Name: Mrs Susannah Strawson, 47 at mid-March
When did you first begin to realise coronavirus was something out of the ordinary?
I think when it started to travel from country to country.
When did it first impact you in a significant way?
I started waking up thinking I had had a dream, but then realising that this was in fact
happening for real and I was actually living in this situation. Going to our church and being
told that we wouldn't be able to gather until further notice, that was quite a significant time.
And then Lockdown was announced and I had to get my head round home schooling!
In what way?
Not being able to shake hands, hug and welcome friends and family was the most difficult thing. Not being able to just pop round or meet up for a coffee, that was a big deal.
How worried did you become and why?
I was ok for a while, but then had a wobbly few day when I became quite fearful and tearful. I had taken on so much news from the media I was so overwhelmed with it all. My fear was of catching the virus, but the thought that this might never end. I reached out to a friend who walked with me (2 metres apart) and we chatted it all through and that really helped.
Are you still worried and why?
I do worry from time to time, about my parents (my dad is vulnerable) but my main concern is another spike happening.
What were the biggest problems coping with lockdown?
The main issue for us was getting the shopping! I suppose the other main issue was home schooling.
How did you manage?
We are online grocery shoppers normally and couldn't get a slot. We have two adult children, one who continued to work fulltime and travel to work each day, so she was extremely helpful in getting our shopping for us. She is an essential worker so also had a special pass, which meant she didn't have to queue either!
Once my son returned from University, he also took his turn in shopping. After a while click and collect was an option, so we started to use that which meant no queuing or searching shelves for flour - which was and still is very sparse in some shops, but once a routine was established it worked out ok.
Were there times when you despaired?
No not really, only at other people stock-piling food and not maintaining the social distancing.
What kept you (keeps you) going?
Doing things for others is very cathartic. My voluntary work, although I couldn't physically be out doing it, I still had emails, paperwork, meetings (on Zoom) and phone calls to make, oh and home schooling of course! I made Scrub bags for the NHS and also made a few 'meals on wheels' for the seniors from lunch club.
As a Christian, I found that my faith also helped my family and I get through the tough times. Our church was and still is on Zoom and that has been important to continue to connect with our church family.
What was your lowest moment?
Lowest moment was initially not being able to travel to see family, unless it was an essential journey. More recently, being able to see family and close friends, but not being able to touch them or get very close.
What was your best/funniest memory?
There are a few: My daughter Faith's 10th birthday soon after the start of Lockdown and VE Day.
Do you think the government handled/is handling the crisis satisfactorily?
We have never experienced anything quite like this so I find it hard to answer this question. I felt initially that government was doing a great job, no one knew what to do, so they had to be guided by scientists and public health. There were some 'grey' areas of course which made life a bit confusing. We all have our own ideas of how they could have done it better, but we don't really know what would have worked.
Please add anything else of your experiences during the pandemic.
It was lovely to see people out walking more than usual, saying 'hi' to new faces. Stopping to chat, 'socially distancing' of course! Our local Primary School have been outstanding, providing home schooling support and then welcoming back Years R, 1 and 6. One of my girls is in year 6, her last year so it was especially helpful for her to have an 'end' to her Primary School years.
Were you also affected by flooding on the night of February 9?
Yes, we were flooded in our garage and office, which is at the same level as the garage. Our road was knee deep, which is very unusual. We also look after a property in our village on the main road which received major flooding.
How have you coped with both problems?
Our home was relatively straight forward, but the other property 'Hoppers' has been a very full-on project. As of today 25th July, the property is still unusable and being refurbished.
Please add anything else of your experiences during the flooding.
My memories of that evening are of course full of chaos and water that couldn't be stopped, but alongside that a community going above and beyond to help those who were struggling. The day after the flood there were various teams of people in our community helping to clear flood damaged goods, mop up water that was left which was dirty and contaminated with oil, everyone pulling together. We even had someone bring us an amazing lunch!