Since Rupert missed his centenary celebrations in 2020, Canterbury’s best-dressed bear will...
Tiers Before Bedtime: Creating Heritage Vol II - Part Nine
Today is a new month and has been marked by the postman delivering my letter inviting me to book my coronavirus vaccine! I can book both appointments so this means I will receive my second vaccine just before I’m due to go back to work in May. Despite feeling disappointed that our return to work will not be until then, I do feel so much more confident about returning to work and will feel much more secure. It already feels such a relief and a step forward to the future we are all craving.
Day 345: Monday 1st March
Every single Monday, we spend time with our best friends for coffee; this has not stopped because of lockdown so at 11 o’clock the coffee is made, cakes and biscuits at the ready and we have our catch-up video call. This usually goes on until we are all desperate for lunch several hours later! This has been such a positive time to look forward to and a great way to start the week and to keep going. We are all just looking forward to doing it in person again very soon.
My task for the afternoon was to frame a cross stitch picture of The Beaney (I have had this half done for years and have had no reason at all not to complete it!). I am really pleased with it! The work ties into the art that I have also been doing that has explored a lot of repetition, colour and grid-like restriction – much like the stitching and being in lockdown. It has helped me to keep a focus during this time and know that I have to make the most of having the time to do the work that I want to. I have also spent many hours listening to podcasts focusing on women artists for inspiration. This has motivated me to submit the pieces for an exhibition, and it is exciting to think that there will be physical spaces to see art in again…sometime.
The afternoon ends with a work meeting for the front of house team. It is great to see everyone even through the interruptions, blur and hiccups of a dodgy wi-fi. Work still seems a long way off and caution is still the word. For now I have my small, real piece of The Beaney!
Jane Orwell, Visitor Services Officer and Health & Wellbeing Ambassador
Day 346: Tuesday 2nd March
Today was a bit of a ‘nothing’ day really. I wasn’t working today. I slept too long. I didn’t go out to exercise or take a walk; none of the things you’re supposed to do to stay sane during lockdown. My sanity has more or less survived this long, so I think I’ll be alright. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting out a little bit – it was nice to see Canterbury a bit differently to usual during the recent snow – I attach one of my photos from a walk during that. Walks have just otherwise become a bit samey, now that I’ve managed to combine every possible footpath within a near radius into a route.
I do have my victories to take from the day: sorting through a substantial stack of papers, and making it through a labyrinthine network of an organisation’s automated phone lines to actually resolving my enquiry. I also found a film on (insert generic streaming service) that was quite enjoyable on account of me starting with very low expectations.
I’ve recently tried some odd little new things, such as audiobooks as an alternative to reading, and cooking with a wider range of ingredients (my first Moussaka was not a great success, but it didn’t poison me). I don’t know—regarding the latter—if I’m actually ever getting much healthier overall, but I think it can’t be doing me too much harm.
In my previous three entries, I’ve talked about work changes, country walks, virtual pub quizzes, family video calls, playing piano, making discoveries in the basement and a fiercely fought chocolate bar world-cup competition. One other feature of my lockdown year has been Tomb Raider: from nostalgic replays of the older titles to tackling some of Lara’s newer adventures for the first time (… other game franchises are available). I think the draw of it at the moment is being able to virtually adventure through far-flung exotic world locations. It remains to be seen when such travel (minus the tomb raiding…!) will again be possible in reality.
Joshua Dack, Front of House Team Leader
Day 347: Wednesday 3rd March
Much as I love the winter and snow, I do find motivation is greatly lacking at this time of year: the deep mid winter. I am inclined towards hibernation and curling up in front of the fire once it gets dark. However, this year, with the pandemic raging and only getting out once a day for some exercise, things are even worse. If I am not careful, as today, I can get up for breakfast and then return to bed to listen to the radio.
Today I arose fully at 11 o’clock, the sun was shining and we’d had about 6 inches of snow overnight, a perfect day for taking photographs at Belmont House and Gardens. I had the place to myself. Virgin snow and blue skies. For an hour I sat on the terrace just looking and drinking tea from my much used flask. Idyllic.
Back in the studio workshop: some progress was made to my latest artwork, an ‘airship’ made from recycled tin-cans. The workshop is awfully cold and it was not long before I could no longer feel my feet. Still a bit of creativity has been achieved. I try to make it my habit to create something each day, be it drawing, painting, photography or, as at the moment, sculpture. The cold was enough to drive me upstairs to the warmth.
Long hours of thinking are a huge part of my creative process. Last night I started thinking about writing an essay on my journey in meditation. So as the afternoon wore on I returned to sitting and contemplating the outline of this new venture. The early stages of creativity are often the most exciting and this essay on meditation is starting to gallop around the room.
A public submission by Bob Lamoon
Day 348: Thursday 4th March
I’m on annual leave at the moment, so I treated myself to a lay in. I tumbled out of bed at 10.45am and made a lovely cup of tea. I then started to take down the kitchen conservatory curtains, as agreed with my mother the day before, in order to give them a good wash. We are very house proud in our home, the three of us get on very well, my parents and I enjoy each other’s company and this companionship has made this lockdown easier to bear.
After taking the curtains to be washed, I turned on the TV and watched a bit of the news on BBC News channel and after catching up with the world I turned on my laptop to check my emails. I have been completing e-learning to keep up with the mandatory training required by the city council. I find it very interesting and useful, however, remembering things verbatim is not my forte. Having said this, I find the training very reassuring and confidence building knowing what is best practice.
After writing this blog/diary I’ll be helping to cook lunch, after lunch I shall clean up the kitchen and then make coffee for my parents as is the daily custom. Then I shall watch Neighbours, one of my favourite TV soaps, and then have a little siesta (beauty sleep). At 6pm I make tea for my parents and coffee for me. I make the coffee from grinding beans and then I use a cafetiere to make the coffee. It’s my favourite ceremony of the day.
The rest of the evening I spend in front of the TV and by midnight I’m ready to fall asleep.
Stay safe, stay strong and carry on!
Dito Perez, Visitor Services Officer
Day 349: Friday 5th March
Our days are full of new established routines. I’ve been so aware that this time will never come again (hopefully!) and there literally is so much you can do with the days. That being said, like everyone, I’ve had days of confusion, anxiety, despair and a host of other emotions.
Today, as every Friday, we had a catch up coffee morning break online with colleagues. I always feel upbeat after this! Today I learnt that 2 more of us have had their vaccine. I can’t wait for mine.
Our grocery order arrives, my meal planning and manic tweaking of the order up to the night before has become a good habit I think. We have cooked almost everything from scratch for almost a year now.
One of my cats, Barry, has become more attached to me during the lockdowns. He’s gone from being quite independent to now seeking me out. Pets can be such a comfort and so amusing with their antics.
I’ve recently started to really miss some things. I know this is because of the better weather and being aware of the passing of time. For nearly 35 years I’ve enjoyed driving and have done so little of this lately. Looking through photos on my phone, this one still makes me smile. Coming to work at the Roman Museum and claiming the best (but often avoided by others) ‘odd’ space in the Millers Field car park!
Helen Dodds, Visitor Services Officer
Day 350: Saturday 6th March
Nothing much has changed since my last blog.
I am still doing my Spanish and exercises classes on zoom, and still doing a food swap with my neighbours a couple of times a week.
This morning I had an exercise class and some of the members on the class stay on zoom after for a mini coffee morning. This is nice because I have met people that I probably would not have done, and have been with an instructor whose class I have not been able to commit to in the past.
This afternoon I am going for a walk with my sister and her jackapoo. We are walking from Long Rock, Swalecliffe to Hampton, on the edge of Herne Bay. We cannot walk too far as Billie only has little legs and wears herself out running everywhere. Last Monday we went for a walk along Tankerton seafront and met loads of other puppies. Billie was the eldest as her first birthday was last Saturday.
I shall miss going for doggie walks when we are all back at work. I also go for a walk with my brother, his family and their cocker spaniel, Milo. I will have to make the effort to arrange these and keep up the walking.
Lynn Sahathevan, Visitor Services Officer
Day 351: Sunday 7th March
It was one year ago when my mother called me from Italy to confirm that the country had entered the first national lockdown. Back then, it felt like living in a dystopian novel; now it is just an ocean of boredom.
Surviving a winter lockdown without committing murder and gaining more than the ten pounds I did gain has been a challenge, therefore I recently gave myself a series of pointless and superficial rewards.
I bought two bags that were quickly stored after being delivered and admired for a whole five minutes. I have no idea when I will use them. I bought a pink jumper, a colour I have always hated. I told myself that it would have cheered me up. It is currently stored with the bags. Finally, I bought a book about flowers because I felt the need to look at pretty things – and refresh my Latin. A meaningful life in a nutshell.
I look forward to going back to work. I also imagine myself sitting at a café and staring outside the window (people watching, you know what I mean?) and it feels more like a dream rather than a reality we could live again, as soon we’re all vaccinated. I have always been scared of needles; needless to say, I’m counting down the days.
Sarah Agus, Visitor Services Officer
Day 352: Monday 8th March
Well, that’s the Lord Mayor dragged into the 21st Century. I mean, knowing the meaning of the word ‘blog’ let alone writing one. So please bear with me. Woke up with the words of a song going through my mind. ‘What will this day be like ……I Wonder?’ Ah. Commonwealth Day. The Lord Mayor recites the Commonwealth Declaration followed by the raising of the Commonwealth Flag followed by a statement of Intent, this year delivered by the Dean of Canterbury, The Very Reverend Robert Willis. Unfortunately, this past year, blighted By COVID-19, things were done online with the messages being pre-recorded. I hope you were able to see it.
Reading the declaration brought to mind my only visit to a commonwealth country in 1966 when I was fortunate to spend time in Ghana, a year that changed me and my thinking. Likewise I have had much time the past few months to think where I am and what I want to be. So, as we move out of the shadow of the pandemic, it’s time to put some of those thoughts into practice. Be Thoughtful and stay safe.
Pat Todd, Lord Mayor of Canterbury
Day 352: Monday 8th March – Back to school!
Since I started our diary, it seems fitting that I should finish it. Today most of our children can go back to school and fortunately that included my daughter. She was over the moon! Up and dressed before anyone else in the house, she just couldn’t wait to get back to her friends. The rest of the day was a muddle of emotions. Work was busy as usual, I finally had to concede that we would not be able to open our Rupert Bear Centenary exhibition as government guidelines say we can’t open until 17th May. Despite not being able to reopen the Museum we hosted a virtual conference on the importance of Inclusivity and Diversity in museums. There were 100 professionals booked on and it was all hosted in Zoom with our Museum Consortium partners. Ordinarily that would have commanded my attention fully, but I found my mind darting back and forth, what was she doing now? Did I pack a sensible lunch? I wonder if they are allowed on the play equipment- taking it in turns for ‘year group bubbles’ had become the height of conversation in the autumn term. As my mind raced around, I realised I had forgotten to mention International Women’s Day. I wonder if they talked about that at school. What will that mean for my daughter as she grows up? I finished work early at 3pm so I could make sure I walked to school to pick her up. The sun was shining and I wanted to be able to walk home so we had more time to chat about her day. She ran out with her friends, sweets in hand- I have no idea where they manage to get so many treats from at school- nothing had changed. Except, it has.
Michelle Moubarak, Museums and Cultural Programming Director