Friday, 25 December 2020

Tuesday, 22 December 2020


By Lee


By Jennie

When we first went into lockdown, there was a sense of novelty, and time due to not having to travel to and from work. 

I thought I would do the couch to 5k,  bake bread, garden and start patchwork quilting!  

My husband also asked me to sort out the numerous clothes in our bedroom which needed to be sorted into piles to put away, give away or cut up for quilting. ‘Of course, I said’. 

At the second lockdown, he offered me a £100 to sort them. 

I started. 

Like I started baking Sour Dough bread. It was lovely!  I made about 4-5 loaves.  

Like I started the couch to 5 k, I almost completed it.  (I’ve still got the last run on the last week to do!)

For the Star, I decided to do  patchwork. 

Despite having 3 weeks to do it, I left it to 2 days before it was due to start it. 

So my reflections on these strange times is that I don’t change even if the circumstances have changed. I still leave things until the last minute, needing the deadline to work towards. 

(Maybe in order to finish the pile of clothing, he needed to offer me a deadline to get the £100! However I know what to get him for Christmas, a tidy room!)

On a bright note, my daughter has asked me to do the couch to 5 k with her in 2021, so I may get that finished!

Monday, 21 December 2020


By Joy

Like many people, part of what’s getting me through this strange and difficult time is a range of indoor exercise options, and adventures in cooking.

The unusual thing that’s been keeping me going, though, is breastfeeding. Not doing it myself, but helping others. My children are in their late teens, so those years are long gone. But I volunteer on the National Breastfeeding Helpline (and work, sometimes, training other women to volunteer on the helpline, and supporting them in their volunteering).

Women call the helpline with a wide range of issues, and in a wide range of situations. Particularly in the early days of the lockdown, when women couldn’t get their usual support from the NHS, and when they couldn’t see their extended family. Lots of volunteers stepped up, and in March and April we took more calls than we had ever taken before. 

Why? Many volunteers were stuck in their houses with school-age children underfoot. Lots of us had unusual stresses about health and jobs. But, when you’re having a hard time, one thing that can really help, is helping someone else. It makes you feel powerful, and it makes you feel connected. Our training focusses on listening skills – we have to be able to listen effectively, to help women over the phone. We have to be careful to get all the relevant details, so we can give women appropriate information and support. Those listening skills include empathising with the people who call us – and that connection, during a dark and difficult time, was uplifting. When you’re having a bad day, helping someone else can really improve your mood. 

Sometimes, on the phone, it feels like a weird sort of sleepover. Just me and another woman (most of the callers are mums) talking in the dark. Ok, there’s more crying than I remember from sleepovers. But it’s a sort of intimacy, a contact. Each call is a leap in the dark – you don’t know what you’ll get. You don’t know if you’ll be able to help. But you know you’ll do your best.

Sunday, 20 December 2020


By Rhona

Can you spot the birds she’s been watching on Hackney Marshes and around and about during COVID?

A woodpecker? A kingfisher? And a pheasant she spotted in Asda car park. Glorious!