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Alot of happy days in the strangest of times.

The start of this pandemic seems like a lifetime ago. I remember it clearly: the day had been spent at work, with the building closed to the public, and the fabulous CUBE team deep-cleaning the kitchen for the inevitable close. We left saying 'see you tomorrow', I met my other half and the children in a pub garden and had tea outside under fairy lights.

The next day at work: another government announcement and the building closed. Uncertainty, fear, and a complete change of lifestyle, where you can't see family or enjoy your normal activities, became the new norm. My own purpose lost or diminished; home-life became the centre of everyone's universe.

Most of the time it was amazing. I'm very lucky my bubble had a garden and then a tent, and then a paddling pool. The weather was a blessing. The tan was and still is incredible, and I was busy all the time, just as I like it. Like everyone, there were moments of panic when I thought too much about all the IFs. That had to stop!

The first five weeks were the DIY weeks at my house: new porch step, new fencing, patio finally finished, wonky tap fixed, new floor in the entrance, upstairs painted, new fitted wardrobes. I told you I was lucky. I have a very talented other half, who also can't sit still.

Home-schooling: OH MY GOD. I think this might be a good opportunity to say a big thank you to all of those incredible individuals who devote a lifetime to educating our rug rats. Teaching two children under five, wow. Tearing my hair out comes to mind.

The children desperately missed their friends, family, and activities. Everyone knows how busy we keep our children, and this might be something I rebalance now normal is starting to pop its head around the corner. The kids being bored and able to go to the park and play football was a bit of a tease with a locked playground in-sight. Children are incredible though, they trust what you tell them, and adapt to the news far better than we do.

I've watched lots of kid's films. Love 'The Incredibles 2'. Did lots of baking and painting, like the rest of the country, probably not as well as the rest of the country. Remember when we couldn't get flour?

I re-focused my days, getting up super early to start an online course. Had fun on car park picnics. Backdoor coffees. Lots of cleaning. Lots of cooking. Lots of eating. Detox three times. Walking, walking, walking. Laughing and playing.

Joe Wicks: loved it, the kids not so much. I had the opportunity and energy to read more. I am thankful for this family time.

And then, things started easing and what a treasure our family and friends are; how much pleasure can be experienced from a coffee made by someone else, and a socially distanced pub lunch, with familiar faces all around you.

It has been nearly five months, and I have enjoyed lots about the stay at home life, and I am so thankful for the furlough scheme. But, doesn't it just make you realise, how important freedom to work and express yourself is. This experience has made me, and I am sure lots of people, realise what's important, assessing ambitions and motivations, making me realise at least how lucky I am. I can't wait to get stuck in to the next normal.

Writing this while my naked two year old is walking around the garden, in his daddy's flips flops saying, in a gruff voice, "HAY IM DADDY HAY IM DADDY".

Got to smile.

Catherine Ward,

CUBE café|bar Manager

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