an hour or so of procrastination, I selected a Spotify playlist called Made in Liverpool, and started running towards the canal.

Just after turning onto the canal towpath, there was a family of moorhens near the bank – a mother and three chicks. I paused my Garmin and took some photos and videos. One chick kept approaching the mother who gave him some of what she was eating, something pecked from the duckweed and lily-covered surface of the dead-arm of the canal. I reflected on how Iggy used to like it when I made him a banana Nutella smoothie or a ham and mayonnaise wrap. At 15, Iggy was quite capable of making those snacks for himself, but he liked it when I mothered him.

Moorhen mothering her adolescent chick

I put my phone away and jogged on, enjoying the playlist. I felt uplifted for a while, and reflected on this. Something about the left, right, left, right, repeating motion of running, and the changing scenery, the sound of bird song, almost always makes me feel calmer.

During lockdown I have been more frequently up close to young animals being cared for by their parents, which for some reason fills my heart with joy. Now I noticed this feeling, and reflected on my early lockdown solo runs, when exercise and health seemed such a treasured privilege, when newborn lambs frolicked in the fields like all was right with the world. Those early lockdown moments had brought me such genuine elation, in the midst of misery and uncertainty. Now as I ran past mallard ducklings, tucked under their mother for shelter, and adolescent Canada goslings, I just felt ok.

The opening bars of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers played from my pocket.

I listened to the gentle arpeggios, with the fleeting thought “I could learn this on my guitar. I may have to explain that I just love the song, I’m not a Liverpool football fan”. But then I started listening to the familiar lyrics, and was blind-sided by grief.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

My legs continued to run, but a more familiar song invades my head. It’s a catchy song, real earworm, self-penned by me. The refrain repeats more often than the “nah” in Hey Jude.

“If only I’d had the right reassuring words to say to Iggy when he was struggling, maybe he wouldn’t have taken his own life”

There are other verses too, but no music.

“Iggy said ‘love you, mum’ when we went out that fateful evening. That was uncharacteristic. I should have known something was wrong. My mothering instincts should have kicked in, I should have stayed home and protected him”

And “I did know something was wrong, when I was out. I didn’t feel right. Not just uneasy in an unfamiliar place with people I don’t know, but a sinking feeling like something terrible was going to happen. I should have made my excuses to Si and the band, and got the next train home. Or even an Uber”.

And “Did he even say ‘love you, mum’ or is that just a false memory? Maybe I just wanted him to have said goodbye, and to have told me he loved me, and my brain has fabricated that memory”. That is such a miserable fucker of a verse, I’m surprised Morrissey didn’t write it. Basically lose:lose.

The canticle goes like this “Either he didn’t love you, or he did and you failed to protect him”. Even if I wrack my brains, or have regression therapy to try and remember whether he really said ‘I love you mum’ or not, I know there’s no good outcome to this train of thought, but I still can’t derail it. I’ve even asked Si, “did I seem like I knew that evening that something terrible was going to happen”. He said “You were unusually quiet, now you mention it”.

I know how this song ends… with super responsibility. “I can’t save Iggy now, I know, but I must be able to do something through my advocacy work, so that other autistic LGBT teenagers don’t suffer in silence. I can, and must, save other teenagers who are bullied at school. It’s my destiny, and Iggy’s legacy”.

“Just look at Paula McGowan – she took it upon herself with Oliver’s Campaign to educate the NHS about autism, so no other teenagers unnecessarily die from being given anti-psychotic drugs when they are only having an autistic meltdown. Why can’t I do something like that?” https://www.olivermcgowan.org/

“How can I convince everybody to accept others who are autistic and LGBTQIA, as they are just another kind of normal. Convince those kids they aren’t alone, that I’ll fix this, and they won’t ever need to find a way out. Different is OK. Live and let live. Be kind, be accepting of others”.

“Maybe I could, and should, change the world? I could make the world a better place, as well as holding down my job, keeping my daughters safe, supporting my husband..”

“Maybe that’s too much responsibility for one person. I’m already grieving, and stressed. Maybe I need to practice some self-care? Volunteer less? Put myself first more? No, that makes me a shitty person. And a bad mother. What about my daughters? They might get bullied too, they already feel different. I could let them down too, and lose them too”.

“Just stop it… Keep running. I must complete this 10K, because my ankles are sore, so who knows how many rest days I’ll have to take before I can run again”.

“Now what funny caption shall I put on my Strava? I think it’ll be a quote from You’ll Never Walk Alone. You see, trigger, I acknowledge you. I’m not scared of you, and I’ll even make fun of you a little. I’ll blog these thoughts later, and somebody might find it relatable and helpful. I might be able to help somebody, they’ll feel less alone. It will risk one of those ‘just checking in, how are you doing’ messages, but so be it. At least one person who reads this will armchair diagnose either OCD or PTSD”.

I got home from my run, and Si said “You’ve been gone longer than you said. Good run?” Catching my breath, I say “Yeah it was ok. I saw some baby moorhens, got a little triggered over a song, but I managed 10K”. And thus, we crack on with our day.

I notice again the little plaque a friend anonymously sent us last year, and it hits home again. “Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day”. Iggy joins me on my runs and walks. His presence is not constantly in the foreground of my mind after 15 months, but he follows me more ethereally. He is part of the bigger picture, like the vapour trail that cuts a swathe across the otherwise blue sky.

Week 12 of lockdown, reflecting on Day 1

For me this is now week 12 of lockdown, as I have not been in the office since Monday 16 March. That was a unsettling day with people on the train eyeing each other with suspicion, reluctant to press the button to open the train doors, and an uneasy atmosphere in the office.

This week my elder daughter merrily went back to school, delighted not to be in uniform so she can show off her unique sense of style. I am relieved she has something to get out of bed for now.

My younger daughter independently does home school work, but only the online stuff she enjoys. More often she is playing Roblox while I’m working and/or she chats to her friends on Zoom while frequently interrupting me to request snacks.

Work has not changed much for me, as I was already working from home for half the week. During lockdown I have been starting and finishing work earlier than usual, so we have time to get out of the house for our daily exercise walk or bike ride before dinner. We’ve fallen into a predictable daily routine.

Reflecting on the transition to lockdown, I just re-read the blog I wrote on Day 1, which amused me. How quickly I gave up that idea of home educating, concentrating instead on getting my work done out of the way so I could then try to ensure everybody in the family stays healthy both in body in mind.

How Iggy got his nickname

Here is the story of how Iggy’s nickname came about (many, but not all of you already know, and I realise the similar names of Iggy and Izzy have caused confusion to some).

Ethan (Iggy) was my eldest son, who sadly died in April 2019. He had two younger sisters: Isabel (Izzy) and Jessica (Jess) and one step sibling.

When my ex-husband Martin and I decided to have a baby, our favourite name was Izzy (a character from Hollyoaks). We had a feeling the baby was a girl, so we called her Izzy right from the beginning.

The 20 week scan revealed Izzy had a willy, so we swiftly changed the working title to the nearest boy’s name we could think of, Iggy after Iggy Pop.

Iggy sprang into the world 5 weeks early, and stealthily (the midwives had sent Martin home as they said nothing was happening). This earning him the official name Ethan, after Ethan Hunt from Mission: Impossible.

Most people continued to call him Iggy.

We still wanted our Izzy, and five years later (with two traumatic miscarriages in between) we finally had our Izzy 😍

Lockdown survival tips

Pretty much all of my lockdown survival tips are here in one post.

A very British pot of tea and a packet of hot cross buns (from the freezer, so ignore the March “best before” date). And if ever there’s a time to treat yourself to proper butter, this is it, on toasted hot cross buns.

There’s a bottle of CBD oil too. That won’t protect you from full-blown meltdowns, but it can help with milder meltdowns and anxiety.

Most importantly, always keep a melon in the kitchen, preferably with googly eyes, then if you’re feeling murderous you can sacrifice it with a huge knife.

RIP, Melonie Snicket, and thanks for dying that so that my husband could live on 😎

Sensory sensitivity to noise


Yesterday I was completely taken down by my sensory sensitivity to noise. For me, noise sensitivity is not about volume, but I get easily overwhelmed by different competing noises and sometimes by certain frequencies e.g. the low rumble of the air conditioning in the office.

Yesterday the competing noises were my daughters playing Minecraft on their laptops while my husband was washing up and starting to make lunch. He then instructed Alexa to play an 80s playlist. I dialled into a Skype team meeting, and sensory overload ensued. A throbbing headache struck, with flashing lights in my eyes. Even our daily family walk did not shift this headache, and I lay incapacitated on the sofa for two hours.

Awareness and openness about my autistic sensory sensitivities is helpful to me, because I can request reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Reasonable adjustments are just as applicable in the home-working environment as they are in the office. My sensory needs are everywhere.

#Autism #Diversity #Inclusion #Neurodiversity

Excellent blog by Yenn Purkis which really rings true to me today: https://lnkd.in/dtPw55P

Day 1 Home-working while home-educating

Day 1 Home-working and home-educating 23 March 2020

“I’ve got this all figured out”, I thought. “This will be a piece of cake. I am only part-time, and I am lucky to have my husband (a musician) around every day to help…”

First up I Skyped my line manager about temporarily changing my hours to start earlier and have a nice lunch break with my family.

Then I lay in bed catching up on emails and drinking coffee, until realised that was causing discomfort in my lower back. Eventually I had a quick shower then changed into clean daytime pyjamas.

I came downstairs to find both my girls attempting their online homework, but both were struggling and frustrated, not least because the servers used for the work their schools had set did not have sufficient capacity for this sudden increase in demand.

I tried to crack on with some work in Excel, but my work all seemed so pointless and futile, as I’m not a “key worker” and not saving anybody’s lives. I suspect shelf-stackers were getting more job satisfaction than me at that point.

I soon had to stop to cuddle and soothe a sobbing Jess (8), who was feeling unexpectedly sad she wasn’t at school in a proper maths lesson with her friends. I gave some paints to Jess and suggested she paint an extreme weather conditions picture (one of the suggestions in the grid for this week’s topic), thinking I will worry about the mess later.

Then I had to send a tearful and feverish Izzy (11) back to bed, crossing my fingers she had not picked up the dreaded virus at school the previous week, but trying not to think about it.

While I was upstairs tucking Izzy in, I was distracted by the pile of clean laundry to put away. Then I took a break to assemble a chicken curry in the slow cooker (which the kids would later dismiss as “minging” and refuse to eat).

Calmly (honestly) I asked my husband Si to get off his lazy behind and risk taking Jess to Specsavers, as she had inconveniently broken her new glasses.

Enjoyed the peace and quiet, and was able to concentrate better on my Excel spreadsheet work until Jess and Si returned, glasses fixed (probably dripping with lethal viruses, but of course neither remembered to wash their hands).

After work I ate a very late lunch, a fried egg bagel which Si eventually cooked after my series of not very subtle hints (so much for that idyllic family lunch I had envisaged), then started to rant at him for not doing enough to help around the house.

That’s when my low simmer finally reached boiling point. I quickly changed into my running gear and stormed out, for fear of properly losing my temper and having a monumental meltdown. To be honest, I think Si’s life would have been in more danger from me than from Covid-19 if the government had ever prevented running as my daily exercise. He is apparently clinically vulnerable, due to type 1 diabetes, but he’s as strong as an ox… and equally useful around the house.

I really enjoyed my solo countryside run, reflecting on how privileged I am to have my health and to live near such lovely scenery, but that feeling of contentment did not last long. My anxiously whirring mind gradually convinced me that some minor breathing issues were down to the dreaded virus and that I would pass it to my family and endanger their lives (hello, remember hay fever is still a thing!).

I eventually returned from my run, far calmer, hugged Si and thanked him for emptying the bins and cooking that egg bagel. I checked on my girls, who were both feeling much better. I love my family really. Nobody’s perfect.

Work done: A few email exchanges and one MI report.

School work done: One extreme weather picture, reflecting my mood.

I hope you’re all inspired 😎