Dramatic title isn’t it and may just be a little over-exaggeration but it’s not far from the truth. The latest lockdown in England has forced us to live separate lives for the first time in over 35 years.
When the UK government announced that November 2020 would see our second national lockdown we found our pre-planned housesits immediately cancelled and suddenly had nowhere to stay. We were due to finish our current housesitting stay in Milton Keynes on the 9th (The Poppy Appeal) but then nothing! Slightly worrying to say the least.
After a few calls and a lot of soul-searching we decided to take up the unbelievably kind offers of accommodation from our youngest son Ryan and our very dear friend Wendy. I would head off to Ryans to keep him company in his one-bed flat in Maidstone and Jo would stay at Wendys a few miles away.
Leaving the train at Maidstone East and waving goodbye as Jo headed on to Bearsted was reminiscent of one of those old black and white films where couples bid each other tearful goodbyes. It wasn’t a black and white situation but it was no less tearful. Not at all what we expected out travelling lives to have come to but these are seriously difficult times for everyone not just us.
Fifteen days of lockdown
Let’s get this straight though, we have both really enjoyed spending time with our respective landlords (that doesn’t sound right does it) and have loved spending so much time with these two wonderful people. They have unselfishly given up their homes and more importantly their time and we will never ever forget their kindness. We have both had such a laugh and a relaxed stay.
We have managed to meet up a couple of times to walk around Mote Park in Maidstone. It’s a huge park with a patchwork pattern of paths so we’ve been able to walk miles and miles and catch up on one anothers news. It’s lovely to meet up but always sad to say goodbye.
Bachelor Pad Living
Staying with Ryan has been fabulous as we get on so well and have so much in common but I have been very aware that I’ve invaded his single-man life. I have tried to be sensitive to how he lives and the way that he does things as it would be so easy to just blast in changing everything to ‘my way’. That’s not suggesting for a moment that I haven’t instigated change. I definitely have.
Healthy eating, regular exercise, sensible bedtimes and proper meals have all been major changes here which he does appear to like. It must be so tough living alone to be disciplined about all of these things, I’m not sure I could do it. I would be eating chocolate and crisps and never getting off the settee if it were me!
We take it turns to cook the evening meal and have both learnt a lot about preparing and cooking food with no real disasters on that front yet. We share the household chores like cleaning, shopping, washing up etc and I have tried to limit TV and Playstation time as it is so easy to waste whole days there. He has been fantastic company and there hasn’t been a single moment that I haven’t felt welcome and loved. It’s been brilliant.
Baking in Bearsted
A few miles away to the east of Maidstone Jo is having a whale of a time with Wendy and Dave. Facing the same issues of trying not to overly disturb their normal lives she has been walking daily, helping Wendy around the house, and of course baking. Wendy runs the Fat Cat Patisserie baking business so they have had a bellyful of laughs working together creating lots of beautiful cakes and pastries. Even delivered a few delicious sausage rolls to me and Ryan.
We are not a pair of love-struck teenagers and are very easy-going and rational about the whole lockdown situation, but we have missed being together dreadfully. Perhaps it’s worse because we have spent every single minute of every day together over the past 5 and a half years but we just feel like half of each of us is missing. I know it isn’t for long and looking back a few weeks will seem like nothing but it has been tough.
It’s such a strange feeling with just over a week left that we are counting the days until we’re together again but still really enjoying our respective stays and really appreciating the time it gives us with Wendy and Ryan respectively. So we will be sad to leave but delighted to be back together.
On to Canterbury
Luckily our forthcoming stay down in Canterbury looks like it is still going ahead so we are looking forward to that. All dependant on what Boris has to say this week regarding lockdowns and tiers of course but it looks good at the moment. Plus news of several vaccines being successfully developed is giving everyone hope that there is an end in sight to these most serious restrictions. I don’t think life will return to exactly the same as it was but we will find a new ‘normal’ eventually.
So it’s back to baking, kittens, and laughs for Jo and Wendy. And back to loud music, PS4 games, and football talk for me and Ryan. All great fun and we’re going to make the most of it whilst we can.
Keep safe and well, wherever you are.
09/11 – 24/11/2020