COVID-19 Lockdown - Week Two
I've had some very positive feedback from my first blog entry including lots of messages from people telling me that this inspired them to get their own cameras out. Great! That's brilliant. I feel strongly that we have a responsibility to tell our own stories as I mentioned in my previous entry. I'm looking forward to seeing some photography from other families.
It's also been a very healthy self reflective exercise. There is no greater joy than looking through lots of photographs of the things that I hold closest and the people that bring me joy in my life. At a time like this, this is what we all need. An event like this really emphasises what is most important in life. Is it money? No. Is it fame? No. Is it bragging rights? No. It's good health, the safety of a home and people that mean the world to us.
Anyway, here is my second week of lockdown.
Two days ago, I introduced Eden, my eldest boy (7), to Marvel films. We watched Iron Man and he LOVED it (yes!). The next day, we watched Iron Man 2 and we've since decided to watch all the Marvel films in order over 22 days. Yes, I know, they're mostly rated as 12's, but he seems totally fine watching them and it's my call. Besides, he's already watched all of the Harry Potter films and they're all 12 or 12a. Anyway, Eden naturally now loves Iron Man, so I drew a crude outline of him this morning for him to colour in an 'weaponise'. Zephyr (4) wanted to draw Captain America's shield so he was kept well entertained also. Ivor (0) lay on the floor next to us looking cute and making funny noises.
I then spent the next couple of hours undertaking various DIY related jobs allocated to me, I didn't get a chance to photograph much during this time, but here's a photograph of Dannielle patiently waiting for me to 'get cracking'.
When the tinkering with rabbit hutches and creation of a 'boys' den' in our garden was completed (for now), we allowed Eden some, much covered 'Playstation time'. I'm secretly pretty chuffed that he's got into Sonic the Hedgehog recently, as it's something that I loved at his age and that kind of thing is always a heart melter for us blokes. Plus, I got to play it a little... so that I could 'show him how it works'. Ha.
Next up, bath time. The kids love bath time and it's never really a chore. It's actually quite a nice part of the routine. Ivor is starting to appreciate this too, taking his opportunity to flex his leg muscles and have a good splash. I mean, come on, just look at that face...
I did notice however that during this, there were some normal, but seemingly more significant sights in our bathroom. Dannielle had been busy this morning deep cleaning our bathroom and bedrooms whilst we were colouring. This isn't something out of the ordinary as Dannielle is a total super star for keeping our home ship shape day in and day out, it just seemed more significant in the greater scheme of things right now and it's times like this where we can all learn to really be grateful of these chores.
Post bath time stories was next up on the agenda and although Zephyr was playing up and resisting the idea of going to sleep anytime soon, my patience levels seemed increased and I cherished the utter cheekiness of him, he's a stubborn little critter but I wouldn't change a thing about him. I think my photograph of him sums this up well.
Dannielle spent the morning with Eden creating a clock face as part of Eden's 'home learning' work set by the school. Eden really enjoyed making this and seemed to get a good understanding of how it all works. He can tell the time digitally very well but he has never really learned how to read an analog clock. Since doing this exercise, he's rummaged out his Lego watch and worn it pretty much constantly, even in bed!
We then had a bit of 'TV time' as I had to go to our local post office and post a couple of items and deposit some cash we had into our ever decreasing bank account.
Helston was strange. Although it initially looked busy because there were many cars parked up on the sides of the high street, it quickly became apparent that there were no people around. The cars, I figured, must belong to people living above the shops or workers still playing their part in our community.
When I got back (after thoroughly washing my hands) we watched the next Marvel film, 'Thor'. Both the older boys loved this and I think myself and Dannielle both took some grace in the fleeting moments of quiet. There was also some pretty good snuggling going on...
After the boys were asleep, I was due to undertake our next weekly shop at the local Tesco.
I had also promised my parents that I would pick up a couple of essentials for them and deliver them. They had arranged for a 'click and collect' on Saturday but without any warning or explanation, loads of their items had been removed such as cat food, milk and custard powder. Tesco was even stranger than the last time I had visited, the aisles were still fairly sparse but there was evidence of the huge queuing systems during the peak hours of the daytime. There was much more emphasis on the 'one way system' of navigation and the atmosphere in there seemed much more anxious. It was lovely to see my parents, even though we stood well away from each other. Whilst delivering these bits, I took the opportunity to remind them that it's also necessary to clean groceries before putting them away.
Eden's two front teeth have been progressively wobbly for the last couple of weeks and we woke up this morning to find that during the night, one of them had wiggled free. Eden was excited but also concerned that the tooth fairy may not be able to get here due to the lockdown. We joked about this, telling him that she 'might not be able to get to the bank'.
Dannielle suggested that it might be a good idea to give him something different anyway to remind him of this experience, so we decided that instead of money, the tooth fairy was (ironically) going to be delivering sweets tonight.
Just look at the other one still hanging in there by a thread...bleurgh. Here's a video from yesterday...
The boys and Dannielle then spent the morning working on Easter themed crafts.
And then it happened. Tooth number two was ready to come out! I looked over at him and it was literally hanging in their sideways. I naturally advised him to call Mummy and between the two of them, they bravely removed the offending tooth! Two front teeth...gone!
I then took Eden out on his bike and he nailed his record of solo flight. One minute and fifty seconds of non stabilised riding. He's finally got it! Proud Dad right here!
We spent the afternoon in the garden completing various DIY projects whilst the weather was nice. Ivor was happy to chill in his wagon with his brand new sun hat! What a dude eh?!
Eden's new look took some getting used to and Zephyr was quite amused at the fact that Eden now looked like a vampire...
4.45pm can only mean one thing. Daily News update imminent. The boys went to play upstairs whilst myself and Dannielle watched the updated statistics and fatality rates (569).
We gave both the boys a tooth fairy delivery as we decided that Zephyr would have felt very left out and he had been especially well behaved today.
After the boys were asleep, I remembered that tonight was the second 'NHS & Key Worker Clap' at 8pm. I forgot to photograph last weeks, but I did take part! Here are some photographs from tonights show of appreciation! I love the communal atmosphere during this, it's very uplifting.
The boys spent the morning writing letters to our family members. Zephyr also found time to get a bit of Duplo based playtime in as well.
We decided we would walk to the post box afterwards and then around the block for our family exercise. It also meant we could hand deliver two of the letters as the boys Uncle and Auntie both live close by. The boys enjoyed looking at all the rainbow pictures in windows on the estate and decided that they wanted to make their own once we got home.
As we were about to walk to Uncle Josh's house, we crossed the field to find him playing with his son, we allowed the boys to have a kick about (without going near to each other) which was really nice for them. We had to put their letter on the floor and walk away to allow them to pick it up. Pretty strange times. Also, Zephyr was adamant that he wanted to leave the house with odd boots on. Standard.
5pm arrives and we sit down to watch the latest update. These now consist mostly of graphics and politicians not answering questions directed to them.
After the three boys demolished their daily porridge, I had to dash out to pick up a 'click and collect' order for my parents. I was amazed at how quick this was to get, there was no queue, everything was all bagged up ready and waiting and the two lads working on there, were very friendly and helpful. They let me shoot their portrait and joked about 'being famous'. I told them that they were doing a great job and that we're all very grateful.
It was nice to have a chat to my folks today, even though we had to stand well away from each other. My dad has set up a golf course in their garden and I found five balls lined up waiting for me to smash them as far I could. Which wasn't very far. They also gave us all our Easter eggs in case I didn't see them again before.
Mum told me where they kept all their wills in case of the worst, which although morbid, I could understand. Last night, I had a very vivid nightmare about having to go to hospital and not see the boys or Dannielle or anyone again. When I woke up, I couldn't get to sleep again so I made a list of important information that I would need to pass on, should the worst ever happen to me. Things such as passwords to access family hard drives and internet banking etc. Nothing scares me more than the thought of all our family photographs and my personal work vanishing after my death. My photographs will be my legacy.
When I got home, it was lunchtime. All the boys demolished their food and then got back to playing. Zephyr has just got into 'Ben and Holly' so we ordered some toys for him which I managed to pick up from the local Argos whilst out earlier. He was now running round with a magic wand. He also made me photograph it.
Whilst Dannielle was busy cooking a mammoth Shepard's Pie in the kitchen, I managed to get some pretty cute photographs of Ivor...
Eden then kicked my ass at chess...twice.
We then got a knock at the door. Dannielle's parents had popped by with a very special delivery. Frog Spawn! They brought round a tub and some tadpole food so that the boys could learn all about the lifecycle of a frog and give them another activity for the next couple of weeks. We had a nice chat with them from the doorway. The boys were very glad to see them.
We then watched some of Captain America - The Winter Soldier and I managed to enjoy a beer that my dad had given to me earlier. The news updates at 5pm informed us of the highest daily fatality rate so far, 708. Dannielle decided to paint our dinner table bench. it looks much better now.
I then drank the last of the beers my dad gave me and temporarily resisted eating my Easter egg.
I also saw this, so I decided to partake and put something out...
I put up this message with the above image.
"As a professional portrait photographer and storyteller for more than 12 years, it has always been my passion to document the world we live in. I feel strongly that we have a responsibility to tell our own stories... and this is especially true now, before this time is abridged to a paragraph or two, in our grandchildren's history books.
You can dress up, you can put on your scrubs or uniform, or you can come out in your daily comfies. Throw a tea party, play board games, or have a push-up contest on the walkway. Snuggle together on the steps. Or hold handwritten signs to convey your individual / collective thoughts about this era to your future generations. Don't forget to include those furbabies! Keep it real, or lighten it up. How will you choose to remember this time of quarantine? Go for poignant, go for hilarious, or go for relaxed.
Safety is everyone's priority. I promise to shoot from a safe distance from all of you! Beginning tomorrow, I will be offering this service in the Helston area only. As I too am at home with my family, most appointments will have to be past 7pm, however if you live close by, I am happy to pop out and come to you. I will only be going out once per day, as this will be my daily exercise.
Overriding preference given to all NHS, First Responder, and Frontline Families. Thank you for your unwavering sacrifice!
Small businesses, and the economy as a whole, is taking a real hit this year... so please accept this as MY GIFT TO YOU. Amidst the frustration and anxiety, there is still so much Good in this world. Please remember, we are all in this together. So stay safe... This too shall pass!
Donations are totally optional (but encouraged)."
Donations will go to The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust Charity. Fingers crossed that I can raise some money and get some nice documentary portraits.
I had one enquiry about my Front Porch Project overnight, but after further messaging, their children were not keen to have their photograph taken. I've not had any other interest yet.
Zephyr and I spent the morning making a tower for him to keep his wand in. Today was nice and sunny but windy as hell. I promised the boys we could go and have a good kick around this afternoon, but this morning was for inside play.
After this, Dannielle decided to set up a home haircut service and it appeared that 'walk ins were welcome' so the boys and myself got a tidy up!
After a successful trim followed by dinner, I took the boys to the field again. As fate would have it, we bumped into Uncle Josh again so the boys had a good kick about. I decided not to take my camera as I wanted to engage a bit more with the boys and get more involved with the play!
Ivor received his first pair of 'shoes' today and learnt how to blow raspberries.
I didn't take many more photographs today after this, but's here's what I did shoot. I spent most of the evening writing this and uploading / editing photographs. So far, since day one, I have shot 3,182 photographs. During this time, there have been 3,891 registered fatalities due to Covid-19. When I think about how often I am taking photographs and that I feel I'm taking too many currently, this statistic blows my mind.
Eden spent the morning completing his English work that his school had put up for him. Whilst he was doing this with Dannielle, Ivor napped and Zephyr watch the 'virtual tour' of Longleat Zoo. Ivor tested out his new shoes and quickly become very adept at kicking at least one of them off.
We then played a game of 'hide the bananas'. This involves a tiny set of toy bananas being hidden in various shapes made from Play Doh. We made all the shapes, hid the bananas and then Facetimed Grandma and Grandad. They choose one, the boys squish it and so forth until the bananas are found. Eden and Zephyr were amused because they didn't find them until the last one!
I then took the boys to the local field with a football. They made the most o their outdoor time and returned home sweaty and tired. Earlier today, Zephyr tried his bike without stabilizers on. I can't imagine he'll be far behind Eden now.
When we got back, Grandma and Grandad had tried to call on FaceTime with their own game. 'Find the Bunny'. They had made Play Doh pasties and eggs. Again, it went down to the wire and it was in the very last one! What are the odds! (Can you tell that I'm missing sport?)
We then chilled in the garden. Ivor was happy in the 'wagon' and has now mastered the ability to sit up unaided. We even let him have a cuddle with Monty, our rabbit.
News time. Usual questions. No major developments.
Eden then ended the day by dressing up as Harry Potter.
So, week two of Lockdown complete. 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.
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