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Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Alternative Me

Does anyone else look at their calendar and wonder if it slipped through a crack from an alternative universe? I look at ours. The events are familiar and they fit our family, but they now feel like they belong to someone else. Another family, in a parallel life.

This week, my eldest teen should have taken her first A level exam. It is up there, on the wall calendar. Her French oral would have already happened, but the date hadn’t been released before the schools closed. Friday was also her last official day at school, after 14 years in formal education. A monumental moment in her life.

As I chopped up a cabbage from the garden for supper and moved the drying homemade pasta, I wondered if our family, in the alternative universe, was going out to celebrate. Maybe a meal out at our favourite pub and raising a glass. I’d have chosen a pint of prawns with chunky bread, with maybe half a pint of local cider. My favourite choice on the menu. I hope the other me enjoyed it. I really do.

Middle teen would have completed her Duke of Edinburgh award, last weekend. She was due to be lolloping across Exmoor, with a rucksack the size of herself, on her final expedition. It was great weather for all three days. I hope her alternative self didn’t suffer too badly from the blisters and had plenty of good tales to tell.

In our reality, we went for a re-energising family walk on the Somerset Levels. Listening to the boom of a bittern and spotting the early dragonflies. It was a boost. It didn’t escape us that both daughters would have missed out on this particular walk, in the other reality. One recovering from the DofE walking/camping and the other revising for exams.

Swings and roundabouts, as they say.

We also stopped off for strawberries at a roadside stall. Our usual one was closed. I don’t know why. Maybe our alternative family was more lucky.

Along with the strawberries and cream, I bought asparagus and salmon pink geraniums. Geraniums are my favourite plant and salmon pink ones in particular.  It dates back to the first time I read (*affiliated link)The Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Goudge, which is a far better book than film.

I may have contemplated a happy dance right there at the roadside, as I hugged my new plants, but I held back. Teens embarrass so easily. Maybe alternative-me missed out on finding the geraniums, with the other stall being open in her reality.

One good aspect of the lockdown is that we have time for more exercise. Looking back at my calendar, I can see regular activities that had me driving here and there. It cut into the after school slot. Now we take turns booking the hound for walks. I’m serious. He is in hot demand. One member of the family will want to take him on a canicross run, while another intends to take him for a walk at the same time. He is pulled in all directions.

One day this week, even he said enough is enough. Humans can walk themselves. Now, if only he could split his duty with the lazing hound in the alternative world, that might help.

He enjoyed the BBQs in the garden, last weekend, but I suspect this other self did too.

The calendar certainly has a way of reminding me of all the events that we are missing out on. The other life. One way or another, these are likely to happen again. Maybe not the end of the school era for eldest. That boat has sailed, but the rest will go ahead later, in one form or another.

The upside is that we are doing other things, which time and commitments would have prevented us doing. It is more simple. We are working as a team, but don’t get me wrong, there are definite ups and downs, as a scowling teen will leave you in no doubt about.

Am I sad? No. Not on the whole.

I may envy alternative-me, in many ways, but I also think I have an advantage too. I imagine her tired, rushing around, unaware of how straight forward her life continues to be. Ticking off her to-do list and fitting in with everyone else’s deadlines and dates. While I can take a step back. Control the parts of our lives that I can and let the rest go. I think that is the way probably most of us are dealing with the restrictions. It is what it is.

I do wonder if alternative-me is confused about where her calendar has gone? Or, probably more disconcerting, why she has mine with everything crossed out. Oh heck. What am I talking about? She got the prawns. I don’t feel that sorry.

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