Lockdown: 47 Days in Devon

These are undoubtedly very difficult times for everyone. Staying inside and living severely restricted lives for so long takes it toll on even the hardiest souls and appears to be becoming more demanding with every passing day. Of course no-one is exempt from this and as the government and the media keep announcing, ‘we are all in this together’.

Strange concept though isn’t it? Saying ‘we’re all in this together‘ when we have never been so isolated? It really doesn’t feel like that with our lives all being turned upside, inside out, and back to front. We all know what they mean though, they mean that everyone has to obey the advice and rules and without all of us doing it ‘together‘ then the situation won’t improve. Not easy for anyone but a simple message.

So we are doing our bit for the NHS and society by obeying the social distancing advice and ‘stay inside‘ messages and find ourselves waking up on the 47th morning of our stay down in Devon in our little self-contained apartment. It’s a fabulously comfortable place with everything we need but we are obviously isolating like everybody else and the days can feel empty and long if you don’t do something about it. Well we decided as soon as we had settled in that we needed to get busy and fill our days as much as possible. That’s where our 31 days of May challenges come in.


JWalking Lockdown Challenges

These little challenges are just things that we have set ourselves, and each other, to make our time more enjoyable. We’re not trying to prove anything or outdo anyone else, just having a little fun. So for no particular reason we have decided to improve our fitness by daily exercises and running, improve our diet, cut out alcohol, learn history, read poetry, discover new music, and much much more. Jo is running every morning, I’m trying to 2000 press-ups by the end of the month, Jo is working on her family cine-films, and I’m attempting to learn to sew and bake.

But our favourite challenge is to do with our daily walks. We decided that we wanted to walk  (virtually) from our apartment here in Braunton to Trafalgar Square in central London. It’s 195 miles which gives us a bit of a walk every day, more difficult in wet and rainy weather but thankfully Devon doesn’t have many days like that. Much nicer when it’s sunny of course. So far so good and right on track as we’ve completed 58 miles so far (just past Taunton) but a fair way still to go.


Keeping in touch

We’ve always been fairly good at keeping in touch with family and friends but another little challenge has been for us both to email, or write a letter, to a different person every single morning. Keeping in touch is always important but feels even more critical at this difficult time. Also we’re loving our weekly family quiz nights over WhatsApp where we get to spend time (virtually) with our amazing three boys and their wives. Priceless.


Daily Radio Station of the Day

One of my favourites is my ‘Radio Station of the Day’. Every morning between 8.30 and 9am I listen to a new radio station from somewhere around the world. Not sure if I’ve chosen the right time as it seems to be exactly the time when Jo sits down to breakfast and she has to endure Navruz FM from Tashkent in Uzbekistan or Radio Nacional Ushaiai and Islas Malvinas from Argentina. Quite entertaining though and often very funny. Hopefully I’ll be able to find enough stations from various interesting places to fill the whole month.

All of these little challenges are really helping us get through these difficult times and keeping us away from the TV. It’s so easy to just plonk yourself down in front of the box at the moment and just vegetate but we are really trying to resist that. We do sit down between 7 and 7.30 but are picking our films and series very carefully as we don’t want to get sucked into watching any dross. So any recommendations on good stuff to watch would be most appreciated.

“The slightly crazy La Invasora FM radio station from Tijuana, Mexico that we listened to this morning. Very different!”

Walking, Walking, Walking

Luckily we are able to get out and just walk and wander and explore all of the wonderful countryside all around which we are incredibly grateful to be able to do. We really do appreciate how lucky we are to be here and are trying to make the absolute most of it. Oh and of course each mile gets us a bit closer to Trafalgar Square doesn’t it?


V E Day

On our walk yesterday, down to Croyde Bay across the Aerial Road, we saw countless houses decorated with union jacks and signs celebrating the anniversary of VE Day. Great to see so much support but incredibly sad that so many well-planned celebrations have had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. So many people must have put in an incredible amount of effort that has now unfortunately been for almost nothing. Such a shame but wonderful to see so many people still making such a concerted effort.

Boris’s Big Lockdown Speech

Everyone in the UK, well perhaps everyone in England, is looking forward to hearing what our Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to say on Sunday evening in the live TV briefing. The press and online news sites are full of stories about the lockdown being relaxed and restrictions being eased but it’s all supposition, no-one knows yet and I suspect they are all jumping the gun. I think we may be looking at another three weeks in lockdown but with perhaps an extra exercise trip allowed and perhaps a couple of minor changes. We just need to wait and see.


The Next 47 Days

Sounds depressing doesn’t it? Another 47 days at least being restricted and isolated. Well we’ve all done so well so far it would be crazy to ease up and break the rules now. We are expecting it to last at least until the end of June and are fairly relaxed about our daily lives now. With our new routines and challenges we’ve managed to fill our days with all sorts of activity. Although like everyone else we just really miss our family and friends.

Any thoughts on new challenges that we could do?

24/03 – 09/05/2020

52 comments

    • Not sure about keeping out of mischief Deb but we are certainly keeping ourselves busy. Glad you’re okay and looking forward to seeing you too.

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  1. Does seem a long time but it’s going to be longer than that. Lucky you are in Devon in the country though. We are also lucky to be in Perth. For a challenge I am doing Sculpture Saturday hosted by Mind over Memory. If you have any photos of sculptures then ping back to that website

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  2. Haha 😂 made me laugh about your varied radio stations you listen to daily. So funny! Glad you’re in a nice spot. We’re ok here on the boat, just miss family. Let’s hope it’s not too long now 😊

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  3. So pleased that you are both keeping yourselves occupied with lots of walks and challenges. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer now before we can all move around again and meet up with family and friends. Enjoy your foreign radio stations – I sometimes listen to overseas ones to practice my language skills.

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  4. Sounds like you’re doing a great job keeping busy, staying fit and exploring lots of trails and different options. Being outside has been a godsend for me too but I think we’ll all be glad to get to the other side of this. Lovely post. xx

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  5. Lockdown seems so much longer in number of days! 2000 press ups in one go is a hell of a lot Jon! Still, plenty of time for training. If you’ve got access to a guitar or ukulele Fender are offering 3 months of free lessons. Or how about brushing up on your German! The radio station would have been a brilliant idea for the old office.

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  6. Great ideas! Have you heard of the Radio Garden and website? You can listen to radio stations around the world. It’s amazing what you can find on there!

    I’ve been keeping in touch via letters and video calls. 🙂

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  7. There are certainly worst places to be if you are in a Lock Down but it is still a challenge and you have come up with some great ideas. The new Radio station everyday is a good one. Will try that. I thought about giving up alcohol but when there is a beautiful spring evening and the lounge set is calling its very hard not to try that Belgian beer staring at you in the fridge. Maybe I need help? Maybe not as I wouldn’t touch a Heineken 🙂 All the best and stay safe.

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  8. It sounds like you’re both doing a great job of keeping busy and trying new things. I’m a bit late to this post so Boris has done his speech. It all sounded a bit airy fairy and no one is taking much notice by the looks of the news reports here. I hope you’ll soon be able to extend your activities to some new places but don’t rush out too fast. Here restrictions are gradually being lifted, but with dire warnings about what will happen if people start doing too much too close too soon. Stay safe.

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    • We’re keeping so busy and filling our days with all of these activities so the idea is working well. Boris didn’t open up anything so it’s going to be June before we hear anything new now. Not really surprised. Hopefully people in Aus will behave sensibly and enable the easing of restrictions to work well.

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  9. What an amazing pair you are! Glad I stopped by. I certainly don’t vegetate in front of the telly but I have nothing like your variety in my days. On the subject of TV, no idea of your tastes but Mike watched a series called The Last Kingdom on Netflix. It’s all about the Danes and King Alfred, and the hero is compelling. Well, I liked his voice 🙂 🙂
    Intrigued by your virtual walk- you mean you follow it on Google maps rather than physically? Never heard of Radio Garden, and i don’t know if we could pick it up in our part of the world. I thought you just spun the dial. All I ever get is crackle and gobbledygook. 😦 This must be the longest you’ve stayed in one place for a while? Carry on enjoying and challenging each other. You’re doing a great job.

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    • We are doing our virtual walk on Google Maps but we have to complete an average number of real steps every day on our daily walks to keep the average up. Keeps us going. Radio Garden should be available everywhere, great site and well worth a little look. It will be the longest we’ve stayed anywhere in 5 years by the end of next week so very strange but we are so grateful.

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  10. I gave up the idea of using this time to improve my diet pretty early on. I admire your fortitude, but I need cake! I have been using it as an opportunity to discover all the places that now do mail order though. I had these amazing brownies at the Dorset Knob Throwing Festival a few years back, and I managed to track down the bakery the other day and place an order, which is very exciting! I’ve also found a local bakery that has started doing continental breakfast boxes full of croissants, muffins, and brioche…I may have ordered two of them in the past month. Good thing I’m at least still exercising at home, or I wouldn’t fit through the door by the time we’re allowed out!

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    • Cake and baking sound like heaven but if we got into that routine we’d soon be double the size we are! Like the sound of the brownies from the Dorset Knob Throwing, was only reading about that the other day. Sounds like a fun day out (when it’s on of course). Hope you’re doing okay in these difficult lockdown times?

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      • Yes, I’m doing absolutely fine, thanks! Actually, I’m dreading things reopening because I’m enjoying my “deployment” so much more than my actual job – the only thing I’m really missing right now is travel. Hope you’re doing well too, though by the sounds of it you’ve settled into a good routine!

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  11. I have been wondering how you have both been doing in lockdown, but it sounds like you landed in the perfect place! The walks in Devon are so lovely.

    The village where I grew up had some fun for VE day. They all ended up having picnic at the end of their gardens so they could shout to each other without breaking social distancing rules. It looked quite pleasant, if a bit strange.

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    • Sounds brilliant Josy, such wonderful community spirit. That sort of occasion seems to be returning all over the country which can only be a good thing. Perhaps something good will come out of this pandemic after all.

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  12. What busy days you have in your idyllic surroundings! I love your challenges and I agree you definitely need these to stimulate and make the days more interesting. I too run 5km (if you can call it that😁) 5 days out of 7 and 1 x 10km per week. I love running and find it sets me up for the day. Take care both 💐

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    • Our challenges are really keeping us busy and giving these lockdown days some serious structure. Enjoying them all so much. The running sounds good and you’re so right about early exercise setting you up for the rest of the day.

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    • A brilliant website called Radio Garden where you can travel all around the globe selecting thousands of different stations. So good.

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  13. Fabulous ideas for challenging yourselves during this time. I see you’re having some nice weather over there too. Take care, we have the same message here, we’re all in this together! x

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    • Loving our challenges still as they give us structure and goals on these lockdown days. We seem to be so busy but it’s mostly of our own making but we prefer it that way.

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