Appreciating the positives of lockdown
Sharon, Imogen, Georgia & James Warren
Suddenly we were at home, all the time!
Sharon: As with a lot of families, once we got over the shock of many elements of our everyday lives being shut down, we began to look for the positive aspects of our new situation. We lead very busy lives, with both my husband and I working and ferrying our three children to school and a variety of extra-curricular activities. Suddenly we were at home, all the time!
The children took to home schooling with great enthusiasm initially; the idea had certainly started to wane by May. I was furloughed from work, which meant I was on hand to assist and cajole with home schooling and all the technical and logistical issues which arose with three children requiring three different “live” lessons all at the same time! Although hard work, it was interesting to be so involved in the children’s education, and we all appreciated the flexibility of organising our own timetable.
Enjoying the outdoors
We felt very fortunate to live in Harston, with great walks and cycle routes on our doorstep, so that we could take full advantage of the permitted one hour of outdoor exercise. The weather was incredible, with day after day of warm sunshine; Spring 2020 has subsequently been recorded as the sunniest on record. We therefore fully enjoyed the extra time we had this year to spend in the garden and surrounding countryside, watching Spring unfurl.
The highlight for the children was the regular cycle ride to Byron’s Pool to keep a watchful eye on the swan’s nest and the cygnets who emerged in early May, along with the many ducklings and moorhen chicks. We found other new local cycle routes too, which all felt much safer with the vastly reduced amounts of traffic.
With the idea of making the best of the situation, we invested in three inflatable kayaks. We had some great kayaking trips through Grantchester Meadows and along the Cambridge Backs, eerily quiet without the tourist punts. With extra time on our hands, we also had more opportunities for cooking family meals, baking, playing board and card games and watching family films and free musicals streamed on the internet.
Of course, there were difficult moments. We all greatly missed family and friends. The children were upset about cancelled school trips and concerts and it was so disappointing to cancel holidays. However, we all enjoyed the chance to slow down for a few months, to spend more time together and more time outside in the natural world.
Looking out from Lockdown by Georgia, age 10
I found home-schooling fun, although I really missed my friends. In history, we learnt all about the Second World War and made bunting for the 75 years anniversary of VE Day (when WWII ended in Europe and there were huge celebrations). We also looked at Anne Frank’s diary and compared her life to ours during lockdown.
For English, I was studying a book called The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
I have read A LOT of books – at least 40 I think – but I lost count a while ago!
Taking advantage of the quiet rivers, we bought three kayaks. We were slow at first, but once we got the hang of it, we sped along. I loved seeing all the fluffy ducklings and moorhen chicks and ducking under the willow trees!
Swans and cygnets – my favourite memory of lockdown
At Byron’s Pool, we watched as eggs hatched, and cygnets appeared! They were cute, fluffy and grey at first, and only the size of their Mum or Dad’s head! The first day we saw them after they hatched, they were all hitching a ride on Mum’s back! But they grew bigger quickly, their necks lengthened and they have just started to turn white at the end of the summer. It was amazing watching cygnets grow to be swans.
Looking out from Lockdown by James (13)
During lockdown, we have had the opportunity to go on lots of bike-rides which has been super fun, and great exercise. Towards the beginning of lockdown, we cycled up Chapel Hill, connecting Haslingfield to Barrington. It was really hard. But the reward was the downhill, my max speed reaching 53.1 km ph. It was so exhilarating.
Another activity I got time to do more of was reading. The picture shows all the books I have read during lockdown. I finished my favourite series, Alex Rider, but luckily for me there is another that I hope to get for Christmas.
During lockdown, I have had plenty of time to help out in the garden. Me and my sister planted sunflower seeds in April, and now, as you can see in the photo, some are 10ft!! We have also grown some tomato plants, which are producing giant tomatoes, and strawberry plants, but the pesky birds often eat the fruit.
End of school
I attended St Faiths, a middle school, and because I was in Year 8, this was our final year at the school. It was really sad to miss so much of our final year, but luckily we were invited back into school for the very last week of term. It was so much fun, even with the restrictions. We had a socially distanced Sports Day and a garden party in the Headmaster’s garden.
Imogen’s lockdown experience; age 15
I am taking my GCSE’s in 2021, and whilst we were in lockdown, I was trying to learn lots of material for them. I had 3-4 live lessons a day, and the rest of the time I was doing work that the teachers had set us. It was a strange experience, and hard to stay motivated at times, but it helped being able to frequently call my friends and talk to them about it. I don’t feel worried about having missed lessons in school, as I think we managed to cover most things we needed to. But I hope school doesn’t shut again in the near future, because it is much harder to work at home, and I miss being with my friends every day.