Monday 14 September

Today’s first exciting task was a visit to Aldi. I got there at 8.00 and managed to beat the rush: many people drop the children at school and then go shopping. The two customers ahead of me caused me some contemplation. They were both vastly overweight, well, let’s admit it, totally obese, the lady so much so that she had to lean and support herself on the trolley. Her husband was almost as bad. Neither was wearing a mask, and he was coughing. I observed extreme social distance. But then I thought, these are probably the people who the government is targeting and yet the message is not getting through. Or they have such difficulty breathing that they cannot wear a mask. In which case they should have shopping delivered?

I had another real actual Pilates class today and tonight the first aquafit class since March. There were 10 of us in a full size swimming pool so not exactly overcrowded. It was such fun to be back and made my Monday evening seem quite normal again. It’s funny how things like this create a familiar rhythm to life. Even observing the school run this afternoon was quite pleasurable in its normality. New Y7’s in their shiny uniforms and slightly large blazers, little reception children clutching their mum’s hand and chattering about their exciting day. A large number of cars parked all over the place near the schools: I don’t see much sign of more walking or more cycling. Perhaps Sixth Formers will all take to electric scooters.

Nephew Tim is back with us, and I was talking about the school run, and then reminisced how I walked to school with my friend at the age of 5, up the hill in the morning, down back home for lunch, then back again in the afternoon. I was at Greenhill Primary, Sheffield, which was built after the war to cope with the baby boomers. In the top class at age 11, there were 54 of us, ruled with a rod of iron, metaphorically speaking, by Mrs Parker, who got us all through the 11 plus. We had weekly tests, and sat in rank order with the top candidates at the back of the class and the weaker ones at the front. I was always in the back row, which is how I discovered that I needed glasses as I could not read what was on the blackboard! But thank you Mrs P: I got a scholarship to Sheffield High School which was then transferred to Loughborough High School, as we moved when I finished primary education.

Perhaps this is a spin-off from lockdown, more family time. One of my aquafit class mentioned this. Certainly I think it is true in our case, though I have not seen my niece in Edinburgh for a long time, except on Zoom. Emma and Mark are safely back from Lanzarote, which was apparently almost deserted. Now the quarantine starts. But they both work from home so apart from the weekends, it won’t be so different.

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