20th-24th April 2020
Week four of lockdown
My name is Arabelle and I am currently a Year 9 pupil studying at Limavady Grammar School. I live with my parents and three siblings on a farm outside Articlave on the North Coast. I have now got over the shock of not attending school in person and have adjusted to accessing lessons online through Google Classroom. This has been less of an upheaval for me compared to my oldest sister who is in Year 12 and was due to sit her GCSE’s imminently. Her experience has been surreal! One minute she was devoting all of her time to coursework, controlled assessment, and revision tasks and now she has so much free time. She is attempting to embark on AS level studies presently with the support of her teachers but she is left with the disappointment that her GCSE results in August cannot be one hundred percent reflective of her efforts in an exam situation. I think she feels a bit cheated but like all of us she must make sacrifices.
This week I have found lockdown really captivating due to the amazing spell of weather. I have been up to lots of fun activities such as exploring the grassy green fields, keeping in touch with my friends and family and helping my dad out on the farm.
One of my favourite things to do in this miserable pandemic of COVID 19 is to distract my busy brain by reading a pleasurable book. Using the Libby Library app, I am able to borrow books online. I am currently enjoying a series called the Kissing Booth and I am on the second book already! This series is amazing! I just cannot set the book down!
Thankfully during this pandemic, I can spend lots of time outdoors as we fortunately have a number of fields that I am allowed to explore so I can get close to nature. I just love visiting the Articlave River and admiring the sunset in this absolutely tranquil setting. Another thing I thoroughly enjoy doing in this gorgeous spot is to go skimming with my little brother. All you need is a flat, funky, fearless pebble. I enjoy watching the skimmer skim slowly across the surface of the water like a graceful white swan gliding across a pond.
In addition to spending loads of time exploring the local environment I also have learnt a brand new skill! My Dad has finally plucked up the courage to let me drive the New Holland tractor under close supervision. The T7 210 is my favourite! I mean, I am not the best at reversing yet but I guess you have to start somewhere? This is what I call real life learning outside the classroom. Furthermore, I have enjoyed feeding the lively bunch of pet lambs. They just love their bottles and at feeding time you could mistake it for a zoo!
The most annoying thing about being in lockdown is that you cannot see friends and family. Thank goodness that we live in a world with modern technology and we are able to video call, or else I do not know what I would do in this sticky situation! I spend hours on end speaking to my friend Chloe. This has been such a hard change for us because we are used to seeing each other every single day, whether that was on the bus travelling to school, Scouts or just walking the beach in nearby Castlerock. We talk frequently throughout the day and we cannot wait to see each other after lockdown!
I realise the challenge lockdown can be to the elderly and vulnerable in my community. We are fortunate our Granny lives close by and my siblings and I take it in turns to visit her daily. It is bizarre that we have to leave essentials on her doorstep and retreat back until she lifts the items. Conversations take place through windows with us standing well back in the garden. It is so strange that this invisible enemy, Covid-19 is causing us to go to such lengths to protect our loved ones.
Our shopping habits as a family have changed. Mum usually did a ‘Big Shop’ weekly at a supermarket and visited the butchers and chemist when she was out. We thought nothing of popping into our local shop if we needed anything during the week or even fancied a little treat. Now this routine has been drastically altered. We shop local and get deliveries to the doorstep. We are lucky that our local butcher does doorstep deliveries and our local farm shop prepares orders which are phoned through for collection. This is brilliant and takes the anxiety away from venturing out for those essentials as it limits contact time with people outside our household. We are fortunate that Articlave is serviced by two small shops both of which implement social distancing. Mum visits these alone and infrequently to get other supplies. This pandemic has taught us as a family the value of shopping local. It is the local businesses that are servicing our local community now and I feel grateful to all the Key Workers employed keeping the food on our tables.
This week the weather has been extra spectacular for spring. The sun has been beaming all week. (This rarely happens here because you know we do live in Northern Ireland!) I have even got a lovely, summer suntan! My evenings have been spent on my one form of exercise permitted outside the home with my sisters. We walk the short distance down my road to Grangemore and the Barmouth estuary. This is a Special Area of Conservation and an Area of Special Scientific Interest. To me its just my special place that keeps me smiling and lifts my spirits during this unprecedented time we are living through.
So yes, as you can see lockdown has its negative features but on the other hand it has made us all stop and reflect in a busy world. This is not a bad thing as we should hopefully emerge from lockdown energised, thoughtful, more empathetic to others, engaging freely in acts of kindness and appreciating everyday our families and friends and the wonderful world we share. I for one cannot wait to live life to the full again.