Since Rupert missed his centenary celebrations in 2020, Canterbury’s best-dressed bear will...
Tiers Before Bedtime: Creating Heritage Vol II - Part Eight
Day 338: Monday 22nd February
It is a handy coincidence that on the day that I write my blog entry the pandemic seems to be very present in my thoughts. Firstly, today is the day that our roadmap out of Lockdown is announced. Something we’ve all been waiting for months. I listen out eagerly for the dates that museums and galleries will reopen. Suddenly a summer’s day strolling through galleries and sitting outside a cafe with a drink seem almost within grasp now. Activities that before I maybe took for granted, I can now see for how wonderful they really are: A walk with a friend, coffee on the seafront, watching a live band, dancing in the carnival, walking in the local pride parade – all of these big and little moments that make up our lives. I missed them all and can’t wait to have them back. I know that people are worried about reopening, and who knows what the future will bring, but for now I let myself be hopeful for the future. I make a summer playlist on spotify. I plan a housewarming party in my head.
The second reason the pandemic is in my mind is because yesterday I had my first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. In a chemist on Deal highstreet, it took 5 minutes and I then had a walk on the seafront, had a cup of takeaway tea and admired the castle from the outside. The sun was out and for a while so I didn’t need my coat. It really felt like spring was in the air, with all the new beginnings it brings. Today I had some side effects from the vaccine, but it was nothing in comparison to when I had covid. I rested throughout the day and know that a few hours of discomfort is worth it to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. My trusty combination of tea, cats and books kept me comfortable, and my new summer playlist has been busted out early to boost morale in the house. Better days are coming, I really believe it.
Jemma Channing, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator
Day 339: Tuesday 23rd February
Today is the last day of a week’s annual leave before heading “back” to work tomorrow. This time last year – heading back from a break in Prague, this week generally pottering and deciding whether to go left or right when leaving the house for a walk (not necessarily a bad thing by the way).
Today a couple of more ambitious journeys though – firstly a first cycle of the year. “Leisurely” would be one word to describe it (“short” would be another). Anyway, very enjoyable and a first step towards fitness and longer tours ahead. And secondly a journey into the past as I completed another artwork based on old family photos (this one from a first holiday in 1977).
I’m kind of interested in the photograph as an object, the drawing of it as both a therapeutic activity (and not worrying about the results or who sees it as I would have done as a child) and as an opportunity to think about those times – here (attached picture) just before we all held hands at the water’s edge and retreating from massive waves (I was little) breaking on the shore and laughing.
I was thinking about family and memory, this quote from Gillian Tindall: “Most objects, like people, disappear in the end” but some escape from “the quiet darkness of forgetting” but mainly the last line of “An Arundel Tomb” by Philip Larkin: “What will survive of us is love”.
Paul Russell, Programming Officer
Day 340: Wednesday 24th February 2021
After nearly a year from mostly working from home there are certain aspects that have remained exactly the same, like the start of my day: with coffee. During the day I have some meetings, virtual of course. I went for a walk with the dog, like most days. The weather is so much nicer than a week ago where it was snowing. Now the snowdrops and daffodils are out, the first signs of spring!
I spent some of the day trying to make tortillas to go with dinner, it was a disaster. I spent 40 minutes trying to roll them all out but made the mistake of placing them on top of each other. When it came to trying to cook them they had all stuck together. After a second attempt, lots of swearing, and not piling them up we managed to make them! I like the extra time during the day that I would usually be commuting to try and make new things, even if it doesn’t always go to plan.
Grace Conium, Collections and Learning Assistant
Day 341: Thursday 25th February
I spent today with my daughter who is on the last stretch of her home learning run before schools reopen in March.
We started the day with writing some thank you cards for the christmas presents that have intermittently arrived over the past couple of months. As we talk about the family members that sent things, I was reminded of how big my family is and the time that’s passed since we’ve seen them.
We move on to some number games which often need some kind of elaborate role play if they’re going to be successful, today: A witch kept creeping into the house at night and messing up a sequence of numbers that we had to then put right ‘in the morning’. After some early lunch we went for a walk to post the thank you cards and to get some shopping.
On the walk, as has become quite frequent, my daughter remicised about our holiday to Vienna a couple of years ago. She then made plans for a pretend holiday we could take back at home. I look forward to being able to provide some new experiences that aren’t imaginary, although it has been a lot of fun indulging in imaginary worlds.
The picture is a board game we made recently using copies of illustrations from one of our favourite books. Paper, drawings, scissors and tape have never been so important!
Murray O’Grady, Collections and Learning Assistant
Day 342: Friday 26th February
When I made an entry in this blog during the first lockdown I never thought that I would be writing one again at the end of February 2021; I don’t think many of us did. It’s been a very strange year for me, as after I took up the Events Officer role with the Council in February 2020, after almost 40 years in other careers, I didn’t really have much chance to settle in before everything changed, two weeks in fact. Things are starting to look brighter now and planning for the future is at least a possibility but we are operating in a completely different environment from 2019.
I think many of us have learnt a lot more about ourselves over the last 12 months and what is really important to us. Material things are nice to have but the things we miss most are the opportunities to meet with friends and relatives, the support that the interaction provides us with and the purpose that it gives our lives.
Anyway, enough of my philosophising! Having worked throughout the pandemic, I decided to take a week off and get on with some work at home. So I have spent most of this week
painting, unfortunately not portraits or landscape, but walls and doors. Though decorating is not my favourite occupation, this week seems to have gone the fastest of any in the last year. Working from home is still a bit of a strange concept for me as it’s not something that I have regularly done before and it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two worlds, though the taskmasters at work are not as strict or demanding at the one at home.
Having been effectively snowed in for a week, the improvement in the weather is looking good. Some sunshine and almost spring weather is tempting me to get the motorcycle out as it has hardly been ridden in the last year, and I’m not getting my money’s worth out of the road tax! However, I have been given my list of jobs so it’s back to painting and now the weather is getting better for cutting the grass and weeding. Somehow I don’t think the motorcycle is going to move much this year either, though at least it is one more thing to look forward to.
Derek Theobald, Events Officer
Day 343: Saturday 27th February
If you looked up the definition of a Crazy Cat Lady, you would probably stumble upon an image of me. Cats are a huge part of my life. My house has something relating to cats in every room in my house, including my garden. I think the only exception is my bathroom.
I have two cats, Ollie and Millie. They are mainly house cats as I live along a fairly busy road. They are 12 years old and are my babies. I also look after a stray cat called Bootsie and have a regular visitor called Poppy.
Today is Saturday, so no work for me! The cats are here. Bootsie is on the decking sunning himself while Poppy is asleep on my boiler (a regular place for her). My two cats are both inside snoozing in the sun.
Working from home and being in lockdown has been a strange time, even for the cats. Initially, they were excited that I was at home then they started getting a little annoyed that I was disrupting their routine.
As the Summer was hot, I would often have a ball of fluff stretched out in every corner of the garden. Although I cannot stand the really hot weather, it kept them quiet, which meant I worked undisturbed, and I did have a fan!
When the evenings started drawing in and there was a chill in the air, my cats decided they did not want to go out much. Bootsie came in more but always cried to go out at night to sleep in his little purpose built hut. Poppy would sneak in and curl up somewhere. She is so tiny that you could miss her.
At the moment, Ollie and Millie both mostly tend to sleep while I work, unless I have a meeting and then they are all over me! In their eyes, I am at home and should be paying THEM attention and not the voices on my screen.
The weather is brightening up now and I expect my back garden will undoubtedly be a cat sanctuary again and I will need to keep an eye on things. I would not change a thing!
Emma Cambridge, Commissioning and Performance Officer
Day 344: Sunday 28th February
The “roadmap” out of lockdown was published practically a week ago, and everyone is clinging to the 21st June like a liferaft in a storm, but one thing I’ve noticed is that nobody seems to be mentioning the fact that each of these steps only happens if we meet certain criteria of infection rates, etc. Judging by the country’s previous track record and the fact that the doors to schools are being flung open in a week, I am not particularly hopeful that we will meet these arbitrary deadlines, and I wonder if, when we reach that first step’s date in a few weeks, we will be asked to wait a few weeks longer before we can take it. Then a few weeks more before step three, and so on. I am cautiously optimistic that I’m merely being a grump. But, very cautiously, we’ve all been burned by this before.
Today I’m meeting with the committee of the Canterbury Shakespeare Festival so that we can decide what, if anything, we plan to do this summer. We were forced to cancel last year’s festival and I remain gloomy of our prospects for this summer, but it never hurts to be prepared. I also cling to the hope that my honeymoon, postponed last summer to this August, might still be on the table, but in these uncertain times, who truly knows? Not me…
At least the weather’s nice.
Elliot D Huxtable, Visitor Services Officer