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Five useful things I learned in lockdown

Although it was a tough old slog, I learned a lot in Lockdown. Mainly about myself. How totally out-of-this-world bonkers was it to have so much time to think?! How did you guys get on?

What I wouldn’t give for a sunny afternoon, a few bottles (barrels) of rose and my girlfriends, right now. Lockdown has been bloody hard. Hugs, holidays, popping out for a coffee and weekend getaways seem a long way off. BUT this monumental shift hasn’t been totally bad. One day, when I was totally fed up, I jotted down a few of the positive things I’ve learned in lockdown.

I ❤️ the weekly shop

Although the actual shopping experience feels like a nightmare episode of Supermarket Sweep, the weekly shop is making a comeback. And, I kind of love it. Instead of getting my husband to pick up ‘a few bits’ on the way back from the station, we sit down and PLAN EVERY MEAL. A helpful tactic to avoid the potential contamination frequent trips to the Sainos deli aisle might incur. Sometimes we even open one of the hundred dusty cookery books on the kitchen shelf – I knew they weren’t destined for the charity shop quuuuuite yet. We’re saving money (like, a lot), and we’re learning how to stretch what we’ve got and eat more simply. It’s a reassuring process.

But, I ❤️ local deliveries even more

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get too wholesome on you. The honest truth is that I am basically living for the weekend treats (and wine) right now. I love the Saturday takeaway, big, big, big time. We’re ordering from Indian grill, street food and awesome regional curry hotspot, Sarakh in Harpenden this week, and I’m stoked already. Literally won’t be able to stop thinking about it for the rest of the week now, and it’s only Tuesday. Yard in Harpenden is also a fave for pizza, as is Taste of Vietnam in St Albans (See our list of restaurants delivering for more!). God, I’m ravenous now.

I’m a bulb addict – there, I’ve said it

Like most of the nation, I’m spending a lot more time in the garden. The hottest April on record couldn’t have come at a better time, right? And, since lockdown began, an uncontrollable red mist has come over me and I have become an unashamed bulb freak. For most of early April, I had to have my phone physically removed from me after dinner to stop me obsessively scouring the internet for ALL THE REMAINING SUMMER BULBS.

I’ll admit that my tulip fetish started well before lockdown, and thank god it did. The sea (OK, I planted 150) of crimson, peach, lilac and velvety almost black tulip beauties has been the light of my life for pretty much all of April and will be for a few weeks more. Don’t diss flowers, they make you happy. Bring on the alliums, gladioli and the – ah hem – 15 Dahlias.

Pick up the phone

In times like these, WhatsApp doesn’t quite cut the mustard. My wonderful, big-hearted grandmother was always on the phone, smiling and gossiping away, just having a natter. It’s something I think we’ve lost, sadly, with the rise of messaging. But, the connection you feel with a call or Facetime is so much more satisfying exchanging a few words on screen.

Now, more than ever, we are checking in, family rifts forgotten and silly Zoom or Houseparty sessions lifting you after a bad day. But, it’s those one on one calls that are needed most. The ‘How are you doing? (actually, really, be honest?)’ calls. The corona cocktail parties and copious quizzes may fade into the background in a few months’ time, but the importance of the telephone call is something that I’ll try to remember (Once I’ve spent at least two months going completely mad at any BBQ, garden party or pub session that is mentioned).

One hour of exercise OUTDOORS

Fine, we could all be doing squats in our sitting room (not hugely appealing), but I think most of us are heading out for a leisurely hour’s walk or run in the beautiful green spaces of our counties. And, in that fresh-air-hour I’ve found myself noticing the change of seasons, the blossom and the spring birds chirping and tweeting around their nests (also thanks in large part to the now much-quieter M1). It’s probably the first time I’ve really noticed spring. Properly. Without being too cheesy – it has been a really wonderful experience.

I could go on: families are pulling together; our homes have transformed in to safe havens – fortresses from the chaos around us; we have all realised how brilliant our amazing NHS is; and, of course, we have had some sober (or not so sober) time for self reflection. I’m also convinced that many of us will come bouncing out of this brimming with new ideas and projects – things you might not have had the headspace to consider before. Above all, Covid-19 has made me realise what’s important – that health and happiness come before wealth and work. It can’t be too much longer now, team – stay strong and focus on the good.

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