50 shades of lockdown: part 4

 I’ve finally caught up with events and I’m posting this article right on time. 12 noon on Tuesday 14th as the 4thweek of lockdown comes to close. A whole 4 weeks. That’s almost a month. It’s hard to believe. And yet now so believable with the lockdown set to continue.

I should be on holiday seeing family in Tunisia, instead, I’m behind my desk having just finished this 4th instalment of this lockdown diary.

Day 22: concentration

Paradoxically, although I have less time to work with newfound home-parenting responsibilities, I seem to get more done. The time pressure forces me to focus. While, I’ve eliminated many of the activities (some of them very enjoyable) that nibble into my day. Walking to my local coworking and then having lunch with my fellow coworkers. Taking Alex to creche and picking him up. Meeting clients scattered across Paris and beyond. Going for long runs along the Seine to clear my head.

Day 23: lethargic lounging

Since I’ve been cooped up inside, I’ve been compensating with some form of exercise every day. I alternate between yoga, Nike Training sessions, staircase workouts and short outdoor runs.

But, today, for the first time, I decided to give it a miss. I’m feeling tired. A little out of sorts and I can’t face the idea of working up a sweat. It’s sunny outside, so I lounge on the veranda with my compact family, a glass or two of wine and a leisurely playlist.

It’s great… although by dinner time, I feel even more tired and start to regretted having shrugged off my dose of movement.

Day 24: details matter

You may remember from week 1 that I have a shared garden that we’re no longer allowed to use. As the temperature creeps up, it has become almost excruciating to gaze out on the empty sunkissed lawns and benches.

Since lockdown began, the weather has been unusually gorgeous. This week feels like summer has arrived early with temperatures topping 25°. So, instead of enjoying the dabbled shade of the garden, I’ve started taking Alex out for occasional strolls around the block.

Given that Ivry is rather grey and concrete-filled, it isn’t the obvious destination for a leisurely walk. But with the blossom out, the sun shining and lockdown taking its toll, it feels almost idyllic.

Whereas I usually whizz past in a hurry, I notice every detail. A little cliched but true. We blow bubbles and watch them gently float away. We wish away dandelions seeds. We jump to reach the blossom-laden branches.

Day 25: the perfect start

As you’ll remember, I’m a keen runner. I usually train 3 or 4 times a week, so it’s tough cutting back. It goes without saying that I take the government’s exercise recommendations very seriously. I don’t go out every day. I avoid busy times. I don’t stray more than 1km. Given the number of people who’ve been hitting the streets in Paris and the surrounding départements, running is no longer allowed from 10am to 7pm.

So, this morning I crawled out of bed at 7am. The sun was shining and, wiping sleep from my eyes, I already felt energised. I wasn’t the only one out and about, but it was still really peaceful and the perfect temperature for a refreshing run.

Day 26: change is in the air

Saturday is here again. The day I’ve started to love and loathe. None of the routine of the lockdown working week including my son’s 2-hour long naps that give us a little breathing space. It also means a good few hours of housework. Yet, somehow, this shift helps break the monotony and create a contrast. I use my computer less and, if I’m lucky, I can sneak in an hour or two of reading.

Day 27: All things Easter

Easter means Easter eggs. And, if you have young children, an Easter egg hunt. Alex, who seems to be flourishing in our new lockdown life, was delighted to scour the apartment for shiny wrappers and quickly found the giant chocolate dinosaur from Granny. We sent interactive Easter e-cards…

…and ventured out into the sun for a bike ride around the block. As Alex isn’t yet capable of staying in a straight line for very long, this was far more tiring than it sounds.

Day 28: the big announcement

Although it’s a bank holiday, we decide to treat this as a normal working day with the routine that goes with it. As we impatiently await Macron’s 8-o-clock message to (undoubtedly) extend the lockdown and set out how he intends to slowly unlock the lockdown…

Macron has come and gone. As expected, lockdown is far from over with France only set to start opening up from 11 May.

Week 4 is officially over, although lockdown is still an oppressive reality. But, I can’t complain compared to the millions of people all over the world who’ve lost their jobs, live day to day and are therefore struggling survive.

I hope you are all staying safe and well.

And, see next week for the 5th instalment.

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