When lockdown began it was a wakeup call for me. It wasn’t until then that I discovered I was old. I had never thought of myself as being over the hill until one of my children asked, no, ordered me to go to the supermarket, fill my trolley and then get home and lock the door. That was on the 13th of March and, except for the odd exception, I’ve been here ever since. I did all the things that it seemed other old/vulnerable people were doing to fill the days – getting around to starting (and completing) jobs in the house, baking banana loaves, polishing brass and lots and lots of gardening.
Then one day I was invited to join a group of writers who were engaged in a project called Mass Observation. Apparently the government did something similar just as the Second World War was coming to an end whereby it requested contributions from any British citizen who wished to participate. People sent in pieces from journals, diaries or any scribblings that illustrated what everyday life was like at the time. That project ended up in the archives of the British Museum and can still be seen today.
In our case, we were encouraged to write about what our life was like in lockdown. The project had already begun before I was aware of it, so I didn’t get in at the beginning. There were certain guidelines to follow and I began submitting pieces as and when I felt the desire to record a thought or memory. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from our leader saying that the next piece everyone wrote would be the last one and that she was already compiling our submissions for the book! I had missed that part of the plan. And now the funding is in place, the final edits are completed (through the dedicated efforts of our leader and her team of editors) and we will be launching our publication whenever it is appropriate and safe to do so. I’m looking forward to that event.
Submitted by Lynn Otty, 75, Dumfries