Living the high life - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Easing lockdown lifts the spirit

The highs and lows of easing lockdown. Picture: Janet Christie
The highs and lows of easing lockdown. Picture: Janet Christie

At last. Phase one of the lockdown exit route map brings the chance to meet another household outdoors. A chance to see all of my children at once, together. Woo hoo! It’ll be like Christmas. Oh.

We convene up on Middle and Eldest’s roof, accessible without entry through their flat – though I do get a quick swatch of the (surprisingly tidy) interior as I pass the open door. The roof has 360 degree cityscape views, the sun is beating down and we all sit at least two metres apart, smiling.

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After a lot of competitive eyeing up each other’s individual drinks and snacks and rugs (where did Middle get fake grass?), I try a tentative, “So, is it lovely to be all back together then?” ice breaker.

“Yeah, s’all right,” says Eldest. “Nah, was better seeing you all on screens,” says Middle, and laughs, while Youngest says nothing, already asleep in the sun after last night’s socially distanced meeting with a few friends in the park. Must have been the heat.

“What have we all learnt from lockdown?” I say, just to annoy them.

“Been working and studying online. Seems OK,” says Eldest, “How much I like my job,” says Middle, “Can’t wait to get back climbing every day,” and Youngest emits happy little pug dog snores from her rug.

To shut down the mumterrogation Middle fires up a lockdown soundtrack of mellow choons, and golf, fishing and bowls being inadvisable on a roof, the boydults settle to a distanced game of chess. As they discuss the guitar solo in Steely Dan’s Reelin’ in the Years, I lie prone, staring up at the blue sky where gulls circle on warm draughts of hot air way, way up among wisps of cirrus. Peace. So lucky. Zzzzzzz.

Then across the other side of the roof. “Checkmate! Yaaas!” says one.

“To be honest, I was only playing at 80 per cent. Always do against you,” says the other.

“Me too, except just 50 per cent, and I still beat you…”

Aw. Social distance bickering. The new normal.

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