At the time of writing cycling and cake are both legal, but judging by the media commentary on the Sunday sunshine tempting Londoners out of their homes the cycling element might not last for long.
Two weeks into lockdown and we are well aware of our household’s privilege, with a home that has enough room for solitary confinement, continued employment and sparsely populated, glorious outdoors available on our doorstep.
Like many households not yet in the eye of the Coronovirus storm, we are trying to keep calm and carry on by juggling work, home learning and monitoring the notifications from the local community resilience group. We each have our (different) preferred form of exercise but the Lesser Spotted Cycling Husband has gained some moral superiority as his is a manly display of digging for victory.
Being middle-aged with a prematurely born primary aged child has proved to be a reasonable training ground for coping with a global pandemic – we can wash hands with the best of them, understand that physical distance keeps you safe from people incubating disease and have not gone to a public house on a Friday night for almost a decade. We also know what it is to fear for the life of someone you love, and that placing your trust and hope in the NHS is rarely wrong.
The internet is awash with advice on how make best use of this pause in ‘normal’, but I’m finding that being in a pause is quite enough. At work I’m wading through the paperwork to ensure that we can soon provide useful and safe cycling services to key workers throughout the crisis. At home (conveniently co-located with work for the last four years) I’m trying not to let the unending flow of emails and learning activities into my son’s Google Classroom account give me parental performance anxiety.
To combat stress I’m relying on cycling and cake, having found through long-term use that both help me keep the balance I need to be a reasonable wife, parent and colleague. State sanctioned exercise once a day in the form of cycling feels slightly virtuous for once as it’s appeared as an actual directive from both NHS Scotland and Scottish Government.
The cake is perhaps less obviously virtuous but, given that my son’s interest in the contents of his Google Classroom is the inverse of mine, we’re looking for engaging learning activities in the wild and ‘baking’ has been the only activity that has ever induced him to voluntarily write anything down. We have already produced two cakes, pizza and a set of scones (of dubious quality) so at this rate we might manage enough content for a Coronavirus Cook Book by the end of lockdown, if absolutely nothing else.
Life has changed immeasurably, and perhaps forever, in ways that we can’t yet know. We do know that those already disadvantaged will come out worst from this global crisis, and some are just realising that ‘key worker’ is a term that applies to people that we pay the least. At the moment I’m just going to wait awhile in the pause, braced for what might come and with gratitude and awe of those that are fighting head on for us all.