As I write this we’re about ~6 weeks into the latest lockdown in the UK. It’s made life rather tricky in a few places however it’s also pushed us to find new ways to do things.
This post lists some of the adventures we’ve had which where driven by the lockdown. Things we wouldn’t normally do which are well within the rules, and help keep us healthy, active and feeling positive.
We do most of our shopping at a nearby Tescos and for the last few years we’ve occasionally got specific things (like meat) from a local farm shop for special events like Christmas or New Years.
It’s really expensive so we’d never be able to do a weekly shop there. However during lockdown we’ve really been trying to eat better so we have been going to the farm shop more often.
From an autie perspective the farm shop is quite fun. They are small and nice. I’ve been there on days when I am really on the ball and on days when I am very spaced out and they don’t seem to mind. The store itself is quite small, very quiet and is warmly lit. It’s not the stark white overwhelming mess of a Tescos. However I do have to be exceptionally careful not to knock things over. On a spaced out day I do best if I hold the trolly or occasionally someone will hold my hand or similar so I don’t wonder off or knock into things.
It’s one of the few places where I feel safe enough to have my sunflower lanyard attached to my bag. If I am having a flaoty day it’s not exactly subtle, but it makes it more obvious and that can be useful if I am going very slowly.
This sort of builds on visiting the farm shop. We own a rather neat little truck. She’s old and battered but she is rather awesome. We’ve had the truck around a year and it’s super useful as the front half is like a car and the back half is like a van.
The truck is also a proper off road 4x4 vehicle. About a month ago we discovered there is an off-road route to the farm shop. Its essentially a bunch of muddy lanes around and between the fields. They are all ‘byways open to all traffic’ so the rules are the same as any other road. As long as someone is licensed and insured it’s legal to drive on it. It’s quickly become the main way to come back from the farm shop. We call it the muddy route :)
That’s pretty damn cool already. It’s really fun taking the truck off road through the mud.
But it gets even better. I get to have a go Driving the Truck. The byway has almost no traffic and we only drive along at 5-10mph. It’s really muddy and has some big puddles to cross and rutted sections to navigate. On a dry day the truck can do it in two wheel drive mode. But on a wet day is needs all of the 4x4 tricks to get through.
I hold a provisional license (equivalent to a learners permit in the US) so it’s legal for me to drive on the road as long as another driver is with me. However untill we started driving up the byway I’d only driven a car a handful of times in my whole life. Now I get to drive a couple of times a month! This is literally a lifelong dream come true!
The muddy byway is perfect for me. It’s safe, a bit more interesting than driving around a carpark and beyond adding more scratches to the truck there isn’t much than can go wrong.
This lockdown has had a really big impact on my bike riding. I can’t ride the normal mountain bike trails I ride in the surrey hills as they are too far away, and the local trails out on the marshland are all flooded.
We’ve had to look for new places to ride. The rules allow us to drive a small distance to exercise. So we started exploring Epping forest which is a few miles away.
Unlike peaslake the trails at Epping are not properly designed and graded bike trails. However it’s good for exercise and we enjoy riding down the few little bits which are bike friendly. We also do laps of rhe big gravel paths which criss-cross the forest.
I’ve put on a some weight during the most recent lockdown. We’re really glad we have a place where we can exercise away from traffic and without to many unexpected surprises.
The final item for my list is what I’d call ‘mundane’ adventures.
With lockdown I spend 22-24 hours each day in the same room, often not leaving the flat for weeks at a time. Before lockdown I used to go and sit in the cafe for a few hours a day so while I was home a lot, I did most of my work elsewhere. Now it’s all blended together.
Getting out the house is important. Things like collecting items from Argos or collecting a pizza from Dominoes have become opportunities for a bit of an adventure.
There is also a B&Q store around 15 meters from my flat. It’s on the other side of the car park wall though the walk around is quite long. I almost never visit, but a week ago I visited by myself and came home with a rather wonderful rug.
Along with the B&Q there’s also a B&M toy shop a short walk from my home. It’s one of the few places I go by myself and I often pick up a Lego model or buy things like birthday presents there.
The third lockdown has been the hardest by far. The bad weather, plus the dark, plus all the disruption to routines from Christmas has made it a really difficult time.
However we’re finding adventure where we can and having fun. All of the things above have happened because of lockdown and I’m glad we found them. They are all great things and I’m glad they are part of my life now and into the future.