Lockdown Dialogue

This page is dedicated to our lockdown dialogue.

No matter where you live, feel free to share your thoughts, hopes and fears regarding the current crisis. Whether your in lockdown or working to keep it all going. 

I will also share the best of the conversations and statements from other pages here too. 

33 thoughts on “lockdown dialogue”

  1. I love those drawings they are all so different and each tell a interesting story , Good luck with your project Aaron .I live in the west of Ireland we have been cocooning for five weeks as my husband and I are in that age group. The beginning was the most difficult changing to staying at home all the time .Then we settled into a routine ,we are lucky we live in the country and have a garden not everyone has that . Our daughter lives nearby and gets our shopping which is a great blessing.We see all our family on Zoom every Sunday and we really look forward to that. I did not know about Zoom before Covid-19 and now depend on it to see my family .Many things have changed and many more will before this virus is eliminated
    Kind Regards and best wishes

  2. Beautiful work Aaron! Lockdown for me is not much different as I live alone and am used to being solitary. I am probably going out less than usual, and am in touch with friends by phone and messaging, and staying connected with my students too… Being unable to work, as I am self employed, is difficult though. Personally I think this lockdown is a great opportunity for self reflection and contemplation, and reviewing what is really important in life. However I hope it doesn’t go on too long!

  3. Great to see people when I go out even if it is behind their fences and windows. People are more themselves when you find them at home than at any other time and with lockdown in full swing, nobody is rushing around. Part of me wants this to carry on indefinitely!
    Wales is beginning to bloom, there’s no doubt. All my pots are growing shoots and I’m having a go at growing garlic for the first time, I’m discovering that I don’t really want lockdown to end, or is that spring, I certainly don’t want spring to end! I think the best thing about lockdown is the lack of tourists, they’ve never been popular here, it’s lovely to be able to enjoy quiet beach walks and not worry so much about cleaning up after other people. The problem of course, is not being able to visit people, to go off on occasional trips – but that mainly just saves money and I’m happy not to do that.
    Much love to you all, I hope we can make this a time in our lives that we look back on and appreciate

  4. Just been looking at your drawings Aaron. Fascinating insight into the microcosm of the village reflecting the mood and thoughts of us all at this historic moment. What a great idea to capture so many dimensions at once – the face, the surface of the glass, the reflections in the glass, together with the written reflections of the people portrayed.
    Like Becky, I feel lucky. Living in Suffolk and being retired we are not so exposed and from our windows we look out over the fields where we can see the sheep with their newborn spring lambs, a couple of Suffolk Punch horses, and a herd of cows. But we miss visiting our children and grandchildren in London and do worry about them. And concerns about the future of the economy don’t bear thinking about. As Becky says, a gin and tonic helps!

  5. How lovely to see our friend Tina,& read her account of how most of us feel, in this surreal situation we all find ourselves in. Jan Tina’s father, is also a friend,& a wonderful artist, we live in the most beautiful area, most of us are aware of that, but this lockdown has made most, of us realise what a privilege life is. My heart goes out to those who are living in flats,bedsits,or have no outlook or gardens, be grateful of every day, tomorrow is never promised to anyone!

  6. I’m getting on a bit so me and Nell have been proper locked down. Not a lot of changes to our lives though. We live in the Danescombe Valley with the usual joy of the spring busting out, the birds, the bees, the insects and the transition from bare branches to every leaf leaping a different green all around us. The wisteria is exploding. This time has been special. Many more walkers, the footpath passes our front door, many more and longer conversations with passers by. We’re always looking for a chat as isolation is the norm for us. Many more birds, this year they have gone crazy, Many more delightful yelping kids building and bursting dams down the Danescombe stream. I have no routine so life goes on pretty normally otherwise. I have adopted an even less urgent gait. Life is sweet.
    I watch the world outside of my paradise. leaders concerned with their own importance, power and glory, lacking in any empathy, concentrating on
    decisions to enhance their electoral opportunities or express their Churchillian qualities. At this time in history when an empathetic leadership is most important we seem to have selected psychopathy and the sociopathy as electable traits.
    I remain positive about the future, community friends and family are all so supportive of us and each other. Values seem to be changing everywhere to recognise the important contributors to our community. We all know who they are and how little they are rewarded. We now condemn the greedy and the controlling, we all know who they are and how little they contribute and how well they are rewarded. The Virus has accentuated the value of community and society. While we are still not quite all travelling on the same bus the virus has pushed into the background the divisions Brexit and its associated insularity imposed upon us. Covid 19 and other viruses have reminded us that mass confinement of animals for food production is no longer a viable future. The crisis has accentuated the need for us all to be concerned for the health of our planet.
    I am concerned for the homeless, those domestically abused behind locked down doors and those in much poorer countries where the strive to survive is moor important than avoiding a virus. I am concerned that I do very little to alleviate that suffering. I am concerned that those who continually voted for the running down of the NHS, social care and help for those less fortunate, are exerting their Thursday night clapping credentials. I hope they recognise their hypocracy.
    Thanks Aaron for this opportunity to look a little closer at what the lockdown means to me. I am writing and playing more music and feeling more vulnerable and sensitive.I’m spending lots more time looking at artists work and seeing what my creations would look like. .All excellent outcomes.

  7. Lockdown what does it mean? It is a scary word, sounds like prison related. Well I imagine for many people it can feel like that being restraint to your four walls. I can’t imagine what it must be like if you have a small family , living in a high rise flat , no green and parks nearby , struggling to survive financially because you are furloughed or had a zero contract hours job on minimum wages with years of austerity . No family and friends around. How do you survive? Wouldn’t you go bonkers? I dread to think of the consequences this can have on families. Or imagine you are homeless and no way to have any donations.

    But I am privileged to live in such a beautiful area with a lovely partner, friends who keep in touch and 3 wonderful children who are now ‘looking’ after us. They make sure we are alright, do our shopping, WhatsApp us and remind us to keep safe distances. Yes I do miss their close physical contact, a hug and a kiss. I have the space to have a calmer period in my life and reflect. Sounds almost like a bonus.

    If that is all I have to endure, if we stay well, during this period well that’s okay.

    But how did we get here. How did we allow society to turn into such an unequal, uncaring world where the rich and privileged have the power and control, are ‘robbing the poor’ by cheap labour. Where the elderly are forgotten and sometimes seen as a nuisance and where austerity has allowed poor health and social care financing to keep this inequality going. Shouldn’t we all have the right to a good physical, social and emotional quality to life? Aren’t we all valuable members on this planet?

    Interesting that people are aware of the clean air now, the bird sounds, enjoy a lovely woodland walk and see nature coming into bloom.

    Well and then there is the clapping on Thursday evenings. Is it support or a bit patronising or is it allowing the government to continue with its ‘miss management’ of society? Keep the frontline workers going and assume that when this is all over we can continue as before with poor wages, poor working conditions and poor financial investment in Health and Social care. Is that why they join with the clapping as their rhetoric claims: ‘we are all in it together’.

    What about the emotional aftermath, unresolved bereavements, post-traumatic stress, mental health issues, domestic abuse and poverty.

    What does it all mean for the youngsters, teenagers who feel their life has been put on hold?

    So yes I could go on and finish on a really negative note but that does not feel right. Maybe we have to grab this opportunity to make society, globally a fairer, and more equal, caring, empathetic and humane society. A society where we live in more harmony with each, nationally and internationally and with the earth and the animals.

    So yes I will continue to bang the drum on Thursday evenings for everyone who has lost dear ones, for those who are struggling and everyone working or not (it wasn’t their choice to stop) but most of all to make sure that we all wake up and don’t allow the future to go back to what it was. This is our opportunity for our children and children’s children to make it much better for all.

  8. Nellie and Barry I so resonate with both of your comments. Loving Calstock and Danecombe Valley as I do and missing my family living in the region, I nevertheless appreciate how lucky I am, in so many ways living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. We have certainly been a lot luckier with the number of Covid infections but have still had to undergo some very strict restrictions. Personally we had to move back onto our 5acre block because all of the housesits we were organised with, collapsed. We were lucky to be able to rent a comfortable caravan and to be honest this period has been a beautiful, peaceful and tranquil period, very close to nature (This block was officially registered as Land for Wildlife many years ago.) So we’re been enjoying all of those uniquely weird and wonderful birds, marsupials and so many insects whilst gardening, growing seedlings and veggies and trying to chill out. We make a conscious effort not to listen to the news too much, as in the UK we also have politicians whose light doesn’t shine too brightly as well. For us this pandemic following the horrendous bush fires this season, couldn’t have come at a worse time.
    Hoping and praying that as the future unfolds all of us, especially those of us blessed to to live in the ‘western world’, will appreciate just how lucky we are and what a beautiful and fragile world we live in, become more determined to look after it and the environment for our future generations. To love and live more peacefully and show more concern and consideration to those less fortunate than ourselves.
    Thank you Aaron for all of those photos and drawings, many I recognise though some unsurprisingly are looking a little older than I remember but then I did leave Calstock in 2003!
    To everyone over there do enjoy the Spring and Summer, Calstock is such a wonderful piece of paradise, I miss it dearly.
    Wishing you all well and a speedy return to ‘normality’. Jan Bolders

  9. I just love these pictures. In the 1980’s I photographed many aspects of village life in Calstock, and those black and white negatives are now held by the AONB office. I believe some of them are still displayed in the Village Hall. I hope in time that some of these pictures will also get a permanent public display. It’s wonderful to have such an archive for future generations to understsnd how it felt during the coronavirus pandemic.

  10. I live in a little village in France with my two children and husband, but know Calstock well as we have family there.
    We have pretty much the same feelings, we are so lucky to be in a little out of the way corner of the world which is less touched by the current situation, but constantly reminded of what others are going through.
    It makes you really appreciate what you have in life and those around you.
    I guess people all over the world are feeling the same way….
    So sending light and love to everyone over there from us all over here, we are all the same really, British, French, Italian, German etc. The important thing is we are all here for each other when we need it regardless of race, colour, religion or borders…

  11. It’s nice to hear about people’s lives, and how they are being affected by the restrictions. Most people seem to be finding some positives in amongst all the strangeness, whenever I’m out and about everybody seems to be coming across in a cheerful way.
    Every day I’m very grateful to live where I do, the easy access to the surrounding countyside, plenty of lovely walks in the area.
    It’s been hard being separated from my partner, who is caring for her mother, we can go for walks together, but at times it feels like we’re in a long distance relationship and she’s only 4 minutes walk away.
    I’m glad to have an allotment to work on, the allotment site is looking great this year with people getting so much time to spend working on their plots.
    It’s great to see all the efforts being made in the village by so many people the emergency shop in the hall, the stall at sunny acre, the rebel botanist with their chalk, this fabulous art project, and everything else. Thanks to everyone involved in the lockdown May revels, and thank you to all the people who have mentioned it was the first time they could actually hear the mummers play.
    With any luck the world can go on from this to a new normal with more caring and appreciation of all the good things and good people.

  12. Hi there Aaron, great art work! Iv been seeing a lot of community based projects recently coming of the back of Covid. It’s hart warming to see and read about. I live in a truck on the outskirts of a small village in south Devon and I’m a member of the local social media page and I see the whole village coming together to support each other. I sincerely hope that after this virus departs, we will keep these new found community values and start looking after each other. I’m currently furloughed so I have had a lot of time to do all of those little jobs! I have sorted out my sheds, spent hours on my allotment, Iv built a new shed from 100% recycled and second hand materials, improved my home, done a lot of small jobs, walked my dog for miles and generally stayed busy. I must say tho I am missing social interaction. Thanks Aaron for your work, stay safe!

  13. Hi Aaron. Glad you’re keeping well. So great to see your artwork here!! Well my wife Sam and I are experiencing lockdown in the USA which is i’m sure much the same as lockdown anywhere else in the grand scheme of things, the size of the USA and the varied sized pockets of population makes for an interesting pattern and means states and smaller localities need to deal with lockdown restrictions very differently from each other which causes some friction. Sam was due to return the the UK in April so she could get her VISA renewed as we are still in the late stages of our green card process but her flight was cancelled and the earliest she could book was December, long after her VISA would have expired. Fortunately as she was in the country when we filed the renewal, she was able to stay until the new one came through, which it did much earlier than expected.

    So for us it’s the usual jigsaw puzzles, we’ve got through quite a few, we do a lot of online cocktail evenings with our friends and neighbors, and every friday myself and a bunch of colleagues from work meet up on WebEx and sink a few beers around our respective garden grills. This really helps.

    We’ve managed to exercise a lot more than we were, and our sleep patterns have changed to accomodate this, we go to bed around 9pm now and get up at about 5 so we can go running before the trails near our house get to populated, often I’ll run along the road facing the oncoming traffic, there’s not too many cars around at the moment, so if I encounter anyone walking towards me I can just run about 10ft out in the road till i’m past them.

    As my hobby is flying RC Aircraft, all the local clubs have been closed, but there are a few places we can still fly. A load of us ‘meet up’ on a Friday morning along the flight line, all masked up, but we space out so far apart that it’s actually easier to communicate by phone rather than shout across the park.

    These are interesting times indeed, I think they’re times we’ll learn a great deal from, a great deal about ourselves and the world around us. I think this virus will mutate the DNA of society considerably, but i hope and believe it will do so positively.

    Stay Safe Yo’all.

  14. Everytime I look at these wonderful drawings and photos it brings a tear to my eye as there are so many familiar faces that I miss. I will never forget the three years I lived in Calstock and I know that you’ll all be looking out for each other in these strange times.
    I too am grateful to still be living in Cornwall with access to fresh air, walks and a great community (nowhere is like Calstock tho!) but that long distance relationship that Phil mentions is a reality for me – my partner is 200 miles away and as we are sensible (ha!) adults have not taken the risk of visiting each other.
    It gets my goat that people are now coming down for holidays without the slightest bit of respect for a county with a limited health service and a generally older population. Cornwall will still be here when this is over. Come back later.
    I always said when I moved from the Valley that Calstock and Gunni will still be there to visit – and that is precisely what I am going to do when this is over.
    Stay safe Calstock (and thank you Aaron) x

  15. What a time to be living through! I wholeheartedly echo other Calstockians’ new-found appreciation of this wonderful valley where we live in stark contrast to the location of some of the people I support through the work that has been more intense during this Covid-19 period. The first 3 weeks were the hardest for me as I was “in solitary”: workload felt pressured and I was experiencing seasonal insomnia. It felt very positive though to be doing “voluntary work” with the parish council and Calstock News Helen to spread information and support mutual-aid. Neighbours having over-the-fence/wall conversations for the first time. Seeds and seedlings being swapped. Shopping errands being cheerfully offered and accepted. I’ve benefited personally from all this and more. Although I’ve occasionally felt some pangs of envy for furloughed workers able to wander the lanes to their hearts content, top up tans and devote many hours to their allotments… still this is the first Spring that I’ve not been too busy to tend to my jungle of an allotment in my time off! The consistent sunshine has certainly made a massive difference to what could’ve been a very dark time for many.

    I REALLY miss hugs. And dancing with others. And my family up country (sad not knowing when I’ll see them).

    The “pause” in our societal busyness seems to have nurtured many people’s sense of gratitude and tuned them into nature. Let’s not go back to “normal”! Keep attuned, keep planting, keep growing, keep sharing, keep buying local… community is powerful and so is your political conscience!! Be awake to hypocrisy, inequality & environmental destruction. #NoGoingBack

    1. Oh and thank you Aaron for your wonderful skills in creating this project. For me you highlight in a unique way the new perspective that many people have! I’ve refreshed my long-held philosophy that life’s too short to save stuff for best. 3 friends succumbed to cancer around the age of 50 and all of them inspired me to use that tea-set, open that bubbly & wear my finest frocks whilst hoovering, washing-up &/or putting the rubbish & recycling out. Anyone want to join me in the Facebook group Put Your Bins Out In Your Ballgown?

  16. This has been a great insight for me and a window into how many people must be experiencing lockdown.
    My situation is quite different and although I feel grateful for it I can’t help but feel im missing out on this period of rest, contemplation and creativity.
    I work as a grower on a community farm and we deliver veg boxes to the wider community. My workload has dramatically increased and I’ve forgotten what a weekend is.
    I’m normally really busy at this time of year but nothing like this and the weekend trips out to escape, see friends and recharge just aren’t possible. I’m sure many key workers are feeling similar.
    I miss everyone so much, I miss music and dancing and hugs!
    I crave to be a part of this contemplative and creative revolution but also feel so grateful to be busy and privileged to spend most of my time outside in the beautiful Cornish countryside. I really feel for those trapped in cities with nothing more than tv and the internet to keep them going.
    Really looking forward to seeing you all on the green for a pint when all this is over. Xx

  17. I have not found the lockdown too bad, but a lot easier now we can take the dog to Kit Hill to burn off excess energy. Not having a garden, this has made a huge difference.

  18. Currently Living in rural South Australia, my experience with the lockdown has been very different to my family and friends back home in the UK. When lockdown was officially put in place here my boyfriend and I were living in a small town with a population of Around 160 people so apart from the cafe and the pub only been open for takeaway food and drinks, it was rare to see many people out and about on a ‘normal’ day. Of course if we had been living in a big city I can imagine things would feel a lot dissimilar. Been a foreign visitor in a country has been noticeable Different living in the countryside. People been a lot more wary of us than before. Before it would be totally standard to be approached in a shop, cafe, pub or even in passing in the street by a local person intrigued about our journey or plans while we are in the area. The first few weeks of the pandemic people would honestly cross the street when they saw us, especially if we were out with our car which is a typical “backpackers car”.
    Since the restrictions has been eased considerably in the last couple of weeks it has been felt like it’s getting back to normal. And even though we still can’t travel interstate at present (14 days quarantine each time we cross state borders) we can still travel around with ease. And finding work hasn’t been difficult (we have mainly worked farms whilst travelling the country) So the feeling of travelling, freedom and living one day from the next is still there.
    It has been difficult mentally having our families so far Away and the fear watching whole pandemic unfolding On the world news. Technology has played a huge part in putting our fear to rest, knowing that we can talk and video chat With our family whenever we like is an amazing thing. Seeing them healthy and happy.
    Hopefully when world travel starts up again we can come home and see and touch them in the flesh. But for now we are comfortable in continuing our journey of experiencing the world and all the cultures that come with it.

    1. I know Aaron through my appreciation for the music played by his and his fellow bandmates at Slack Mallard , formerly also at Phat Bollard.
      Having seen his artwork both myself and my wife are equally impressed.

      I think it is great that people like Aaron are out there doing their part to help people in the community by simply talking to them whilst taking the pictures of a glimpse of their life’s through the windows of their homes and then hand sketching the photographs.
      Fascinating screenshot of an event in history that is unique to us all.

      Regarding the lock downs, I go from feelings of vulnerability for my business, worry for others in my family or circle of friends as well as having empathy for all those suffering in many impoverished areas of the world to the highs of not much traffic or of not seeing many people as at times life is too hectic so breathing in fresh air which is not contaminated by vehicle emissions…….seeing more wildlife around is very much appreciated, but I keep returning to one dominating thought which is I simply do not believe that this pandemic has arrived from thin air and caused so much chaos and disruption to all our lives throughout the world……I feel in some way that we are all being played for fools but I can’t offer any concrete evidence other than the feeling that “something is not right”.

      I’m not disputing a virus is out there, but to my mind it is out of a lab and released very probably on purpose.
      For whatever reason I am running all this through my mind on a daily basis, although I find when I do it can overwhelm me with negative thoughts about our governments throughout the world.

      I feel more and more detached from the way of life so many people have seeked to live, with many possessions and gadgets that we allow to control us…..forgetting we are but simple people and the simple things in life are what we should all try to strive for.

      But here we find ourselves with an uncertain present and a very uncertain future…….I feel cashless societies will follow, causing misery to those at the bottom of the pile, much more automation will follow, I can see a future where driverless cars / vans and trucks are here alongside drones delivering the latest rubbish bought from Amazon or other massive corporate business.

      I think hundreds of thousands of businesses will fold or streamline their services, rendering many people’s jobs obsolete and I can see a society fast tracked into the latest wave of technological advances which we as humans are all expected to take on board in ever more complicated ways of life.

      I think there will be much more internet linked virtual nonsense going on, like teaching via a video link etc.

      They “ the powers that be” would like most of the human race out of the way and behind closed doors and so working from home will become more and more fashionable.

      I also feel that the phasing our of shops will continue as those in charge listen to the think tanks and social engineering that goes on in our university’s is put before the desire of the populations around the world to live a simple life.

      There will be more intrusion into our lives, there will be forced vaccinations or if not forced, people coerced into having vaccines as if not they may not be able to travel abroad etc.
      Those not having s vaccine to combat the virus may be treated as social leper’s.

      The financial meltdown of so many businesses around the world and in the U.K. is hugely worrying, could the world have shut everything down before the technological advances such as in banking and online to buy and sell goods ?
      So how convenient that this virus has emerged at this time in our lives, rather than in pre internet days ?
      I wonder how the authorities would have coped just 20 years ago ?
      I suspect nobody would have been told to stop going to work !

      There are so many things I could go on about…….at present I have to free my mind of the above and much more, to concentrate on my own little world of pine doors being restored and fitted etc.
      I have to be selfish and concentrate on keeping the business that I have had for 30 hard years going.
      So many will go to the wall and be replaced by another wave of franchises.

      It is all one big headache which I do try to push to one side, but we do need to as humans stand together and say no more as and when we feel we are being lead down a path we don’t want to follow.

      It is one big mess to be perfectly honest, we need a sweeping change and the removal of all the so called leaders of the world and the hands that pull the strings of those puppets……. time will tell if this is one big power play or if indeed my ramblings are of a paranoid person that has perhaps seen too much of the corruption that goes on all around us in the pursuit of power and profit.

      So remember STAY ALERT to the next crazy thing thrown at us and keep a sense of perspective and humour 😀

  19. Lockdown for us has been about spending time with our close family and realising what’s important in life and what’s not. We have had panics about money, work, school, exams, travelling teenagers stuck in Cambodia and unwell family members but we have also appreciated the beautiful place we live in and the amazing community that surrounds us. Lockdown has taught us to be in the moment and not worry too much about what’s ahead.

  20. How I feel about lockdown….

    24th March it all began, went to work as normal were 1/2 of staff in the office were sent home to self-isolate as considered vulnerable. Normally there are over 11,000 people in my office. At the moment there are just over 600. I remember the feeling of anxiety consuming me but categorised as a key worker I continued working. The worry that whilst everyone else was at home making sure they and their families were safe. I was still going about my work normally (well Kind of) and worrying about the people I was coming in to contact with. I would come home strip, put my clothes in the washing machine and then shower. To limit any chance there was of me carrying the virus. Luckily so far we have all stayed safe. My son should have had Neuro surgery by now but because of the amount of people involved in the operation it has been cancelled until lock down is over. We just have to hope the tumour is in lockdown and hasn’t grown! It has brought me closer to friends and family using technology to stay in touch. My message to all is to be kind. And remember a smile is as infectious as Covid-19 and is safe to spread.

  21. At the beginning of the lockdown, there was a very strange atmosphere in the village, with deserted streets and pin-drop silence, punctuated by loud bursts of bird song. If you did see someone, you might greet them with ‘Are you all OK?’ The anxiety was palpable.
    As the weeks have passed, and Calstock has been relatively untouched by the pandemic, I think people have relaxed a lot. The glorious weather has made it all seem like a summer holiday, where we can bask in our lovely sunny bubble and be thankful that we can get out into the beautiful countryside on our doorstep. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be stuck in a city tower block trying to entertain the kids; it doesn’t bear thinking.
    I do appreciate that many people are not so lucky; they have had to keep working one way or another, sometimes under great difficulties, and I am sure we all feel for those whose work has put them at risk and become a real test of their strength and courage.
    What I have missed most, of course, is music: no Calstock Singers, no Jazz Choir, no Rubber Band, no gigs to rehearse for, no piano lessons, and no concerts in the Village Hall or Chapel. We have all kept in touch, but nothing is the same as the joy of singing and playing together.
    The allotment is a real retreat, a place of peace and sanity. It is beautiful up there, looking over the valley, and it is lovely to watch the plants growing, the bees and butterflies, tadpoles and dragonflies, all getting on with their lives, blissfully unaware of the turmoil in the human world.,
    We have grown accustomed to the peace and quiet, and the return of traffic and voices sometimes seems a bit of an intrusion. It is good to see things starting up again, though. Helen (Porter) gets the Big Jazz Choir together on Zoom; we have enjoyed take-away Sunday lunch from the Boot, and fish and chips from the Tamar Inn. And it is great to have a food shop in the Village Hall – just what the village needs.
    Here in Calstock we have a great community spirit, and people look out for each other. We can only hope that the decrease in pollution and flourishing of wildlife around the world will convince our politicians that there must be a better way.

  22. Janet Taylor

    Lockdown has been quite a different experience for me than it has been for many as it’s been neither lonely or quiet! Coming up to lockdown, my husband, Matt and I were both looking forward to (and simultaneously dreading) the youngest of our children (18 year old twins) flying the nest to go off travelling on their ‘gap year’ one to Thailand and the other to India. After they’d gone at the start of March we had a week at home and then went off on a 10 day holiday to Egypt to celebrate/commiserate the end of full-time parenthood! The older 2 sons were respectively living on a small boat in London and working at an Australian campsite, both with girlfriends. As Covid started to look more and more serious and lockdown loomed the first challenge was to get ourselves home from Egypt when our flights were cancelled and then to get everyone else home. Extracting our 18 year old daughter from India proved to be the most challenging and dramatic but with help from an India friend of my son’s we got her and her travelling companions on the last flight out of India! So, lockdown began with a house full of the family plus girlfriends! Despite landing back home from various far flung places we were really lucky that none of us got ill. And so we’ve had a lot of fun! We’ve taken it in turns to host ‘come dine with me’; we had our own ‘backyard pub’ and we’ve had endless board games and card games. Sam, my eldest is a filmmaker and had made a documentary about Covid just before lockdown so we watched with interest and with concern as cases developed and the virus spread and we debated endlessly about the mistakes we felt the government were making and about the best ways forward. Our second son Laurie and his girlfriend got keyworker jobs about a month in, which meant they moved to Newquay. And then Sam’s girlfriend got a new job and they’ve finally moved on too. It’s been a period of uncertainty about work and plans and a time that’s created change for all my family. As lockdown starts to ease we find ourselves back where we started at the start of March with 4 of us at home. Things look really uncertain for my, now 19 year old twins, with their travel plans abandoned and their plans for University in September looking very precarious- it’s for them I feel most sorry amongst my immediate family. But throughout this time I’ve felt really lucky and blessed: so grateful for having my family around me; grateful for Calstock; grateful for a garden and for such a variety of nice walks on my doorstep and not least, grateful for my health! My work as a homeopath has been busy with my normal face to face consultations all done via Skype or Zoom etc. The other things that have kept me going have been Zoom choir and my regular belly dance class which also continued on Zoom, that and you-tube yoga! It’s amazing how technology has helped us all to adapt and stay in touch. Unlike many, I’ve been really able to ‘count my blessings’ during these strange and unpredictable times.

  23. Great site and wonderful artwork – it certainly brightened my day up here in Wuhan.
    I am confident I sadly no longer have to explain where in the world that is!
    The lockdown and the virus has definitely made 2020 a stressful year. Yes we did start hearing the rumours of a SARS like virus back on December 31st and people in my circle of friends and colleagues did start to take it reasonably seriously. Masks were more prevalent.
    My personal stress was increased by our second son being born 3 weeks early on December 20th, so having a new baby to take care of if anything helped distract from the wider situation (and looking back on it, I am very glad we were not in a hospital in Wuhan in mid January).
    I work at an international school so we finished the semester for the Chinese New Year break on January 17th and then home life for me was taking care of the baby and my 3 year old, but leaving our home as little as possible.
    In retrospect the scariest moment was when we took the baby for vaccinations on January 22nd, that morning we had no indication that a lockdown was coming the next day. That news came out in the evening, and we decided I would go to the supermarket across the road January 23rd morning, to buy as much food as possible. I got there when it opened at 7am, but by the time I left at 8am it was very busy, and I was glad to get out of there.
    After that we basically didn’t go out again, apart from putting rubbish out until April 8th.
    The government capped food prices, and each community organised food to be delivered to the door or at least to the downstairs door of the block of flats. The community I live in has 24 blocks, and thankfully no one in my building caught the virus, but people in other blocks did.
    That was a tough few weeks, but after a very badly dealt with January I do feel the Wuhan government did pretty well as the tightened the lockdown, and eventually stopped the spread.
    Personally the most heartbreaking part was looking at WeChat during those initial few weeks (WeChat for those who don’t know is basically the chatting part of WhatsApp, the news feed part of Facebook, and Apple Pay in one App – I haven’t used cash for a year now). The news feed was filled with people posting for themselves or friends etc asking if anyone knew which hospitals had available beds. I don’t believe the numbers reported during those weeks are accurate, I think they are drastically underplayed. I do believe the numbers being posted now, as it is just not possible to shut news down that quickly, it spreads on WeChat too fast, as that is how everyone heard about a ‘SARS like virus’ back on December 31st.

    Since April 8th Wuhan has slowly got back to normal. I teach Year 11 and Year 12, so I was one of the first teachers to go back to work. Year 12 started on May 6th, and Year 9 came back a couple of weeks later, and that is the only age students studying at the moment in Wuhan. If you are wondering why, year 9 is the end of middle school, and students take an exam to enter high school. Year 12 is the last year of high school, and most students take the University Entrance Exam to see which university they can go attend. I work at an international school with an American curriculum, so in theory my students will all be at university in a foreign country in September (most have been accepted into America), but who knows when they will actually get there.

    Normal life in Wuhan has everyone wearing a mask outside, most people wear them properly, drives me insane when I see people wearing them under their nose. Everything is a little different, everyone has a track and trace app for entering and leaving most public places. Smaller things have changed too, at school the teachers office used to be a lively, chatty place with people talking about everything, now everyone sits in their classroom alone and does the gossiping online. We used to clock in my pressing our finger to a machine, now we use an app on our phone.
    Working at an international school means we have a team of teachers from all over the world, the majority of which left the country during the Chinese New Year break, not to escape the virus just to travel. Now they can’t come back, China’s borders are basically closed to foreigners. Thankfully I have been paid in full every month, but I know from friends, and online gossip many people foreign and local have not during the last few months.

    Without getting political I don’t understand the inability for mass testing in the UK. Also they did badly organise two evacuation flights from Wuhan at the end of January/start of February (I had a few sleepless nights about our decision to not to take it).
    Wuhan has as of last week tested almost 10 million people. I got tested the end of April before starting back to work, as did all the students. Then when there was a small outbreak in one community in May they decided to test everyone who hasn’t been tested. They did 6 million people in 10 days, I forget the exact numbers, they found about 300 asymptomatic people.

    My attention has now switched to worrying about my parents in Calstock, my sister and my brother – I do hope people still take care.

  24. Malcolm Wright

    Lockdown has bought the good out in people, and has given people time to think and re evaluate what is important in their lives.

  25. Lauren, Logan & Harvey

    Lockdown for us has been full of ups and downs. For little Logan it’s been great for him having his big brother Harvey at home to play with and annoy. It’s definitely bitter sweet, we have all this extra free time to spend with the children which I truly love 90% of the time. But with all this uncertainty and anxiety about the whole pandemic is emotionally draining and overwhelming. However taking each day as is comes and just going with the flow not thinking much about it seems to work for us. My partner has been working throughout all of this so it’s just been me at home with both boys being a referee some days. I find staying positive is the best thing you can do and an occasional gin always helps. I’m just grateful for every single thing in our lives right now, i think it’s definitely made us all focus on what is really important in life. At the the moment for me it’s my children, family and that we are all in good health x

  26. Pete Anstruther

    What a wonderful project Aaron has embarked upon! Bringing our local community ‘together’ whilst we are distanced by our various ‘lockdowns’! I am very excited to be a small part of it. Thank you.
    I first became fully ‘aware’ of the personal effect and community ramifications (somewhat late as it turns out…Much the same as our negligent government?) when I returned home from my night shift (the last as it has since turned out) on Monday 23rd March and read a text from the NHS, instructing me to ‘shield’ by isolating myself at home for 12 weeks as I had been identified as being ‘at risk of severe illness’ if I caught this new Covid-19 virus, due to my COPD!!
    At first, the idea of being granted a 12 week ‘sickie’ that was not only sanctioned, but also funded by the government was rather exciting! Phew! A chance to ‘put my feet up’, perhaps undertake some work around my house, time to play around with artwork, instigate an exercise regime, practice yoga, learn a language, guitar etc. Of course, not much of this actually materialised in Pete World?
    This all coincided with the most glorious early Spring weather! Watching nature going about it’s business, less ‘hindered’ by human interaction and interference! Less noise, less pollution and more time to stop, look and listen to our wonderfilled world.
    I learnt of ‘stockpiling’, queues outside supermarkets, barriers between shoppers and till cashiers, ‘one way browsing’ systems, weekly food boxes for the ‘vulnerable’ (as I now had to recognise as being me!?), caring friends volunteering to get shopping and/or prescriptions for me (prior to being added to lists for ‘Priority Shopping Deliveries’) but I felt very removed and strange not to be a part of this ‘new world’!?
    Our wonderful caring staff, whether they be in our depleted, over stretched and woefully underprepared, underprotected NHS or in our, now commercialised, old people’s ‘homes’ that were treated as ‘sacrificial cows’ and were ‘expendable’!? The Delivery Drivers, the Shelf Stackers, Bin Men, Carers, NHS staff, Food Producers….all now ‘essential’, (whilst our privileged (seemingly inessential) ‘leaders’ hid away, doling out their largesse, (our money) to create ‘new’ manufacturing streams, hastily established by their political backers and lobbyists, often abroad, whilst ignoring existing systems and established manufacturers here in the UK, forcing them to sell their stocks of ventilators, PPE etc abroad instead of here in the UK?) whilst our Teachers taught their children, remotely or in person, allowing them to continue working!
    I was given 2 months in lieu of notice from my main job 🙁 but then found I was to be paid ‘furlough’ from my P/T HGV driving work!? 🙂 Both involved food production and distribution that were now seen to be ‘essential’!
    As the weeks rolled by, I dared venture out from my ‘cocoon’; first walking around my estate, later to explore the bluebell woods nearby, whist keeping away from other walkers and hiding away from the main pathways! Days melding together?
    Now, rather too suddenly for some, it appears the virus is ‘under control’ and lockdown is being eased……my daughter has returned to teaching and my grandsons go back next week…..she says it is incredibly hard (she has 15 in her class, no TA and still has to do her video lessons for the other kids) to ‘socially distance’ and is frightened for her family, as I am, for them and my returning to drive lorries (if work is still there!?). Very enclosed space with ‘revolving’ 12 hours shifts!?
    Interesting times!!? And, I feel that this is just the beginning!? On top of Covid, we still have the Brexit cliff to plunge over!

  27. We are now in week twelve. Along the way there have been ups and downs in the Wilson household like many other families.
    Shaun has continued working fulltime from home for the duration of lockdown, so we really have experienced this time as a family. He has been very busy which has been a challenge at times when conducting meetings the floor above while myself and the kids are doing a Joe Wicks workout!
    Austin and Tilly were both very worried at the start of lockdown. Austin’s hands were very sore due to excess hand washing. Tilly has been missing her friends (although both children have keep in contact with friends digitally) and very much missing swimming as our paddling pool is no substitute. Overall they both say it has been fun and enjoyable spending quality family time in the beautiful weather. Although as the weeks roll on we have found it beneficial to give them some one to one time when possible as Tilly said “it’s a long time with your brother”!
    For me I have been sad and at times angry when I look at many things in the wider world, for example, deaths due to the virus, pollution of our beautiful planet (lessons not learned and opportunities missed), jobs and businesses being lost etc etc…
    Closer to home in many ways not much has changed. Yes, we have slowed down a bit as there are no children’s clubs to race off to, but we have always enjoyed the simple pleasures of walking Frank (our dog), cooking, crafting and playing outside (garden) etc. We have just had time to do these things more often. I do miss social events but when walking Frank we often see friends and stop for a socially distanced chat and Frank is living his best life with everyone home and lots of attention.
    Living in Calstock (where I grew up) with its close community and the fabulous weather we are having currently have made lockdown (dare I say) enjoyable. We all feel lucky as Calstock is the best place to be during lockdown- this project is a prime example of why – thanks for giving us the opportunity to be part of this Aaron

  28. Ineke:
    After the shock of the Corona virus situation and lockdown I felt freedom, joy and relaxed. My life became very simple! My focus was simply on weaving, every thing I always like to do. I have my house full of material and I use all the colours I have. I made throws, shawls, scarfs, tapestry, teatowels, runners. Double weave (a technique) in wool, linen, cotton, silk. It flew out of my hands, could not stop it, did not want it to.
    My focus was to make and create beauty as one answer to the pain and suffering. Listening to music, mostly classical. My only purpose was keeping the image of a firm filled balloon with air. Dancing and bouncing in joy and exitement. Every day keep it going!
    Of course I missed my family, my grandsons, my son in law and daughter. She did my shoppings and her family came waving at my gate sometimes. Like I was the queen! We communicated through my iPad/FaceTime. Also with family and friends in the Netherlands.
    There is so much to be thankful for. My heart bubbled over very little things, nice people, the feeling of a global unity. My heart felt very much alive in sharing some feelings with others. The good things which came out of some people. The inspiration from them, so much love! I can talk for hours about everything that is happening. But silence is there too. There is a balance in life, it will be fine after a while (not too long I hope!).

  29. Karen Halford

    What an inspired project Aaron – brilliant, well done.

    My husband, Chris, and I only moved to Calstock at the end of June 2019. 5 weeks later my elderly parents joined us to live in the annexe part of our house. In November of 2019 my mother’s dementia and all that is associated with that became too much for my father and us to manage and so she moved into a care home. So, lockdown for us has been a daily worry that we would receive the phone call to tell us the virus had got into the home. They’re doing a remarkable job as so far all is well. I guess mum is in a happy place though as she has no concept of time and seems cheerful and hasn’t even realised it’s been so long since she’s seen us. For that we’re thankful. We miss her though and worry that the lack of contact with people who really know her will have a huge, negative impact on her dementia.

    As for our daily lives. Well, my father, Keith, (84 years old) seems to think lockdown is just there to stop him going out and enjoying his life! My husband and I have completely self-isolated (as much as is possible) to protect my dad. Luckily, he gets priority delivery slots with Sainsburys and Tesco’s which is great as it means we can avoid the risk that visiting a supermarket brings. We open these up to neighbours and friends too which is good that we can help if only a little bit.

    Having only been in the village a short while we’ve only made a few friends so far. Such a shame that these new relationships are on hold until we can finally get together again. The sense of community – everyone looking out for each other – is amazing though. We are so grateful to be living in such an amazing place.

    The plusses that we try and take from this whole experience is just how much we will appreciate the little things when lockdown is finally lifted. Just to be able to have lunch with our friends and welcome them into our home again. How lovely it will be to see our local pubs, open spaces and towns full of people, annual events taking place once again and being able to hug each other hello. The freedom to travel again. Our son and grandchildren live in Gibraltar – it will be a very happy day when we can finally go over to see them – sadly I don’t think that will be this year though.

  30. What has lockdown meant for me? An opportunity to reflect on what really matters. I’m not the most social of people at the best of times. I prefer my dramas in the novels I read and my guilty pleasure of Coronation Street.
    We’ve become so detached from whats real and invested too much of ourselves in the fake. We’ve lost our way. I see Covid as a wake-up call, a warning that we need to redress the balance. Money has become the be all and end all and it will be the end of all if unchecked capitalism continues, with the ever hungry search for higher and higher profits which are unsustainable. We need to stop.
    Now more than ever is the time for communities such as ours to come into their own, supporting and helping each other because thats what we do.
    We need to realise with real eyes the fact that we are all one species, one race, the human race, before it really is too damn late.

  31. I feel incredibly lucky to be going through this in Calstock. So many nice people, amazing spring birdsong, and tons of open space to enjoy during lockdown. I’m not a fan of how our government has bumbled along during the pandemic, but all of my family live in the US where it is worse and I really worry for them. I am grateful and feel very privileged to be living here and not there. Trump is a horror show and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to vote him out of office in November. I still have a vote over there and I’ll be the first one at Charles’s window to send in my postal ballot.

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