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Lockdown concerts

Mrs D's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

We live in a 90 year old terraced house, near a railway station, in a suburb of north east London.

We are me, my husband and my teenage son. We have lived here for 15 years.

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Schedule of music recitals written on paper
The weekly programme of concerts our son has been playing he performs them in the living room and removes the rug and ornaments, closes the curtains to turn it into a concert type space

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

Our home has become a new place to us, in a way. A key way the pandemic has changed the way we use our home is that we all eat together now at dinner. This only happened at the weekend before.

We use our home as a school and office now. My husband works every day on his laptop, including having meetings and phone calls. I also work on the computer on assignments and our son studies every day on the work sent by his school.

My husband and I spend more time in the garden, looking at the plants and birds. Our son spends his evenings on the Playstation online with his friends whereas before he was doing homework, or at a music rehearsal.

I am cooking more meals and baking more frequently. I spend a lot of time at the sink washing up and looking out through the window at the yellow, red and orange roses in the garden.

Now we also seem to spend time alone in our home, in different rooms. I will be upstairs in our bedroom reading or watching Downton Abbey on my phone. My husband will be in the kitchen/diner on the computer and listening to music and our son will be in his bedroom or in the front room.

View of a grassy garden out of a window
The view above the kitchen sink out into our garden

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

I feel very close to my home now – as an entity. It has become a place of safety and refuge – almost like a physical presence. I do not like being away from it for long and am glad to get back inside.

I work in a school two days a week and go out once a week to the shops; I always fear bringing back the virus into the house.

I have a stronger gratitude for my home and garden now.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

My relationship with my husband and son has benefited from spending time at home together.

My son said he can never remember a time before when he saw his dad so much.

We are able to talk to each other without the pressure of time/work constraints. I really appreciate this and the fact that we have shared experiences which keep us going; for example our son has played his violin every week to us in a series of 'lockdown' concerts.

My sister now watches these too, using Zoom and so we get to see her and my niece and nephew every week and chat too. We also chat online to my father-in-law every Sunday and have taken part in online work quizzes.

The massive downside is that I cannot see my 92 year old mother who lives with my older brother in south east London. I speak to her every day on the phone but this enforced separation is so hard and I worry about them, my mum especially.

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

So much more – warmth, heating, the kitchen, the garden, books, the feeling of safety being inside. The everyday comforts of your home and the personal around you.

What is frustrating? That we cannot have our family and friends here in our house.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

On the days I don't go to work I do PE with Joe Wicks – my husband and son have done every day of these. This is new – I didn't used to exercise.

I have more time for: reading, watching films/TV, listening to the radio and music, for being in the garden. I cook more and have tried some new recipes. I have more time for everything – as work and travel no longer dominate our day to day lives.

The days are less structured and we are going to bed a lot later and I am getting up later. Listening to the daily briefing at 5pm has become a new routine.

Person standing in front of TV showing PE with Joe
Getting ready for Joe Wicks

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

Over the past seven weeks we have spoken a lot more to our next door neighbours as we all 'Clap for the Carers' on Thursdays at 8pm.

This have given us a stronger sense of our part of the road as we have waved to people that before we would not have spoken too – even though they only live two doors away.

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