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Lockdown & Me - Gillian Sheldrake

It's Monday 23rd March 2020 at 8.30pm and Boris Johnson has just given me a gift - the gift of time! I have no idea how much time that will be but I intend to make the most of it. Lie-ins, pyjama days, binge watching box sets, afternoon naps - I could go on.

However, lie-ins didn't work! With children around my body clock insists that 6.30am is the time to wake up whether I need to or not. And pyjama days? Not for me. Afternoon naps just made me stay up later and watch more TV - thank goodness for Netflix! And for about a month that was perfect. Lazy days with sunny afternoons and junk food, what more could we want?

And then the monotony set in. I missed being productive. I missed work. I missed human contact, coffees and gossip with friends. So I shall fill my time with a clear-out! That took about a week. And I realised that all that stuff ready for the charity shop would go nowhere and cluttered up my dining room instead of being out of sight. Oh well! I'll just leave it - it's not like I'm having a dinner party any time soon!

Next: stripping!!! Two small pieces of furniture that have needed repainting for decades (and I mean decades) just staring at me, taunting me with the words "Remember us? You said you'd up-cycle us!" And I did. That was another few days filled.

We've made cakes. Rock cakes. Fairy cakes. Sponge cakes. Lemon drizzle cakes. Biscuit cakes (except that was supposed to just be biscuits!). Flapjacks. Jam tarts. Birthday cakes. Cakes because it's Tuesday! And we shared some with the neighbours at our impromptu social distanced VE Day get together.

My garage was full of cardboard and, with no chance of a trip to the dump, I thought about the basket weaving workshop I'd done with the Federation. Why not give it a go on my own? I turned my dining room into a craft room (working around the charity stuff!) and spent a few days cutting cardboard strips, gluing paper on, fighting with double sided tape and weaving away. And I did it! Another proud me moment!

I bought a bike - eventually - as it seemed the whole world wanted to do that same thing. Could I still ride? I hadn't been on a pushbike since before my eldest was born. Turns out riding a bike is as easy as riding a bike though we stayed in the park for a softer grass landing just in case! And I loved it! Why had I not done this years ago? No stopping me now - unless there's a hill - I don't do hills!

But what to do in the evening? I had always wanted to learn to knit and crochet properly. My Mum had never shown me how other than to make a square. And that's where YouTube came in. The videos were fab! If it's on there I'd give it a go. I'm not saying everything was a success but if you don't try you'll never know. I've got a load of Christmas colours and my lounge is going to be decorated with garlands that could potentially cover every square inch of wall.

With a few more weeks to go yet I may even venture into my scrapbook wardrobe - looking back at memories is always a bonus. And there's still some repainting around the house to do.

After 6 months what have I learnt? I am very good at wasting time but I also need to do things! Talking to people face to face is important but I'm thankful for technology when that's not possible. Online shopping, with a coffee in hand (or a glass of something else), is awesome! I miss my freedom but know that I'll have it again. Spending time with my kids is the best - though I am grateful that both are old enough to entertain themselves. Wondering if that person walking towards you is actually who you think it is behind the mask before saying hello can be fun. Maybe I do look ridiculous in a cycle helmet but so does everyone else.

But most importantly I've learnt that when life throws you lemons, make cake! Cake never lets you down!

- Submitted by Gillian Sheldrake, Admin WFWI


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