My first challenge was how to start this blog “our story” in such extraordinary times. I want it to be a positive message, but there are so many challenges going forward. Perhaps a good place to start is our shopping expedition to wholefoods a couple of days ago. It was somewhat of a surreal experience, we were met at the door of wholefoods, with the young lady who always has a smile and a kind word on the check out. This time she was at the front door, with the same smile, same warm welcome and a “stay safe” comment. In these times of “social distancing”, of public nervousness, it was a ray of happiness and warmth, so nice to see.
This is our story.
From the Inn’s perspective, the year had started well, early season bookings (Jan/Feb) were strong, and after visiting our family in Ohio and Maryland, Jo and I were excited to be leaving for the UK on the 28 February for a one month vacation break, see our daughter Aimee in London and spend time with Jo’s 92 year old Mum. Coronavirus was just a small blip on the horizon, right, nothing to worry about! “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear”, Feb 28.
Two days into our vacation in Cornwall we get a call that Jo’s Mum (Mut) has been rushed into hospital with a chest and stomach infections. We put our vacation on hold, thank goodness we were in the UK and drove back to Lymington in the New Forest, to be with her. For the next 10 days we worked in relays to spend time with her. The NHS were amazing, accommodating us, working to beat the infection, but it became increasingly clear they were frantically trying to get as many patients home, particularly the elderly. The covid-19 cases were growing expodentially and they were preparing for worst case scenarios. Once the hospital was satisfied that we’d be able to take care of Mut and her infections had cleared up sufficiently, she was discharged.
At the same time in the US, despite being told “The US is the most prepared country in the world”, Beth who was house sitting the Inn and our new puppy was becoming increasingly concerned. With imminent travel restrictions being announced, we had some major decisions to make. Mut was going to need care for some time, yet we also needed to get back to the Inn and prepare for its opening in April. We decided Jo should stay on to take care of Mut, and I managed to get onto a flight to Boston on 17th March. We’d seen pictures of the airport chaos on arrival, but when I arrived it was eerily quiet, we were met by masked staff and instructed to self isolate for 14 days. Once cleared, the customs, baggage and arrival halls were deserted, it really was an odd sensation. Beth met me at the kerbside, that was a first, but should I hug, kiss, or just touch elbows!
That was 2 weeks ago, today, Jo continues to look after Mut who is responding well to her care, Jo has been amazing. She expects to stay for another month or until we can get something more permanent established for Mut’s support. She remains fiercely independent albeit frail, so will need help.
Beth and I have complied with the 14 day notice, and have pottered around the Inn doing odd jobs, doing yoga, thanks to yoga with Adriene and moving things around. Beth clearly has Jo’s genes, the creative one, and is moving things around! It will be interesting to see Jo’s response to this when she gets back! We take Lola, our puppy for walks to our favorite spots, we rarely see anyone. The April opening has been put off, and naturally bookings have all but disappeared. We’re hopeful that summer bookings will improve as the COVID-19 curve should be on a downward turn.
In the meantime, please stay safe, use an ubundance of caution in your daily lives, we are so looking forward to the time when a level of normality returns, the Inn is open and we can see so many of our guests again.
Share your story
I’m sure everyone has their own story and will look back on this life changing event. Please add your comment to our blog, share your experiences, we’d love to hear them.