Caged in

How is everyone feeling? It is strange how this world is full of nations handling all of this so differently. Some still on lockdown, some more relaxed and without any more deaths… the UK seems to have handled this a lot worse than a lot of countries. I hope you are all keeping well, wherever you are reading this from.

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Times like these make me realise how strange life is. The past few decades- which isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things I know- have been relatively comfortable for most of us. This really makes me take a stable life for granted. And how crazy it would feel to have a spanner thrown in the works like so many have witnessed in the past.

War, famine, plagues, volcanoes, tsunamis, meteor strikes, genocide, holocausts… there are so many ways the world and it’s people can f*ck us up. In my 30 years of existence, a virus has been the biggest threat so far. And a virus that isn’t anywhere near as devastating as it could be, even if we could have handled it better. Although many have lost their lives to it, we have still been very lucky that this isn’t as devastating as so many events have been throughout our recent history.

And with this, I keep reminding myself not to be annoyed that the UK is still on lockdown, despite our screw ups that have cost the lives of so many which is tragic. We are still so much better off than so many of our ancestors.

I feel caged right now, but at the same time so very fortunate.

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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This is where Stormzy ‘Vossi-Bop’ed

Some of you will know this building as the Royal Exchange. The area above Bank Underground and the home of the Bank of England.

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Others will know this area as the one Stormzy recently filmed a music video in, being surrounded by dancers wearing Boris wigs. The moment happens at 30 seconds, although it is fun to watch him rap on a closed Westminster Bridge in front of a half restored Big Ben.

This was before the lockdown, he is just rich and powerful enough to get Westminster Bridge closed I guess.

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Picture: Stormzy/YouTube

It’s interesting to see the setting of a music video. I know this area is much, much more than that but the song has probably introduced it to a lot of people. After all it has been seen over 88 million times. And here it is when it isn’t closed for rap.

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I got the same beautiful weather though!

Not sure if rap is your cup of tea, but I had to share once I remembered where I had seen it recently. I do like that Stormzy is happy to show off certain parts of London though to the masses, and that British rap has come a long way.

Vossi Bop is a dance for anyone wondering. A good way to get that daily exercise in during isolation!

 


 

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What’s more iconic: London buses or London cabs?

Another day, another opportunity to feel lost, confused, and wonder if my runny nose is more than the typical cold.

Also, did you know that the ‘Hong Kong flu’ (as it was called) killed over 1 million people in 1968? I am learning about new pandemics everyday. Not that I want to think of pandemics every waking moment, I take walks to take my mind off them. Although the silence is a constant reminder.

But after Boris’ speech yesterday, the population seems to be a little confused by it. So we can do this, but not this? Some can go back to work and we can do more hobbies, but can’t see family? Many are still demanding clarity, and I am just sticking to walking down the empty streets. It seems like the best thing still.

I wonder how full this bus station usually is. I think it’s cool to see where the buses reside when they aren’t taking commuters and tourists around London. Like a celebrity going home after an evening on the red carpet. It is pretty much the same thing right? I am sure these red buses have celebrity status in London and around the world. A bit like these taxis too, I found a bunch of them escaping the limelight down a side street.

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Buses are free in the city right now I should add, however I am not sure how long that will last.

If you had to get around London, would it be a red bus or black cab? I don’t know which is more iconic, but I would like to know which you think is.

🙂

 


Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


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Have a blog you want to share? Introduce yourself here!

 

Thank you to everyone that has followed me on Instagram

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Happy VE Day!

Okay, this was yesterday. But I was working and when I got home celebrated with a couple drinks with the flatmate.

And when I have a couple, any motivation I had to do anything plummets.

So today I went for a walk to blow away the cobwebs, down towards St Paul’s Cathedral and through the quiet streets.

I found this pub on my walk today, just a quick shot from my gander. I will post more when my head isn’t hurting so much.

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And I wanted to use this post to show my appreciation for not just the NHS and care/key workers, but also to everyone that had to fight in WW2 and contributed to the freedoms we have today. It would have been a horrible time to live through, and it really wasn’t that long ago. I feel incredibly grateful to not have had to endure that kind of suffering.

The Red Arrows did a flyby down the Thames and over Buckingham Palace, however I couldn’t see it at work sadly. On the live broadcast it flies over the city, past the skyscrapers I have posted about recently. You can see below which ones and where I am currently working/living.

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Not that the picture is the most clear! Here is the video to go along with it. St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen just after this too.

 

How is everyone’s weekend? I hope you have great weather and do what you can to keep healthy and happy.

Have a great Saturday and I will speak to you all soon.

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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Imagine waking up to a new world…

Just imagine, you have been asleep for the past two months. You awaken from the deep sleep. You put on your shoes and open the front door, the sound of traffic hitting your ears is for whatever reason not heard. You look down the street, everything just seems a little odd.

The neighbour that you stop to chat with on route to the shops, he crosses the road the moment he sees you. Anyone you pass tends to keep a few feet away, looking concerned. They wear gloves and masks. Further down the road, the train station often too crowded is now worryingly empty. Commuters look up to the timetable with less urgency and more confusion.

Lost.

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You check the board to see the date. It must be a Sunday right?!

‘Monday’ you learn.

An announcement over the speakers thanks the population for staying home and saving lives. Advising to travel only if absolutely necessary. To do what you can to stop the ‘spread of infection’.

Infection??

Shops are shut. Adverts thank care workers for their hard work on bus stops and electric billboards. It’s apparent something major has happened. But is it all of London? The UK? The world??

You hear radio coming from a nearby house, broadcasting the words of world leaders. It is clearly further than my neighbourhood.

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Only some people take to the streets. The odd police car goes by, looking as if they are keeping an eye out for groups or people that shouldn’t be out. Some people look like they are out for exercise. Some to keep everything tidy. Some because they don’t know what else to do.

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Imagine if this is the world we woke up to without any prior knowledge.

If you had no signal, no family in the area, no wifi…

How would you react?

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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Every street has a story

I arrive at Bank Station, named after it’s close proximity to the Bank of England. A statue of a man on a horse towers above me.

22 Bishopsgate now towers above it.

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This man is the Duke of Wellington, the statue erected for his input in helping to start the rebuild of London Bridge back in the day.

Below is another memorial I found on my walk. This one seemed like it was telling a story so I had to do a little research…

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I found this sculpture outside of Liverpool Street Station. It’s a memorial for 10,000 orphaned Jewish children that escaped persecution in Nazi Germany, arriving at this station between 1938-39. Again, the site is surrounded by tall, glass towers that are a world away from the surrounding architecture of the day. A world away from where the kids called home. The only remaining buildings are the ones that contributed to history the most and were given a lifeline, allowing us to share the same roof as the evacuees of the 1930’s.

But every generation has a story to tell, and the lockdown is one of ours, shared by every generation alive today. Not that it can be compared to the events I mentioned earlier, but certainly unique. Tragic, too. But what more can we do but simply experience it and ride this wave as best we can? Not much.

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But every ‘closed’ sign is a photo opportunity, every long wait in a supermarket is a story we will share when this is itself a part of history. Some of these signs turning me away have never looked more inviting.

 


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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London Bridge is closing down…

Some shots that I recently posted to my Instagram, from my recent walk down to London Bridge. I will be blogging what I discovered during lockdown on my daily walks, and I can’t wait to share some things in the next few days!

I will try to keep my blog and Instagram in sync- so one doesn’t spoil it for the other.

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Despite the cones blocking off London Bridge, this isn’t due to the lockdown. London Bridge was due to be closed between March and October this year, although recent events may close it off for a little longer if things don’t stick to schedule.

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A couple heads popping up over London Bridge, looking down the Thames to Tower Bridge. The bridge wasn’t as busy as it could have been, which is the reason why I decided to continue my daily exercise over the river.

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The paths here are very wide, meaning I could use the space to cross it safely without worrying too much.

Not that everyone was worrying, some people were clearly unfazed…

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I crossed the bridge and spent some time at Borough Market, as it is an open area that can be walked through and was as you can imagine, very quiet. Everything closed and it made for a pretty interesting walk. So I will come back to it by the time I have got to those images on Insta. But in the meantime I am uploading plenty more shots, three a day around Central London.

See you all soon for the next ones!


 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

Connect with me!

Have a blog you want to share? Introduce yourself here!

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Life in lockdown: Teaching a class in Kuwait… from the UK

I’m Joy and I was born in Leeds in 1982. My mom was a drama teacher and my dad was a fireman, we lived in Garforth for the first few years of my life. They had recently been converted to evangelical Christianity and had got ‘the call’ to be in mission work. They joined a mission organisation called NTM and started a year bible school in Matlock Bath, which was where my sister was born.

After that year, we moved to the States for them to complete their training. NTM works on a self-funded basis, so my parents spent a lot of time visiting churches and raising support to be able to be missionaries abroad. We lived in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Illinois as my parents did different parts of the training in linguistics, bible training and ‘boot camps’ (consisting of building our own houses and being self sustainable living in the forest). They eventually decided where they wanted to be missionaries and when I was five we moved to Ivory Coast, West Africa and we lived there from 1987 until I graduated in 2000. We would come back to the UK (after also making a trip to the States to visit supporters for a month or so) every four years for a furlough. We always went back to Whitby, as that’s where my mom’s side of the family is from and my grandparents had a house big enough for us to live in together.

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I didn’t really have a career path in mind growing up, unlike my sister who knew she wanted to be a nurse from the age of 3, and of course, I was always her very reluctant patient. I drifted from ideal job to ideal job in my mind, but the one thing that had always fascinated me was learning about other cultures and languages, how we could be so similar and yet so far apart in many aspects? – I found it fascinating.

I had plenty of opportunity as well; not only from living in Ivory Coast and learning the differences between the people who lived in the cities, to the people who I grew up with in our tiny village, 25km from Ferke. I also got the chance to learn from living in the boarding school dorm from the age of eight, surrounded by missionary families from the States, Northern Ireland, Holland, Germany, Vietnam, Canada, France and many, many other countries.

That was what ultimately decided my university degree, in Intercultural Communication

I kind of fell into teaching English as a Foreign Language, I laugh when I say that as many people who teach TEFL say the same! In my last year of university they were offering the CELTA qualification in TEFL and I thought it would be a good thing to have ‘under my belt, just in case’. At the time, intercultural communication didn’t have as many job opportunities, so my first job was teaching English language back in Whitby. My parents at the time were living in Sanford, Florida and working at the mission headquarters there as everyone had had to leave Ivory Coast when the civil war kicked off in 2002. So their house was free, it was a good move as it gave me time to get my feet under me financially and get some experience. 

I didn’t plan to continue being an English language teacher, but I did enjoy it – I got to meet so many interesting people from all over the world and I love meeting new people and hearing about their lives – so it fit well with me! My early twenties were tough, really tough and I struggled a lot. I drifted a lot, moving here and there and worked in so many random places; bartending in Harrogate, teaching Ancient History and Life Skills to 9th graders at a Christian school in Florida for a year, in a clothing shop in Whitby, cover teaching all over Yorkshire, teaching assistant for SEN students at a college, a summer teaching TEFL in Scarborough… While I was at that last job, a fellow teacher said they were looking for permanent staff at an English Language school in York (ELC, now BSC) and I thought it would be interesting to try to stay in one place for a bit longer than six months! I got the job and stayed in York for 11 years. 

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The main reason why I really ended up moving to Kuwait is far too personal to share. But I’d been teaching mainly Arabic students for over 12 years and I’d always promised them all that one day, I’d go over there and visit. Now I had the chance to move over there and work! I had always been fascinated by Arabic cultures, and had spoken at several Intercultural conferences and published papers over the years on their culture. I spend most of 2019 searching for a good place to relocate to and finally was offered a good place at the college (soon to be a university) in Kuwait City. I thought it would be a great place to start, and it’s location perfect for travelling to other Arabic countries to visit and explore. 

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I had so many positive experiences in my short time there. I really loved that some of my ex students wanted to meet up with me; two of the students I taught four years ago were visiting from the UK and took me our for a (non-alcoholic) cocktail and food at a burger bar (everyone loves burgers and sliders over there due to the major American influence in recent decades). It was awesome to hear how their years at university had gone and how much they love living in the UK, and how their futures might go after graduating. 

I met up with a student who I’d taught over 9 years ago, he’d finished his education in the UK and got a job in dentistry in Kuwait, not far from the school I was teaching at. We met up with him and his friend (as a chaperone, as he was recently married), he showed me the Mubarakiya area of Kuwait, a traditional market which sells everything you could possibly want as a Kuwaiti.  As we were walking through the market, I had worn jeans and a very long black jumper, and he the traditional Kuwait male dress;  we got a few stares as a traditionally dressed Kuwaiti man and an obviously Western dressed woman! After we got out of the market, we both laughed and said next time I’d either wear a hijab or he jeans and a t-shirt!

All the other students I had taught and I has promised to visit did message, but it was always the ‘wrong time’ to meet up with me. The ones I’ve mentioned were the only ones I saw in my time there. Culture did not permit random meet-ups, even though I had been their teacher, I was a single western woman.

I met new people though, I’d had a student who was still living in the UK, but her sister lived in Kuwait. She gave me her number and I got in touch. She arranged to meet up with me and we met at a Lebanese restaurant on the beach front. She had brought along a friend. The experience was amazing food wise, we tried to communicate, but neither of them spoke very good English – they mostly spoke to each other, with me trying to pick up an understanding from my limited understanding of Arabic picked up over my years of teaching Arabic students. They were both so lovely, and we took Snapchat filter photos together. If it’s the one thing I learned, is that Snapchat is everything over there, taking filter photos and especially… pictures of food…. We met up again the following week, we went to her friend’s house, I had no idea if it was in my honour or just something they did on a weekly basis. The girls (of course all female) from different countries, Jordan, Egypt, and Kuwait. We sat, them speaking in Arabic (me trying to understand the general context) all smoking shisha pipes and the lady went back and forth prepping the massive amounts of food which she eventually brought out. A million different types of food… for the main and the dessert. Then, the Bluetooth speaker came out (they love listening to music there!!) and each woman got up to dance. We were also invited to a desert gathering two weeks later by a different group of people I had the opportunity to meet. They all listened to western and Arabic music, and danced a lot. (Alcohol in Kuwait cost £150+ per bottle, most people got vodka or whisky as it was just as much to get a bottle of wine!) 

In Kuwait I met some really wonderful people; at work; my boss: a poet and author, my colleague; a kind, interesting man who’d spent years living in Arabic countries- we connected so well, the IT director who lived in my building; from Iraq originally, with a family in Oman, we smoked shisha together and he gave me such insights into the Kuwait culture, my students; as insanely lazy as they were; had such drive in so many other aspects, otherwise; the women I met through my neighbour; so driven, intelligent and modern, with goals that they would reach by hook or by crook…

Before the covid outbreak, I did get the chance to visit some key places in Kuwait City. I lived near the ‘beach front’ and tried a few shisha bars down there with a friend from work a couple times and went for walks before doing my weekly shop at the supermarket in the mall. I went to the main park in Kuwait City, Al Shadeed, it was quite pretty, lovely water features. I visited the Al Hamra skyscraper, which I could see from my flat window and with a colleague, wandered around the elite shops and had a meal in an Italian restaurant. I went to the Avenues mall, designed to feel like you were walking along the Champs-Elysees, or the Rodeo Drive in LA, it was mind blowing… but the overall feeling was that, no one except the few could afford to shop there. People came for an outing, and the Kuwaiti nationals were the only ones who could go into shops, especially ‘The Grand Avenue’, which featured the most expensive, exclusive shops imagined from around the world….

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The college had Spring Break, as it followed the American curriculum, most of the people at the college left as they were expats to other countries, to visit their family or take a brief week holiday. I went to France to visit a good friend of mine. As I was there, news started to get more serious about the Covid-19 break-out. We got daily emails from work about returning to Kuwait, or to be more specific, how we couldn’t return to Kuwait. Our workplace hadn’t given most of its employees residency visas (required for working in Kuwait) which made our worry so much greater. We were tourists, waiting to come back in to the country illegally. I was so grateful when we finally got the Kuwait news update that no visas; tourist or resident, would be allowed back into the country. I tried to change my ticket from Kuwait to the UK, but had to book it anew. At this point, I didn’t care. I was going home. 

We started off teaching again online when I arrived in the UK, and then classes were cancelled a week later as the Kuwaiti government said it couldn’t authenticate online teaching. Ten days later the Kuwaiti government authenticated online learning, so we were all re-drafted in for teaching. Since then, starting 3 weeks ago, I’ve been teaching my two classes online; 16 in my listening and speaking class and two in my writing and grammar class. I’ve learned so much about this new form of teaching, and have enjoyed the new challenge, it’s also included forming all parts of the curriculum to be digital- I’ve been learning so much everyday. I’ve grown so much in my editing skills. Every day is a new challenge, either from the technology issues, to having to create everything from scratch as all my materials and possessions are now in Kuwait, and I am here. Another challenge has been the time difference; when we started the classes back in March there was a three hour time difference, even longer for some of my colleagues, which meant getting up at 4am to teach my 8am class! Fortunately the clocks went forward in our interim break, as as Ramadan started last week, the classes are now all in the afternoon (Kuwait time). I can have a lie-in!

Most of the students have worked so hard to adjust to this new learning environment as well. Obviously, to some it would seem to be an easy transition, especially for students 18-22 years of age… You just log in and watch the teacher and answer questions as usual right? Definitely not! Besides the many technical issues that happen when relying on Zoom and other online teaching sites, they’ve also had to learn how to submit everything either through the college’s e-learning portal (which is not that clear cut….) or by email. I know that seems crazy to say, but this generation has no email, they all have Instagram and Snapchat, but email is for work only, and none of them have had work experience yet. A whole new learning experience for them! Another struggle is self-motivation. I’m not standing over them in a classroom cajoling and entertaining and pushing them, very hard to do online. They have learned so much about being accountable to themselves and their studies. Pushing the boundaries on their traditional learning styles and the assignments they have to do in a new way for me. I’m so proud of them all. Especially in these last few weeks of term, it’s now Ramadan in Kuwait, so not only are they trying to finish their foundation year, but fasting through it all as well. We have three weeks to go till Summer Break!!! 

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Thank you to Joy for providing the third insight for my ‘Life in Lockdown’ series, aiming to provide a glimpse into the lives of people around the world during this pandemic.

All words are Joy’s own and for more stories, photo’s and travel experiences please visit her blog, justjoythings!

 


 

Credits:

Featured photo by Ahmad Mohammed on Unsplash

York photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash

All other photos are by Joy herself

 

Happy 100th Birthday Captain Tom!

Yesterday the UK celebrated the 100th birthday of a man many of us didn’t even know a couple weeks back. Captain Tom Moore, born 30th April 1920, served in the Second World War and even in 2020 is making the British people proud.

He decided to raise money for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, with an aim of raising £1,000.

He raised £32 million.

For his incredible achievement he received a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (at a safe distance) on his final lap.

On top of this, the RAF surprised Tom with a flypast by a Hurricane and Spitfire over his home.

He said of the event:

‘I am one of the few people here who have seen Hurricane’s and Spitfire’s flying past in anger. Today they are flying past peacefully. That’s what’s outstanding’.

He was sent over 150,000 birthday cards by the public and from people all over the world. He also got a personalised birthday card off the Queen.

 

A happy message I wanted to post about, and an incredibly moving and inspirational story. I literally filled up watching the flyover by the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, even if it was on TV. It is amazing to see what can be achieved by one person and how we can all be inspired by such acts.

Happy Birthday Captain Tom!

Keeping a nation connected during lockdown: (Guest post by Grace Bloom)

Grace and Sam are a couple living in Essex, UK. They met in 2016 and have been blogging their journeys since. I was lucky enough to receive a guest post by them on what life is like as key workers keeping the country connected.

Grace also posted this to their blog, When Grace met Sam, and I have linked this beneath the post.

Due to the majority of bloggers not being self employed, certain information cannot be shared about companies and other aspects of life, but we do what we can.

I hope you enjoy their story.

 


 

Every morning at 7:30, we leave our cosy maisonette in Essex, experiencing fresh waves of anxiety as we face the day.

We never thought this would happen. The added responsibility of carrying the nation on our shoulders, the stress of ensuring we have enough gloves and wipes, constantly checking we’re not too close to someone.

Both of us are hands on engineers which means unfortunately, our work cannot be done from home. Therefore, we are Key Workers.

Although anxious, I’m proud to still be working and know that our engineers are invaluable right now. We provide the nation with internet, making sure children can access their school work at home, we keep phone lines up and running so people can contact 999 in an emergency. The company even call themselves ‘the fourth emergency service’ because we keep everyone connected. Due to the fact we have to still work, they’ve become really hot on the social distancing rule and have cancelled all buddying for new recruits, van sharing and have stressed that we’re only allowed to work with one other person (2m away!) at any time.

Sam is a plumber and has been told it’s emergency work only. His role makes him more at risk than I am because he works in customers homes. The precautions set by the company are to stay at a 2m distance, not to get a signature from the customer and to wear gloves when necessary. Sam’s expressed that he’s worried customers may lie when asked whether they’re showing symptoms, self isolating etc, so that they can still get their problem fixed. There’s been cases where this has happened to customer facing engineers within my company and the people guilty of this should be ashamed!

Of course, it’s not as lifestyle changing as working for the NHS (or as a carer). Some have moved out of their homes to isolate away from their loved ones so they can keep working. They also have much more exposure to the virus due to working with COVID-19 positive patients. We also need to be grateful for our delivery drivers, shop assistants and counsellors. I haven’t seen a lot of praise given to therapists to be honest. Mum being a counsellor herself, she has still been able to look after her clients by replacing face to face sessions with over the phone and Skype instead. Not only is she doing her bit by staying home, she is making herself available to support others.

My role as a Fibre Engineer means I work out in the field and very rarely have to step over a customer’s threshold. Fortunately, this makes it a little easier to maintain social distancing due to being out in the open, however I’m still experiencing the Joe public coming too close to ask questions about whether the job I’m doing will effect their internet. Lots of new rules have also come into force with regards to my job which I think will have an impact on work life after lockdown is lifted.

This past week my van has been in the garage, which means I’ve had to rely on the AA to recover the vehicle to and from Fleet (in Essex) with us not being allowed to vehicle share. Not only that, the AA mechanic had to drive the vehicle from the garage to his low-loader before dropping it off, therefore I have to leave it for 96 hours before I can touch it. Covid has made what were once simple tasks, much more complicated and stressful.

I remember when Sam first told me about it after they introduced the idea. He seemed to think it was a great thing to do and he was even impressed with the company, but all I could think about was how big the risk already was and how much more it would increase.

“Hang on a minute,” I said. “NHS workers are at the front line of this pandemic and you’ll be going into their homes, breathing in their air and touching their bathrooms.” He just looked at me, the realisation washing over his face.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s amazing what the company are offering as the NHS deserve all the help they can get. Is it also because the company will receive admiration and respect to be seen helping out our health service, potentially scoring new customers at present for their good deed and then hopefully, the NHS staff will want to take out the insurance policies once lock down is lifted? This is great and all, but who’s thinking about the engineers? Who’s thinking about the elderly who make up around 80% of company’s customers, who could potentially be infected by an engineer that’s just come from an NHS claim?

The only PPE that’s available are gloves so Sam’s had to make-shift his own mask out of a snood. The big cogs in the machine are working safely from home while the worker bees are exposed to the elements. Please can someone tell me how that’s fair.

The amount of times Sam’s arrived home and expressed how many customers are not seeming to understand their part in all of this… I guess in their defence, we’re still adapting to this new ‘normal’ and it is human nature to forget and revert back to old learnt behaviour. However, if an engineer knocks on your door to fix the leak gushing out of your ceiling, please at least move well back from the door to let them in safely!

But still, we have to power through.

I hate the sickening anxiety I feel each work morning, mainly for Sam rather than myself. Before saying goodbye we tell each other to stay safe, to not do the work if it isn’t safe and to protect ourselves with regular risk assessments. Our work days are not the same as they used to be and for that, we come home mentally drained.

We try to remind each other daily that we have to remain calm and positive. That is what will get us through this.

On an upbeat note, there are some silver linings.

It’s safe to say that we are both proud to still be serving the nation and helping our communities. We have both said before that we would want someone to help our grandparents and vulnerable family members if they were in need.

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The roads are also completely dead in the mornings, apart from the odd postie and bin lorry. This makes getting to site an absolute dream; no extra stress from having to wrestle with rush hour traffic.

We understand that we could have it a lot, lot worse. We are extremely lucky to still have routine and consistency which I for one need in life, as it helps me feel secure and balanced. I know a lot of people out there have either lost their jobs or are uncertain about whether they’ll have a job to go back to. Some are struggling to make ends meet and some are trapped inside their homes, experiencing abusive relationships without any respite. We are especially lucky that ourselves and our families are still OK and have their health. But of course like everyone, we don’t know whether this will change.

On our days off we are remaining busy by doing the things that make us happy. Knowing we’re not allowed out and about has just made more time for hobbies; books and writing my blog has kept me sane by allowing me to escape the awful things happening at the moment. Sam’s a keen lover of health and fitness so he’s keeping himself busy with exercise, as well as looking after his mental health. We also love to do yoga in the garden, binge Netflix and of course FaceTime with friends and family.

My heart goes out to everyone as this new way of life is not easy. We are sending lots of love and positive vibes your way.

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Please stay home, stay safe, save lives.

 


 

Thank you to Grace for providing the second insight for my ‘Life in Lockdown’ series, aiming to provide a glimpse into the lives of people around the world during this pandemic.

All words are Grace’s own and for more great stories, photo’s and travel experiences please visit Grace and Sam’s blog, whengracemetsam.com!

Insta @graceebloom_

Twitter @whengracemetsam

 


 

Credits

Featured Photo by Krishna K. Maiti on Unsplash

Country road photo by Jack Bassingthwaighte on Unsplash

Blog photos provided by Grace on whengracemetsam.com