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A staycation is better than no vacation!

20th Jul 2020

With coronavirus having such a big impact on everyone’s summer plans, we spoke to Jo who has been shielding since March. Like many, Jo has found shielding to be difficult at times, but that hasn’t stopped her from making some incredible memories over the past few months. In this blog she describes her experiences and how you too can still have a summer that you’ll never forget.


As for much of the UK population, holidays this year really aren’t turning out the way we’d planned. Having finished treatment for ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) at the end of last year, 2020 was set to be the new beginning.

We had so many plans, but blood cancer has taught us that life doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped. You have to learn to adapt, to make the best of the situation. It’s not always easy to do, but since diagnosis with the help of my psychologist, I’ve learned that ‘something’ is better than ‘nothing’.

A night in the great outdoors (our garden!)

Half term, two months into lockdown, the sun was shining, but the kids were bored. To spice things up we borrowed a friend’s tent so the girls could camp in the garden. They filled it with fairy lights, cushions and blankets.

Garden flame torches, retrieved from the back of the shed, were lit, we christened the new fire pit, and made smores. I think we may even have sung a few campfire songs. Armed with their body weight in chocolate the girls enjoyed a night under canvas. I don’t think they had much sleep, but they had fun.

That same week my husband and I were due to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, a night in a top suite of the Brighton Grand, a 50th birthday present from friends.

We got dressed up for a date night, Deliveroo provided a Japanese meal, the National Theatre provided an evening at the theatre via You Tube

Covid-19 meant the hotel was closed, our anniversary was set to be yet another lockdown groundhog day. We’ve never camped together so for a laugh we decided we’d spend our anniversary in the tent. We got dressed up for a date night, Deliveroo provided a Japanese meal, the National Theatre provided an evening at the theatre via You Tube, and we retired to the tent.

It might not have been the Brighton Grand (we’ve rebooked that for next year), but it was an anniversary that we won’t forget – despite the seagull chorus at dawn!


Italy? Maybe next time…

This summer we were due to go to Northern Italy. It was a departure from our usual UK summer holidays, but with treatment finished, travel insurance was affordable for the first time in a few years! The children were beyond excited at the chance to go abroad. But then came Covid-19. A holiday to one of the areas of the world most affected by the pandemic really isn’t the place for someone with a compromised immune system to go. So last week, with a heavy heart, we cancelled.

Thankfully our AirBnB accommodation allowed us to cancel with a full refund, but flights were a bit more tricky. We could have just waited and hoped Easyjet would cancel the flight, but they were offering to change the flights now, free of charge. An Italian summer has become next year’s Croatian Easter. It’s quite possible that won’t happen either, but maybe we can convert it back to an Italian summer again? We’ll have to see…

Having shielded at home throughout lockdown, my husband working from home, the children homeschooling, the thought of the school holidays looking at the same view was a bit depressing. With shielding being ‘paused’ we’re taking a risk, a week’s holiday in Dorset.


Managing the risk while shielding

We’ve chosen a cottage on it’s own in a quiet area, not far from our family, but no neighbours, no shared facilities – we’re managing the risk. If the rest of the country is there too, like they were in Bournemouth a few weeks ago, we’ll have to avoid the crowds. We’ll go out early in the morning (I haven’t told the kids that yet), or later in the afternoon. If it’s still too busy, then we’ll at least we’ll be looking at a different view, with the added bonus of seeing family we haven’t been able to see for so long.

Dorset isn’t the Italian Lakes, it’s not exotic, and who knows what the British summer weather will throw at us, but it’s a change of scene. They say a change is as good as a rest, and there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures in life that make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be perfect, something is better than nothing.

researcher at work

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