Mandy’s Life In Lockdown

If you’ve ever visited Crow Trees, you’ll have met our housekeeper Mandy. She’s the one who keeps the building so incredibly neat and tidy, and who serves up those excellent lunches, including – if you are lucky – her legendary jacket potatoes! With no students to look after (or clean up after!), Mandy has been furloughed like most of our team. Here’s what she’s been up to!

Mandy’s Life in Lockdown

Life in lockdown has been an emotional rollercoaster and it started just hours before the announcement came, with the dilemma of what I should do. Stay at home alone, not seeing family, friends or going to work? The thought of that was just unbearable. Stay with my daughter, son in law and granddaughter (who was 18 months old then) in their cosy two bedroom home. Or stay with my son and his fiancée in their luxury four bedroom home. However, as both of them are professional key workers that work long shifts and some weekends, I decided it would be better for me to stay at my daughter’s. It was important for me to go where I felt I was needed the most and keeping busy would help me through these strange times. When Boris announced that lockdown would start straight away I had a mad panic to get my things together and go. Grabbing spare bedding, some clothes, toiletries, food etc, stuffing them into black bin bags and throwing them into the car, I felt like a refugee fleeing.

I arrived at my daughters looking a little stunned and shocked. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, for a start I was going to be sleeping on a raised air bed in the lounge diner. Our day began when my granddaughter Hayley woke, which was usually anytime from 6:30am to 7:30am with no concept of weekends. I would leap up, fold the bedding and deflate the air bed before she came down. Whilst her daddy helped her with breakfast at one end of the dining table, her mummy was setting up the computer at the other end ready to log on and start work. With my daughter Helen now working from home the lounge diner became an office, living space and play area. Fortunately with the glorious weather we were able to take advantage of the lovely enclosed garden with a lawn and patio area. Hayley has an array of garden toys – a swing, slide, ball pool, paddling pool etc. It was up to my son in law David and I to look after Hayley, keeping her happy and entertained so allowing Helen to work in peace. The first few weeks were extremely difficult with everyone trying so hard not to tread on each other’s toes and being sensitive to each other’s feelings. I probably struggled the most because I’m used to doing things my way. I can be a little OCD, so I’ve been told! I had to remind myself that this wasn’t my home, so let it go. We did eventually form a routine, and by sharing the domestic chores we’ve made it work.

Easter wasn’t quite the family gathering we had planned. However, we trimmed up, bought treats and had an Easter egg hunt to make it fun for Hayley. VE Day was very special. One of the neighbours organised a social distancing street party. Every house was trimmed up with Union Jack bunting, everyone brought their own picnic and drinks, we had a quiz, played bingo and of course there was music. It was an amazing afternoon. We’ve been determined to make the best of a bad situation, but it wasn’t fun and games all the time.

It’s been very stressful and worrying at times. Five weeks into lockdown my son Simon was in a car accident. Fortunately he walked out of it unscathed but not been able to see him was heart-breaking. My mother, who’s 84 with dementia and living in a care home, thinks she’s been abandoned. Some staff and residents have had COVID-19, and sadly several residents have died from it. My mother is fine, she’s one of the lucky ones.

Lockdown for me so far has been a bitter sweet experience although I’ll treasure the special times I spent with my granddaughter Hayley. She’s been my little ray of sunshine who always managed to put a smile on my face. Missing family, friends and my own personal living space has been extremely difficult at times. I’ve worked at the Training Centre for over 21 years now, and being furloughed for the last 12 weeks has also had an impact. We all take so much for granted in our lives and I hope we never forget what’s truly important.



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