Gasmasks, secret Christmas cards, underpants and the reason I took 4 years of Latin.

I am so glad the weekend is here, and we’re at home for it.

The last 7 days:

We went away last weekend to celebrate my husband’s birthday. On Saturday, we travelled to Bletchley park, the home of codebreaking during World War II. My biggest takeaway was that bright people are often quirky. Locals thought the place was a hospital for mental illness. Apparently, it wasn’t unusual to see someone cycling round the lake in a gas mask to avoid hay fever while they thought through problems. But the people in charge allowed them space to be themselves.

Ex-personnel were sworn to secrecy under the official secrets act. There were married couples who didn’t realise they’d both worked there until the 1970s.

This photo, used as a Christmas card, would look innocuous to anyone else, but reminded the sender’s ex-colleagues what they’d actually done during the war.

Sunday, we went to Oxford and received a welcome I didn’t expect in a town with so many visitors.. The lady at the museums told us to take as many pictures as we wanted. My daughter took my phone. This is her photo of knickers made out of reindeer.

She hadn’t returned my mobile by the time I lost the rest of the family later that day. Thank you Balliol reception for rescuing me with your landline.

Monday was my husband’s actual birthday and I made him this cake. I am feeling inordinately proud and that I’ve justified four years of Latin.

The week went on. Parent’s evenings, furniture shifting, and answering emails from school about my youngest’s homework. It’s not called detention now, and you can avoid it by finishing everything you were supposed to do before you get there. But he’s been down for it four times in ten days.

Then yesterday, we had a phone call from school. Another son had casually mentioned he’d had a headache for four days. When the teacher, suggested he take a lateral flow test, I don’t think he was expecting him to fish one out of his bag and wave a positive result under his nose a minute later. Son was in a very good mood as I picked him up. I think he’ll be disappointed if PCR doesn’t confirm the result and give him 10 days off school.

I’ve driven through the testing queue 4 times in the last 24 hours. But everybody else seems to be negative. I can buy bread and milk, the dog gets walks and I’ve only got one child to hoover around during the week.

The patient is currently in a separate room, talking to his brother over Discord. Once again, I’m wondering how people got through quarantine before the internet.

Although the real world with its homework and COVID tests has encroached on my imaginary one, writing has gone better than you might think. The spreadsheet breaking the big revision down into tiny unthreatening tasks has really helped.

Here’s hoping next week is more restful.

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