As many people know our daughter, Gemma moved to New Zealand to work in 2019. We were very lucky that our planned trip to visit her went ahead on February and we had an amazing three weeks with her. There were some signs of the upcoming impact that the virus would have; people wearing masks etc but generally life appeared to be relatively normal. We returned to the UK on 29th February, very pleased that we’d been and seen her.
We met for our Mini Golf in mid-March and things were getting a bit scarier by then and then just after the government announced that all non-essential travel should cease, schools were shut and many people had to stay at home.
My day job is as Finance Manager for a small charity whose main aim is to run a 59-bed residential and nursing home. Staying home is not an option for me as we need to ensure the safety of all of our vulnerable and elderly residents. Lockdown started for them before the government announcement when we took the decision to no longer allow external visitors. We’ve had to be very imaginative in how we deal with ensuring our residents are not isolated from their relatives and friends. Technology has helped tremendously; it was lovely to see the face of 95-year-old lady who sees her daughter regularly and who suddenly appeared on Facetime! We had Mother’s Day visits from relatives with posters held up in the car park for their Mum to see. My part-time role is now very much full-time and more as I spend my days trying to ensure we have the correct equipment to keep staff and residents safe and we have the money to pay for it. It’s hard work but there’s lots of laughter too as we try to keep life appearing as normal as possible. This situation is certainly highlighting the stars in our team!
At home it’s very different too. My husband was initially furloughed. Not the best but it does mean that all those jobs that have been getting put off are getting done now. And better still not by me! I’m even getting the odd meal cooked for me which is an added bonus. He's now back at work so feeling a bit more normal. We’ve had trips cancelled, I’ve not been able to visit my parents and it looks like the cruise we booked 18 months ago won’t happen so 2020 is certainly not what we thought it would be.
But on the positive side, the house is cleaner, tidier and newly decorated. I now facetime my parents instead of calling them, we’ve had family (8 households, 2 in New Zealand) Zoom meet ups and I’ve even written some letters. With a bit of luck by the time we come out of this I’ll be slimmer and fitter after following my online yoga class (so hard!) and our newly arranged weekly Pilates class on Zoom!