As we are all aware, the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on March 17th 2020 and everything pretty much ground to a halt. We sort of hoped that given the open spaces we work in and the physical distancing we could adhere to during sessions, potentially meant that certain businesses like ours would be able to continue in some sort of way. But it wasn’t to be, and for good reason. I’ve been dipping in and out of following the daily updates, sometimes wanting to be fully informed and other times wanting to be totally ignorant (finding the death rates shockingly sad) I certainly feel like I’ve been riding the ‘Coronacoaster’.
As a seasonal business, with June, July and August being our busiest time of year, we would usually be meeting our wonderful customers, newbies and returners at Gower and South Wales’ beauty spots and taking them on some awesome adventures. We’d be taking groups out pretty much every single day, often 2 or 3 different groups in a day. We certainly make hay while the sun shines!!! Business generally slows down in September and from November through to Feb we may take out a handful of groups who brave the less balmy welsh weather and water temperatures. But, that’s always been ok and unlike a lot of people, we as a family look forward to winter. It’s our down time. We switch off from the business (a little) and take a couple of mini breaks and Dave and myself usually tag team personal development trips away.
So, just as we were mentally preparing ourselves for another full on year of adventures and meeting hundreds of customers (which we LOVE!) everything changed, businesses ceased and schools closed and everything felt, well, really, really strange! We spent the first week preparing our school rota that we vowed we’d stick too (it lasted about 3 days) and generally just feeling a bit lost and in limbo, not really knowing what would come of the business and how the hell we’d cope with the kids not being in school! With Dave being a frontline worker, we still had some normality and more importantly, a wage coming in.
Luckily for me, Dave had 3 weeks of annual leave over Easter and the UK got it’s first heat wave! YEESSSS! I LOVE the sun!! So, like almost everyone in the UK blessed to have a garden and forced not to work or leave the house, we happily got stuck in to the list of garden jobs we had. After realising scheduled schooling with the kids wasn’t exactly working and with it being Easter hols anyway, we just let them do what they wanted. To our surprise the girls just played and played and played, so wonderfully that we sometimes just stood there in shock watching them. It was a beautiful thing!
We are so used to rushing around. With Tirion 5 and Mabli 3, trying to get to school for 8:50am, fed and looking presentable, it can all be pretty stressful. Collecting Mabli at 11:30am and then back up for Tiri at 3:20pm, our days are, well, ‘structured’ to say the least. We’re often used to tears and whining on school days, which is probably due to the rushing around and being mentally drained from learning in school and a stressy mother ‘kindly persuading’ them to hurry up or we’ll be late for this or that. So, it’s no wonder that now the rushing about has stopped and time scales are non existent, that they seem calm and happy in their own playful, imaginative worlds. Just watching them in their imaginary, uninterrupted role play for such long periods is certainly thought provoking…….but that’s for another blog 😉
The garden- our refuge
So, with our new ‘organic’ schooling style, happy kids and this ever-lasting warm, sunny weather the list of garden jobs grows. We re-designed the front garden to include pond and fairy garden. We planted A LOT of veggies, plants and flowers in the front and back. We gave fencing and sheds a much needed lick of paint. I finally have my hanging baskets up and have even added bunting 😊 The sheds have been cleared out and organised and the girls have some new garden toys. With lots more to do and more sunshine it gives us a happy focus. Prior to lockdown, we’d spend most weekends out and about, never truly appreciating how lucky we were to simply have our own outdoor space to relax in and enjoy and to invest our time and energy into to make it our small haven. We’ve realised that the kids don’t actually need beaches, parks and attractions and that being at home with us is what they seem to love just as much…maybe more. There’s no nicer place than right at the heart of your comfort zone.
Locally, we’ve also discovered more beautiful walks that we never knew were there and Dave and I have been getting some much needed exercise by getting the kids on the back of our bikes and tackling some decent hills. We’ve also been making the most of the quiet Gower roads and getting some good distance on the road bikes-minus the kids. We’re surrounded by woodlands in Three Crosses so nature walks and foraging has been a regular activity and as nice as it is being in your comfort zone, we feel it’s vital for growth to push your limits now and again so we’ve also been setting up some safe exciting rope swings for the kids and we’re stoked to say that both girls are totally confident in harnesses at height and their abseil skills have come on great- WINNER! They’ll be instructing before we know it!
With England easing lockdown measures and the rest of the country still in full lockdown, talks of a second wave of the virus, we still don’t know what to think and are now used to this limbo like state. We take each day at a time and make a plan the night before for what we’ll do with the kids based on the weather and we don’t think about anything else…..it’s really simple and it’s really nice.
The one stand out thing that has hit us the hardest from day one, is not being able to see family members. Particularly for the girls to see their grandparents and cousin Ianto. It’s the one thing we are all hoping for in Wales, is to just see our family members, to hug them and to just be with them, to chat and drink tea and just be together. We are missing each other A LOT!!
Unlike so many people at this time, we really do feel fortunate to be able to afford to stay safe and healthy at home. We are able to take the good from this experience. Our sole focus on a daily basis is to be together and have fun. No business to run, no school runs, no trips out and much less spending. We await the news that we are to re open under our new covid policy and will update you all as soon as we know. We are hoping our current bookings for August can still go ahead with some minor adjustments to help keep us all safe. But for now there’s so little to think about, my racing mind has stopped. This is a rare journey that we are all on and it may never happen again in our lifetime. The time when only the tide went out.
Stay safe people.x