I’ve been trying to think about what we gained during the pandemic; I know a lot about what we lost so I’ve been tying to think of some positives.
I got into bread making. My sourdough was a disaster (we will not speak of it) but my sister-in-law gave me a recipe for a pretty foolproof no knead bread and it works for me. You really need to be working at home for it to work because it takes ages but it is very low labour.
I started eating porridge for breakfast. It has changed my life. So filling. So delightful with various toppings. Who knew?
I now have a detailed knowledge of almost everywhere within a 2km radius of our home. I’ve been really surprised at how much I didn’t know before, small parks and tiny estates. I’m also pretty well up on everything within a 5km and to a lesser extent 10km radius. Old churches, parks, the whole village of Chapelizod, which is just lovely.
I have a much more in-depth knowledge of the island of Ireland having spent a much greater proportion of my holidays there than I ever expected to. The children have been to almost all 32 counties which I am sure will stand to them in some obscure as yet unimagined way.
I got to know a lot more of my neighbours. The neighbourhood whatsapp group was started and although it can be a bit of a mixed blessing, it is, on balance, positive.
I really enjoyed our film nights with the big screen. The children tired of them but at a time when we had relatively little to look forward to, I looked forward to our weekend screenings. I might even get the projector out from under the stairs again at some point.
We became subscribers to the Irish Times in hard copy. I mean, I know we’re a dying breed here but I do enjoy a hard copy newspaper first thing in the morning. Usually the children glance at it on the kitchen table but the other day I saw Michael trying to turn the pages of the paper in the air. I’ll tell you this, if his performance is anything to go by, the art of safely turning the page of a broadsheet newspaper is definitely endangered.
It’s a slow burner but cycle infrastructure has definitely improved in Dublin. It’s great to feel a bit safer on the bike and I think that Covid accelerated what was already a trend.
Time with my children
This is a bit of a mixed blessing. At a time when they should have been away from home, meeting their friends, socialising, growing up, they were suddenly confined to barracks. On the whole, it was pretty awful for them and I would hate for anything like that to happen to another cohort of teenagers. However, it did mean that we saw lots of them and maybe got to know them better than we ever would have otherwise. I am pulling what I can from the burning building here.
The hammock and the rocking wooden seat that we bought for the back garden – purchased when the back garden was playing a very large role in our lives – have given us all hours of pleasure.
I am a spendthrift but my spendiness is largely in relation to in person spending, it transpires. While I was working from home and not able to buy anything in person, I saved a lot of money. I was surprised, and it’s hard not to sound unbearable here, but it just kind of mounted up. I appreciate that we were very fortunate in this regard but so it was.
The money saved in Covid, gave me enough of a cushion to try taking a year out of the work force. That clearly wasn’t the only reason but, obviously enough, it gave me an option that I never thought I had before. And I am loving my time off. It’s amazing.
What about you? Anything positive to report? Anything at all?
We gained the habit of regular walks. We’re still waiting round here for any sort of Covid dividend in terms of cycle lanes, but other places have made progress. And we learned that when they had to, policy makers were prepared to make rapid and radical changes that we didn’t expect would ever be possible. Now they just have to apply that to tackling climate change …
You might be waiting on climate change, I’d say…
That is so good! Well done him.