Day Three

Wake up. Feel apprehensive at the thought of teaching Rhubarb and Special. My experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language twenty years ago will not help me now, because that was teaching people who didn’t understand a word I was saying anyway.

That said, Babe and I have been married for nearly a decade and she doesn’t understand a word I say either.

Feel slightly more confident about teaching.

Check my phone. Read a “Good luck teaching today chaps! ” message from Happy Connor in our WhatsApp group, The Seagullers. Feel slightly depressed at the optimism.

Reply with a more pessimistic response to balance out his positivity, “Good morning Mr Good vibes,” said in that chorus of dreary children tone heard in morning assembly, “I am dreading the teaching. I will resort to Victorian tactics. I have a wooden ruler, a bushy handlebar moustache and an intense demeanour.”

Eat breakfast. Babe drops down to one slice of Marmite and toast a day and says she will eat the crusts and ends of the loaf if push comes to shove. She doesn’t entertain the idea of switching to own-brand yeast extract, yet.

Rhubarb and Special both want to call me Mr Carnihan at lesson time. I say no, call me Lord Admiral Carnihan, Honourable Sailor of the Seven Seas, Killer of the Kraken and Loyal Servant of the Sea God Poseidon. They stare blankly at me. Rhubarb says, “Can we watch Peppa Pig?”

Babe kisses me and says she’ll be back at five. I start singing “Please Don’t Go”, KWS’s only hit. She goes.

Buddy snakes around my legs, purring. I fill his bowl with biscuits before he strikes.

Give the kids breakfast, but I don’t look them in the eye, in retaliation for not getting my Lord Admiral joke.

Spend 37 minutes trying to get Rhubarb to brush her teeth. Special gets her to do it in 3.7 seconds by pretending the toothbrush is an airplane.

Get a message from a friend, Johnny, asking if I’m ready to teach, if I also have to work from home at the same time, and with a photo of his daughter sitting at her home desk writing. It’s 8.04.

Reply: “WTF! She’s already started?! My two are still hitting each other with sparkling rainbow unicorns. Yes. I have to try and work as well as teach. Am thinking of which one to ditch. Kids can learn a lot by visually absorbing what they see on TV right?”

PE with Joe Wicks goes well although I feel slightly disturbed. Joe is wearing a very tight bright green top. His nipples are standing proud. He is fit though, I give him that.

Read a message from Sara, one of Babe’s friends:

Day One is absolutely hilarious Lee, I love it. Not sure if you have already, but you should absolutely share that on Facebook – I think it adds some much needed levity to our current situation. I’m so sorry that your life is only worth so little… but, to be fair, I would totally have risked Dale for a couple of bags of pasta. Probably just the one bag. Or even just the banana bread. Xx”

Reply: “Which type of pasta would you swap him for though? Not all pastas are created equal.”

“Any type except linguine.”

I don’t argue with that. Obvs. Linguine is the lowest grade pasta money can buy.

Correction: “could” buy. There is apparently no pasta left on planet Earth, except in Jamie Oliver’s underground pantry. If we head there en masse we can overpower him and save the world.

Teach English and Maths to Rhubarb and Special without incident: equivalent fractions and single digit addition. Feel more positive but hold off telling Happy Connor for fear of inviting more of his optimism and its benefits into my life.

Manage to write an email, check a script and get on a call, where I mostly just said “I can’t hear you, is your microphone on?” and “You’re breaking up.”

Have only one interruption: Rhubarb bursting into tears because she can’t find her family of plastic giraffes.

Spend eighteen minutes looking for giraffes. No luck. I tell her they have been quarantined. She increases the intensity of the crying. I start to cry.

Play cops and robbers with the girls and remind Rhubarb not to scream when I chase her because the neighbours will bang on the wall (again).

Consider popping a note through their door saying: We hear a lot of banging from your side. How many pictures do you plan on putting up over the next twelve weeks? I have a nice Van Gogh print if you like, you know, the self-portrait with his ear cut off.

Babe returns from hospital.

I ask how it was. She says, “OK”.

It wasn’t OK.

Go to bed.

Babe asks me to remove my boots.