September 01, 2020

Snippets & Snapshots | Spring + Summer

Typically I reflect on each season individually, however due to the pandemic that has taken place for most of 2020 so far, spring & summer have pretty much looked the same for us so it seemed fitting to just share about them together.

March was really a month of change for us - starting with self isolation mid March due to Alexander developing a new and continuous cough (at this time, UK guidelines stated that anyone with a fever and/or a new and continuous cough were to isolate for 7 days if an individual, and 14 if in a household of others), soon followed by school closing during this fourteen day isolation period, and then the immediate lockdown of the whole of the UK. This meant Nathan working from home (we are very fortunate & thankful that Nathan has been able to work the entirety of the pandemic so far and our financial situation has remained stable during this time), and home learning beginning with Alexander. 

Adjusting to these changes wasn't easy in the beginning, but we soon got in to the swing of things and found a routine that worked for us all... The overarching routine of our day was unchanged, but working out when to do what school bits and what times Alexander worked best etc took some trial and error. 

I know lockdown, especially the initial phase, looked different in different parts of the world - here in the UK we were allowed out for work (if not able to work from home), essentials (such as food shopping & medical reasons), and to take exercise.

Personally, from mid March to mid April we chose to stay safe indoors and did not go out at all. In the run up to lockdown we had already been being mindful of the amount we were going out anyway - lessening our outdoor time only to needs - however we completely halted outdoor time during that month long period right after lockdown was announced. We did use our garden a number of times, but nothing beyond the actual boundary of our home.

During our time staying safe indoors we kept ourselves occupied, of course. We spent time doing a puzzle together (300 pieces – it took me & Alexander a number of days, adding pieces here and there), Alexander planted some flower seeds from a set he was given at Christmas, Nathan & I rewatched the Jurassic Park films (a favourite), much baking was done, we all worked together on Alexander’s rainforest dome (an idea of his that spawned from a Zoe’s Rescue Zoo book he enjoyed), and of course the every day hobbies of drawing, reading, Lego etc.

At the start of May, we made the decision to start using our outdoor exercise and walk locally. We are lucky to have a lot of wonderful walking trails on our doorstep here, with a beautiful forestry area in our village, as well the canal path I reference often… However, we knew these would be quite busy, so instead of sticking to these, we explored some of the trails that are a little hidden away and not accessed by many.

On our first outdoor walk, the three of us went as it was the weekend, and we wound our way up the tree covered hill that sits opposite us – we set out early, and saw just one other set of people during the hour and half in which we were out. 

The path we followed initially was not new to us, as it winds through housing to begin with, but we followed it into the forest and had a wonderful time rising up the treeline; we even had a view of the Bristol Channel up there, which was a pleasant surprise.

Time outdoors, enjoying our nature walks, continued after this positive first experience, with a couple of walks a week. As I said before, we were still getting fresh air & whatnot from time in the garden anyway, but it was nice to be outdoors and in nature once again. We stuck to those out of the way trails for a good little while, with me & Alexander returning to more usual routes of ours around June time - mostly walking along the canal path of an early morning.

As spring transitioned to summer, and with COVID-19 cases declining here in Wales, the government took the step of reopening the schools again... This was a phased reopening, with many new measures & procedures in place, and with the option of returning being up to the parent. At Alexander's school, this was returning one day of the week and home learning the other four, knowing our child this would have been more of a hindrance than a help, so we decided to continue with home learning as we were - especially as it was only a few weeks until school finished for the summer holidays anyway.

The summer holidays... Well, they looked a lot like the months of spring to be honest. More time indoors than outdoors, and just making the best of a pandemic really! Lockdown easing begun here in Wales, especially with regards to the economy and opening up to tourists, but we chose to continue as we felt comfortable. We haven't ventured beyond our local area and have most definitely not explored or experienced any of the days out we would typically try to in the summer holidays. 

Whilst school had finished for Alexander, during the summer holidays is when Nathan actually phased returning back to work. Currently Nathan works four days a week in the office and one from home - he would be back in the office full time, except that he works one late shift a week and public transport is not running to full capacity, therefore not working out with the late shift, which is the day he works from home. Whilst it was great that Nathan was able to work from home, he personally found it quite difficult, especially to get everything done that he normally would as his set up at home is different, so he is actually quite happy to be back in the office & feeling more productive for it. 

Nathan did have a week off during the summer holidays - which had been booked in at the start of the year - and even with the limitations, we were able to make the most of this time as a family. Nathan's week also coincided with a heatwave here in the UK, with temperatures soaring to a high of 29 degrees here where we are in Wales - that is HOT for us!

In August, during Nathan's week off work, we returned to the local forestry area that we love to walk at... We hadn't felt entirely comfortable doing this previously, but with an early start we were able to social distance easily. It was lovely being back at a spot we hold dear, especially returning with the three of us together. We were able to walk a good distance, watch wildlife at the pond (Alexander particularly enjoyed spotting fish and then identifying them using a sign they have there), listening to the flowing river, and feel enveloped on the woodland trail. It was really a day we all needed, for sure - where you feel like you can just breathe and be, y'know.

As the summer holidays wound down, we started back to school prep - yes, Alexander is returning to school. Schools across the UK are returning physically for the new school year and that is definitely an anxiety inducing time for parents and children alike. Cases are relatively low in Wales at the moment (less than 100 a day, often times less than 50) and having already trial run returning to school, the Welsh government are confident in their approach to the schools going back. 

Whilst I am nervous about sending my child back to school, I know that his school have a great number of measures in place to reduce to risk of spreading the virus, and I also know that Alexander very much needs to go back to school for his own health and wellbeing.

So the new uniforms are in, labelling all done, and we have discussed at length the new procedures in place due to the virus. Alexander has been great through all of this to be honest, understanding why we've had to live as we have and abiding by lockdown and distancing measures; we have been pretty open with him regarding the pandemic.

And so just like that, we are returning to school and autumn feels to be rolling in like usual.... And yet, of course, we are still living through uncertain times and very much in the midst of a pandemic.


  1. ...the pandemic has crimped all of our activities. Stay safe and enjoy your family, that's the important thing!


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