Since Rupert missed his centenary celebrations in 2020, Canterbury’s best-dressed bear will...
Tiers Before Bedtime: Creating Heritage Vol II - Part Four
Day 311: Monday 25th January
During the first lockdown I was working from home and liaising with other Council employees to provide food parcels and a medication collection service. The furlough since November feels completely different, as I haven’t been allocated any duties. I’m more focussed on my own projects and the wintry weather means I have spent more time on indoor activities, such as experiencing the health benefits of daily yoga and becoming an ‘armchair traveller’. ‘Wild Places’ by R. Macfarlane arrived a few days ago and it’s been a good antidote to living under lockdown. He explores the attitudes to wilderness as he travels around the wild parts of the British Isles, and describes being immersed in the natural world. This led me to listen to one of the free online ‘guided imagery’ sessions later. The session began with a breath and body awareness relaxation exercise, followed by prompts that led me to visualize a loved alpine landscape, with the sounds (distant cow bells), and sensory experience of lying in a wild flower meadow on a summer’s day. Although only 10 minutes long, the beneficial effect lasted the whole evening.
Maira Pacan, Visitor Services Officer
Day 312: Tuesday 26th January
Over 100,000 now dead due to Covid-19. Mum’s now 89. Dad 85. Both vaccinated. Twice! It’s my elder sister I most worry about. A superstar key worker. I love her so much! Getting Covid still troubles me.
I’m furloughed. The swans are alive. The boat toasty. Sap’s rising. Bulbs sprouting. Birds singing. I walk the dog and do some gardening. Mind I don’t have either so interpret that how you wish.
Today’s plans disintegrate when I make a pig’s ear out of a simple chore. Which takes six hours to clean up. So aside that, some cycle repairs, emails and texts, I frustratingly don’t do much.
I was flat and pensive last week. Some people I know had proper meltdowns. There’s a lot of it about. An occasional totes emosh blowout or cathartic rant definitely helps some people. Plus things and the weather now feel on the up. Kind of.
I’ve missed dancing the Argentine Tango plus assisting people from all around the world at work. I won’t talk here about the missing mates and family who died in 2020.
I’m sick of the word Covid. It’s up there with ‘sleet’. But I now love the words Antidote and Zoonotic. They’re hypnotic! I improvised a song about it. It got played on Belgian radio! LoL!
Anyone else done something they shouldn’t have during Lockdown? Don’t panic, I didn’t need a jetski. Just a mutually surprising moment. Don’t shoot us for unexpectedly making love. Janis Joplin’s ‘Get it while you Can’ belts out the Radio. Tune!
Anyone else felt lonely at times? I have. Funnily enough more so before Covid, last March, when solo in a wonderful place abroad. Loneliness is a strange undesirable thing. When restrictions ease some people may feel its stifling weight even more. It’s one thing feeling lonely in an enforced lockdown. It’s another thing feeling lonely when free to do as we please. I hope we pay close attention to those who dread feeling lonely after all this. For all this will end. But many I’m sure are fearful their loneliness won’t.
There’s football galore. And much later Perfect Planet on iPlayer wipes me out. OMG that fig tree wasp! Finally, Seinfield on All4 cracks me up.
Hats off to heroes & key workers.
Here’s my best Mona Lisa.
Shaved head Schrodinger haircut included.
Peace & Love
Peter Sean Patrick Morgan
Peter Morgan, Visitor Services Officer
Day 313: Wednesday 27th January
Today started the same as any other: shower, breakfast, washing up and other household chores.
11 o’clock coffee in the garden with my neighbour. Found out that it was the funeral of an elderly neighbour who died just after Christmas. The story around her death is complicated and too upsetting for more detail here.
After lunch I took a walk with my husband to see the artwork, by local street artist Catman, commissioned by a local publican.
My husband is looking forward to Friday when he has some work to go to, the first time since early December. I will have a day on my own, as our daughter, who has mostly worked from home throughout lockdown, has to go into the office to work and collect paperwork to work on at home.
Back to today. The day finished with an evening walk with my daughter to give her the fresh air needed after being in her dad’s office all day.
Covid has a lot to answer for.
Stay safe and Healthy.
Julia Keeler, Visitor Services Officer
Day 314: Thursday 28th January
Oh hey there! Gary here, once again typing a diary entry under lockdown. I’m despondent to say I thought I would be here again, with all the good will in the world, hopefully you won’t read another entry from me in the future! I remain cautiously optimistic, erring on the side of caution.
Like many across the country (and the world!) I am part-furloughed. I can’t say working from home wholly suits me. I’d rather be out in the wild as it were, chatting and jesting with my fellow colleagues. We all make do though, right? I’ve recently kitted out my room/home office with a new scandivaian-esque chair and carpet, new curtains and a lovely yucca houseplant, which makes the environment a little more hyggeligt. I’ve also managed to finally hang my guitar on the wall, now I just need to learn it! I don’t think knowing two to three chords will suffice at parties. I’ll strum it tonight with some wine methinks.
On my off days I enjoy walking. This lockdown I have found a few new routes with stunning views of the cathedral. I aim to walk around 7 miles everyday, today I did 10. I trundle along and listen to a podcast. I only listen to comedy podcasts, because, well, have you seen the state of the world, we all need a laugh right now. At the minute I’m addicted to Conan O’Brien needs a friend, he’s one of my favourite comedians and the show is hilariously silly. (By the way, this isn’t a paid advertisement, but if Team Conan is reading, you’re welcome, now cough up Conan!) I often attract bemused looks from people while walking alone as I blurt out laughs and giggle to myself listening to it.
The sun shone today for a brief while (remember the sun?) and while on a walk I passed through the Cathedral grounds. With my archaeology hat on I walked around the ruins of the old infirmary (sadly often overlooked by visitors). There I gazed upon the Norman carvings on the capitals that still survive. 900 years later, they are still here! Astonishing! I wonder about that Norman stone mason and what their life was like. It makes me miss archaeology and digging in a trench. In the meantime, old reruns of Time Team will appease my desire.
Gary Jephcote, Front of House Team Leader
Day 315: Friday 29th January
The world is a crazy place; we all know that. Today, though, I find myself ignoring the world and wondering about me. What makes me an individual? What does this particular, distinct entity enjoy? I often think about how I can help the people around me and the world at large, but today I’m thinking about helping myself. I’ve never been particularly good at this, so here it goes…
The things I enjoy the most are not unique. I love to travel, enjoy sport, cook, eat and drink delicious things. What makes me an individual when I do these things though, is how I experience them. Nobody can enjoy a blue sky I see or taste the lightness of the freshly baked ciambella (Italian ring-shaped cake) for me. So I spent the morning looking for art including a blue sky for the wall to help bridge the gap autumn and winter can bring. This proved harder than I thought, but it led me back to my own photos and to a photo I just love. Even if the sky isn’t completely blue. The afternoon was spent enjoying the process of making something delicious. Even these things aren’t purely me thinking about, for I want to experience the blue sky (when it arrives) and the ciambella was baked for breakfast for us both in the coming days.
What am I even calling what I am trying to do? Escapism? Escapism is the mental diversion from unpleasant or boring aspects of daily life. I don’t think this is escapism though, more a shift in focus to enjoying positive activities.
Am I selfish for thinking about me? Absolutely not! I haven’t thought about the outside world for a few hours and I feel better for it.
Samuel Hurn, Visitor Services Officer
Day 316: Saturday 30th January
A little bit of a lay in Saturday morning. Back to the regular Friday night Zoom quiz and beer with my old school friends of 45 years; seeing them is always good fun and lifts my spirits (thank god for technology). Off to see folks later; Mum’s 86 and had her two jabs, Dad a couple of years younger and is waiting for the call on his second, both in my bubble thankfully. Had my first walk-in Covid test today for work, walked in at the Rutherford car park on the Uni campus, came back negative within 8 hours, second one in two weeks at Sydney Cooper gallery that Dougie pointed out to me is even quicker. Wishing you all well and, for those of you who’ve not been into The Beaney recently, Rupert says hello and he’s looking forward to seeing you all and having a cuppa together very soon hopefully. X
Andrew Medlock, Duty Officer
Day 317: Sunday 31st January
For me, the current lockdown has felt completely different to the first one back in March. Last year there was so much fear and uncertainty about Covid-19 but whilst writing this blog, it has been announced that 7.8 million people have now received a first dose of a vaccine and more than 470,000 have received a second which makes you feel there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Throughout the first lockdown, I was redeployed to work as call support for the community hub which was set up by the council to help vulnerable residents that found themselves in need as a result of the sudden restrictions. Although it was challenging at times, it meant that I had some structure and routine to my week and in a way prevent everyday feeling like ‘groundhog day’. However, this time round supermarkets have adapted and support services have developed to meet the vulnerable needs of residents which means staff are not required to undertake the roles that were needed to support the hub during the first lockdown. To fill my time I have completed an array of art and craft projects, tried out numerous recipes, attempted to learn to play the guitar and watched way too much Netflix.
I’m lucky to live by the sea which I appreciate more than ever and go for a walk everyday along my local coastline, even if the weather isn’t great. If it has rained heavily the night before, gault clay at the base of the cliff gets washed down onto the beach exposing fossils that have been hidden for millions of years. Collecting fossils has become a highlight of those walks and I’ve now accumulated a vast collection. I decided today that I’m going to make casts of some of the ammonites and turn them into pieces of jewellery which I’m going to give to family and friends that I’ve not been able to see since the lockdown started.
Gemma Bates, Visitor Services Officer