We’re entering week seven of lockdown here in the UK. There is a tentative feeling of hope in the air. It’s like we have all been holding our breath. Finally, we’re coming to the end of a long, dark tunnel and we can breathe out once again. We’re all anticipating the re-opening of the UK like excited children before Christmas.
As we await the government’s strategy for reemergence to be announced later this week, everyone is daring to plan their own exit from lockdown. Top of my list is being with family and, more daringingly, thinking about where I’ll be able to travel to, responsibly and safely.
This has been a sobering period in history. Next weekend (8 May) marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Once again, the world has changed and I’ve been thinking about about how society recovered after World War Two. How do we adjust, not just in practical terms but emotionally, from collective traumatic experiences?
Another week in life under lockdown. Thankfully the weather has been sunny, and so waking at 5.30am isn’t the daunting daybreak experience of a foggy winter! Is it my imaginaton, or is the dawn chorus noticeably louder now that there’s little or no traffic to drown out the twittering birds?
Last week I was put on furlough for a part time role I have working with the media in the tourism industry. I try not to worry about the further drop in salary and tell myself I’m not alone. It also means, of course, that I have more, ahem… free time. As this is not something in short supply at the moment, I struggle a little this week to keep my mind off the news.
With the world in turmoil it’s not easy finding balance. All those old clichés keep popping into my head. ‘Sailing in stormy seas’ takes on an all too real significance. One day I find myself singing along to Abba on the radio, the next minute I well up with tears, for apparently no reason. Mostly though this week I’ve kept sane and, if not exactly ‘happy’, I’ve been content pottering around at home. Thanks in great part to everyone generously sharing content on social media, from Raymond Blanc to Andrea Bocelli.
If someone had told you last year that you would have weeks at home to do whatever you liked you would probably have been delighted. But it’s not at all easy being shut in your home. Of course, I’m disapointed to miss out on all the trips I had planned, exhibition previews and so on but it’s the face to face contact with family and friends that I miss the most. In a climate of fear and panic in the first week of lockdown, I found it difficult to concentrate on anything, at all. This week I seem to have made a major adjustment.
If, like me, you enjoy snooping around great country houses, museums and galleries then social distancing needn’t stop you from exploring. Isn’t it true that as one door closes, another opens? While UK attractions are currently closed to the public many are opening their virtual doors. Now is the perfect time to take a personal tour of some of the best collections from the comfort of your armchair. Here’s a few of my top picks this week.
Andy Warhol (1928 to 1987) was the son of immigrants, a shy gay man who became a leading figure in the visual art movement. Warhol was born in 1928 as Andrew Warhola to working class parents from present day Slovakia. In 1949 he moved from Pittsburgh to New York. Initially working as a successful commercial illustrator, his skill at transforming the imagery of American culture soon developed as ground-breaking pop art.
I’m not a church-goer although regular Sunday services were a part of my upbringing. I don’t know if it’s that familiarity between heritage churches and childhood, but I love the feeling of peace and contemplation in the soaring spires, graceful arches and supporting buttresses of these historic buildings. The stories of the people who built them and those who worshipped, remain in the exquisite architecture and dramatic frescoes. The very stones are imbued with history and all its attendant intrigue, love, ambition and power.