• Countries Visited: 27
  • Travel Wishlist: Japan, South Africa (Safari)
  • Locked down in: Bristol, England

“For some of the people shielding, the volunteers would be the only people they would see that day

It was my girlfriend Hannah’s 30th birthday and we went away for a long weekend when it was announced that the lockdown in the UK would be happening. We were able to go out for a birthday meal for the occasion before all the pubs and restaurants locked their doors, it was a strange occasion with some people trying to distance from each other and others carrying on like normal and not realising the seriousness of the situation. At the time we didn’t realise how long it would be before we would get the chance to go out for another meal.

Before lockdown occurred, Hannah was actually taking some time off work due to stress. She was at the point that she was hating her job with a crazy workload and a lack of support. She was questioning whether she wanted to try working for another employer or changing careers all together. She was due to be going back to work and not looking forward to it when Covid-19 hit the UK. She ended up being furloughed from work (The British Government introduced a furlough scheme where they paid 80% of your wages if you were off work it was to help businesses from going under). Strangely the lockdown for her was in some ways a blessing in disguise, she was able to realise that work isn’t the be all and end all and that there are more important things in life and actually ended up in a better place mentally than she was before Covid-19.

For me not too much drastically changed, I work as a Quantity Surveyor in the construction industry and fortunately my work wasn’t really affected besides working from home instead of the office and instead of visiting sites, I became very familiar with video conferences like I’m sure many people have during lockdown. I got to see the highs and the lows of lockdown. Early on in lockdown I started to enjoy the some more simple things such as being able to go for walks and being out in the garden. We were lucky to have a great summer during the height of Covid so I ended up getting into gardening and growing vegetables.

There were lots of people in a more unfortunate position to myself. My sister and brother in law are both self-employed and were both uncertain about the futures of their businesses. The people deemed to be in the vulnerable category were not able to shop for themselves and in some cases as a result of lockdown were not seeing a single person whilst they were shielding. We were also able to see people wanting to do some good in the community and help people, the local community set up an initiative to help the vulnerable. Local businesses donated food and a group of volunteers donated their time to shop and deliver for those in need. Hannah took the time to get involved with the volunteering with the free time she had from being furloughed. For some of the people shielding, the volunteers would be the only people they would see that day and others who had lost their jobs the donated foods were a huge help to them being able to feed their families.

We also were shopping for Hannah’s parents, my Mum and grandparents to help them out due to them being in the older more susceptible category. My Nan became ill during lockdown and required care. Due to the NHS and care facilities being pushed to the limit during lockdown finding care was difficult so my Mum decided to give up work to become a carer for her Mum/my Nan. She had to sacrifice seeing her Grandkids and stop working to make sure she was isolating to protect my Nan. Part the way through lockdown my Nan unfortunately passed away. It was fortunately due to old age and not Covid. The lockdown affected funerals in quite a large way in terms of numbers allowed to attend. At the start of lockdown some places were only allowing to 4 people to attend making it hard for people to grieve in their own way. At the stage my Nan died we were allowed 15 people to attend which still wasn’t many but her family were able to be there in the end and a few close friends.

At the start of the year we were looking at making this year the year we would plan a big holiday and visit one of our dream destinations. We had got to the point in deciding we were going to plan a safari in Africa. We luckily didn’t get to the point of actually booking something but now as with everyone we do not know when we will actually get the chance to travel to other countries so freely.

For a time, things started to seem like they were getting better and we were through the worst of Covid, but right now things are seeming to be going in the other direction again. There is a good chance we will be heading into another lockdown and to be honest it seems like it is needed to get a handle on things again. We will likely be seeing a different Christmas that most families are used to and I don’t really see much changing for a long time until the elusive vaccine is discovered. At least we have seen people will adapt during the pandemic so we can only hope things will change for the better eventually.