Tag Archive: lockdown life

  1. 2020 Pandemic: A Personal History by Joan Stott

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    Joan Stott shares her personal experience of living through the first part of the pandemic.

    He went to bed last night muttering and complaining but it’s not as if you can do anything about it.

    We were together at the beginning, listening to the news on the television. There was something strange happening in Wuhan in China; something about a new virus that was making people very ill and they were all going into lockdown. People had to stay indoors and not venture out. You could see them at their windows or on their balconies, sometimes shouting encouragement to each other across the divide. You felt sorry for them but they were so far away, almost too far away. But yet it was Chinese New Year and you knew deep down it would spread.

    It becomes a terrible fascination and you watched as the virus began to devour like a circling shark until it was lapping and snapping at your own front door. On the news again, Italy is the next country to feel the full force. You watch as the people struggle against seemingly overwhelming odds. Pictures flit across the screen, nurses with damaged faces, and strange silent funerals with almost no one there to say good-bye.

    You wonder how this could hurt so many people. It all seems so desperate but nevertheless you and many others soldier on. At times there are little snippets of hope which you relay to him praying it will lift up his spirit and bring him out of the lethargy and despondency that lurks like a cloud. He potters around the garden, ‘takes me mind off things’ he says.

    The virus grip begins in earnest and now you are not allowed outside or even go to the shops and even more heart breaking cannot visit your family, no not even for a minute. A strange sort of madness takes hold and gazing in wonder at the television screen you see forlorn empty shelves and grown adults fighting over toilet rolls.

    Shadows, submitted to Oldham’s Lockdown Museum by Linda

    You begin to count every second and then you stand looking out of the window hoping against hope that the sun will start shining and you can at least feel some warmth on your face. You look at your walking boots standing forlorn and unused in the porch, you imagine your feet encased in the leather, and the boots wet from the grass you have walked over.

    Then you silently curse old age, and the isolation you have yet to endure. But then, at least you are safe and you begin to notice the numbers creeping up and you thank God that no one you know has yet to fall victim. Still you look at the prone figures lying vulnerable and alone on their hospital beds and you rage against the helplessness of it all.

    Then Frank. Frank, struggling against dementia, falls victim in his care home and you think about him and remember the times you saw him walking around with his little shopping bag talking to everyone he met. The funeral is a on a bright May morning where the mourners stand apart and strain to hear the priest as his words are drowned by the sound of birdsong. You sprinkle earth on the coffin and wish that Frank could have had the proper send off he deserved in the church he loved.

    Yet there are moments uplifting and heartening. You can hear the dawn chorus in the morning, you smile more as strangers pass by your window and you listen for the crescendo of noise as neighbours clap earnestly for the struggling staff of the National Health Service. Children paint their rainbow pictures and paste them onto their windows and the shoots of normality slowly begin to form.

    You decide it will be safe to venture out but outside is an unknown and foreign place where you stand in queues at the supermarket and stern figures tell you that you are only allowed in one at a time.

    There is a kind of hiatus. Young people flock to the pubs and attend impromptu parties and you are envious of their unconcern and freedom. You yearn for family and friends but then, as you scan the pictures of lost faces, you remember the thousands who mourn. Then you reflect on the small snippets that gave you inspiration, the wonderful Italian voices drifting downwards towards eerily empty streets, the resurgence of nature, the silent empty roads and the sheer resilience of human beings in the face of adversity.

    He passes you a cup of tea, ‘come on love drink up, grandkids will be able to visit very soon.

    For further creative responses to the pandemic and to submit your own, see Oldham’s Lockdown Museum.

  2. Oldham Lockdown Museum

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    Week 4 (15th – 21st June): Changes

    Change happens all around us during ‘normal’ times, but the pace of change has really sped up during 2020. In March we all had to adapt to a brand new way of living, almost overnight. As days turned to weeks we had to adjust again, this time to the idea that this was a situation which was going to be here for a while. This week, as lockdown restrictions are eased slightly, things will change again. We would like to record some of these changes in Oldham’s Lockdown Museum, for future generations. Tell us about changes you have noticed around you, or changes you have made to your life. Have you begun to notice birdsong around your house as traffic noise fell quiet for a while? Have you discovered new areas of your local neighbourhood as you changed the route you went to work? Are you part of a group which used to meet weekly but is now working out how to continue using technology? Maybe the changes are more within yourself – have you become aware of how much of your happiness relied on contact with other people, or will you be vowing to build more time at home into your chaotic life as society opens up again?

    Deadline for ‘Changes’ submissions was 9am Monday 22nd June. We are happy to receive them after this but we may not be able to include them in our gallery on this page, although we will still add them to our collection for future generations. We will upload a selection of images in the next few days…watch this space.

  3. Oldham Lockdown Museum

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    Week 3 (8th – 14th June): Making

    For many of us, Lockdown has meant that we have had to learn new skills. We may have had to fix something in our house ourselves because we couldn’t call someone to help us. Or we have FINALLY got round to those little DIY jobs we’ve been telling ourselves we have been meaning to do for years. We have had to improve our cookery skills as the restaurants closed and our incomes became more uncertain. With less chance to be out and about socialising some of us have taken the opportunity to return to art and craft skills we haven’t used for years, or to begin to learn new ones. Thank you for the photos you have sent us of things you have sewn, sawn and baked!

    Deadline for ‘Making’ submissions was 9am Monday 15th June. We are happy to receive them after this but we may not be able to include them in our gallery on this page, although we will still add them to our collection for future generations.

  4. Oldham Lockdown Museum

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    Lockdown Life

    We have also received donations to our museum which do not relate to our weekly theme. Please keep sending us your photographs and films.