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Staring at Magnolia

Hands up anyone else bored of looking at Magnolia? I mean staying at home is all okish but the magnolia is well still there. Reassuring in a way as it means we are still in a military house, part of a wonderful military community (that is out there somewhere) and have many benefits. It has become a bit of a stale comfort blanket in a way, knowing lots of other people are staying at home staring at the same Oolite carpets and Seychelles Sands walls* while wrangling numerous children and their spouses has popped to work for the day only to be gone for 3 weeks.


T was only supposed to be going for a quick day trip but as always with military planning he didn’t return as expected. Suddenly all the children’s’ emotional states were thrown and they were already a bit worried about this invisible virus that disrupted their Christmas plans (we are used to this & Christmas was all wonderful, if a little 2D on zoom) & now Daddy has disappeared with an unknown return date. Spouses really deserve a medal for this constant change of plans (little plug buy yours here, send one to a friend YOU DESERVE ONE! Or three Write in Pencil Medal card | Etsy). To be honest last lockdown was hard enough with T away, thankfully the amazing military neighbours and community kept me going. This time was so off hand even I wasn’t quite ready for it that the first day I couldn’t even get homeschool started and the kids spent the day with the Nanny (TV).


After a day off I manged to pull together enough to get homeschool started and the kids with a pencil in their hand sat a table. This in my eyes is how they class being at school when they are sat down. At least our online food shop will arrive safely and the youngest one can stop trying to open tins with his mouth having eaten all packed easily openable (breadsticks, soreen, bread, biscuits, crisps). The Man (sorry he was a man) arrived like a knight in shinning amour in a shiny truck. He stepped gallantly out flexing his muscles ready to get the trays laden with goods I had spent 2 hours carefully selecting and meal planning. However, he didn’t even bother with a tray, he just pulled up a bag of peppers, apples and breadsticks. I looked to see where the rest of my shopping had gone, what about the fridge and freezer section? Nope he was walking down to the house & could now see me staring out the window at him too. The tiny one had already managed to collect the goods left on the doorstep (social distancing tick) & he gave me a quizzical look at my order. Pulling my phone out I looked to see my email order confirmation, that would show him all my shopping he still needed to get from the truck. Then the penny dropped, I missed the last checkout button. There are like 6 buttons to get to the end, have you forgotten anything? What about these offers? Any substitutions? Confirm your delivery options? In my brain melt mode I must have missed the last one. Rookie error for someone whose been weekly online shopping for 10 years. & all I could think was what about the Feta??!


I don’t even like feta that much, I just found a quiche recipe with some in during my careful planning. The monkey child had already eaten 3 freshly delivered apples, and was now sharing out the breadsticks with siblings. We’d have to go to the shops. Thankfully my head had a shopping list from my “practise shop” the previous night and the children had the longest briefing before departing the Magnolia bubble we have ever done. I thought getting them ready to leave the house would be a limiting factor but no everyone found shoes in record time due to the excitement of an essential shopping trip. Once the trolley and us smelt like we’d covered ourselves in a fountain of cheap vodka from my Uni days we zoomed around the aisles with F1 skills thanks to my Netflix viewing of Drive to Survive. This really was surviving, in the supermarket for essential food and not catching “the virus” as the kids call it & driving a trolley has some serious understeer, oversteer and anyway it likes steer. The kids didn’t enjoy the hilarious radio commentary to the engineers. We did it though, we’d got a trolley of food and finally found some feta.


Feta options were abundant, online shopping you do miss the thrill of random purchases or selection as get used to the same brands. Here we are in a global pandemic, with some serious issues and my concern is Feta?! What is this? Where has it come from? We have got so used to popping to the supermarket for not just food, but global food, Finest Food, gluten free food, organic food, value food, we take it all for granted. I thankfully haven’t been advised to Dig for Victory or turn my garden into a veg patch like the War, yet. Extra extra thankful for this as the solo surviving tomato plant we managed to grow in a pot only had 1 lonely questionable fruit on it and would not sustain even a small bird for long. Thankful I can go to the shops as well as get food delivered, thankful for the choice of food, thankful for bread and pasta & not having to attempt to make this, thankful for the farmers, factory workers, delivery drivers, logistics, shopworkers, food packet graphic designers, call centre customer services workers etc etc etc all the people involved getting our plethora of food to us in our Magnolia bubble.


My perspective has changed after this trip, we may have Magnolia walls but they are filled with a spectrum of colour and a good starting point is food. We’ve all seen the news about free school meals and knowing how tough this pandemic has been worrying about feta is not a cause for concern in the grand scheme of things. When all the kids start crying at same time for minimal reasons, I hope we’ll remember the Magnolia walls of comfort we have around us, as that means we have a house over our heads and a blank canvas we can fill with the millions of supermarket choices we have, even if Daddy is away for an indeterminate time, again.


Belle xx


*See previous post on Magnolia & renaming the colours Magnolia (marriedtothemilitary.uk)

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