It's been a year since the UK locked itself down as part of a collective effort to minimise the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. I knew it was coming and I therefore prepared myself for weeks of isolation and restricted travel. What I didn't anticipate was that I would have one of the best summer's of my life, helped by the fact that I was able to step away from my work and spend time exploring my local environment. I made friends with neighbours that I hardly knew and spent much more time catching up with others at a distance using technology that I hadn't heard of until the pandemic hit. I got fit with yoga and walking, had time to grow vegetables and fruit, bake bread and look after hens. So here are the highlights to my lockdown life ...
On 23 March 2020 three lovely ladies came to share my home with me. Agatha, Hilary and Nancy, named after three prolific Devon women, have kept me company and in (almost) constant supply of eggs over the last year. I love their different personalities ... Nancy, feisty little hen with Chilean heritage and being top of the pecking order despite her diminutive size, Agatha, big, beautiful and black who loves being with her sisters and complains bitterly if she gets left behind and Hilary, the adventurous and brave one, who regularly breaks through fences, hops up stairs and is ever curious and determined to be part of my life. They are just coming to the end of their lockdown thankfully, keeping them safe from avian flu but which has been a real test over the final couple of weeks, given that they are full of the joys of spring and laying lots of pretty eggs.
Baking bread ... I'm gluten free and hate the cardboard taste and texture of shop bought bread so I invested in a 16kg bag of gluten free bread flour and off I went. I haven't stopped since and have baked over 60 loaves over the last year.
Living less than a mile from the sea and the South West Coast Path, I've walked hundreds of miles along the Salt Path, on my doorstep in Devon and in Dorset and Cornwall during the easing of lockdown in the summer. I love it and never a week goes by without me walking a stretch of the South West Coast Path, so much so, that I now need to invest in some new boots as soon as shops open next month.
I've still been busy with design commissions from retailers around the world and during quieter times I created artworks for my art print shop, as requested by customers. From Athens to Andalucia, Sussex to Surrey, I continued to discover the world from the comfort and safety of my drawing board and drew 127 new artworks!
I've always loved swimming in the sea, which was the big attraction to moving from Yorkshire to Devon five years ago. Recognising the benefits of cold sea swimming to mental health and the immune system, I have taken the plunge every month of the year. I get a real buzz out of swimming in the freezing cold sea throughout the winter and occasionally meet a grey seal as bob along in the waves, one of the many friends that I've made in my lovely, lockdown life, some of which will stay with me forever.
The last year has been challenging for many as we adjust to living in a time of heightened insecurity and restricted freedoms...