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Slowed our lives down

TG's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I live in Motspur Park in the borough of Merton. I live in a semi-detached house built in 1929. It has been extended over the years.

Marilyn and I are retired teachers. We have four children who are grown up now.

Our son Sam lives in Berlin. Alice lives nearby with her boyfriend. Emily lives with us and our youngest Abigail is at home from university at the moment.

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Four people socially distancing in a garden, two on stools, one on a bench and one standing
Alice, my eldest daughter and her boyfriend Dan came round. They walked down the alleyway at the side of the house. We set up stools probably 10 feet apart so we could talk.

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

Emily (our daughter) does the food shopping once a week for us. We go walking in our local park every day. Apart from that we don't leave home.

We are lucky to have a garden which we can sit in. We have been working in the garden painting the garden fence, and demolishing an old shed.

Marilyn is part of a book club which is having zoom meetings. I have been conferencing with old friends up to eight of us at a time.

Having to stay at home has slowed our lives down. I have a blog and I have been writing for it more often.

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

When we moved into our house 27 years ago it was because we needed more room for an expanding family.

We had a good feeling about the house when we moved in. It needed a lot of work especially decorating but it seemed our ideal home.

Over the years we have developed it and made it the home we want. We have always felt lucky to have it. Now we feel even more lucky to have it.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

The house is spacious. If we want to we can go into different rooms. Watching the depressing news and reading about the effects of this pandemic on other families and individuals breaks our hearts.

We know we really are lucky. We all get on well. That does not mean we don't disagree. We often argue but we have always accepted and respected that. Of course we can go into another room to get away.

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

We absolutely appreciate the size of our home and that it belongs to us. We have everything we need and want in our home. We can continue all our interests.

We have made financial sacrifices over the years and with a growing family have struggled in the past but we made it through, somehow. It's a house built in the 1920s so it needs maintaining and we do that. They built houses well then.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

We stay in. We don't have friends round although we talk to the neighbours over the garden fence.

Being retired we spend a lot of time in our home anyway. We used to go to the theatre occasionally and the cinema but obviously not now.

The National Theatre and galleries are providing online exhibitions and shows so Marilyn and I watch some of those. Zoom conferencing is a novelty at the moment.

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

We are very lucky. Our neighbours are friendly. We have always got on well.

The houses at the back of us have a lot of young children. It is great to hear their voices. They all seem to have trampolines so we keep seeing heads appearing over the top of our fence.

Every Thursday night we have been going out of our front door to clap and cheer for the NHS workers and other key workers. We all wave to each other in the street.

It seems very peaceful and friendly where I live at the moment. I think it has made us feel more like a community.

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