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Experience

A kind of 'prison'

Ruth M's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I live in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in an extended, semi-detached house, with my two adult sons (one of whom is bedbound with chronic fatigue syndrome). We have a front and back garden.

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In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

My lounge has become an exercise area, a storage area, a sewing area (for home made face masks, using old t-shirts).

My study has become a small photographic studio.

My hallway is the barrier between us and the virus, as I leave parcels, shoes etc there for days, to reduce the risk to us.

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

I used to love being at home or coming home, after a day out. Now, I see home as a kind of 'prison'.

My creativity and enthusiasm has disappeared. The happiness I felt when at home, has diminished, although I still feel safest when I'm at home. That's because I can't go outside for long enough.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

At first (about three weeks), it was quite pressurised. Once my eldest son got used to essential hand hygiene in relation to anything he touched. We have found ways to reduce irritation and pressure, by going out for walks separately. Also, allowing each other to indulge a bit, helps everyone cope. My relationship with my bed-bound son hasn't changed, as he does not go out or leave his bed.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

Best thing about our house, is that there is enough space for each of us, so that there is no 'enforced togetherness'.

Most frustrating aspect, is that our house is boiling hot (apart from our hall and kitchen) in warmer weather and freezing in colder weather, so exercising indoors is much more difficult.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

I've set up my camera in my house, for the first time. I love macro photography, so am taking shots of dandelion seeds with water drops on them, with different coloured backgrounds.

Our basic routines haven't changed, but my eldest son (23), is now cooking once a week, because there's nothing else to do. I'm cooking from scratch much more too.

Unlike others, our house is not tidier, because there's no one coming to visit, so I have no motivation to tidy.

I've set up my camera in my house, for the first time

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

I hardly ever see my neighbours, as they also rarely go out (or not at the same time as myself). I'm fortunate, that my neighbours are quiet, otherwise home would be a worse place to be. Having said that, I have had a couple of chats with my neighbours over the garden fence or across the road, and I find that that makes me feel as though everything is okay/normal.

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