Susie Fowler-Watt: Groundhog Day
PUBLISHED: 13:14 01 June 2020
Life has now established a pattern for BBC TV Look East presenter Susie-Fowler Watt - but she’s as busy as ever...
In normal times, I am beholden to my diary. Meetings, appointments, lunch dates, training, work schedule, children’s activities – everything has to be written down as my head cannot keep up with all I have to remember.
But in this weird, simplified world we have been inhabiting, every day is Groundhog Day.
‘What am I doing today? Oh yes, the same as yesterday ... and the day before...’
Hair and dental appointments booked up in advance have wafted past unnoticed. Reminders about events I was supposed to be involved in ping up on my phone occasionally, and I think wistfully about what fun that might have been. Even my work shifts, which normally varied day to day, have - because of social distancing measures - been abbreviated into the same four hours every day.
But, while life may follow the same pattern, with home schooling and my job it still seems remarkably busy. I don’t even get time to reply to emails, let alone contribute to my WhatsApp groups who are posting about life in lockdown.
I think part of the busy feeling is because it’s all a new way of working. Home schooling is definitely a steep learning curve (to put it politely). Even the way we broadcast BBC Look East is completely different because we have to use fewer staff. You can’t rely on muscle memory – everything has been adapted and rethought.
And then there are the unforeseen googlies that throw your day off course. One day I kept getting strange messages from people I haven’t been in touch with for ages asking if I was OK, did I try to contact them?
A quick investigation revealed that my seven year old had video called a large section of my contacts book when he was in possession of my phone for half an hour earlier in the day. I had to spend ages writing apologetic explanations to everyone he’d called – including our local MP!
If the weather is good at the weekend we try to have a drink ‘with’ our neighbours - in our separate gardens. We stand, at a good distance and with the garden wall between us, and discuss the different strangeness of our weeks.
That, and the Facetime chats with the girlfriends I used to meet for lunch, are highlights for me. A clear sign of how social contact is so vital to wellbeing.
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And thank goodness it has been spring. As new life unfurls all around us in nature, it is a constant reminder that time is passing, the earth keeps on turning and our world will also grow back to what it once was.
Time for the patter of tiny paws?
On my daily walk this week, I took a route I haven’t taken for a while. It’s a lane near my house which has an avenue of trees on either side, all with pinkish buds opening into pale green leaves. The sight was spectacular, but brought with it a sharp pang of grief.
This was the route I always used to walk with our golden retriever, when the children were young and in a pushchair. It worked as we hardly ever saw any other people or vehicles, Tiggy could be off the lead but was easily monitored, and there was lots to look at for the kids.
I used to talk about the seasons, point out butterflies and sing songs: a very happy time.
I still miss Tiggy terribly, but I have now reached a stage – 18 months on – where I can think about getting another dog. This has been a long work in progress, not least because Alex (a cat person) has not been overly enthusiastic. But Lola and I have persevered – OK, worn him down – and we were due to be going to see a puppy when the lockdown started.
Obviously it had to be put on hold for the time being. But this is a promise to both Lola and myself: as soon as possible, the puppy project will resume, and we will embark on a new family chapter.
What a tonic for troubled times – a bundle of gorgeous naughtiness, chewing everything in sight, full of energy and needing lots of cuddles. I am feeling better just thinking about it!