When Lockdown leads to panini pressure

Week 6 of the Coronavirus lockdown and I detected a bit of tension among my 3 captive children. They had been bearing up pretty well until now despite their new home-based routines. The elder two, whose courses had been cut short, had mostly adjusted to living full-time with family members again rather than with their uni housemates. Like most students, they had gotten used to living with different standards of hygiene, tidiness and cultural norms. To be fair, cleaning up after yourself is hardly a priority when you are studying for a degree and who remembers that at home, full-scale burping can reverberate beyond a bedroom wall? Luckily, we already avoided their bedrooms so it was only in the shared areas of the house where there had been some slight clashes. Particularly, in the busiest and most often populated room of the house – the kitchen.

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Stir crazy

What a long 3 weeks it has been in the Coronavirus lockdown but I am slowly becoming accustomed to the new normal. Like many families, it was a bit of a shocker at first to suddenly have a full house again after the schools closed down. Balancing work with family life has become slightly trickier with everyone working from home but my main challenge at the moment is actually feeding everyone. With the big eaters from uni now back 24/7, the demand has ramped up exponentially with no plateau in sight. As for the supply, I have had to rapidly up my game by buying and cooking much more food to slow the perpetually emptying fridge. But that’s easier said than done. In a time of Coronavirus, the usual weekly shop is more like a secretive slow-motion game of tag.

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Jog on Coronavirus

I recently watched what was probably my children’s last rugby fixture to go ahead for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus outbreak but at least it was very memorable. Last weekend, I joined a slightly inebriated crowd of students at The City Varsity to watch the annual rugby head-to-head, clearly before social distancing was trending. As I watched Imperial College London’s1st team pummel the London School of Economics, rival crowds swayed and chanted to each other in a leery competition of who could sing the loudest and most outrageous lyrics. With the final whistle of the match, everyone surged onto the pitch to continue their messy celebration with the teams. After finding my son among his fellow players and congratulating him, he embraced me in a massive bear hug while coughing furiously. I reeled back in alarm and looked at him but he said quite confidently, ‘Don’t worry, it’s mucous-y!’ before grabbing me again.

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The truth about running

As I was running in torrential rain whilst trying not to be blown off my feet during the latest storm, my mind wandered to the newspaper article I had read that morning. It was another feature set out to debunk several myths about running and encourage more people to take it up. Although I didn’t disagree with the essence of the article I realised that this was the second time that I had read something on the very same topic in only a matter of days. Whilst I pondered to what extent there was any mythology about running that was stopping people from lacing up their trainers, I was momentarily distracted and misjudged the depth of a very swampy puddle. I felt the surge of icy water engulf my feet as my shoes sank to the puddle’s depths and it occurred to me that neither article had mentioned this.

No one ever comes clean and tells you the truth about running. Maybe it was about time to let the uninitiated know what they will be signing up for. As a veteran runner, I feel dutybound to share this so what follows are the harsh realities and the inconvenient truth about running.

PB & J refuel bars
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Never mind the mess, I’m cooking outside my comfort zone!

While drying my dishes the other day, I was reminded of the fact that we are always told by others that we should do things outside of our comfort zone. They say that we should take on new challenges and opportunities because you never know where these new experiences will take you. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t a bit risky to stick your neck out and try something different. However, to quote the wise words of Canadian former professional ice hockey champion Wayne Gretzky aka ‘The Great One’, ‘You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. But if I ever need any further encouragement to step outside my comfort zone, I only have to look at two prized tea towels.

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