Kidding Around Tyne Valley (01)- My First Feature!

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

I’m Lindsey Joy, and I’m delighted to have joined the team at Tyne Valley Express as a new Feature Writer. This first feature of mine, “Kidding Around…Tyne Valley”, will be an ongoing commentary on family life as well as a ‘what’s on’ in and around the area. Now obviously we’re in the midst of a strange period of social lockdown, so I won’t be telling you all to get out and about this time around, but fingers crossed that we’ll get back to normal soon enough and I’ll be inviting your feedback and suggestions for great family days out and themes you’d like me to discuss. In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind if the focus of my first article is about my family life, to let you know a bit more about us? I’ll reflect on the times we’re living in, and the effects this period of social distancing has had on us, both in terms of losses and gains. Overnight… At the beginning of this year, following my maternity leave, I finally took the plunge and became self-employed - a big decision for me and my little family. I launched a business called Bodhi Mama, in which I teach expectant parents how to use Hypnobirthing to prepare themselves for the birth of their child. I was also in the process of launching several Singing Mamas Choirs in the area - Choirs for women where children are welcome (essentially we sing, smile and eat cake!). But then the virus arrived, and everything got locked down overnight, and we found ourselves one income down. Luckily, my husband is a key worker so we have still been able to rely on money coming in, but as for most of us the feeling of insecurity and anxiety has been quite overwhelming. What I miss… My family loves the outdoors, we all love to feel sand between our toes, and take every opportunity we can get to stomp around the grounds of National Trust properties in the region. I personally miss pottering around the shops in Hexham and then going for my sneaky coffee and cake at Hextol Tans Café! And childcare, oh how I long for days when I had childcare! My little boy is 16 months old and was thriving at Nursery, and regular visits from his Grandma also gave me the time I needed to do my work. Now I have constant ‘Mammy guilt’ as I juggle working from home (ha!) versus giving him the time and stimulation he needs. Maybe it was a bit ambitious, earlier this week we gave crayons and paper a go, but had to spend the whole time trying to stop him eating the materials! Teething and lockdowns, bad combination! Hats off to all of you doing home education right now! As a former primary school teacher, I know how much work goes into planning a single lesson, never mind a whole week’s worth, so if you’re doing this and juggling all of your other tasks then you deserve a pat on the back, and probably a stiff drink! But… We are following all the advice: staying home for most of the day, not using the car to travel for exercise and maintaining social distancing when crossing paths with people when we do get out for a walk. We try to do food shopping when its not so busy, planning our meals in advance and therefore only buying what we need. And we’ve put our names down to be volunteers in the community if someone vulnerable needs help… but I can’t help thinking ‘is this enough?’ My heart aches for the key workers leaving their families everyday and going to work somewhere like a hospital or even a supermarket, and putting themselves at risk for the rest of us, and for those who are unfortunate enough to have lost loved ones to this pandemic. Whatever hardship we feel we’re facing during this lockdown, they pale in comparison to what families on the front line must be enduring. So, thank you so much to everyone performing selfless acts of courage and love for their community, you are all amazing. Time… More time at home together has meant that some positives have come from all this for us. In normal circumstances my husband would spend an average of two hours per day travelling to and from work. For the last two weeks though, we’ve gained some of this precious time back, and although it’s short lived it’s made such a difference. We’ve been able to regularly eat meals together as family for the first time (Well, my husband and I eat, our son mainly throws his food to the dog at the minute). We’ve done some gardening together and worked a bit on the house, and in general it doesn’t feel like so much of a rush from one task to the next because of the extra time we have together. Spring Forward… Spring is finally here and the signs are everywhere; the sunshine in late March has gotten into our garden and into our hearts, and I’m feeling the love as I see my daffodils and tulips bloom, and watching my son stick his whole face into the flowers to smell them properly for the first time has been precious. The dog is really enjoying his long walk every day; as soon as my husband has finished work we all pop to explore the village pathways we’ve until now hardly had any time to see since we moved here last summer. Connection… Not being able to see our extended family and close friends for so long has been really tough; we worry about their health as well as just miss them dearly. Our little boy especially misses Grandma and Nana time, and I have a good friend who has a new baby girl I’m longing to cuddle! But we’ve got the hang of video calling in the meantime and we’re using platforms like Zoom and Facebook to stay in touch and to make lots of new connections to communities: My son and I join in with an online singing session several times a week run by Singing Mamas Choir called Songline. We’ve also been checking in with Tiny Tasters Tyne Valley and their online cooking demos, as before the lockdown we loved going to the classes in Wylam. We’re yet to join in with Joe Wick’s PE lessons… I get tired just watching it! Somewhere over the rainbow… After the rain comes the rainbow, as the saying goes. And literally – One of the most heart-warming results of the lockdown has been the hundreds of rainbow pictures posted in windows, tied to gates, stuck on bins or chalked onto driveways! We have our rainbow in the window and have taken great pleasure in also joining in the national ‘clap and cheer’ for the NHS and frontline workers; again you guys are heroes and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for keeping us safe. Go well… This is not an easy time to live through and all of our hardship is relative but it’s important to remember that the things we’ve lost haven’t gone away forever, and the things we’ve gained are things we’ll always have – after a day cooped up in the house recently, the memory of us my smiling little family climbing the steep path way above our house and looking down onto the beauty of Stocksfield and the Tyne Valley will never leave me. We may feel at times isolated or lonely but we’re in this together, as family, as friends and as a community. Until next time, Lindsey x

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