Oldham’s Lockdown Museum: One year in Tricia Golden

It is a whole year since lockdown began in the UK on 23rd March 2020. Soon afterwards, we began Oldham’s Lockdown Museum. The project asked local people to send in pictures and tell us what they were doing in a time of monumental change. Over the coming months, photographs poured in and together they create a revealing and sometimes moving snapshot of Oldham during lockdown. The Lockdown Museum tells amazing stories of how people came together to help one another, adapted their lives and businesses and found the strength to keep going in the most challenging of times.

To mark the anniversary of lockdown, we have contacted some of the contributors and asked them to reflect on the last twelve months. Here is the latest in a series of revealing blog posts. Today we’re how the life of Tricia Golden was transformed.

No. 8, Tricia Golden, singer, nature lover and artist

  • Thinking back to 2020… What were you doing in March, when the first lockdown started?

I was booked to travel to Cambodia on 21 March. This was finally cancelled on 16 March. I had been to the gym for my induction but could not start my annual membership because the assistant was at home isolating. I went to performances at The Lowry and Royal Exchange on 12/13 March and had other tickets booked. After much discussion we decided that the Choral Society rehearsal on 16 March would be the last for a while. I stocked the larder.

  • What suddenly changed for you when the first lockdown started? How did you adapt?

 All social contact through groups and classes stopped. My first event to be cancelled was My Jerusalem at Oldham Library. My first use of Zoom was for a French class usually held at the teacher’s house.  I set up a weekly Friday evening Zoom for 7 single choir friends. I started a diary on 13 March, the first day I was personally affected. Supermarket shopping with rucksack once a fortnight. My car was not used for 12 weeks.

A newly painted ‘NHS thank you’. The graphitti is on Hough Lane where the lane goes under the A627M bridge, a favourite graphitti site.’
  • What helped you through it, personally and professionally?

Telephone and video calls and WhatsApp. Weekly Zoom socials give some structure to the week.  The daily hour’s walk got me away from the house and into the burgeoning spring countryside with my phone camera as companion. Through YouTube videos and online courses, I have discovered gel printing, collage and art journals.  Social media groups relating to these subjects has kept me connected with like-minded people. I have recorded photographic and art challenges on social media.

A Peacock butterfly among the spring blossom of 2020.
  • What has changed between the first, second and third lockdown?

 Oldham only had 3 weeks in July when we weren’t under some sort of lockdown so it has seemed continuous. Originally I thought I would read a lot of books, declutter, sort photos etc. I didn’t. I started online pilates and Gareth Malone’s choirs and tried other online choirs in lockdown 1 but stopped them all. Now in the third National lockdown, I have slowed down, there is no pressure to get anything done. I allow myself to do very little. I even phone fewer people, I have become desocialised.

  • What, if any, have been the positives?

Calm, time.  Weekly Zoom connection with two groups of friends. Creativity; printing cards and making Artists books, thousands of photos taken on my walks. Online tours of exhibitions and virtual audience for Radio4 shows that would not normally have been geographically possible.

I have made books of prints from leaves, flowers and feathers foraged on my daily isolation walks which remind me of the time I have had during lockdown to notice the development of the woods and hedgerows and to be creative.
  • What are your hopes for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

 To be together with my two daughters for a delayed Christmas stocking opening. To see their new houses. To see other relatives and friends. Postponed holidays. Family celebrations.

I hope theatres, museums, musicians and choirs survive. I hope town centres will regenerate.

I hope Covid threat reduces to that of flu and worldwide and international travel can resume. Too much to hope for in society and inequality, worldwide, nationally and in Oldham.