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Locked down life
17 May 2020 16:55

Yeah, I know I’ve no updated in ages, but I’m still here. I keep, meaning to write something, but never get around to it. I haven’t been idle, however. I have been trawling through the Barefoot Ruby chronicles ad passim, editing, updating and deleting as needed. The photo-hosting site I used now wants to charge me; bourrez ca pour une allouette. My photos aren’t that essential; (or interesting), so I am gradually removing those too. Apologies if you enjoyed them.

So, life under lockdown. Well, I suspect the Barefoot household is doing pretty much the same as every other household, and staying in as much as possible. Both me and Mrs Barefoot are working from home; I go to the office about once a fortnight when I have collected enough office-based tasks to make it worthwhile.

The trick to working from home is to keep to your usual working hours, and clear all work away at the end of the day. Don’t be tempted to “just check a couple of emails” or “finish something off” in the evening. I think I will aim to continue to WFH for one or two days pe week when the COVID-19 crisis is over. I’ve set up “virtual coffee times” twice a week for my team so we can have a chat about non-work-related stuff. These seem to have gone down well and a couple of people have said how much they enjoy them.

Mrs B is running online lessons; as we are working from the same room, she warns me when her microphone is ‘up’ (I think is the technical term) and if I need to take a call or attend a (online) meeting, I move elsewhere; kitchen, bedroom – even the garden on some occasions. Trouble with the garden is that I tend to look round at the flowers (and weeds); watch the birds flit about; consider how dilapidated the shed is; and generally forget I am supposed to be in a meeting.

Even after six weeks, both teacher and pupils seem to be enjoying the online lessons; a lot of parents have praised the school for doing this, as I understand a lot of schools are just setting work for the children to get on with, and have minimal teacher interaction. I’ve learned loads, too. For example, I’ve learned what an exterior angle is; it’s not what I thought.



It’s not the angle from the red line right round to the blue line, as I thought.



It’s the angle from the green line (an extension of the red line) to the blue line. Who knew? Yeah, this would be so much easier if I could show pictures! If I'd been awake in the maths lesson when I was taught this I would have found geometry so much easier.

After this, Child 3 demonstrated her true geekiness by putting together a clever visual aid using several pieces of paper to demonstrate that the external angles add up to 360. She says she thinks she worked this out for herself, and who am I to disagree?

Speaking of Child 3, her academic work has finished for the year now, with no exams to take. She is remaining upbeat about it and setting and following a schedule each day. We don’t know what is in the schedule; only that it provides an excuse not to do any household chores we ask her: “but it’s not in my schedule”. Apart from learning the ukulele and singing (which we can hear) she seems to be mostly concentrating her energy on learning how to become a Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons. Mrs B and I know nothing about D&D which leads to some interesting conversations:

“what would you rather be: fighter, rogue cleric, or wizard?”
“what’s a rogue cleric”
“no, not rogue cleric; rogue or cleric”
“I’ll be a wizard”
“you can’t both be wizards”
“you shouldn’t have given us both that option”

“would you rather be a human, an elf, or a dwarf?”
“a human. I’ve done that all my life so I know how it works.”

For the last couple of weeks of term, when classes were run online, Child 3 took to walking round the block in the morning, then round in the opposite direction in the evening, to simulate walking to and from college. The first couple of days she even took her college bag with her. Mrs B’s comment was “It must be your influence; she was never this weird before she met you”.

Oh – we did have one near-disaster at the start of lockdown. The water pipe to the toilet cistern sprung a leak. Because the cistern is hidden behind a cabinet-style thing, the first we realised was a large damp path on the ceiling. So, while Boris was giving his “you’re all grounded” speech, I was pulling the cabinet-style thing apart trying to find the isolation valve. I found it; disaster was averted and we used a bucket to flush the loo until we found a plumber to come and repair it. Now the ceiling has dried out enough to be repainted – probably my job for next weekend (a bank holiday).

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