Blackness Castle during lockdown

The Lockdown Diaries | Week 14: In Which We Try to Explain Social Distancing to a Toddler

Last week on ‘Amber Writes About Mundane Things Under the Guise of Documenting Life in Lockdown’, you might recall I was deeply embroiled in a washer /dryer drama, the likes of which we haven’t seen since … well, since the last time I was embroiled in a washer/dryer drama, basically. This happens way too often, doesn’t it? We should probably think a bit more about WHY that is?

This week, meanwhile, we are STILL battling with our tumble drier, only without most of the drama, thankfully, because while the machine itself still isn’t drying properly, the weather’s been good enough most days to allow us to just dry everything outside. (Quick pause here to reflect on the fact that I’m only three sentences into this post and even I’m already bored with it. GOD. Bear with me, I promise I’ll get past this whole ‘tumble drier’ thing in a minute, and we’ll be back to regular programming…) This has been handy, because, when Terry called the company we have the warranty with to arrange to have the machine fixed, he discovered that they are:

a) Not currently taking phonecalls, because, PANDEMIC.


b) Or answering emails, because, SAME.

So, yes, no tumble drier for us, unfortunately, but, on the plus side, the warranty company are clearly taking the lockdown very seriously, and I guess they’re to be commended for that? I can kind of sense that this is a saga that’s going to run and run, but I’m annoying even myself now, so let’s move on to the rest of my weekly lockdown update, shall we?

Visiting Blackness castle. ScotlandSo, this week was notable for two main reasons: the first being Terry’s birthday, and the second being Scotland’s move to Phase 2 of the easing of lockdown restrictions, both of which happened on the same day. We weren’t actually expecting Thursday’s announcement to make any difference to us, really, because, for people who are shielding, lockdown so far has just been a series of announcements about things other people can do, while we stay indoors – and what a lot of fun that’s been, for sure.

This time, however, there was a surprise in store, and, as well as the confirmation that Terry is now “allowed” to go outside for exercise, Thursday’s announcement also contained the news that people who are shielding can also meet up with one other household at a time – albeit outdoors, and with the obvious social distancing measures in place.

This was pretty big news for us: as some of you might recall, we have been seeing my parents for a few weeks now, but only because they’ve also been strictly isolating, so, even though it was against the shielding guidelines (While permitted for those who aren’t shielding…), we judged it safe enough to do it anyway. We haven’t, however, met up with anyone else since before the lockdown started, and hadn’t expected to be able to for quite some time, so it was nice that the green light to start seeing people again came on Terry’s birthday. (Er, especially given that the cards I’d ordered from me and Max didn’t turn up until Max had gone to bed that night: whoops!)

Two year old Max walking along the sea wall at Blackness Castle

Since then, we’ve had a couple of socially-distanced walks with Terry’s brother, plus a garden meetup with his sister and her husband, and it’s done us all the world of good to be able to get out of the house, and see people in person again, rather than via FaceTime, or whatever. I have to admit, it can be a little bit stressful at times too, purely because of the impossibility of getting a two-year-old to socially distance at all times: to be fair, Max does understand that he’s not supposed to go near people, or touch things (Because of “the cowona virus”, as he calls it…), but, like most toddlers, he’s easily distracted, so I feel like I spend a lot of my time going, “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” and “COME BACK HERE,” which makes me a real barrel of laughs, obviously. (I’m trying really hard to stop this, because I don’t want him to end up with some kind of complex, but, even though I know the community transmission in Scotland is currently very low, it’s still hard to let go of 3+ months worth of conditioning, you know?)

Max at Blackness Castle

As well as the family meet-ups, this week the three of us also took a quick trip to Blackness Castle. Again, I was a bit nervous about this, because leaving the house is still out of our comfort zone, but, once we got there, I was surprised by how normal it felt to be out. We’d chosen this location fully prepared to just turn around and head for home if it was too busy, but we must have gotten lucky with the timing, because the beach was deserted, and while there were a few people wandering around the castle grounds (The castle itself is still closed, but there are lots of walks you can take around it…), everyone was far enough away that even I wasn’t worried about getting too close to someone. So we had a lovely time, which made us determined to continue getting out for walks as often as we can: even though we were only out of the house for an hour or so, it still made a huge difference to everyone’s mood – which, to be honest, has been pretty low in recent weeks from the sheer monotony of being stuck at home at all the time, with nothing to break our routine, and nothing to look forward to.

Max and Terry at Blackness Castle

This week, however, has been the first time in months that life has felt even vaguely normal to us: in fact, because we work from home anyway, it’s actually not been that different from a regular week might be at this time of year. Sure, we’ve had some seemingly endless days spent trying to juggle work with childcare, but we’ve also seen family and had a couple of mini-adventures out of the house, all of which have helped make us feel like there might be some of light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel.

Of course, the problem with all of this is that most of the things that have helped us feel better this week have been totally dependent on the weather. (And no, I’m not JUST talking about the washer-dryer drama, either…) In our current phase of lockdown, we’re still not allowed into houses or other indoor settings, so we’ve been REALLY lucky so far in that we’ve had an unusually dry spring/start of summer. (With that said, I’m actually wearing two jumpers in these photos, and Max’s jacket went on as soon as he agreed to stand still for long enough: that sea breeze was CHILLY…) Given Scotland’s highly changeable weather, though, we’re currently in a situation where one day we can live almost normally, with walks, and meet-ups and the like, then, the next day it rains, and we’re back to being stuck in the house, desperately trying to entertain a hyperactive toddler, who’s as bored of the same four walls as we are.

watching the sea at Blackness

Still, with all of that said, the current situation is still much more than we’d dared to hope for at this point in lockdown: just a couple of weeks ago, we were fully expecting to not be able to leave the house, or see anyone other than my parents, for a very long time to come, so while we’re still very aware that the virus hasn’t gone away, and we’re going to have to continue to be really careful for the foreseeable, I’m really hoping for a few more weeks like this one: it would make all the difference…

How’s your week been?


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  • Miss Kitty


    I am still waiting for the border between NZ & Australia to open, so I can rejoin my boyfriend who I haven’t seen since February. We were hoping that the border would reopen in July, but it doesn’t look like this is going to happen now 🙁 In the meantime, to keep myself distracted I have been planning a small outing each week, if the weather is fine enough, given that it’s winter here. It has to be somewhere close and free, because I don’t have any income at the moment, having left my job just before lockdown – really bad timing! I just try to keep busy and try not to think about how much longer this might last for. Glad you can get out of the house now as well, it definitely does make a huge difference to morale!

    June 22, 2020
  • Brenda


    I am in Canada, and every province is treating the pandemic differently. In my province, we have entered Phase 2 of our social isolation also. I actually got a hair cut yesterday! Salons have to take certain measures, masks in or PPE in place, every other chair is empty, etc. It felt nice to get out. I am pretty introverted, but even I have been feeling “pent up”. It is nice to get out and see other people again, but I am pretty certain that a second wave will hit as things open up again. And if that happens, I’m not sure how our government will handle it. I can’t imagine people and businesses being willing to go into full lockdown again. What has me REALLY freaked out is the public pressure to open the border between the US and Canada again. Things aren’t great in the US and opening the border would set us back a lot. It bothers me how so many people still think this is just another version of the flu. At any rate, it is nice to get out a little bit and enjoy the nice weather. It really does help bring back a feeling of normalcy!

    June 23, 2020
  • Flora


    Love your trousers. I feel like I’ve totally forgotten how to dress during lockdown – glad thats not endemic.

    June 25, 2020