By Cherry Campbell
Lockdown Love Story… well, quite the opposite. Sadly, a newish relationship became an Unloved Story, which was soon replaced and embraced by my embracing and loving lockdown.
Pre-lockdown, in early March, when corona had a small ‘c’, I travelled to Cape Town for a nephew’s wedding. A week before my departure, South Africa announced its first case, but it was in Durban and I was going to Cape Town, so no worries there. Within two days of my arrival, the second corona case was announced – in Cape Town! Three schools associated with the virus were closed down. Within five days, the Government shut down all schools, banned gatherings of 100+ people and imposed a two-week isolation order on all people arriving from at-risk countries. The wedding was cancelled.
Lockdown in London
Within six days, I was back to London, amid fears that I would be prevented from leaving the country if I had stayed on for the full two weeks booking that was originally scheduled. It was a shock to discover how rapidly society had changed during the week I’d been away:
- over 70s and vulnerable groups were choosing to self-isolate
- people were working from home
- football matches were being played without spectators
- JOY (Joining Old and Young), the charity of which I’m a trustee, had cancelled all sessions for the foreseeable future.
Being at home sweet home was a blessing, and a relief not to have been stranded in Cape Town. For this relief, I gave much thanks! But first things first was the order of the day, so after stocking up fridge and freezer, my own self-imposed lockdown began. A week later, the Government made lockdown in England official for all of us.
At this stage, although having recovered from my sleepless overnight flight, I was still very exhausted, lethargic and had occasional shooting pains in my head. My suspicions grew… I remembered when boarding the plane, a young woman behind me was coughing and I’d asked her to keep her distance. I had marched forward angrily, only to find two Chinese businessmen in front of me. Between the devil and the deep blue sea! One way or another if the virus was on that flight, and I’d caught it, then I had to be grateful that I was only experiencing a mild form of it.
So I spent a week lying on the sofa, lethargic and not motivated to do much more than read the many messages and memes that were pouring into my social media apps. By Day 10 my energy was back, and I was rarin’ to go! Being a self-confessed dance addict (Ceroc/modern jive) who had been dance deprived for three weeks, it was time to get my fix! Hair, makeup and bling in place, I was ready for a party for one!
It was bliss to be feeling better and back on the dance floor, strutting my stuff. All this accompanied by friends on Zoom, occasionally partnered by a scarf on a door handle or a loving broomstick, the endorphins flowed, and I was in heaven. So duly dancercise became a much more pleasurable pursuit than anxiety-fueled walks, dodging possible carriers of the virus now sporting a big C. My new normal has been established. There is lots to love about lockdown, including a newfound freedom in the seamlessness of time that left me unpressured and free to follow my instincts as to what the day or the moment brings.
So I have indulged in guilt-free lie-ins, latihan, sketching, painting, daily ‘dancercise’ (the new aerobics), online art classes in my pj’s, livestream stretch yoga with my daughter, sunbathing in my very own secret garden, regular contact with friends, helpful neighbours adding my order to their online food deliveries and even a virtual birthday party on Zoom. Feeling very blessed and huge gratitude for all of these delicious pursuits, as well as having a spacious flat in which to indulge them.
But after the first tranche of indulgence, I have become bored and frustrated. Occasionally I cook for my elderly neighbour, call her daily and I give reduced price Journey therapy processes, but all that is not enough in terms of giving back. Helping at food banks is top of the list but social distancing makes it difficult to take on, so for now my contributions are in cans instead of in kind.
However, that is not all, I still have two ‘to do’ projects to complete. The first one is to finalise my stories for Under 5’s (Lindi and Larry Books), and the second project is to up Instagram for my stories and for my paintings and cards. When these jobs get done, I trust thine will, will be done. So, working all in all, for the inner and the outer, one day at a time, one job at a time, I am loving lockdown.
Cherry Campbell, London