Day Eight: ‘I know that the world I withdrew from on March 14 is not going to be one we’ll return to. It’s the darkest fact to come to terms with’

Contributor: Tony:

Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual about a past age in Leicester’s local history

I guess that we all find things to do whilst we’re mainly (or in some cases solely) confined to barracks.

Yesterday, courtesy of being a Curve (theatre) member, I watched a recording of Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual.

Powerful political stuff about a past age in Leicester’s local history, and, of course, football.

And today (courtesy of being a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company) I signed up for a three-month free trial with arts channel, Marquee TV.

I suppose I’m lucky as I’m not working from home on account of being retired; although I’m supposed now to be plying my trade as a writer, but somehow, I’m not writing much at the moment.

Everything that goes through my head presently is pretty dark and when we come out of this, I don’t particularly want to look back on a portfolio of dark stuff.

Reality is bad enough as it is, and the media seem much better at writing the ‘disaster movie’ pitches currently.    

Of course, I do get to write the odd piece for this diary, so I’ve not given up completely. 

But what I have found I’m doing a lot of is going through all of my digital photos. 

Perhaps it’s one of those life flashing before your very eyes moments, but I hope not. 

I have posted some random ones on my Facebook page and when I say random, it’s exactly what I mean. 

I think I’ve tried to avoid one’s that are too personal, too painful. 

I’ve also found the ones taken from the shows that I was in as an actor for the company I most recently finished writing for. 

I had some good roles from Sergeant Hanley (plus others) in Private Peaceful, Graham in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads piece, A Chip In The Sugar and a wonderful one as King Claudius in Hamlet. 

So, you do have to keep busy in these awful times, even if you haven’t got an employer checking up on what you doing. 

But, most of all, what I’m looking forward to is being able to get back to some sort of normal life, although I know that the world I withdrew from on 14th March is not going to be the same as the world we will return to at some stage in the future.  

It’s the darkest fact to come to terms with.

Day Eight: ‘We hear of the huge numbers who have died, but when someone in your own family becomes one of those, suddenly everything seems different’

Contributor: Rebecca:

“This weekend the weird and sometimes somewhat abstract situation of the coronavirus pandemic came home to us.

Beloved Aunty Bunty died on Sunday.

She had been taken into A&E on Saturday, while there her heart stopped and although they resuscitated her, she was just too poorly and died on Sunday. 
It’s difficult to find the words to express the shock and sadness that has accompanied this news. Multiple times per day we read and hear the news of the huge numbers of people who have already died and the projected numbers who will die around the world and we’re all hoping (& trying) not to contract the virus, but when someone in your own family becomes one of those facts and figures, suddenly everything seems different.
Bunty was only one of an unguessable number of Global deaths that will be marked in history books, but she was special to us. She was a Londoner, the youngest of 9 – Andy’s Dad had been the eldest of that tribe. Along with her sister June, as GI brides Bunty & June moved to the States after the war. Having been widowed in the last few years, Bunty leaves five children, 14 grandchildren and a few great grandchildren too! Along with one remaining brother and sister and 17 neices and nephews (I’ve lost count of how many great nieces and nephews etc) the extended family of the Smiths is, joking aside, a massive family. 
Aunty Bunty was a happy, bubbly, funny and cheeky person, but we won’t be able to go to her funeral to celebrate her life and remind each other amusing anecdotes.  All we can do is send messages of love and sympathy, and hope that maybe next year, god willing all of those listed above can gather and be grateful for the lives we will be leading.”

Day Eight: ‘I made my first nervous foray into hairdressing today – if it was truly terrible it would grow back before anyone else saw it.’

Contributor: Jennifer:

How we think the new haircut might look

For the first time in lockdown, we woke up to rain on the windows and the sky having that look like it was set in for the day. Most other days it has been bright and sunny, a little chilly but still a good day to be in the garden; so its nice to have a day where I’m not particularly bothered about going outside. 

As we start Week 2, I realised just how much we had adapted to this new routine.  Who is sorting breakfast with a cuppa and then opening laptops for another day in paradise – well our dining room.

With an unproductive Sunday, came a refreshed Monday. Catching up with co-workers and making plans for work, the day passed quickly – a chat with my line manager assured me that urgency to produce work that I have been feeling all week wasn’t necessarily needed or sustainable since with only a few days in the job and in a practical role there is a limit to the work that can be done. It seems that expectations for working from home are reasonable and understood – we are all facing the same challenges. We also reflected on the announcement that was made by the university, stating that they don’t foresee the face-to-face teaching commencing before September. In this I feel for the students who are trying to make improve their education and develop their knowledge, but now having to do it via Microsoft Teams; you can’t develop practical skills via laptop. But they are trying and who knows, they may come out more resilient and learn things no university course ever could teach. 

I made my first forays into hairdressing today – well unless you count me cutting my fringe behind the sofa in my parents living room when I was about 8. Everything about his request made me nervous – especially since we are almost 24/7 together with current circumstances; the only benefit would be if it was truly terrible it would grow before anyone else saw it. With Ben’s tightly curled hair- it was a nightmare – fighting against the indecision, curls and that feeling that I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s strange that we have only been in this situation for a week and yet it feels like these dramatic measures are needed. However, we have come out the other side, with our relationship intact, no cuts and only a little mistake (shhh…).

 I think we will count today as a success. 

Day Eight: ‘A podcast about the Street Diary, why we are so tired, the idea of the common good, Ethel Merman, and the 1973 FA Cup’

Contributor: Richard:

“Mark and I had a chat on Skype last night, which I recorded. This morning I stripped the audio out and edited it on Audacity (if you want more details so that you can create a podcast, let us know), and then uploaded the edited project as an mp3 to my site.

In the podcast we discuss the orgins of the Street Diary, why we are so tired, the idea of the common good, Ethel Merman, and the 1973 FA Cup Final.”

Listen at: