Creating Heritage: A diary during Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Part Eleven

Over the last year, I have had numerous requests from my team for me to write my ‘Talking Heritage’ blog, and unfortunately I have told them that I was too busy each time. Now, following a week that is sure to go down in history, I have stopped and taken the time to reflect.

My job at Canterbury Museums and Galleries is to preserve our City’s heritage and culture, making sure it is relevant and engaging to all. We spend time thinking about what and how we ‘collect’ objects that help uncover our history and tell our story, as well as which we might dispose of, so that we can make room for the new. 

In this time of uncertainty and unorthodox decisions, I have decided that instead of choosing an item to talk about from our collection that I will start a new collection. From today, Saturday 21st March 2020, we will document the everyday lives of our community as we pass through this point in time.

Michelle Moubarak, Museums and Cultural Programme Director

Day 71: Saturday 30 May

Normally my weekends are full of errands and socialising and I’m not very good at relaxing so this has been an interesting time to get used to a change of pace during free time. 

Saturday morning found us having bacon sandwiches in the garden, the sun disappears from my courtyard garden at about 12.00 so it’s important to make the most of that whilst it is there. I’m lucky enough that in, ‘normal life’, most weekends will hold a brunch out somewhere with friends on at least one of the days, so I try to keep weekend breakfasts a little bit special where possible, and you can’t beat a strong coffee and smoky bacon in the sunshine.

Until recently, daily exercise has been in the form of walks or runs around the town and maybe the odd bike ride. But with things starting to become a little more relaxed we have started to seek out very quiet beach spots for swimming and kayaking (all at a strict and safe distance from others of course) which makes for a nice change of scenery. Discovering that I could only manage swimming in the cold water for ten minutes and with Reece dispatched off on his kayak it was the perfect time to delve back into my book. 

I’m currently reading Queen of the Desert by Georgina Howell about the wonderful, intrepid Gertrude Bell. Reading about her exploits in far-flung, exotic and dangerous places partly fills a need for travel and discovery which cannot be fulfilled whilst we are all in lockdown.

The rest of the day took the shape of trying to get the entire beach out of the house which we managed to accidentally bring back with us in bags and towels and devouring a delicious pasta bake accompanied with a nice glass of red.

By Mady Beardmore, Sandwich Museum and Heritage Manager and Former Canterbury Museums and Galleries Volunteer

Seaside view with blue skies

Day 72: Sunday 31 May                      

Normally I prefer to have a bit of a lie in on a Sunday, but as I knew today was going to be very hot, I get up & go for a jog quite early, with my boyfriend Ben and our dog, Floyd. I’m trying to find alternative methods of keeping fit as I can’t attend any of my usual Body Jam classes at the moment due to the gym being closed. I’m quite tired and it’s pretty tough going, however I manage the 3 kilometre loop. We pass a few other people out jogging or walking along the way, crossing over the road to keep our 2 meter distance.

I’ve recently been redeployed from my normal role as a community occupational therapist to work at a hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last few months have included some amazing highs and some very low points too. I have seen patients recover from life threatening illnesses and relearn to walk and others decline. I have been ill myself too, luckily mildly, along with many of my colleagues.

My dad turns up at our house late morning to collect his shopping which I ordered for him along with our weekly online shop. Usually he collects it from our shed when we’re at work (he’s in his 70’s and is self-isolating) however as the lock down rules have now started to ease slightly, he decides to stay and have a coffee with us in the garden. This is the first time I’ve seen him for about 12 weeks. We sit at a 2 meter distance, which feels very odd.

Mid afternoon I catch up on some messages from my work WhatsApp group. There is a message from one of my colleagues saying he’s had a positive test and won’t be at work this week. I send a message saying that I wish him a speedy recovery.

By Emma Hey, Occupational Therapist

Dog on a dirt path through the middle of a crop field

Day 73: Monday 1 June

Today I woke up with the sun in my eye like a torch light at around 6:00am. I went with my normal routine starting by waking up and going downstairs to eat Cornflakes (a kind of cereal). I had this routine since the lockdown started (the lockdown was to prevent coronavirus from spreading to the rest of the world). I was really scared of it in the beginning because of the name and what it’s designed for, but then I started to get used to it and started to overcome my fear as it’s going on forever.

I really miss school, I could’ve seen my friends at school, I could’ve had silence, but now I sit inside a house with no friends, no silence and no teacher; my mother is usually the teacher in my house, she usually helps me editing and improving, but I do mathematics on my own these days.

Since the 23rd March we were not allowed to go to school we needed to create our own break. I usually go down the stairs to go make red-bush tea with honey and go outside to drink. At 2pm I make an apricot jam and cheese sandwich or I’ll just make 2-minute noodles for me. After home learning I get my trainers on and I go for a run with my cousin, Monique.

After returning to the house, my brother and I have screen time from 4:00 to 5:30. After that me or my brother (depends on what day it is) goes bathing and then comes down to eat. After a long day my brother goes to bed at 7:30 and I go to bed at 8:00.

Not everything was bad about lockdown, I had more family time, I got to see my father more and the best was when Mr Jarvis (my school teacher) said how proud he was of us working so independently on our own.

I hope my family survives the covid (co stands for corona, vi stands for virus and d stands for disease).

By Christian, pupil from a Canterbury School  

Day 74: Tuesday 2 June

In the morning I stay in bed for a long time, then I get up all dressed and ready.  I go to the beach sometimes keeping away from others. Me my family like clapping for the NHS. I look forward to this.

I go on walks with Bella, my dog. I play with her every day. We camped in the garden. It was fun until it got dark and cold and Bella was worrying about us – she wouldn’t stop barking! I didn’t want to give up, so I stayed in the tent but in the morning it was too cold for me so I went into the house. 

I feel more confident in school than I do at home.

By Angel, pupil from a Canterbury School 

Day 75: Wednesday 3 June                        

After March the 13th life started to change. It was mainly schooling that was different because we had to work from home. In my house, from the first day of school being cancelled onwards, we woke up 7.45 am and at 9.00 am we did a programme on YouTube called Joe Wicks the body builder, which was very exhausting. It was different that we could not go to school as it was shut down so I could not see my teachers or friends. I found this very upsetting. 

Instead of going to school we started home schooling and so did many other kids around the world – like one big community.  Every day was like another, the same routine and we were not allowed to go far out of our household and we couldn’t see many family members. Lockdown was very hard and boring, but it holds many mixed emotions for both me and my family.

One thing I liked about lock down is that we got to spend more time with the people that we live with as they are not busy so we can play lots of inside games. I enjoyed being able to do this with my family.

Today I came back to school! Coming back to school was very different as this lockdown was still a thing. We have become more independent every day; I am now used to doing more things for myself. I used to rely on the teacher a lot more, but the lockdown experience has taught me to trust myself.

You must be wondering what school looks like now. There are some spotty white dots near the top gate opening that are 2 metres apart to stop spreading germs. We sit at our own desks, rather than in groups like before, and we are not allowed to share tables or equipment as we have to sit 2 metres away and keep a distance so we don’t spread germs. The Covid 19 lockdown felt like we were in a prison.

By Tina, pupil from a Canterbury School  

Day 76: Thursday 4 June

Dear diary,
I found out about Coronavirus at school on Newsround, everyone was saying schools wouldn’t shut down- I kept hearing it was spreading closer to us- like in Maidstone (or Margate) but the schools were still open. My sister told me a sixth former in her school had got it but the schools still didn’t shut down, eventually the government said the schools would shut down, on Friday (I think it was Wednesday).

I was excited because for some reason I’ve always wanted to be home- schooled, But I wouldn’t be able to see my friends and family and lots of other things- no end of year trip (it was going to be Chessington), no leavers’ assembly and we wouldn’t be able to watch born to shine. The teachers said they’d get us all back together to say goodbye after lockdown, just in case we couldn’t have a proper leavers assembly, I signed peoples t-shirts and got people to sign mine.

It was different for a week or two but then I got used to working at home; I do more work at home than I would at school and I also find it more fun than school- we keep having news updates and we weren’t allowed out more than once a day, to parks, cinemas, woods, town, only shopping for essential items, at one point no one could get any toilet roll!

Now we’re allowed out more than once a day and Boris Johnson and the
government are slowly letting things reopen. They’re hoping to get year R and year 6 (me!!!!) back to school as soon as possible- near June – July. We’re alo allowed in the car to go places- we couldn’t before unless it was important and only one person was supposed to.

The worst thing about lockdown is not being able to go out or see my friends and family. I enjoy going out and going to shops/town and looking around shops to see if there’s anything I might want to buy, but now I can’t so that’s a bit boring, I also miss my friends and family and can’t wait to see them. Yay! The best thing is, I can spend more time with family- even though they can be annoying sometimes- I also get more time to relax and play on my phone more- we’ve got no homework! I’ve enjoyed getting up a bit later too; I would like to see my friends and family and go somewhere with them since I can only see them on FaceTime during lockdown, I would like to go to Starbucks/town with my friends because I love Starbucks and I have a lot of vouchers to spend, it will just be nice to see people though. I will definitely remember this situation 20 years from now – it’s like WW2 – 15/20 years from now children will be learning about this like we did with World War Two.

By Libbie, pupil from a Canterbury School  

Day 77: Friday 5 June        

Usually, I get up at 7:30 and the sun is already shining through my bedroom window. After getting dressed I come downstairs for breakfast. At 8:30-9:00 I start work for the day.

As the Covid-19 Pandemic is ongoing we have not been able to see our friends or anyone outside our family at all since the 23rd of March. We have had to work at home and the only contact that we could have with our teachers is through an app called Class Dojo. This is also how we send in what work we have done that day.

At 13:00 we have lunch and if we have not finished work we carry on. Later, at 15:30 we have screen time until 17:00. We are lucky enough to have a big garden and we use it to play ball games such as football. However, under our neighbours shed is a fox’s burrow. So far we only know that there is a mother and three cubs. The cubs are about 5-6 weeks old and are getting bigger by the day.

18:00 is usually the time we have dinner (or supper if that is what you call it) and then we go on a bike ride. We go to bed at 20:00 after having a shower and brushing our teeth (we also brush our teeth in the morning) and read for half an hour until 20:30.

By Ethan, pupil from a Canterbury School 

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