So those who have followed my blog for a while, and pre-quaratine, will know that Fridays were devoted to my top three of the week. Freedom Fridays, so called because little man was firmly ensconced in nursery and I had eight blissful hours of unadulterated me-time, were my opportunity to reflect on the week and the issues that were weighing on my mind.
I’ve struggled to upload much content during this strange and unprecedented time. This is partially down to the fact that when he naps, I’ve been getting my tan on. Sun and laptops are not a happy marriage. I used to write in the evenings but there’s something about entertaining a toddler in lockdown that feels so much more exhausting than when we were able to get out and about – even though we are essentially spending the same amount of time together. I think it’s the fact you are the sole purveyor of pastimes. You can’t rely on a museum, a softly centre or a playdate to provide the fun – you are the fun! Come 8pm and all I want to do is mindlessly scroll instagram and be asleep by 9! Mostly though, I’ve been sorely lacking in inspiration.
I had a grumble to a fabulous friend, Lydia (@mother_hudd for those on the ‘gram) the other day about my lack of inspiration and writer’s block during this period of house arrest. As ever, she came straight back with a zillion and one fabulous ideas. One resonated though – a top ten of x,y, or z. It was like a megawatt lightbulb lit up my frontal cortex. Just because it’s not friday and we are far from free, why can’t I carry on my top threes? Ladies and gentlefolk – I present to you – THE LOCKDOWN LIST.
Running around the forest, ideas for the series were flying through my head. There’s nothing that pleases me more than a list and there’s nothing that pleases a writer more than a structure. So prepare yourselves for a whole lotta threesomes… Socially distanced threesomes. This list is devoted to…
THREE THINGS THAT EXCITE ME IN ISOLATION
One – Getting a Slot
Food is life. Food is fun. Food is currently on my mind roughly 18.4 hours of the day. So when food is running low, so is my mood. We’ve been isolating for a casual forty-five days now. In that time we have been the benefactors of six deliveries made to us from various supermarket establishments.
‘How!’ I hear you cry! ‘How have you achieved such wizardry?’ Believe me, there is no magic in this. Just a hard slog; burning the midnight oil for the sake of the family.
I set my alarm for some godforsaken time when I believe the Gods of Tescos press the release button on the delivery slots for our area. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. “Today we shall bestow upon the residents of West Essex two available openings.” If I’m not placed in an online queue then I’m furiously refreshing my browser as it struggles with the incessant rush hour of midnight traffic.
My strategy, and I almost begrudge sharing but we’re all in this together, is to have the Holy Quadrant of tabs open: Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Morrisons. Ocado has locked me out and Sainsbury’s have refused to take me as a new customer. Pah! So I flick betwixt the four, dexterously navigating their availability both for delivery and click and collect with the stealth of a partially-fed Puma.
Then that moment. Through the darkness, through the heavy-lidded tiredness, you see a glimmer of dinner, the tantalising tease of treats…
The Golden Ticket. The six winning numbers plus bonus ball. Your horse coming in at odds of 100/1.
I’VE GOT A SLOT!
Yes – £7 makes my heart sing, my blood pound wildly in my temples. £7 may be the princely cost of delivery but it is a meagre price to pay for the excitement it offers. I click on that seven pound, 9-11am space and quietly cheer myself. Mummy will eat kitkats once again. Oh, and my husband and child will be fed. God bless you Tesco. I place my order and am then awake for the next two hours as the adrenaline subsides – who’d have known online grocery shopping could be such a rush!
Two – The Delivery
Having gone to such lengths to secure food, you’d think that nothing could beat that moment when you enter your CCV code and receive your confirmation email. But you’d be wrong.
Think back to those times as a child on Christmas Eve. Do you remember how sensitive you were to every sound? To the slightest of movement? To every minute, every second ticking by.
Waiting for my food delivery is no different. An exhaust revs up in the street. Is it Mr Asda? A vehicle clearly larger than a Ford Focus – it must be Mr Morrisons? He’s an hour late – is he coming at all? Has he forgotten us? Am I on the naughty list for having half the packet of hobnobs I’d stashed away? Have I been blacklisted for ordering three of the Uncle Bens brown rice as well as the Tilda Wholemeal? I swear Mr Tesco – I’m not stockpiling – I’m just really partial to an easy cook dinner of chicken, rice and sweet chilli sauce right now.
I pace the lounge. I make a coffee. My heart is in my throat. And then I see it… the logo emblazoned on the side as it passes by our door. Why have we still not got a door number on the house? I sprint outside with nothing on my feet and wave maniacally at the slowing vehicle. As the driver clocks me and those two white lights signal its passage back to me I breathe – all is well with the world. And as the crates are placed two metres from my feet, I look to the sky and whisper, ‘Christmas has come – Mumma has Mars Mars.‘
Three – Opening Doors
It’s not easy trying to pacify a toddler who ‘wants.’ Despite my attempts to try and convince him that he ‘would like’ rather than want, he still wants it all. And for the last week, all he has wanted is hummus and bananas. Two of the rarities that no longer reside with us. He polished off both in an enthusiastic frenzy of breakfasts and lunches.
Had life have been normal, they would’ve been replaced within the hour after a cheeky trip to Tescos. But life is far from normal. The new normal sees my heart sink every time I open the fridge door and futilely try to convince him that a pouch of apples would be far nicer in his porridge than a manky black banana.
So the cycle of excitement reaches its peak once the delivery has been wiped down and packed away. “What would you like for lunch little man? Hummus and peppers… with cucumber, and pitta.” At such a tender age his face betrays the resignation of disappointment as he prepares himself for my response.
I open the fridge door. Angels sing. Lights blind me. Bananas call my name. Is there anything more exciting than a fully stacked fridge, fresh and ripe for the picking. “What this hummus Mister? Why most certainly!” I am once again the provider. The nurturer. I am, TOP MUM. You want hummus – you’ve got it. Until three days time when we have to go through this entire process all again!
So we’ve established that food brings me joy. Well. Not mushrooms – they’re evil. Not olives. They’re just wrong. But give me bread and crudités with a dip, roll me in chocolate, dunk me in jelly sweets and I could self-combust. Cheers to cholesterol-laden excitement!
What have been the more exciting moments in lockdown? When has your heart rate been raised (keep it PG)? What would be your top three?
I look forward to sharing more with you on the Lockdown List. Drop me a comment if there’s a subject you’d like me to tackle!