GRAHAM ROLANDO

Name: Graham Rolando

Age 41-60

When did you first begin to realise coronavirus was something out of the ordinary?

When the number of cases in Italy came in to the news bulletins

When did it first impact you in a significant way?

When I went to a Tesco supermarket about 3 or 4 days into lockdown and realised that panic-buying was a reality.

In what way?

Struggled to get basic items that had been easily available until that point such as dog food, pasta, tinned tomatoes, etc. Fresh food seemed unaffected however.

How worried did you become and why?

Not worried but angry with the selfish and unthoughtful attitudes that led to the panic buying.

Are you still worried and why?

I am worried about the state of the UK economy and the increased taxes I will surely have to pay as I approach my retirement together with the impact it will have on how well I can live in retirement and provide anything in an emergency for my children.

What were the biggest problems coping with lockdown?

None that were very significant. I work from home anyway so life did not change that much. The supermarket situation resolved itself fairly quickly plus I used smaller local food stores to obtain certain food items such as fresh vegetables more easily

Were there times when you despaired?

Only in Tesco's at Pembury as per above and spoke with the guy at the checkout then who told me about fights in the store over toilet rolls and people spitting at his colleagues

What kept you (keeps you) going?

My family, enjoying my work, walking the dogs and having the time to do longstanding DIY projects as we are not now going away for holiday.

What was your lowest moment?

As per Tesco's, plus Boris Johnson being moved into Intensive Care. Whatever your political position, that moment suddenly made the pandemic feel very real, like a relative or friend had the virus and may not get through it.

What was your best/funniest memory?

Doing a spoof charity parcel delivery to Don Foreman and the correspondence that ensued(!) plus getting more involved with the RAF Association charity for which I volunteer. I spent a few weeks doing a ring round of their members to make sure they were okay. Mostly in their 80s and 90s, the people I spoke with were inspirational and facing the lockdown with the same fortitude and selflessness with which they must have shown during the Second World War. A lesson to all -- in contrast to the Tesco episode.

Do you think the government handled/is handling the crisis satisfactorily?

In part. Given this was an unprecedented situation, I initially felt sorry for those in charge as they were going to be criticised whatever action they took. As time has gone on however, government policies seem less thought through or joined up, e.g. releasing lockdown but making no obvious plans to increase testing capacity, mask policy introduced very late, no airport arrival testing policy, over-heating the property market with the Stamp Duty holiday, etc

Please add anything else of your experiences during the pandemic.

I met a lot of really nice people during my lockdown dog walks and some have become regular acquaintances and friends. Many people seemed to feel their period of enforced time at home had changed their perspective on what they regarded as important and how they might allocate time differently in future. Let's hope...