Everything Else

Reflections on a Year of Lockdown

u3a members have been reflecting on the last year. Read their thoughts below.

Terrific Technology – Irene, Edinburgh u3a

Terrific technology!

In lockdown I’m learning new skills
and each new success brings me thrills!
Like Messenger video for a chat
and Zoom for groups; how cool is that.

Just heard about app called House Party,
if I can download and use; what a smarty!
So much tech to keep in touch with family and friends,
still I’ll be so glad when the lockdown ends.

Beryl – South Manchester u3a

I would like to share what lockdown has meant for me.

For me this year has been a year of new experiences and new opportunities,

I have learnt to use Zoom and Teams and taken part in most of my u3a  groups as well as making new friends and joining in many online activities. Research and writing a psychology course has taken up a lot of time. I took up embroidery again and was in my garden daily. Sundays became my singing day as I attended on line several church services one after another and made new friends in different fellowships. Listening to birds song and walking along the busy A6 in Manchester in the middle of the road with few cars was wonderful.

Phone calls to lonely and isolated people took up part of the day and ensured they were fine and well.

However I miss my family and grandchildren and ache for a hug. I can’t wait to get back with my choirs again. But on the whole lockdown was a time of opportunity.

Frances, Causeway u3a

I was part of the team transcribing Clyde Sanger’s shorthand during his days as a reporter for The Guardian newspaper. I found it a very fulfilling way to spend some of the spare time that I had during lockdown. When I first saw the advertisement in the u3a magazine I was not sure if my rather rusty shorthand would be adequate but I quickly found that, like riding a bike, you never lose the skill. The transcribers were from all over England plus myself in Northern Ireland and we formed an online team sharing our email addresses so that if anyone was stuck on a word or phrase they could circulate it and someone would always come up with an answer. My first transcription was a conversation Clyde had with Kenneth Kaunda in Kenya – what a start. I am now working on conversations he had with Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia in April 1964 – this was certainly history in the making.

Life Goes On – David, Leeds u3a

On a sharp Winter’s day
Lockdown fatigue takes hold,
Grips the soul.

Yet,
A soft clump
Heralds the arrival of
A robin
On the window feeder.
He grips,
Surveys,
Then with measured jerk
Pecks at the seed,
Surveys again,
Then scurries away.

A great tit hovers by the fat balls,
Then grasps the wire,
Stabs at the ball
And is gone,
Skittering back to the safety
Of the hawthorn tree.

Beneath the bird table
A squirrel
Hoovers up the fallen nuts and seeds.
No fear here.
He looks up and assesses
How to access the feast on the table.

On Harewood Estate
The sun dapples through the bare trees,
Glistens on the compact, crunchy snow.
A nuthatch scurries up a beech.
A cluster of deer roam across the open field
As one.
Stags lock antlers
As a prelude to a future duel.

Our lives seem
Suspended
But in the natural world
Life goes on.