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Safety, survival and security

Kirsty's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

My house is a three bed terraced house in Hillsborough, Sheffield. My daughter and son used to live with me but since Christmas 2019 I have lived alone.

My son will be back from university in the next month or so but my daughter is currently in Spain and I don't know when I'll see her again.

My house is at the top of a hill. Even with less traffic there are still people and cars to see out of my front window.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

person sat in chair in living room with fireplace and plants
I'm into rare 50s and 60s RnB, soul and popcorn music. It's been great watching live feeds from DJs around the world.

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

I've started to use my attic room as a sewing room. It was already full of my art studio stuff and was previously my son's room before he went to university.

Volunteering to sew scrubs for the NHS has got me up there and using the room: it's a great room with lots of light so this is good for my wellbeing too.

Plus I can monitor my tomato seedlings and see how much they've grown.

Cloth hanging on an ironing board
Taken on my first day of sewing scrubs as a volunteer

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

I feel really happy with my home. I moved here after getting divorced and I associate it with lots of positive feelings: safety, a new start, survival and security (I own it).

My feelings about it haven't changed.

View of a kitchen
I love this room especially because the orange worktop makes me happy

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

I've made sure to phone at least one friend (and also my boyfriend) every day. I've made lists of people to phone. Often these are people that I've been meaning to to phone for ages.

I've also been motivated to phone relations and friends who I know are by themselves. I'm thinking that a voice call might be helpful in keeping spirits high; it's so easy to have a slump in mood.

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

I love the light in my house. Despite having a terraced house where people walk by and can see into my living room I don't have net curtains because I need light to keep me feeling good.

I also love my garden; it's small but in good weather I use it as an extra room and sit out to eat meals in it.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

I've still gone to bed at the same time as I did before being furloughed but there have been several days when I haven't got up as early. For the first three weeks or so I was waking in the night for an hour every night. This was getting me down so I started listening to relaxation YouTube videos to get back to sleep. My sleep seems to have settled down again now.

I've had more time to try and catch up with domestic jobs; my oven's first clean in five years!! DIY, sorting out files and paperwork. I've also improved my skills by doing online training.

I am keen to use this time to improve my skills to put me in a better employability situation after shutdown. I am currently a Special Needs teacher working on supply so was already used to a certain level of uncertainty in my life.

Being able to do something practical to help in this period has been good. The sewing has taken up a fair amount of time and I have felt less guilty about not being at work while others are still going about their jobs with a lack of PPE.

View through an open gate of a picnic bench on a patch of grass
My mended fence: a job that I'd been meaning to do for ages

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

I am very lucky to have neighbours who all share a spirit of community. In my row of terrace houses we have had several garden chats plus pavement and street chats with neighbours across the road. In good weather we have been out more it's a good way of not feeling alone despite the fact that I am currently living in my house alone.

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