• Ashley Hampson

COVID-19 Lockdown - Week Five

This week my 'Front Porch Project' has really taken off a bit. Which has been fantastic, exhausting, positive and time consuming. So I've not taken the usual amount of photographs for this. Next week I will be (now that I'm mindful of it) so expect a bigger post next week.


Day 29


I started this week with an early morning radio interview for BBC Radio Cornwall. They wanted to talk to me about my Front Porch Project. I also mentioned to the researcher that I had proposed to Dannielle, I thought it would be nice to give this a bit of a shout out! You can listen to my interview here (Fast Forward to 2hr 52mins).


After this, I remembered that I had told Dannielle’s Nan that I was going to be on the radio, but we hadn't told them about the engagement yet. Dannielle got a phone call from her Nan's friend congratualting us, so we thought we better give Nanna a call!


I received several lovely emails from people that I know from my time working in a local pub. I worked in The Royal Oak in Perranwell Station for eight years so I got to know the community there really well. I must say, it's a lovely village full of really thoughtful people that genuinely care about each other. Something that isn't a given these days. I still like to keep in touch with a lot of the locals there through email and social media but I do miss going in there for a pint! Big shout out to Lizzie and Tim who run the place too! They're both really lovely and always supported me through thick and thin. If you're ever passing, head in for some food too. Patrick is a superstar in the kitchen and the whole team will greet you with a smile. The beers on tap are always immaculate too, I know how well they're looked after!


ANYWAY. After the early morning interview (and porridge club). We had an hour or two to play with the kids. Dannielle kept Eden busy with some schoolwork, Zephyr enjoyed a bit of Duplo, YouTube and Outdoor play and Ivor had a good kick about on the floor (see below).


Avengers are still a big play theme in our house right now. Eden is currently Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Pokemon Champion, King of Wakanda and a Power Ranger. See...

Zephyr follows suit well but definitely rocks his own vibe...

I spent the next half hour or so, attaching a roof to their 'den' whilst Dannielle made dinner for us. Grandad had given us a camp tarp so this looked awesome! The boys were well happy!

The 5pm News update arrived and we sat down to watch whilst the kids went to play upstairs. More news of an increase in fatalities. Feels like we're hitting a peak now.

Dannielle wanted me to make sure I got a good photograph of her fly treads...

The boys got bored upstairs whilst the news was on and swiftly came down rocking their Avengers gear. I'd had enough of the usual questions anyway so it was a welcome distraction.

This guy seemed to have had enough of the update too...


Day 30


After porridge club the boys all had a good play together. Eden played on his DS for a while and then enjoyed giving Ivor some attention whilst Zephyr was lost in a YouTube vortex of Ben and Holly!

Dannielle is really enjoying having me with my camera around constantly...

There was a knock at the door and we weren't expecting any deliveries so that only meant one thing. Human contact! Auntie Hazel, Uncle Tom and cousin Ziva had come to wish us congratulations and deliver Dannielle a belated hand-made birthday card!

The sun was still out so Ivor got in some wagon time in the garden whilst the boys ran around like lunatics playing Avengers.

A quickness's break for lunch followed by more Avengers chaos...

Dannielle had set herself a new little project, a beautiful little footstool for our bathroom (which I would then later sit on and snap in half).

The weather was glorious still so we decided to get outside for a bit and head to the local field. The boys have nick named their favourite spot 'The Magic Tree', which also happens to be the actual top secret Avengers base. Who knew huh?

After tea, the boys had a quick play upstairs. We forgot to watch today's update but I check my news app on my phone and we didn't seem to miss much anyway. Bedtime was next on the list and I had to run downstairs and grab my camera because this moment of unexpected cuteness presented itself....

10 mins later...


Day 31


Another nice sunny morning! Eden bashed out his schoolwork with Dannielle whilst Ivor and Zephyr bonded over Duplo. Eden had to design a street sign for our road and write a song about our street. I can't remember it all but the chorus wen't something like...'Hooray Hooray for Hawkins Way, Where all the cool kids come to play'. Legend.

I had to run upstair for a Zoom meeting at 11am. Our weekly team meeting for work where we discuss any issues and important information. It's also just really nice to catch up with everyone.

After this, we decided to bust out the inflatable garden pool that Grandma and Grandad had sent us through the post! I then spent the next 45 minutes blowing it up as we did not have a pump. It looked good. It was massive too at 2.5m long! So I went to get the hosepipe and bucket to fill it up and...it had a hole in it. Gutted.

We packed it up amongst the tears and promptly hit up the Argos website to see what was in stock down the road. They had a decent sized one in that came with some inflatables. The boys seemed convinced so off I went to collect it...and a pump!


The pump recommended with this pool did not fit in any way. So 30 minutes later aaaaannnnd...

We then discovered that this one also had a hole in it. The tears began with added screaming. Zephyr was massively concerned that his inflatable turtle was going to be returned and we were pretty certain there were not any other in stock.

I got to Argos where they informed me that they could not return the items due to their new returns policy for COVID-19. I wasn't convinced by this and I think they may have picked up on my frustrations because they eventually refunded me in full for the pool but not the pump for some reason. This didn't bother me really as it was only a cheap one. I then walked into Sainsbury's and found a substitute pool! Third time lucky.


I got home, gleefully discovered the pump fit this pool perfectly and set to work. It inflated and stayed inflated! Hurrah! Time to start filling it up! The boys were in before even a drop of water was so we knew this had been worth the prior trouble...and yes, we did keep the inflatable turtle from the Argos one. Ha. Serves them right.

616 deaths today. A slight reduction which almost seemed positive. What an awful way to look at it eh?


Day 32


Today I was up early as I had been asked to go into work to 'light up' the top floor of our main tower building which I work in. As media/photography instructor and technician this was over to me and the pressure was on. I only had forty five mins to gather any equipment we hadn't loaned out to students, work out how to use the self timers without instructions and get it set up ready to go tonight. I couldn't even check that it was going to work really because it was daytime. I had found minimal lights as we had given a lot of equipment out to ensure our students could produce work whilst in lockdown. I felt pessimistic about it in a ll honesty and didn't really expect this to work very well.


The building felt strange empty. I had to go back to my car to get some photographs because it seemed unusual. It's normally so full of life.

Here's my 'bodge job' set up...

I messaged my area lead and told him that it was done but not to expect fireworks. He told me he was going to head by later to get a photograph and would let me know how it worked. I cringed a little.

It had been announced that B & Q was opening today so Dannielle asked if I could swing by on the way home. This is what I saw... (obviously I then headed straight home, people are crazy!).

By the time I got home, Zephyr had been treated to a new toy for being a good boy. An Aladdin doll. This boy loves this film at the moment and frequently asks Alexa to play 'Arabian Nights' or 'Prince Ali'. I was kind of surprised at how good the remake was actually...

News update from some chief I've never seen in my life before. Blah blah blah...

I then received this photo from my area lead...

Smashed it!


Day 33


Dannielle spent the first part of this morning blowing up balloons in preparation for 'science' today. Balloon rockets were on the agenda. Ivor rolled around on the floor looking cute...

Check these guys out...

After many false starts and several 'that didn't counts' the boys finished and Dannielle went to prepare dinner. Whilst doing so, Eden convinced me to blow up a load more balloons and was thoroughly entertained by playing 'keepy uppy' for the next two/three hours.

After dinner, Dannielle made cupcakes with the boys whilst Ivor and I chilled on the sofa.

Ivor is getting much bigger now! His legs are getting strong and it's quite funny to see him dancing around when he is held upright. It's amazing how much he had grown during the lockdown. Such a shame that friends and family are missing out on this stage.

There's no hiding from this guy...

Day 34


Zephyr woke me up this morning by dropping a Trolls lego set on my face and asking if I could help him make it. So, after porridge club, this is what I was down for. Zephyr loved the Trolls film and I've recently shown him the new one. They have annoyingly catchy soundtracks. Balloons also still going strong...

Eleven O Clock meant cupcakes in one in the garden. What a stuff face. Ivor watched on in awe and studied the habits of our pet rabbit, Monty. He seems quite fascinated with him, what a cutie!

I raided the toy box in the shed and pimped out the den for the boys with water pistols, boules, scatch, a plastic shark and several buckets and spades. I think they had forgot about all this stuff because they were amazed when they discovered it in there! Watch out sharky!

After lunch I decided to finally sort out our shed. it's currently being used as an overflow recycling storage facility so I decided to transfer most of this to the boot of my car and get the shed operational again.

Zephyr spotted his bike whilst I was organising the shed so I asked him if he fancied trying it without his stabilisers on. Eden has recently mastered it so that swung him slightly and he decided to give it a go! He managed about two/three seconds on his own which I thought was pretty good for a first go! He seems to be enjoying it which is the main thing, if he continues to enjoy it, he'll be riding like a pro in no time. I also promised him that he could squirt me in the face with his water pistol if he tried really hard...


We also had a game of boules. This was a big part of my childhood as my parents took me on holidays to France every year whilst I was growing up. I remember playing lots of 'pétanque' with French locals. I remember one man nicknamed 'Snake Eyes' who also introduced me to grenadine syrup. Yum.


Zephyr turned out to be a natural and finals scores stood at Zephyr - 5, Daddy - 3 and Eden - 1. Eden was gutted.

Tea time came quickly after and we missed the news again. I'm not sure if we're getting complacent with the updates or simply realising that they don't seem to know much.

The boys chilling in their room before bedtime. Zephyr such his DS up there and was busy playing Sonic. Hero.

Day 35


An enthusiastic porridge club this morning with news that Boris was back!

He gave a good speech but I'm still not sure how I feel about this. Not through lack of sympathy, I'm sure he had a horrible time and no one deserves that but, it was kind of his own fault and maybe if he'd taken this a bit more seriously to start with, instead of shaking hands with Covid victims publicly, he might have set a better example as the leader of our country. As it stands, we're running a bit of a shit show with the second highest global mortality rate and I can't help but think if we had had some better leadership, this may not have been the case.

Eden then had some schoolwork to do which involve him writing a story that included all of his weekly spellings. We had some fun with this.

Ivor had a good little chill outside in his wagon.

Eden spent the next hour building a Star Destroyer / Laser Gun out of Duplo whilst Zephyr checked on his 'wormary' that Granny had brought round.

Zephyr then kindly decided to water the plants and the Veg Patch...

Ivor loves his shoes...in his mouth. I don't think I've actually seen them on his feet yet!

Dannielle had ordered two new rucksacks. One for Zephyr when he starts school in September and one for Ivor's stuff if we ever get out and about. We already had the patches for Zephyr's bag, as mentioned previously in a blog post, so Dannielle swiftly sewed them on a customised it for him.

5pm news update concluded that they were on to meet their testing target, (probably by sending test kits out to people and not actually performing complete tests), they also mentioned some small business loan that was forthcoming that hardly anyone will ever be able to access in time. Awesome work as ever.

Ivor's reaction was bang on...


So, week five of Lockdown complete. This week I shot over one hundred Front Porch Portraits!


I'll be updating this blog weekly, let me know what you think though in the comments below.


I am planning to turn this work into a zine or a photo book once this awful situation has passed, with any/all profits going straight to the NHS.

You can follow me on Instagram here.


Back to my homepage here.


#COVIDー19 #covid19UK #cornoravirusuk #coronadiaries #coronavirus #lockdown #IsolationLife #covid19 #quarantinelife #safeathome #capturethegood #frontporchproject





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