Tiers Before Bedtime - Creating Heritage Volume II: Part Two

Day 297: Monday 11th January

Looking beyond the experience of old routines (weekly football, commuting, travel) coming to a stop I have been thinking a little bit about privileges (having a car/garden/supportive family and friends/a job/a job I can mostly do from home) and one in particular began to stand out – I have a support bubble with my Mum. And that means we get to spend a bit of time together.

Recently I asked to look through her old photos for some inspiration for my artwork. When I said I had found some old photos from when I was very little it sparked a happy memory for Mum, saying I used to laugh back then when she threw a ball to me in my playpen. And, incredibly, a photo of that happening was in one of the mixed up packets I’d found. 

This small square of light gave us a chance to look and think about a moment more closely – that furniture! – and with humour – my first lockdown! some early socially distanced interaction! 

I can’t remember that of course but now I feel a tiny bit closer to Mum now she has shared that memory with me (I guess it helps that I am part of a happy memory for her!).

It has been good to do something in the day that isn’t morbid or stressful, a way of taking myself out of the present and feel removed from the constant hum of pressure. 

And generally I have been focusing on small moments and enjoying the little positives. I am heading over to Mum’s later for a game of Othello – something else we used to do regularly when I was growing up. We played again for the first time last week (Mum won, which was a bit annoying).

Paul Russell, Programming Officer

Photograph of a mother playing with her son in a crib

Day 298: Tuesday 12th January

To be brutally honest, I am struggling to identify a point in my day that would be considered interesting, inspiring, or noteworthy in any other situation other than a national lockdown. A parcel was delivered… does that count?! Maybe the walk with my dog? 

I, like a few other people writing this blog, have cherished the extra minute of daylight each day. Although, I am disappointed that the twinkly lights of Christmas have, for the most part, been packed away into everyone’s lofts. I used to look forward to them on my late afternoon walk with Pepper.  

What will Christmas be like this year I wonder? Will we be able to see our family? Will I be able to have some of my Nan’s infamous mince pies? Will I see my cousins and sisters face-to–face while they simultaneously try and talk while entertaining their children?

I miss everyone. I miss having a conversation with one person within a larger group. I miss hugs. I miss my nan trying to feed me to a point where I can’t walk. I just miss them.         

Grace Conium, Collections and Learning Assistant

Fluffy black and white dog wearing red coat

Day 299: Wednesday 13th January

During the first lockdown I naively said to my partner ‘a winter lockdown would feel easier, as you’d want to be warm and comfortable at home anyway!’ …Is oversimplification a coping mechanism? Obviously this winter hasn’t been comfortable for many of us, if any.

Today I woke up later than I should have. I got ready, turned on my work computer as well as some fairy lights that we decided to keep up after christmas. At the museums we often reflect on old traditions. It’s thought that winter traditions such as bringing evergreens and lights into the home were originally intended to ward off ‘the evils of winter’ and to encourage the coming of spring. It’s easy to empathise with that intent this year.  

My daughter started school in September and I feel like she has missed out on so much over the past ten months as have so many children. It’s strange to hear a four year-old reminisce about things that must seem like a lifetime ago to her. We are missing people, places and things that we love. However, as it did throughout 2020, gratitude for what we do have seems like the best defence against anxiety, uncertainty, frustration and fatigue!

Murray O’Grady, Collections and Learning Assistant

Illustration of cartoon character running

Day 300: Thursday 14th January

My last entry opened with a slightly misguided hope that ‘things won’t be as bad if/when the second wave comes around.’ While we’re technically in our third lockdown, I’m not sure Kent ever emerged from the second wave. 

Lockdown in winter has felt different in a lot of ways. For starters, the weather has been pretty grim! The long walks on warm evenings, which kept me relatively sane through the first lockdown, are now non-existent and have been replaced with morning yoga, scented candles, Animal Crossing, face masks, and an embarrassing number of hours spent rewatching Gilmore Girls. I also haven’t been redeployed this time around which has made navigating life in lockdown much more manageable. Although not everything has changed; I still haven’t moved to Folkestone, I’m not able to see my partner in lockdown, and that Groundhog Day feeling that my colleagues described has definitely made a return visit.

In an effort to master ‘self care’ in 2021, I decided this would be the year I get back into reading. I’ve started with an old classic – Dracula, which I’ve been reading on my lunch breaks. The book begins with scenes of Transylvanian countryside which took me back to memories of travelling through Romania on a train in 2016. That potent nostalgia is the closest I’ve been to leaving the country for a long time. Without wanting to declare more naive hopefulness, I can’t wait to resume adventuring again (whenever that may be).

Nina Carroll-Jones, Marketing and Audience Development Assistant

Book being held open on someone's lap with a dog next to them

Day 301: Friday 15th January

At the moment, life feels like a carousel that we can’t get off – lock down, out of lockdown, lockdown…our brilliant NHS and volunteers are the ones that can pull the brake through the use of vaccines so that one day we can all get off and resume our lives!

At the moment, I am on flexi-furlough so only working 2 days a week from home. I start at 9am and I find it a struggle to get to my desk on time even though it’s just downstairs! I can’t believe a year ago I used to be in the office by 8am! Today is my day off and to cheer ourselves up my husband and I have been planning our holiday – a road trip to Scotland – hopefully in late June! Quite a few members of my family have January birthdays so I have spent the afternoon online looking for suitable gifts to be delivered. Normally birthdays are special times for us to meet up for a takeaway and a few drinks – this year it will be phone calls and video chats! I speak to my parents, they sound a bit bored but they are being good and staying in. My sisters do their shopping for them as they all live in Medway where the cases are still very high! My dad is gutted that he’s not a year older so he could have already been vaccinated like some of his friends but I reassure him that it shouldn’t be too long to wait – at least he has football to watch on tv!

I have set myself a target during this lockdown of doing at least 10,000 steps a day – which is quite hard on days when I’m working – I’m only notching up a few hundred steps and then have to spend ages on the treadmill to reach my target with quiz shows as my only companion! I’m pleased that I’ve achieved my target everyday so far which is great for me as I’m not one for sticking to exercise regimes. 

The days are definitely getting longer now and I think that is a big psychological boost for us all – I think I will go to bed and dream of sitting outside my caravan by the side of a loch, drinking a glass of something cold and alcoholic!

Sarah Ellard, Administration and Finance Assistant

Pink flowers

Day 302: Saturday 16th January

Unlike last year, when I was given April Fool’s day and had a blast writing a false description of my day (and then shouting “April Fool’s!” afterwards), I have struggled to decide upon exactly what to write here. I, like many people at The Beaney (and across the country), am furloughed and whilst it is infinitely preferable to working in the plague soaked environment that is outside at the moment, the attraction to staying at home and binging everything Netflix has to offer is getting stale. (Other digital streaming services are available, and suffice to say I’ve watched most of them too). 

However, we can’t complain because it’s all part of a bigger picture, and that’s what keeps me going. We stay at home to protect the NHS; I only leave the house for food shopping once a week, and exercise (although there’s precious little of that with all this miserable rain). If one thinks about it this way, that we’re sacrificing our today to give more people a chance at tomorrow, then watching the entirety of the Mandalorian in a day seems almost noble. (Other science fiction series about bounty hunters are available, probably. But they don’t have Baby Yoda). 

My wife is a teacher, and she has been working during this entire pandemic. My days have mainly been used in supporting her; making tea, avoiding walking naked into the room where she’s teaching over Zoom, keeping on top of all the little things that keep too much stress from creeping into our lives. That sort of thing. In many ways, it’s been quite humbling to see her work so hard on our children’s future. I only hope that when this is all over, we will not be returning to the status quo, but an improved situation in which the NHS workers, teachers and supermarket workers / warehouse workers and drivers are thanked properly for their essential work during the past year, and with something meaningful. Not a clap that they can’t use to feed their children.

Elliot D Huxtable, Visitor Services Officer

Rainy view through a window

Day 303: Sunday 17th January

The sun shone all day today in what seems like ages. My day started with an early morning dog walk and it felt good to see the sunrise instead of the endless clouds and rain.

Today was a little different than usual as I spent the day alone. My husband drove my son to London to move his belongings back to our home, as he is leaving London where he has been living alone, to stay with us. Fortunately, moving is permitted during the current restrictions and the roads were very quiet and the move went safely and well. Our son has already been part of our household since before Christmas. Since his arrival, the third lockdown has come into force. Being able to work from home, he doesn’t really need to return just yet so we are really happy to continue to have his company and for him to save on some London rent.

In the quiet of the house, I reflected on how lonely and isolated many people must feel without any human companionship during the lockdown and feel very thankful that we can all live together. I still miss the human connections with friends and colleagues and hope it won’t be too long before seeing everyone again. I also made the most of having my own choice of music and radio, which meant no news programmes!

As well as some household chores, I spent some time preparing a canvas with a base coat ready to start a new painting, which I am looking forward to starting. Fortunately my art space, aka the shed, has a heater in it so I can spend plenty of time there. It has been my sanctuary from the many negative aspects of life at the moment.

Jane Orwell, Visitor Services Officer

large tree with pink sky behind

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