Sunday 29 March 2020


A nice day today, and some much-needed time outside. Jay managed to get to the garden centre before the lock-down began, so we had a load of seeds and plants to get out. All the girls pitched in!

Not long and we'll have peas, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, sweet peas, nasturtiums, sunflowers, pansies and petunias (as well as courgettes and butternut squash - we'll see how they turn out).

"Lydia, count me out four piles of potatoes"

Monday 23 March 2020


As you might guess, virus-related things have rather overtaken most other stuff the past few weeks. Gradually the messages from work sounded more and more like the university would be closing, and eventually this is what happened. The girls' teachers at school have been sending work home in preparation for a closure there, and gradually more and more activities were getting cancelled. Even Church is off! As a family of six, all our shopping looks like panic buying, so it has proved a little harder than usual there too.

Where are we? Well, everyone in the house is healthy (praise God). All groups and activities are off; it looks like Brownie camp won't go ahead; Esther won't be starting nursery in a few weeks; the girls are at home every day and Jay has the job of looking after them and providing some kind of structure in which they can keep learning (their teachers are helping remotely with this but it is most definitely sill hard work!) I have set up a temporary office so I can work from home: teaching was nearly finished but it now involves a lot of talking to cameras, Skype calls and emails; research is much the same but already the GECCO conference in Cancun (in July) is going to be web-only. We had our first home school+work day today and it went pretty well but it's hard to imagine this being how it is right up to the summer... We won't be visiting grandparents at Easter. Church is off, so we are doing our own worship (joint with various Brownlees via Skype) and joining in with things like prayer meetings with others in Cornton on the webcam too. It's going to be a very hard few weeks, possibly months ahead - yet through it all we have much to be thankful for.

Technology means we are still in touch with everyone (including the girls' friends) and my job can almost completely be done remotely: in some ways it's easier without the interruptions (I'm one of those with their office door always open, which is just inviting visitors really...). We also have a decent garden and a good house to do all this in. All the more so then, God is good!

Church on Sunday. We did some singing to YouTube videos, then while the adults listened to the recorded message our pastor had provided (and prayed via Skype), Naomi took on the role of Sunday School teacher for her sisters. Jay had provided some craft activities and they did an excellent job of these.

My bike on the last day before shutdown. Normally at this time of year the rack is full. 
Our spare bedroom is snug...

...just enough room for the bed and nothing else. (There is - literally - 1mm of clearance to get the last screws in/out, with the bed up on bricks so it's above the skirting boards)

One bed dismantling later and it makes a reasonably good home office.


The timetable for school today. We all went for a pre-school walk, then the girls got stuck in to a good mixture of learning and play.

We're adding to this every day - a list of all the things we are thankful for in the midst of the challenges.
This is down to my lovely wife, who is far more wise than she'll ever admit to.
(and a huge blessing to the rest of us too)