John Aged 55

The first lockdown in the March (2020) when the weather was glorious, we spent loads of time in the garden. All the cars stopped and the air turned clean, that was huge, I remember going out into the garden one day and I could smell the countryside, I could hear the wind, I could hear the insects.  In the absence of pollution all the insects blossomed and that brought out all the birds.  There was so many birds last year.  Seeing nature claim back the space because it could breathe, that was wonderful.

We were really blessed not to have lost anybody, but there has been worries because my wife’s mum is part of the vulnerable population. My sister has got incurable cancer and my eldest sister had to have a heart valve replaced, so she was clinically vulnerable as well.  It didn’t help that we didn’t qualify for a scrap of the furlough scheme, if  it hadn’t been for our family and inheriting a bit from my mum we would have been screwed, we could have so easily lost everything.

My youngest daughter drove us all crazy, as she was so emotionally demanding. She’s an extrovert, so when she was denied contact with her school mates, she would just latch on to us, feed me, feed me feed me all day long! Poor kid was just desperate for other people.  When the lockdown eased a bit in the summer, we were able to set up a system with her friend 2 doors down. We put chalk lines on the pavement 2 meters apart and a game board would sit on the middle line, they could go one at time to the board to play, that really helped, at least they could interact.  It was impossible to keep them apart though, you would find them huddled up under an umbrella together but we came to the conclusion that everybody’s mental health was just as important.

When we went back into the 2nd lockdown the homeschooling system was different, my eldest daughter was in secondary school, so homeschooling was online with video classes. She was on the top floor in the loft with me whilst I was working, trying to get 40 hours programming in.  My wife mostly had the short straw of doing our youngest homeschooling, it was so hard. She would need 1-1 all the time. We knew our youngest was also struggling with the school work, something that should take 20 minutes would take her 2 hours. We clocked that she had a real problem with writing, in a way it was a blessing that we were able to observe what was going on and then we could then take that up with the school.

Being a political person I found myself getting angrier and angrier at the government how they have just failed left right and centre in so many different ways, accountability, competence, corruption,  Lack of PPE, the lack of medical equipment and taking advantage of the medical staff, treating them like shit.  I found it really hard that I couldn’t get out my placard and go rampaging up and down Whitehall, I have felt really angry a lot of the time about all that.

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