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Heads you win, tails I lose - lockdown life 2020

Along with most aspects of current life, the parent/child rule book has been turned on its head.

In a bid to rein-back a modicum of control, our lockdown life exit strategy will undoubtedly involve the bulk-buying of self-help books, with me at the front of the socially-distanced queue.

Bedtime, for instance, is a particular flashpoint. It’s tricky to maintain the moral high ground when you’re being told to ‘stop staying up so late to watch the TV!’

“I’m sorry,” I wail pathetically, “just another ten minutes, I promise.”

Screen time’s another parenting crossroad. As with the pandemic’s peak, mine reared-up like Boris’ fabled sombrero and isn’t looking like flattening-out any time soon.

Displaying all the hallmarks of a desperate addict, my news-junkie mantra has actually warranted the disabling of Apple’s helpful little online weekly report, fearful that my rising habit may be publicly exposed.

But hold on a moment, there’s an iota of solace gained from learning I’m not alone.

Traditionally, parents wait nervously for their offspring’s return from a late-night dalliance.

In the crazy world of Covid-2020, roles have reversed: “My 30-year-old son was tracking me on the ‘find my phone’ app,” a friend tells me. Said son became incensed - having plotted his parents to a shop he felt was ‘unessential’ - delivering a rollicking that night. “I’ve turned off his access,” she smirked.

Further heartening reports of dwindling standards reach me. Another friend, with three under 12, had it pointed out that frozen chips had been served four times that week. “They weren’t complaining, just observing, but I felt so ashamed.” It was Indian take-away at their house on Friday.

Don’t you just love a kid who laments their broccoli quota?

Feeling guardedly smug and attempting to up the ante on quality family-time ratio, hair dying and false nail application were mooted.

Er, that’s ‘so not going to happen’.

Zoom classrooms - the new electronic catwalk and all the nuanced social conformity that that entails - must now be thoroughly considered. Electric guitar’s not easy with extended talons either, apparently.

Silly me. I returned to the iPad’s sweet embrace.

But that too comes with its challenges. Anticipating the dearth of gardening paraphernalia, at the end of March I plunged into an online order from a company promising to have my outdoor space looking like Chelsea Flower Show.

Click, and relax.


To cut a long ‘customer unsatisfaction’ story short, they’re “hoping” to despatch it by the third week in May. May? Do they not realise Scotland only has eight weeks without permafrost and two of those are in May?!

Looking on the bright side, winter coats are a magnificent bargain, arriving within four days, amid a blizzard of helpful tracking messages, texts and discount codes for future purchases.

Everything’s upside down, but, of course, I do understand that it’s all supply and demand.

Anticipating a bed full of blooms only heightens the excitement of my personal marshmallow challenge and, should society soon be allowed more countryside access, it’s a comfort to know that we’ll have the prerequisite goose-down at our disposal for a balmy Scottish, spring evening.

It remains to be seen if midges will keep the required social distance.

Mairi Fraser 4.5.20

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