Hah! Do you like that title? Punnerific, right? Because we’re all in some form of quarantine and, well, we have to do things with our loved ones now, right? Right. Well, this is a post about that and how we’re doing things.
Firstly, you’re all aware by now that I’m a family man, I have a partner and we have three children, ages ranging from 5 through to 15. This is tough, the ranges make doing a lot of activities quite difficult as either our youngest is a little too young or our eldest finds it too boring. We’ve tried not to be too forceful with the homeschooling, phasing in spelling, writing, reading and maths into general activities they can do such as gardening, cooking, sending messages to school friends via Skype (monitored, obviously) and they’re writing to one friend who lives on the route that the dog is walked on, and that’s posted through their door and they do the same in return. Mixed in with lots and lots of handwashing, PE with Joe Wicks (though as I write this an alternative may need to be found as he’s gotten into bed with The Sun) and other activities such as today they got to watch the Red Panda’s at Chester Zoo being fed via a Facebook stream.
As for the oldest, unfortunately, she has to do quite a lot of school work. She’s a GCSE student and they’ve cancelled her exams (she has the option of sitting them in September/October if the schools are back then), her school are working with the examination board and their own teachers to “give the students the grades they deserve” based upon work they’ve already done, how much they apply themselves and work that’s set for them over the next twelve weeks or so, and as her grades have slipped since her Year 10 mocks through the two sets of mocks she’s sat in Year 11, well, she needs to put in the graft to get to the grades her teachers were forecasting for her as she entered Year 11.
How is this relevant for Bar Harukiya, well, anything is relevant, that’s what meeting up at a bar is like is it not? You chat about stuff with your mates, get things off your chest, share advice, or at least that’s the way it should be if the culture over here wasn’t “let’s go and get pissed” (I’m not much of a drinker, but will drink socially as an excuse to have a good chat and a laugh).
Moving on though, how are my other half and I doing in all of this? What are we doing to stop ourselves going mad?
Well, we’ve bought second controllers for both our PS4 and our Xbox One and have been playing some “couch co-op”.
First up is we’ve spent a lot of time in Minecraft, digging holes, running away from Endermen, I often have to come to her rescue when she goes off adventuring, but mostly she’s been gathering resources and I’ve been building stuff “for her”. It started with us building a raised castle together, nicking stuff from any villages we found. Then we found a Mine, but it involved lots of jumping, climbing and swimming to get to, so I built a bridge from the castle that led to it. Said bridge now has a Redstone railway and a couple of staircases, one of which leads to our farm.
On the farm, I’ve built a couple of vegetable plots, an ornamental bridge, a greenhouse, plus a stable, an arbour, a chicken coop and a pig pen and now we’ve begun gathering the animals required to house in them. I need to build a barn for the sheep, cows and llamas too.
We’ve made a Spotify playlist that we listen to whilst playing Minecraft, its full of stuff we both know each other doesn’t mind listening to (we have fairly different tastes in music but there are some overlaps, she likes he 80’s bands like Bon Jovi plus some modern country music, I’m more of a fan of punk, metal, 90s alternative rock and grunge).
We’ve also been playing a lot of LEGO Marvel Avengers, I know a lot see them as kids games, but with Charly still physically and mentally recovering from her battle with cancer (she had her very last round of treatment this week, so at least we don’t have to worry about her attending hospital for a while), it’s a perfect game for us to just do something calming and simple that still requires a bit of communication from time to time (“I need you to be Cap” etc), plus I get to HULK SMASH on a semi-regular basis. She’s played other games in the series before, but aside from me dropping in a few times on Pirates of the Caribbean or the Harry Potter titles, this is the first one we’ve played fully co-op, she’s now asked for DC Super-Villains for her birthday, which is two weeks away has resulted in me having to change a fair few of the things I had planned to buy/do because of closures or stocking issues.
As for how I’m doing, I’m trying to find room amongst all this for reading, I’ve recently finished an Asterix book that I’ll be posting about, am grinding my way through A Feast for Crows and have a few Manga from NetGalley I plan to write about. I’m spending some quiet moments fishing in Final Fantasy XIV, though my enjoyment of that has been hampered a little as everyone seems to have suddenly started fishing thanks to the recent changes and additions to it. But on a last note, I’d like to add that despite all the above, I’m still very very stressed and very worried about the whole situation and the effect it could have on my family, and whilst the above makes it sound like I’ve got everything planned out, I most definitely haven’t and in all honesty, we do quite often just let the kids play on their tablets (though we have begun encouraging them to play games they’ll learn something from rather than just watch YouTube Kids all day long).