Tales of my life in lockdown in Bolton

Our Bolton reporter Carole Ogden shares her thoughts on ‘Life in Lockdown’ from spring cleaning, gardening, finding a renewed love of cooking, writing poetry and enjoying art to making scrubs caps, headbands and bags for healthcare workers, supporting friends and strangers through difficult times, managing emotions – oh and giving a teddybear a daily itinerary as light relief for friends on social media.

Wow, she has been busy, and we will enjoy stealing some of her ideas – we only wish we could have a loaf of her gorgeous looking bread!

“Looking back at the Coronavirus diary that I started (but abandoned as the inconceivable became our new reality, where nothing much seemed to change), I discovered that I have been in lockdown since Tuesday, March 17. The night before I had attended a community yoga class and had taken the difficult decision to cancel all forthcoming activities because it was clear where we were headed.

“Eight whole weeks. So I wondered – where have they gone, exactly?

“The first week we tidied the cutlery drawer and the cupboard under the sink, then we steamed floors. We had planned to clear out a bedroom, but as we couldn’t get rid of things to either the tip or charity shops, that soon took a back seat. Gardening took over, as the weather became sweltering, and we have some great fruit and veg on the go.

“I managed to write a poem a day throughout April, since I could hardly argue that I didn’t have time! I also started making scrubs caps, headbands and bags for healthcare workers – I still can’t believe it actually came down to donations of bedding, and volunteers sewing at home, to provide those on the frontline with the protection they so desperately need.

“I have eaten well, drunk more alcohol than I would dare admit, and remembered the pleasure I get from cooking, particularly bread-making and cooking curries from scratch. I named my sourdough starter ‘Boris’ and ‘Son of Boris’ is the excess that lives in the fridge. I have also learned to use Zoom, which I could happily do without, to be honest! Although I can see how useful it is, I find it absolutely energy-draining.

“I have watched Grayson Perry making crazy artwork and been inspired to get out pencils and paint and have a go myself. I have crocheted a turtle, made tiny veg and terrier brooches, and amused my friends with online tales of an itinerant teddy bear.

“I have grieved for a close friend when her daughter has died of terminal cancer, though unable to give her the hugs she so badly needs. I have spoken to strangers on the phone, to try and keep their spirits up, and helped friends with practical advice and whatever little acts of kindness I can.

“In the early weeks I cried quite a lot, and became unnecessarily angry about stupid things, but thankfully that has passed for now. I somehow feel that I have now become (as Pink Floyd might say) comfortably numb.

“Where we are now feels dangerous, somehow. It feels like the worst is over and we are just waiting for the signal to get back to normal, yet the perceived wisdom is that there could be so much more to come.

“If we learn from the Spanish Flu epidemic, and from other countries who have started to relax things, then perhaps it’s no bad thing to just take a little time and just stick with it. I have learned, like so many, to listen to the birds singing and enjoy flowers blooming everywhere. No-one is expecting anything of me and, although it looks as though my usual part-time work will not start again for the foreseeable future, luckily we are able to cope financially. Oh, and there’s another positive – we are spending less!

“Meanwhile, I have put the bottle away and started to practice a little self-care by dusting off the WiiFit. My mobility issues mean I sadly cannot enjoy long walks in the countryside, but I figure that I need to ease my way back into exercise, slather on some Immac and book the first available haircut, otherwise, my time in lockdown will have seen me metamorphose into a veritable hobbit!”

We would love to hear your tales of life in lockdown – please share them with us via email at changingtherecord@gmail.com

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