So what are you doing in the great lockdown? Are you working from home, volunteering to support neighbours and local groups, gardening, learning a language, decorating the living room, reading all those books you’ve put to one side, and becoming reacquainted with daytime TV? Here’s a snapshot of what some of my neighbours In Embleton Road are doing to keep themselves busy, writes Tony Major. (Tell Ladywell-Live what your neighbourhood is doing)
Mick, Ladywell’s very own blues legend, took delivery of an electric cello the other day and plans to teach himself to play it. “I just fancied trying it.” Ali his wife has bought lots of clay and plans to do a bit of pottery – and tend the garden. Together they are also trying to plan Sainsbury deliveries – a logistical nightmare. Mick, a regular performer at the Ladywell Tavern and other pubs, is, however, disappointed that after suspending performances because of a recent knee op he now finds all his planned gigs have been cancelled. “That’s life.”
Tony and Hilary are both still working from home. “I’m upstairs, Hilary is downstairs. It’s 9 ’til 5 … but we have volunteered for the foodbank in Whitefoot and put our names down for the NHS volunteers.” They had to go out shopping but found that after queueing 2 metres apart to get into the supermarket there was “no social distancing once inside”. Tony plans to practise playing his electro-acoustic guitar when he has time.
Stella, a former Lewisham councillor, is sitting in her front room, soaking up the sunshine, reading the paper and about to watch Jeremy Corbyn’s last PMQs when I call. Stella hasn’t been out since she went to the hairdressers 10 days ago. But she has recently taken delivery of an exercise bike and plans to start using it. She was expecting to go into hospital for a knee op. “But I can’t see that happening any time soon.”
Colin is playing in a remote chess tournament organised by the Lewisham Chess Club (read more here). “We are about to take on a team from up north.” Partner Diane is a keen member of the street’s Whatsapp group and is joining a pilates session with a near neighbour – a personal trainer – on Zoom. Diane is also entertaining grandchild Honor – over the internet.
I catch Sandie in the middle of doing her 10,000 steps in Ladywell Fields. “But then I’m going home and will eat too much food. Then I will think I should have done a 12 mile walk!” Apart from that she’s cooking, working in the garden and “going up the wall watching crap TV”. “Lets hope we get out of this soon.”
Catherine, a special needs teaching assistant, is working at an online course on vocabulary for children when I ring. She is on a volunteer list for local schools. Meanwhile. Neville, her husband, is in the garden – “digging for victory”. He’s also listening to BBC Radio 3 and managing a daily cycle ride. “Two and half hours yesterday.”
Gerry is busy doing a Spanish class over Skype but is fretting about not doing her homework for the class. She will be out walking in the park later. Husband Ron is working – remotely.
Sister Katrina, across the road, is battling to put together a Lidl cold frame for the garden when I reach her. “It’s keeping me very busy.” But “I have cut the grass … and I’m cooking.” She volunteers at food charity Fareshare. Later she will be walking with Gerry on Hillyfields.
Embleton Road now has a neighbourhood Whatsapp group with 49 participants. People are chatting, arranging things to do remotely, helping out neighbours with medicines, food or other items, providing much need intelligence on whats available in local shops and supermarket and sharing videos to keep us all amused.
What is your street or neighbourhood doing? Please let Ladywell Live know and we will post your story. firstname.lastname@example.org