What got you through lockdown first time around?
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It's January and we're at the start of another lengthy lockdown. Nick Richards looked at what got us through it last time.
You can't blame people for either looking back or looking forward while enduring lockdown. Looking back to when times were good and looking forward to when life is normal once again.
We've gone back to old hobbies and taken up new ones to help us cope. But it's not been all about baking sourdough bread and learning how to use Zoom.
Personally I've been seeking any ways I can to get my children off the TV or their devices and found a renewed interest in board games, jigsaws has helped, especially table top football game Subbuteo.
Subbuteo has been around since 1946 and was huge in the 60s and 70s. I had a brief spell being obsessed by it as a nine-year-old before computer games took over in the mid-80s.
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It's great getting back into it and my boys have had a go and like it too. I've been buying a few teams online and even treated myself to a new pitch - the first new Subbuteo thing I'd purchased in 30 years!
It's great seeing them play something from before their generation and great for their dad to relive an old hobby from the past.
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But enough about me, what's the one thing that has got other people in Norfolk through lockdown?
John Elson, EDP Weekend cartoonist
"I just draw cartoons. While others have put themselves in harm's way working unselfishly, I spent most of 2020 in my home drawing pictures. I contracted Covid-19 in March last year. I didn’t become ill enough to be hospitalised, but nine months later my lungs still haven’t fully recovered.
"However, being able to draw and paint has carried me through other difficult times in life. I can’t imagine not being able to do art, and it’s helped again during this uniquely terrible year. Fortunately commissions have come regularly as well as new opportunities which have made me adapt my method, switching to drawing digitally and learning new skills, such as attending online conferences and annotating them with illustrations. I'm optimistic for 2021 and deeply thankful to those who stayed in the workplace enabling me to do what I like doing... Just drawing cartoons."
Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk
"I am lucky enough to live in in the heart of north Norfolk, right between Sheringham and Cromer so am blessed with the coast and plenty of woodland to go for walks in with my young family. I recall particularly from March until June, during the first lockdown, being just so lucky to go for family walks through the woods to get a little respite before carrying on with helping people.
"It got my family through. I also started jogging to clear my mind – slowly and badly! My summer tour was the first time I could really get out and see constituents all over north Norfolk. It was just brilliant to talk to so many residents about how they were coping and getting through such a difficult time. They seemed as pleased to see me as I was to see them!"
Keith Skipper, writer and broadcaster
"I’d like to claim it was nothing more than good old-fashioned Norfolk cussedness in the face of adversity that carried me through two lockdowns and prepared me for a stirring hat-trick. But that would be lying, cruel deception to deny exciting hidden qualities of which I might have been ashamed in a highly dubious past.
"Not only did I find a regular path to our kitchen for the first time in about 25 years, I occasionally stayed long enough to find out how my meals are lovingly prepared. Not only did I eat them with extra relish, I returned to the kitchen and pretended to enjoy washing-up sessions. I now have my own dishcloth.
"Not only did I discover a legitimate excuse to watch Nigella Lawson, I could join the cook-book set after getting a beard trim.
"Look out for Skip’s Lockdown Lunches with a brand new recipe for Cromer crabs in samphire sauce."
Rachel Moore, EDP columnist
"The simplest human movement – putting one foot in front of another and striding out – was my survival secret for head and body throughout 2020. Luckily, just before lockdown, I’d taken an introduction to Nordic Walking course with Norfolk Nordic Walking and achieved my technique ‘passport’ –like cross country skiing without the skis delivering a brilliant body workout by walking briskly with poles (not to be confused with trekking).
"I wanted a sport to take me into my older years, get fit, and be social and outside. It was a saviour. Exploring the countryside, purposefully swinging those poles cleared my head, released exercise endorphins, and gave a feeling of achievement, often clocking up more than 24,000 steps a day.
"Once lockdown was lifted, group walks resumed opening a new social circle with spectacular views guaranteed.
"I often wonder how I would have got through 2020 without walking, and early morning pre-work, evening and Saturday walks shaping my week.
"I’m gutted that Tier 4 has halted all those January walks booked but at least I can stride out solo or with one of my friends inspired to take it up too."
Norman Lamb, former Norfolk MP
"I had just started a new role as chair of a London Mental Health Trust when we were plunged into the first lockdown. Doing everything virtually was quite challenging but I recognised that I was fortunate to have something to engage my brain. I was anxious to avoid spending all day in front of a screen getting no exercise.
"So I committed to cycling most days. I have a 9.5 mile circuit. Being, admittedly, a bit competitive by nature, I kept trying to improve my time. I was determined to be fitter by the end of lockdown than at the beginning and to lose some weight. That exercise helped me sleep better which we know is also important for our mental health. Getting out in the fresh air felt liberating. I realised how much, in my years in parliament, I had failed to notice nature all around me.
"I loved watching new growth through the spring including an amazing bluebell wood I cycled past each day and in our garden. These are the things that kept me going - along with spending more time with Mary than at any point in our 36 years of marriage."
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich
"The thing that I’m rather surprised to have enjoyed doing during lockdown has been completing jigsaws. I’ve often had one on the go. I’ve enjoyed completing maps of Norfolk and Norwich – both historical and modern – learning street names and spotting things. I enjoy this most after a long day of various Zoom calls.
"My eyes can focus on something other than a screen and I find that for spells of time my mind goes into neutral. I’m stilled. It becomes prayer-filled. I review the day, recalling the people I’ve spoken to and the challenges worked on, and place the unfinished business in God’s hands."