You know that bit on a roller coaster? The part of the ride when you have climbed at over 45 degrees up a slope for what seems like an eternity. The rack holding the cars is creaking alarmingly.
Your adrenaline is flowing and you are not really sure why you spent all those minutes standing in a queue inching your way painfully forwards until the point when you could work out how many revolutions remained until you were going to get to take your seat. Would you get the front seat. Or the back. Or be lost in the middle.
The only view you have is of the sky and your hands, clenched white on the safety bar.
There is a pause as you reach the summit. It feels long and pregnant with anticipation.
And then the plummet starts and your stomach is momentarily in free fall. You put all your faith in this mechanism to see you safely round. Back to where you began. But with a feeling of exhilaration.
I never liked that part of roller coasters.
And that is what every day feels like at the moment. Whilst we wait for the next wave to crash over us.
It’s just that at the end there won’t be exhilaration. Just death and pain and possibly more privations.
So in the 16ish months since the pandemic took real hold in the UK my family has done really quite well isolation wise.
None of us have been ‘pinged’. None of us have been called to self isolate by track and trace.
The kids have managed all their in person school without coming into close contact with a case.
it is probably mostly luck but there is also an element of me being a raving, anal control freak and (mostly) making us all stick to the rules. I am not sure anyone can hand on heart say they have never broken a COVID guideline but we have been pretty compliant. In the very early days some of us may have left the house for a walk more than once a day. But generally we have done as we were told.
As a result my older teen has missed out on an awful lot. Many an illicit get together, too large a party or a sneaky meet up with friends. I even banned him from meeting up with one mate last summer and ‘accidentally’ bumping into another pair of mates ‘who happened to be in the same park at the same time’….
To be honest I have got a bit sick of being the bad guy. All the time.
On Monday everyone will be free to do what the hell they want. As terrifying as that seems.
Both my husband and I have been double vaccinated and so I have got more relaxed about my pneumonia history.
So when Eldest asked to go to a party (well he didn’t really ask he just said he was) I decided to be a more ‘chill’ mum. I remembered back to being 17 and the summer between lower and upper sixth which I spent nearly exclusively with my boyfriend or mates and decided we could risk it.
In any event the guest list was limited to 30 and the party outside which was all in line with government guidelines although I severely doubted the 2m social distancing rule would be followed. Especially with the alcohol flowing.
Now both he and in turn me have COVID. And so my attempts at being ‘cool’ mum have spectacularly backfired. We are all locked up until Thursday (him and the others) and a week on Sunday for me and both he and I are locked in our rooms bored stupid. Middlest and Youngest are running the house and Youngest has forfeited her 14th birthday tomorrow as even to open presents will mean a Zoom call between us all or a massively socially distanced garden event.
And that’s if I feel up to wrapping her gifts which I haven’t done yet. I feel rough in the extreme and pray it doesn’t get much worse. And that that claim that both vaccines are a panacea (which clearly they are not) and will prevent me ending up in a hospital pan out.
In a month’s time I would have been gaily walking around free from isolation as a double vaccinated individual for those days between Eldest getting it and my symptoms (c 4 days) spreading it on.
When the local council called to check we were all isolating she asked if anyone had had the vaccine and I said I had and yet I had still caught it and she said ‘we are hearing that a lot especially when kids bring it home’.
So a word to the wise people.
I will be going back to anal, control freak mum. Eldest may have hated me if I had put my foot down last week. But if I had we’d be sitting here now (or actually walking around freely now) watching all his mates fall like flies (at least 10 have tested positive since) smug and healthy. Instead of which we are in this COVID hell.
Trying to be something you aren’t hardly ever pays off does it?
So life has been pretty shit over the last 6 months.
All the lockdown rubbish, the lack of Christmas, home schooling, the short dark cold days with unrelenting miserable weather, the uncertainty and anxiety of the slow re-opening, our new and wonderful fame as a virus hot spot.
Added to that the trauma of a serious mental illness which has ruled over all our lives like an iron rod beating us relentlessly over the head, shrinking our lives to small pin pricks of their former albeit quite restricted glory. The claustrophobia of family life in a melting pot of mental ill health and all the knock on effects on everyone. The slow and painful clambering up the sides of a slippery near vertical shelf with many many slips, very little light and not a whole lot of hope.
Within and amongst all this is the grief of the events and people missing from our lives. The family and friends missed. The rites of passage forgone. The exams not taken. The trophies and cups not won, the concerts not attended, the birthdays not celebrated. The music not sung.
And on top, the natural but painful pulling away of ones offspring. The beginning of their emotional detachment. Their preparations for their physical removal.
In this dark time there are few fleeting moments when one feels joy. A brief period of shining light.
Today on the way to school to drop off Middlest he wanted to share a new song discovery with me. And so we spent the next few minutes belting out Careless Whisper. He was impressed that I knew all the words. We bonded over it’s soaring notes (too high for Middlest), the power of the bridge, the pain fuelled sax solo.
It’s a great song. By a great singer/ songwriter.
It also today gave me a beautiful moment. A small shining raindrop-like jewel of time glinting in the weak sunlight.
As per my previous post Hope we are currently struggling through this third lockdown.
Our daughter is really unwell and daily life is a struggle for her. And when I say struggle I really mean it. Not a struggle in a slight feeling of ‘meh’ as each day dawns in its groundhog fashion but proper struggling to even carry on.
She is 13.
The reasons are on the one hand fairly obvious but on the other complex and proving hard to untangle. There is a lot of anger and guilt and depression and unhelpful thoughts. For all of us.
And so what I find the most difficult to deal with other than watching my beloved daughter be completely wretched are the endless posts and assemblies and articles on thinking positive.
We actually had to leave an on line school assembly yesterday when the speaker suggested it was impossible to visualise negative thoughts. That one should merely be an optimist and look on the bright side. What a load of crap. Of course it is possible to visualise negative thoughts. My daughter is a pro. She sees no bright side. A year of her short life has been taken away. Fact. Hard to find any bright side in that.
We all have a right in this unprecedented situation to feel like shit. And when one feels like shit being told one should not feel like shit is not going to change that feeling. It is going to make it worse.
If mental health was as easy as ‘thinking positive’ there wouldn’t be any mental illness.
So, if like us, you are struggling in this lockdown I am not going to say that you should think positive, look on the bright side, find the upsides, look forward to a rosy future. Because for some of us that is not currently possible.
I am going to say feel angry, feel sad, cry, rage take each day one at a time, or each hour, or each minute. And try to keep yourself physically safe until your mind can deal with the shit it’s been dealt.
And try to stop feeling guilty for not coping. Not coping is fine. And actually perfectly understandable.
And seek help if you are able to.
And if you feel fine and feel positive and are optimistic and can look forward I am pleased for you. But please don’t ask my daughter to. It’s too hard.
A life without hope is an almost impossible thing to live.
Last night I stroked my 13 years old daughters head for over an hour whilst she struggled to sleep. She just kept saying that she did not know how she was going to survive this latest lock down. Her heart was racing. She felt sick. She is broken by this struggle.
Her world has shrunk into a black hole from which she can see no way out.
There is no point trying to give her hope. She no longer believes in it. She has been promised things for nearly a year that do not happen. She has lost faith in adults and the world.
Her pain is very very real and I am frankly sick of being asked to look on the bright side.
So here in this house we will just live each day at a time. And if necessary each hour.
Perhaps my favourite Whitesnake track. I have slightly paraphrased.
Staring down the barrel of a new lockdown here are my thoughts so far.
It felt inevitable. And now it feels late.
It is slightly better than March as there seems to be a genuine desire to keep kids at school. Which is a good thing.
And yes I get that teachers are scared. Hopefully less community interaction for all, students and staff alike, will mean less incidence in the classroom. And safer classrooms. Whatever the pros and cons I am grateful to teachers and other staff. My kids cannot take another extended period of on line education.
It feels worse than last time. This won’t be a cure. Like we hoped the last time was. It’s a braking mechanism. And this shit will probably happen again.
It’s really quite simple. That helps the message. Stay at home. No really. Except for all the bits of life that aren’t fun; education, work, medical shit, exercise and caring. Otherwise stay at home. If something makes you want to leave the house it’s probably not allowed.
We need to give up on Christmas. Grieve it a bit. Not live in a false hope. Others have given up Eid and Diwali and other major festivals, Easter was locked down. We can and should give Christmas up too. Yes it’s shit. But hey what isn’t.
It’s winter. Enough said.
I need to start getting my head around all the stuff that will never be the same at least not whilst my kids remain at home. Things that probably won’t happen like their last school orchestral concerts, proms, first XV or first XI matches, ever seeing a teacher in the flesh again. So far I have been too chicken to face them. But I need to face this shit. Grieve and move on. Act like the adult I am supposed to be.
Being the adult is shit.
I am going to miss fireworks.
The tardiness of our inept Government at least means we got a 2 day caravan holiday and I got all my kids’ eyes and teeth checked, Middlest’s shoulder and neck osteo’d and all their hair cut.
By a strange co-incidence I have a haircut booked for Weds. I had a haircut booked the week before the last stay at home order. I may grow my hair. I seem to be tempting fate.
I don’t like having to have to console my weeping daughter who cannot conceive how she will get through the next four weeks without sport. She will of course. She has food and warmth and love. And is ok. Shifting down the Maslow hierarchy of needs is never fun though. In fact it’s shit.
Although I am glad school is open learning without any of the fun bits could be quite shit, especially with all the windows open. I pray for mild, unseasonable weather.
My second child looks increasingly likely to miss his GCSEs as well. And no, no one wants to not take them to avoid them. It’s stealing; the experience, the opportunity, the hard work to date, the sense of achievement, or failure.
I need to get my Christmas mojo on and actually order some gifts. It is going to be shit enough as it is I cannot give into despondency and not buy thoughtful and welcome gifts for my loved ones. Especially my kids, who need whatever magic we can wring from the festive season this year.
I am bit low on loo roll. Which would be literally shit.
I might read some of those books I meant to read last time; after I have finished re-reading Riders. Which is all my shit for brains brain seems able to cope with currently.
It could be worse. Could it?
It occurs to me that I have used the word shit a lot. Whatever your position in all this I think we can all agree that that is highly appropriate.
So today we set out on our second round of ‘Caravanning in a Pandemic’….still not as intrepid as it sounds but perhaps a little more so than last time.
And that is for two reasons: 1) winter is coming and 2) we are oop north.
Let’s take 1) first. In England the long summer school holidays run from mid July to early September. This isn’t that great for many reasons. The light lasts longest in June when in usual times kids are sitting very important exams with BBQs in neighbour’s gardens running on until 10pm and hay fever at its peak. And anecdotally the weather is usually best in May, June and early July. See my exam point above again…
By this late in August one can smell that winter is coming. The light changes and gets that slanting misty feel which makes driving at about 8pm very tricky. It completely disappears at 8.30pm- those runs you were doing (I say ‘you’ because I don’t run but my offspring do) are seeing you return in the dark- not ideal.
There is a bite to the wind. All those beautiful lush gardens and hanging baskets are looking dry and yellow. I actually don’t like August much. It is a nothing month. A time when you feel you should be having a ball but all you really feel is like all those Winterfellers…. for winter is coming. It might hide behind a brief Indian summer, always after the kids have returned to school, and it might break you in gently with conkers and blackberries and kicking fallen leaves with gay abandon whilst avoiding dog shit. But it is there. Lurking.
This year it promises even more menace with predictions of gloom and virus resurgence.
It is against this backdrop that we got up at 5am (in the dark, note people) to set off for our next caravanning trip (so far with water but we got this far last time so we ain’t counting our chickens yet….if you are baffled please read Corona Camping).
And we arrived at 12.30pm. Because we decided to come to Northumberland. But not just Northumberland the northern most part of Northumberland. We are actually nearer to Scotland than the next major English city. Point 2)…
My husband booked the site. He is from the north east. But even he is a southern softie in these parts. People from north Northumberland probably feel the same about those from County Durham as geordies feel about those people from the midlands, places like Sheffield. We sailed past Sheffield before we stopped half way.
We booked the trip to meet up with my in laws who still hail from those parts. My husband must have said about twenty times “I didn’t realise just quite how north we are going”….
The one upside of the journey was that we got on the A1 at Bedford and got off it at the entrance to the camp site.
I am not sure we have ever done that many miles on one road before. About 270 in total. It is a truly astonishing road. Motorway and 3 lanes in places and then up here single carriageway and full of tractors and hay wains (well lorries but you get my drift). There are service stations with Greggs and Costas and caravan parking. And road side burger vans in parking bays.
Today it felt a little interminable. If I am honest.
Anyway 6.5 hours after leaving we made the site. It is fine, a little rough around the edges but on the whole fine. I am not sure there will be any moth walks.
Already we have visited Berwick upon Tweed. For duck tape (all that water has it’s downsides) and gooseberry yoghurts (not from the same shop I hasten to add). I vowed never again to ever visit Berwick after we came for the day during a holiday to mark our 1st wedding anniversary. We had booked a hotel whose exact location now escapes us. What we remember most about it was the ‘swan’ theming of our room. Even down to the gold swan taps that spewed hot water. Luckily in copious quantities. For we got married in November and so the holiday was a little parky. (That is pretend northern speak for cold).
We decided to spend one day walking the walls of Berwick. The wind was whipping mercilessly off the North Sea. I have to say it was probably the coldest I have ever been. Except for that other short break my (not yet) husband took me on to the Fatted Lamb in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria (another would be northern place) when we got snowed in and the pub had a power cut. I had to swap bed sides with my (not yet) husband as the draft through the window was making me so cold even in thermals, bed socks and PJs….and as anyone in a long term committed relationship knows swapping bed sides is only a last resort when all else fails…
But today I had to brave Berwick as it is the only place between us and Scotland.
The weather forecast for this week is best described as ‘mixed’. We have already had some weather. I was fitting that duck tape in the rain. Quite heavy rain. It was hard to see if I had fixed the leak to be honest (I hadn’t by the way).
We have rather optimistically brought the wet suits… hmm…
Anyway what we will probably spend most of the week doing is visiting castles in the rain. There are a lot of castles. Due to that Scottish border proximity. There is also part of a wall. To keep them out. Maybe it gave Trump the idea. But then it was built by the Romans. We have learnt since then. Walls don’t work and are very expensive. And anyway currently most Scots want to keep us out not vice versa….
And we will be walking along mostly empty beaches, often overlooked by castles and priories. And probably digging a big hole. I will be wearing my hat. I brought two. Both are woolly.
For although it is very north and has weather and many tractors Northumberland is absolutely stunning. We will be sure to make the most of that. Before we get back on the A1 and get off at home.
When I was a kid and I uttered that oft bemoaned phrase
“It’s not fair!” my mum would always reply
”Life ain’t fair!”
How right she was. As one gets older one realises more and more the fundamentally unfair nature of life. The fairness of who gets the last home made orange lolly from the freezer, you or your slightly younger brother, or who has to clear the table after tea begin to pale into insignificance in the face of the total lack of equality between people’s life experiences.
My kids are still at the stage where that ice lolly is the most important thing. Even though they are approaching adulthood (in a long and tedious way which seems to involve two steps forward and 20 back) they are still mostly stuck in their own small world.
And generally what a privileged world that is. However it seems that whilst teenagers are able to rationally understand the general unfairness of the experiences of minorities or refugees or those unfortunate enough to be born in countries torn by war, poverty or famine (or all three) they are simultaneously completely and utterly fixated on their own situation.
And recently we have been playing a lot of the ‘unfairness game’; that is who has been most affected by the current pandemic.
On the face of it none of my children have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. No one we know has even had it let alone been ill or tragically died. Both their parents still have jobs. There has been food on the table. Love and reassurance a plenty. Birthday gifts. A staycation. On line school.
But these things mean nothing to my teenagers. Subconsciously they are probably appreciated although outwardly one would never know. Because these are things they expect. Take for granted. And maybe that is the way it should be.
What they focus on is what they have lost. Exams, school learning, social lives, sport, tours, music, the summer following exams and the adventures planned. Pointing out that they have it better than a lot of others does not help. And it feels like a real loss to them.
And actually it is. These things are not important in the scale of climate change or catastrophe in the Lebanon but they matter to millions of kids.
And I think what they have actually lost most is their sense of security. The sense of continuity. That events will follow a pattern, a time line. And their futures, which seemed mapped out to some extent, are now clouded and unsure even down to whether they will actually go back to school in September or on what basis, or even where.
And all those kids tomorrow and next Thursday getting exam results face an uncertainty no other cohort ever has and I hope (for my next child’s sake) never will. The endless debate and arguing is unsettling and treats these cohorts of children as statistics rather than human beings.
So actually although in real terms the unfairness of their current situation is small, in relative terms it is huge.
So many moons ago, about last August, just after we returned from our summer holiday in France we began the annual ‘Where shall we go on holiday next summer’ debate.
This is a long and often fractious process with wildly differing views and opinions and indeed aspirations.
Suffice to say that Eldest and I won out and we booked 2 weeks all inclusive in the Canaries. We had been to this particular hotel twice before please see Sunbed Wars for further info.
Then the pandemic happened. The quite astronomical balance was due by the beginning of April, (never have 3 kids seriously or if you do never allow them to grow up) people were struggling to get refunds for holidays actually cancelled and it was likely that even if we were able to go by late July all the best bits of an all inclusive (buffets, discos, karaoke, squashing balloons against virile German chests etc etc) were unlikely to be allowed. Add to that booking a pool slot or beach hexagon and wearing a mask in 38 degree heat and the whole idea seemed, well frankly, much less appealing.
So we cancelled. And yes we lost the deposit. But hey if you can afford 2 weeks in the Canaries you can afford to lose the deposit. And someone’s job might be saved.
My husband then began another round of the great and now twice annual ‘Where shall we go on holiday this summer’ debate but with bells on.
He decided to buy a caravan.
My initial reaction was one of horror. This is often the case. I am wont to see the downsides in his hair brained ideas.
Once I calmed down it seemed like a relatively good plan. We were still in the midst of full lock down. But logic and rumour dictated that camping sites were likely to open early on due to them being outside and naturally socially distanced. A caravan with it’s own loo and shower meant that if shared showers we ruled out we could still go.
We are quite good campers and had all the gear. My hips no longer cope with more than 3 nights sleeping on the floor so a caravan would allow for a longer stay.
It cost about 2 lots of the holiday we had just cancelled. And had a resale value.
Hubby did the research, as he likes to do, and found our perfect caravan for sale at a local ish dealer and booked a showroom visit on the weekend that became allowed.
We also booked two campsites. To begin with hubby was keen on north Devon. I reminded him that on our trip to Woolacombe in February half term we had nearly had kittens driving our car down the really very narrow roads flanked by high solid verges and having to badly reverse when meeting a tractor coming the other way. I suggested that our cortisol levels may take 10 days to return to normal if we added an 8ft wide caravan into that mix. We went for Norfolk (flat, relatively wide roads, soft hedging) and Northumberland (A1)…
Again this was a punt. Neither site was open or knew if they would be. However the Norfolk one was doing full refunds and the Northumberland one was for the end of August and cheap as chips it being oop north.
The site in Norfolk was well known to us as we had been numerous times in our tent. We knew the pitches were generous and the site large.
The weekend of our caravan viewing arrived wet and miserable. We took the kids (the whole event had the feel of a carnival as the kids had not been out of our village at this point for 3 months) and even Eldest who remained sceptical was won over by the ingenious cupboards and fridge.
So we purchased, collected a few weeks later and spent 2 hours manoeuvering it onto our drive, emptied our camping trailer into it, sold the trailer and tent and waited for our holiday to arrive.
And now we are here. Thankfully all the planets aligned. We managed to get the van off our drive with only minimal damage (when we manoeuvre it back on the drive upon our return we must park it further away from the fence), tow it successfully and reverse it onto the pitch with the motor mover which I am so glad we bought as our reversing failed spectacularly. As soon as they are allowed again we are booking onto the Caravan Club’s reversing course… I can vouch for the fact that watching you tube videos is absolutely no substitute for doing it in person.
The communal facilities are open here which is fortunate because during the first night we had a spectacular water leak which saw us awaken to 2 inches of water on the floor, sodden carpet and flooded cupboards..not so ingenious now… a repairman and part is coming Fri evening.
We also failed to put up the awning correctly (the instructions made IKEA ones look comprehensive) and so it nearly broke on that first night under the weight of the pissing down rain. But it didn’t and we worked it out the next day.
After 5 days here are my observations about staycating in a caravan (without water) during a pandemic:
The facilities which are usually clean here are pristine.
The site is half empty which means there are no queues for anything. Except the shop. And plenty of space to play cricket, footie, catch etc. And to try to reverse your caravan (badly)…
There is a booking system for everything from pool, to tennis, to moth walks.
This favours the organised. And that is me all over. Before we had even left home I had booked 2 National Trust gardens and parklands.
The National Trust is still doing socially distanced al fresco cream teas. Thank god.
It is the first time in a long while that I have forgotten about the pandemic for hours at a time.
Suffice to say we are officially sold on caravanning. We all love the beds. Eldest loves the fridge as he can eat as much cereal as he wants. We all love sitting in it at night playing poker at a table without the need for thermals or head torches.
There’s this thing at the moment. Indignation. We are becoming (even more) of a nation of people bristling at the audacity of ‘other people’. Social media is awash with despairing posts outlining the latest transgressions of various ‘other people’. I live in a village. People here are incandescent with the outrageous behaviour of ‘other people’. Never before have I seen that little red, cross face appear so often on Facebook posts as in recent weeks.
Now some ‘other people’ are quite rightly deserving of our incandescent, bristling outrage. Dominic Cummings for instance. Spam that little red face all you like.
But before we condemn whole parts of our society of ‘other people’ to our outrage maybe we should stop and think. And to my mind a group of society which often comes up against a disproportionate amount of these outraged feelings are teenagers.
I live with 16 and 14 year old boys. As well as a nearly 13 year old daughter. I know of what I speak…. I will relay to you how many a conversation goes with my teens. It may help you understand,
About 9 weeks ago everything my teens knew and understood of the world collapsed. One can argue that it did for everyone. Old and young. But bear with me here. Overnight (literally) everything in their lives was curtailed. School, education, exams, social life, romantic life, sport, music, hobbies, holidays, clubs etc.
They got on with it. They toed the line. Mine did not leave the village for 8 weeks. Not even to shop as they were too old to be taken to supermarkets as they could be safely left at home. They settled to home schooling.
Now cast your minds back to the summer you were 16. Really try. Think about what you did and where you went. I can only speak of my own experience and maybe I was very different to the norm but I doubt it. Yes I did my O levels. And I went to school. But I also lived outside. I was at home to eat and sleep and that was about it really. I roamed the streets and countryside in a gang of mates. I went to the cinema. I went shopping. I bought illicit alcohol and drank it in the woods. I had a boyfriend and started on a road of (shall we call it) romantic discovery. I was forced on a 2 week holiday with my parents during which I was miserable and probably a complete pain in the arse.
Maybe you did some of these things. Maybe you worked. Or did more wholesome activities. But I can absolutely guarantee you did not spend 8 weeks with your immediate family and only your immediate family. It is not natural. Teenagers need to push against the rules. Explore the world. Expand their horizons.
Is it any surprise, then, that when we release lock down a little these same teenagers want to meet up?
Mine have stuck by the rules. All of them have met one mate at a time outside. Eldest’s friends want to meet up as a four. He asked our opinion on he and his one mate ‘accidentally’ bumping into his two other mates (well not bumping obviously as they would be 2 meters apart) whilst in the park.
And the easy answer is ‘ it is against the rules so not a good idea’. But, and it is a big but, as he said others are also breaking the rules.
This weekend I spent a lot of time in my front garden. Within one day I saw 2 grandparents walking with 2 grand kids. I saw 2 families with at least 2 young kids each walking together. I also know of people meeting in their gardens. I saw three elderly ladies all sitting on a bench together. All of these things are not ‘allowed’. (Unless they all live together in households. They might. It is unlikely but they might. Even so these sorts of things are happening).
And although ‘allowed’ the media pictures of beaches and beauty spots over the bank holiday do not send a message that many are taking their responsibilities particularly seriously. And do not get me started on Cummings again.
Moreover these things are being done by ‘other people’ who should know better. Who are more at risk than my 16 year old. They are in the parts of society he is being asked to protect by drastically altering his life. ‘Other people’ who should be setting an example to the younger elements.
And actually, yes, I do think teenagers and young people are sacrificing the most. My teens are certainly sacrificing more than me. I had my summers in the sun free of responsibility and with my future laid out before me like a glittering prize. Most of us did. They aren’t and may never. Currently they do not even have the basic developed world right to their education. I would happily sacrifice more to allow them a bit more freedom. Because at the end of the day I am at more risk.
So yes there are ‘gangs’ of teenagers out there. There are also daily transgressions by a whole host of ‘other people’. People who should know better. I doubt many are entirely without sin. If you are please feel free to polish your halo. But be honest.
In the end we all agreed that hanging on a bit longer is the way forward. Trying to stick to the rules helps everyone in the long run. However hard and unfair that may feel. But I am not going to condemn others who feel they cannot tolerate it.
Before we cast stones maybe we should actually stop to think and praise our youth for perhaps one of the most altruistic acts of recent memory.
After all they will be paying for it for the rest of their lives.