The Art of Lockdown

Time & Leisure’s publisher Lucy Kane reflects on life in lockdown, and why we should celebrate our community heroes

You’ve changed. Actually I’ve changed too. In fact the world has changed since the last print edition of Time & Leisure. New words have entered our lexicon: furlough, bubbles, social distancing. We walk down the street differently giving each other a two metre berth and we value our outdoor spaces and parks more than ever before with people exercising, children playing and parents drinking alongside each other in perfect harmony. But some things never change. Whilst I’ve enjoyed editing our website during lockdown, seeing online readership figures double in the last few months, it’s bloody good to be back in print. The rollercoaster of lockdown has meant many things to different people. The highs and lows, the sadness and anxieties, the safety and gratefulness. Good days; enjoying simple family time, three meals a day around the table, not rushing from one thing to the next. Bad days; hearing sad news, too much family time, clearing up after three meals a day, or finishing the latest box set on Netflix.

More than a few balls have dropped whilst my list of skills has grown; substitute teacher, nursery classroom assistant, amateur hairdresser, TV host (read Zoom meetings asking ‘Can you hear me? I can hear you. Unmute yourself’ to my mother) and (ahem) cocktail maker. The lowest moment was finding my three-year-old off his face on chocolate powder. Having built an elaborate ladder to the top kitchen cupboard and devoured a whole tub of Cadburys drinking chocolate, I could at least report back to the head teacher on his creativity, determination and engineering skills. It seems many of you have done rather better and turned lockdown into a fine art.

The ingenuity, creativity and sacrifice has been inspirational. In many ways lockdown has brought our communities together, and people have responded to the crisis by helping their neighbours. So, inspired by these acts of kindness, I decided to launch the Time & Leisure Hero Awards. Bringing together businesses and community groups to recognise the incredible work of individuals who have helped protect vulnerable people, looking after our NHS staff and raised money to keep valuable community assets like our arts centres safe from closure. We’d like to recognise and reward as many people as possible, so nominate someone you know who deserves to win one of these prizes and join us and the community in saying a massive “Thank You” to these local heroes. They’ve cooked thousands of meals, made masks, sorted food donations, raised money, delivered shopping, cared for the sick, kept our public transport going and so many other numerous things, so that we could stay home and stay safe.

As we emerge from the world of lockdown, when we read books, lived life like it was the 70s, got excited about a visit to the garden centre and the gin bell went rather earlier than before, our shops, restaurants and pubs are opening up and we face the challenge of adapting to our new normal. The big question is: we’ve made it through the most intense part of combatting the virus, but how we navigate our way out safely will be whether or not we’re willing to make just a few more compromises? We need to support our high streets, our local shops, the restaurants and pubs. It’s our turn to help, and pull together so these independent businesses open again and survive the crisis. As we turn our minds to the next stage of the crisis and whatever may come with it, there are a few skills we all need to remember: unmute yourself, wear a mask and stay safe.