For 50 days between the end of March and the middle of May, we were told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Even though some of those restrictions are now lifted, Covid 19 continues to have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. For some, lockdown has been liberating and energising, for others it has been frightening and incapacitating. However, in one way or another, we have all faced challenges that we could never have imagined.
Lockdown in 50 Objects is a project to capture our lived experiences of the pandemic. Members of the churches have been asked to choose an object that represents something important about their experience of the lockdown and share it with us.
We will be adding objects over the coming weeks.
9. Fruit Cake
I have baked a great deal of fruit cakes during lockdown, which my husband, Ian, really loves. The recipe is from a very old Mary Berry cook book. I can get away with only adding a very small amount of sugar, which suits Ian’s health condition. I think he will miss my fruit cakes when we get back to normal! I found the first five or six weeks of lockdown okay and enjoyed gardening and watching the birds and butterflies. After this time I began to really miss my friends, U3A classes and of course church each Sunday. I began to enjoy seeing more of my daughter, albeit several metres away, as she and my granddaughter were doing my shopping for me. I enjoyed my regular phone calls from my son, though I worried about my Caribbean daughter-in-law as apparently black people are more vulnerable to the Covid virus than white people. I also worried about my daughter as she was travelling to Stoke to teach key workers children. However I was grateful that they were all able to work and keep their jobs. I did dwell on my past life too much and felt quite emotional at times. My daughter’s mother-in-law passed away during lockdown and it really hurt that I could not attend her funeral, as I was very fond of her. My telephone conversations with my sister were good and it was great when she and her husband could join us for coffee one morning in the garden. Jigsaws, books, exercises, cooking and most of all family contact has kept me going during lockdown. Dot
For six months of every year for the past ten years I am custodian of Shavington Panto’s piano. Over the years I have attempted to learn to play it but there have always been more important calls on my time. So when we were locked down in March I decided to make learning to play the piano my goal. I decided that 30 mins every day should become my normal routine.
Unfortunately my arthritic right hand thought that was too long, so I had to divide it into two twenty minute sessions instead. Over the weeks, I have become more adept at reading the music and playing at the same time. I can even play some pieces at the correct speed and even sing at the same time.
I continue to practice knowing that without my daily routine my newly learnt skill will disappear. Rene
7. Kitchen Table
Being pregnant during lockdown with no nursery open meant 4 months of just me and my little man Zak who is 4. With the new baby coming and this being the last summer before he starts school I wanted to try to make the most of our time together. Keeping a 4 year old entertained for months at home has been tricky but this is where my kitchen table became ever more important. It’s where we have painted, created, crafted, moulded play doh, made cakes, coloured, enjoyed a 4th birthday party tea and shared countless home cooked family meals together. It’s been precious, quality time with my son that I will remember forever. Pip and Zak
What do you go to when you have time on your hands? Most of us will have found our answer to this in the last few months. Mine has always been jigsaws since I was young. Whenever I was ill the boxes would come out, mostly old favourites some easy and small, some very complex especially one which doesn’t have interlocking pieces. Since moving here I haven’t done any, except with the grandchildren, but have been given some as presents so lockdown has given me the opportunity to try out these new intricate, colourful and large jigsaws. The first was a panoramic view of Salisbury Cathedral which needed the dining table to be able to fit it on. Another was about Gardening which had so many different aspects to it that every time you looked for another piece you noticed some comedic person or feature. I have done a Cornish village with lots of white houses and sea and a Christmas market scene with lots of red. They have also involved large areas with lots of blue or green which means trying pieces every possible way and some have meant redoing the edges as I have made mistakes there as well. I intend to carry on doing these even after lockdown as it gives me time to switch off from the daily routine, and keep my brain active!
Before Lockdown I was a complete technophobe. I wasn’t interested and shunned anything to do with computers. I couldn’t turn it on never mind boot it up. During Lockdown I reluctantly accepted that without the computer my main interests and indeed passion would be suspended maybe forever.
I slowly learnt how to switch it on and progressed from there.
Where would I be without my on line Zumba classes twice a week ? Flinging myself around in the comfort of my own hallway and frightening the postman on days it was too hot and had to leave the front door open. Where would I be without my virtual choirs ? No concerts in St. Mark’s or St. Mary’s but who would have thought I would be involved in an on line concert singing Handel’s Messiah globally with 3800 choristers, and professional singers and orchestra? More recently rehearsing for the SAS Remembrance Day concert under the guidance of our MD Chris. Last but not least, being able to worship on line with my wonderful church family Rachael and Jonathan every Sunday morning and enjoying a true sense of togetherness even though we were all apart.
However, none of this has been possible without its fair share of trauma…..There has been plenty of angry frustration involving me bellowing downstairs to my husband to tell him the computer has broken. Never my fault I must add. Many a time I was late for Zumba…’ What is the Zoom password again !!!’ Many a time l was late for Choir rehearsal….. ‘How do I find Self Isolation Choir on You tube ?’ …’ Yes I know you have shown me a hundred times’… Never late for church. I always gave myself half an hour head start to get a grip of Facebook. Now after months of effort and energy I push the start-up button with confidence. This techno dinosaur has had a Lockdown life thanks to my computer.
Spring clean, decorate a room, garden or paint the fence
Watch birds, butterflies and bees
Listen to and learn new bird songs
Observe how social interaction has changed for the better
Contact family, friends and neighbours by phone, face time or in person
Clap in support of the NHS and Key workers
Celebrate VE Day with afternoon tea on the front lawn
relax, walk, read, crochet or even
follow the St. Mark’s lectures from Chester Cathedral
for the sick, and the suffering, the anxious, the bereaved or the lonely wherever they may be
for the doctors and nurses fighting the infection or caring for their patients
for scientists working on a vaccine or understanding the nature of the virus
for politicians endeavouring to keep the country safe.
Gwyneth and Dennis
3. Scone Cutters
One of the ways I found to cope during lockdown was to bake. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, given that I have always thought of cake as one of life’s greatest pleasures! However, baking seemed to take on a new significance during lockdown. When I couldn’t go out to work or be with people, I felt very disorientated. I felt as though I ought to be doing ‘something’ but I wasn’t entirely sure what that ‘something’ should be. I found that baking helped, perhaps because it was something that I was able to do at a time when so much else was not possible. I baked a lot of scones, hence my choice of object. I hadn’t really baked scones before, but I discovered that I could turn out a batch in 20 minutes and it felt like a real afternoon treat with a cup of tea, especially as there were a few weeks when it was difficult to get any flour. Scones were also a way of getting the family together. I found that I could persuade the children to come out of their rooms with the offer of a warm scone, even if they then retreated back into them shortly afterwards! I made scones for local friends too, so baking helped to restore my sense of being connected to others. I’m not sure that I would say that my experience of lockdown has taught me any major life lessons, but it has certainly been a reminder of the importance of simple, everyday pleasures – like cake!
2. Order of Service
My lockdown object is the order of service for the funeral of my dearest friend of sixty years. She went into hospital following a severe stroke at the beginning of lockdown so I and her family were unable to visit her. Following the stroke she was unable to speak so I could only send her little notes and cards. I was unable to go to her funeral service in Telford because of restricted numbers but was able only to stream it.
I feel as if a light in my life has been extinguished and miss her terribly; she was the one I could tell everything to, good or bad and she supported me through some bad times in my life. We were kindred spirits. Her daughter always said we were joined at the hip! We spoke every week – well, often she speaking and I doing a lot of listening!
I am trying to concentrate on all the happy times we spent together and realise that it was a blessing that she slipped away at the end; she was such a social person, involved with her church, running a book club being a very active member of the WI, and not being able to communicate would have been the worst thing that could happened to her.
My baby was 6 weeks old when we went into lockdown.
I had already struggled with becoming a mum, so as Boris made his announcement, I watched and sobbed whilst trying to rock this tiny human to sleep.
They say it takes a village to raise a baby, and just like that my village disappeared overnight. I was absolutely flooded with panic.
Lockdown in a picture for me would be endless nappies, night feeds, cups of tea and lots of chocolate. But if I had to pick one object it would be this bench at the front of my house.
When things were bad, my mum would come and sit on this bench and talk to me from where I stood at the front door; remind me I was doing a good job and that I wasn’t alone. She brought me flowers, chocolates and bottles of squash so that I wouldn’t get dehydrated while breastfeeding.
Small little gestures of kindness that meant the world.