Here are our Lockdown Stories from our Committee and our Members
we hope you enjoy reading our stories and poems below

If you are an AOPF Member and would like to share your stories too, please email AOPF at: andover.opf@gmail.com or mail to us at: 22 The Dell, Vernham Dean, Andover. SP11 OLF

What have you been doing to keep busy during LOCKDOWN? We would love to hear from you perhaps you have had a project like myself or have a hobby you enjoy or a recipe you tried for the first time.  Do any of you write poems we would love to hear them? How about something funny that occurred. We at the AOPF are sad we cannot get together yet but hope many of you will contribute to this page.

My project has been a dolls house that has been standing in my craft room for some time!!

I know it has really helped me to keep busy and not think too much about not being able to go out. I am now onto the interior and trying to keep to the Georgian era as far as I can. It is not a cheap hobby which means I have to concentrate on one room at a time but it is great fun seeing it slowly come together. 

 

I've shared my photos so you can see progress on the Dolls House --> 

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Please join me in sharing your lockdown stories, or hobbies, or whatever you've been up to.

WendyHouse.jpg
Jenny Kay  ~  Chairman of AOPF
Road Trip

JC wrote:

 

Well I expect my lockdown has been better than for most people.

 

Three years ago a friend from New Zealand asked if he could come and stay with me and use my place as a base while he went traveling. He wanted to go to the TT races on The Isle of Man.

 

He did go to the Isle of Man but didn’t do a lot of travelling! He helped me around my place (I have a large garden.) We went on holiday together in my little caravan and one thing led to another and we fell in love. I was 68 at the time and have Parkinson’s.  I never thought that anyone would want to love me again. My husband died 11 years ago and I thought that was it.

 

Lockdown has been great - I spent a month in New Zealand and we came back together on Valentines days (how appropriate). Instead of having to go home after six months (if he doesn’t they stop his pension and take back the last six months) he was allowed to stay for eight months.

 

Before Covid kicked off we bought a van so we could travel all over GB; we wanted to go to Scotland and Ireland. He converted the van into a lovely camper but as we couldn’t travel we sold it. He has just gone back to spend two weeks in quarantine. I miss him so much and I don’t know when we will be able to see one another again because of Covid. Lots of time is being spent on messenger and video calls.

 

Yes it’s not been a bad lockdown so far.

Miss C wrote:

 

What a pleasant surprise to receive the latest communication from AOPF.  I do not have a computer so would appreciate having a printed copy of the proposed Members’ Lockdown stories.

I really cannot add an interesting story to your other correspondents’ stories.  I am now not very mobile and not having a car am unable to get out and about.

A good friend does my shopping so I’ve only been out to necessary appointments using NeighbourCare transport.  NeighbourCare also took me to a Garden Centre near Hook which made a welcome change to my ‘four walls’.

I am used to being on my own.  The flats where I live were built for retired people but now

house young people too, some with children, and they have no interest in their senior

neighbours which are few in number.

I hope to get to the meetings when they resume.

NeighbourCareLogo.png
Church Cross

Mr I wrote:

Thank you for your letter, glad to hear that you are still around and working to keep important information accessible to us Older People.

Like many older people I now live on my own which must be very similar to Lockdown, so unfortunately I do not have any amusing, exasperating stories to tell.

The one thing that has hit me through the Covid-19 Virus Lockdown is not being able to join with other Christians to attend Church on Sundays and enter into a spirit of Worship that I have been used to most of my life!

Not being computer literate or into the internet, I’m not able to tune into church services now available on ZOOM and also not being IT connected I cannot access your Website either.  Please will you send me a printed copy of the stories and experiences that you collect from other AOPF people.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

With very best wishes to AOPT Committee.

Pretty Garden

J wrote:

Thank you for your recent letter and for continuing to work on our behalf.

Regarding ‘Lockdown’ I have coped reasonably well I think largely thanks to my daughter.  I actually was not contacted directly by any organisation.  

 

In common with some others of my age (82) I do struggle with technology and so wish I had availed myself of the opportunities available pre-Covid!

I guess the most positive aspect/tactic I can offer is to try to get out for walks into the surrounding beautiful countryside.  Also, if lucky enough, and I am, to have a garden to welcome folk for tea or coffee and a chat.  Also keeping in touch with friends by the old-fashioned, tried and tested, telephone.

Mrs MA wrote:

I’ve never done so many puzzles in all my life or coloured so many lovely sketches in Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom!

Not having any children we were fortunate to have a Niece who offered to do our weekly shop and so I would email her the weekly list and she would deliver the following day. A Nephew also picked up our prescriptions when needed – having set my husband up with an email address so I could order online.

Two of our younger neighbours also offered their help. The whole street would go out on a Thursday evening to clap for the NHS and carers – ringing bells and tapping saucepans.

The main frustrations were missing weekly mass at the catholic church and annoyance with myself (and possible the Health Centre) for not getting my mobile phone number correctly recorded which meant sitting for a long while in the Health Centre car park and the phone not ringing before I eventually went up in the lift and knocked on the door.  I had similar problems with a telephone consultation with the diabetes consultant– waiting in all day at home for the phone call that never came !

A highlight was after total lockdown was lifted to be allowed back down to our static caravan close to the sea – having missed most of the lovely weather earlier in the year.

Workers with Masks

A Lockdown Lament

The lockdown hasn't changed, the routine of our life

Still down the garden to back lane, with dog and tiny wife

Each morning for our daily walk, since 1992

The year I left the railway, and we came back from Crewe

Young scientists, and politicians, pronouncing on TV

Zooming here, zooming there, they look the same to me

So the only thing I’m sure of, in this very funny year

Of uncertainty and face Masks, is there’s nothing much to cheer

But listening to the dreaded Raab

Allowed me out in my old Saab

Wendy with me, off we went, and whilst we’re being frank

You need to know our secret trip was to the Bottle Bank

So what’s the future, we are old and anxious to be part

And go again and visit things, but when should we make a start

Train travel not encouraged, special timetable is not known

Not getting much encouragement! Christopher’s on the phone

Don’t do this, don’t do that, “ father is that wise! “

Sort of role reversal! Because I’ve started telling lies!

 

The danger the pandemic brings, to old and young alike

Is opening up our pavements, to bloody fools on a bike

And what happens when E-Scooters are then allowed to roam

Makes old and fragile people afraid to leave their home

The Virus itself I can rationalise, but it is now just an excuse

To take away some freedoms, in fact a human rights abuse

Let’s lighten up this serious verse, and hope that things get better

Blood pressure good; pulse rate 60, I’m an Octogenarian trend setter!

I’ve cut down the Chablis, to my own surprise; a new way of life is dawning

Eating healthy, never a problem, with All Bran and fruit each morning

Spinach gives you iron they say, but avoid the processed ham

Tomatoes for my prostate, Oh what a silly old liberal I am

Peter Rayner ... 18/10/2020

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Wendy wrote:

At the end of March we had a little trip planned.  We planned to travel by train through Germany via the Eurostar to a “Foody” hotel in the Black Forest to celebrate our Anniversary on 1st April and back through France.  Well we all know what happened to that – Lockdown.   We still had our own celebration by way of a lovely meal from The Crown at Upton delivered to our door (well doorstep) and a glass or two at home and started planning the next trip.

One of our greatest pleasures is sitting in the evenings with the Thomas Cook International Timetable looking up ways and means to explore Europe by train.  We do not know when that will be under the present situation but the planning has brought back so many memories.

I remember the time when our young son aged 6 came home from school having learnt about volcanoes.  “Can we see a volcano Dad?”  To my astonishment my husband said, “Yes we’ll go to Mount Etna.”  I still have the original train and ferry tickets from Stoke on Trent to Taormina.  The volcano was active at the time.  I will never forget the look of awe and wonderment on my little boy’s face as it came into view from the train window.  “Is that it Dad?”   “Yep, that’s it”.

Another time spurred on by the film, “Murder on the Orient Express” we thought we would make the original Orient Express journey travelling  through several countries to Istanbul  then through Turkey to Izmir and then by boat through the Greek Islands to Italy and home.  This was early eighties before the Berlin wall came down, and provided adventure after adventure.  I seem to remember my husband had a gun pulled on him twice (by officials) during this trip.  But that’s another story – maybe a book.

A dear friend joined us on a few trips.  She was somewhat disabled but we took our own collapsible wheelchair and received the most marvellous help on all trains from the on board staff but what scrapes we got into and what fun we had. 

We cannot be as adventurous as we were now age is catching up but we can still plan another train journey and how those memories have given us so much pleasure at this uncertain time.

My friend, Joan, she with the wheelchair used to say it was important to make good memories then if things get bad you have something to make you smile.

Rockery Garden LIZ'S PHOTO.jpg

Lockdown 2020

At the beginning of lockdown I thought that I had no excuse for not doing all the things I had put off for not having time, tidying up, sorting out drawers and clothes, mending, in fact getting rid of a great deal of clutter.  New problems arose, the charity shops were closed, and the tip was closed too, so I filled the car to get it all out of the house. Then I made my daughter a wrap-round skirt from fabric in my cupboard and an old 1980s pattern.  The skirt was followed by a pair of summer trousers for my granddaughter from an old-fashioned print that had been amongst my mother’s belongings when my sister and I cleared out our parent’s house, it was probably bought with the intention of making something for me when I was little. I think it was rayon but am not sure.

The months started to pass by and one evening I watched the Chelsea Flower Show programme on TV.  It was made up of clips from previous years and interviews of some of the exhibitors who were unable to take part in the show this year because it had been cancelled.  I was very taken by the rock garden exhibit, all laid out on a tarpaulin on the ground ready for the show.  Bowls of miniature rock plants, with stones artistically placed and arranged to cover the exact size permitted for their exhibit.  I remembered that I had brought a shallow, brown, London sink from our first house in Tooting and that it had lurked at the edge of our garden waiting for attention for more than 40 years.  Now was the time!  Immediately, whilst watching the programme, I googled the nursery in Cambridge.  Then emailed to ask advice and explained I would like to order some plants that were trouble free.  Frost can be a problem here and I am not the gardener, my husband has most of the garden producing excellent vegetables, which I freeze and we enjoy throughout the year. 

By the following morning I had a friendly, helpful response.  My husband found the sink and after identifying a sunny spot, the vegetables have most so this wasn’t easy, he moved it into place.  The compost was another difficulty but we sourced it locally and it was delivered quite quickly.  I scrubbed the flints that were picked from around the garden and arranged them in the trough.  Now I just had to await the chosen plants.  It was difficult to make a choice and in fact I have over planted but gardening friends have advised waiting until next year to take out one or two. It has given me enormous pleasure and everything is growing well.  Our little granddaughter came to stay in the summer for a few days and, of course, I showed her my rock garden.  ‘Granny,’ she said very seriously, ‘This is a Fairy Garden.  I will write to The Fairies and, Granny, do you know that they always write back?’  Later that day she had her letter folded carefully and placed it under a stone beside the sink.  The following day her letter had vanished and, much to her delight, she found a response from The Fairies, written on an ivy leaf and tucked under the stone.

Grand+kids+Always+Welcome%22+Garden+Step
Forest

Sheila Wrote:

For me, the most significant event was the death of my mother in April.  She was 101 and though frail, was mentally active and enjoyed visitors and socialising with the other residents of her care home in Scotland.  After lockdown and its imposed isolation, she became depressed and quite simply gave up.  Only 6 were allowed at her cremation (I was not allowed to travel to Scotland) and it was a rushed, rather impersonal affair, although those present did their best to make it reflect my mother’s life. 

 

My sister and I had planned to have a memorial service later this year, not realising how long the restrictions would last, and we are now wondering how to mark the passing of our mother in a manner that would embrace all her friends and relations who might otherwise have attended a church service.

 

As I am sure we are not the only ones to have suffered a loss at this time, I wonder if others have come up with different ways of ensuring that their loved one receives due acknowledgement for a life well lived.  I am looking for advice on how we might achieve something that we can be proud of.

 

In terms of the isolation of lockdown, I managed quite well, making use of email and the phone quite a lot and learning how to ‘zoom’ for the occasional family quiz.  My main complaint was the lack of adequate exercise; brisk walks did not compensate for my 3 Aquafit sessions a week and I did put on about 7 pounds.  I am trying to make up for that now, but with half-sized classes, it is very difficult to secure a place.  We are nowhere near back to normal yet!

The year 2020 is a year to remember

As we always remember the 5th of November

But not for gunpowder and treason

But for holidays cancelled for the season

You can’t go out and meet your friends

But a text message you can send

We’re tired of your office being upstairs

The monies you’re saving on travel fares

You’re staying home, learning more skills

Just think what you’re saving on bills

The toilets are closed too

When you’re bursting to go to the loo

Goodbye, good luck to you from me

I’m just going to have a good pot of tea

by Kath Gray

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Cats

 volunteer charity helper

I have cared for all animals in one way or another all my life; and for some time I have been a volunteer for an animal charity, helping out by cleaning and preparing pens and taking cats back and forth to the vets.

Little did I know how this involvement was to help keep me busy and focused during the unexpected lockdown.  My area of help is to do with cats who are looking for new homes for all manner of reasons. They know nothing about what is happening outside of their cat world and need love, affection and care.  The charity takes in cats from so many sources and, during lockdown, it became more difficult for the charity as they were restricted in so many ways from helping the animals who need every bit of care they can find, but we all did our best to help.

Fortunately I was given a ‘pass’ to travel which enabled me to take cats to the vet from the rehoming centre for spaying or neutering, which is a priority policy, for vaccinations, microchipping, health checks or for individual medical treatment.  As vets were not allowed to open their doors to clients, all consultations had to be done in the car park prior to the vet admitting the animal for its treatment, which certainly put everyone to the test and still does.  On a visit I may have as many as four cats in their carriers in my car and trying to discuss a cat’s ailment or treatment in a car park, in the pouring rain or baking heat, can be quite a challenge but needs to be done.

Once all the above has been sorted, the cat or kittens are ready for their new homes. There have been many cats rehomed during lockdown, people have been very keen to take on a cat or a kitten, sometimes two, and one couple rehomed three cats!  The new owners often send a follow-up and photos of the cats in their new homes, which is a joy to read and see. This is the best part in my opinion and makes my volunteering so worthwhile.

Sleeping Kitten
Gradient

October 2019 – October 2020 for the Cushnies

Our year started with the flu jab.  Shortly afterwards we both found ourselves in hospital; me, Christine, with an abscess on my face in Winchester and David in Salisbury with a burn on his shoulder.  This put quite a strain on my daughter who lives on Portland Bill who was visiting both of us and keeping an eye on the house.

Four of us went on a Christmas cruise to Madeira and the Canary Islands.  Unfortunately we sailed through Storm Hector in the Bay of Biscay and my son-in-law broke his arm very badly and had to spend the rest of the cruise in his cabin.

Next was Mothers’ Day.  We had booked the special lunch at the Portland Heights with a weekend stay.  The lunch was cancelled (we had a chicken sandwich from the garage) and the Monday morning after breakfast the hotel closed for Covid.

 

Our daughter became ill and was rushed to hospital diagnosed with cancer and is now halfway through her chemo.  All the time no-one could visit her. 

As soon as the hotel reopened in the summer we booked to stay again.  I would not recommend staying at any hotel during Covid restrictions – it’s horrible!

Our entertainment during this time is the TV and DVDs.  During July and August we enjoyed taking part in Adam Allinson’s virtual choir.  That was like the old times on our cruise holidays.

I have been determined to keep doing my shopping myself and we have Farm Foods delivered.  It’s great that the coffee shops are open and I go out again for drives in the countryside.

We’ve both had our flu jabs again so another year has started.

Where has it all gone?!

Clean Bubbles

Thoughts during Covid 19

 

We could see what was going to happen at least 10 days before the Government shut us all down, missing meetings, getting supplies in for the garden, but then shut-down happened, we needed fresh produce and milk etc. so what to do? luckily our neighbour knew of our plight and offered to do our shopping for us, which was very kind and quite an experience as what we asked for was not necessarily be the same size of product that we would normally buy, but in times of need, not a problem, the local Clatford village shop was fantastic delivering food and veg.

Then the Government got its act together and gave the Supermarkets the vulnerable list; away we went, never used the online shop before, we like bits of one and bits of another and as our normal Aldi shop did not do online groceries, so we had to use the major supermarkets, luckily I have an account with all supermarket, which helped.

We found the home delivery service very good but expensive on small orders so we tended to order more to get the free delivery, then, as time went on and I got braver and decided on click-and-collect, I always get the earliest slot to keep away from people as nobody likes to get up in the mornings, even getting veg from Kenyons I got there as soon as they opened, again nobody else was there, keeping contact levels at a minimum.

I am a keen gardener and lucky enough to have a large garden which has taken on a new look by finishing off brick raised beds as the original wooden beds had rotted out, then with remaining bricks edged the lawn in the front garden to make mowing easier and finish the edge then the same in the back garden, still more to do.

One of our purchases at the start was buying some trailing Fuchsia from Dobbies, yes, expensive at the time but as they grew, Jenny pinched out the growing tips and made more and in the end plants for pence, and we now have a wonderful display. Again our hanging baskets of geraniums, all which have all been saved from last year, have been planted and have been spectacular.

The gardening craze which has taken over during this time has been great but we have been doing it for years but has been more relevant to us this year as we have been more efficient in planting for succession to keep veg. coming for the house. We’ve never seen the garden so good!

Our other major project has been Jenny’s dolls house, which Jenny has been painting but it now needs coving, flooring, stairs, skirting boards so cutting angles etc. it was a bit of a headache but has gone well. Also the lighting, ceiling lamps, chandelier’s, wall lamps all needed to be done before the flooring went down.

There must be a lot of people doing the same thing as parts from different firms have been in short supply, other problems have been looking online for the cheapest price for the items which all takes time, but we have the time, no need to hurry, we’re not going out.

Family have done their bit running a few errands for us, chatting at distance, worst thing is no cuddles. Best bit was asking a paint firm to deliver a couple of tester paints but instead of a parcel being sent they were delivered by a very large lorry within half an hour of the phone call, that’s service.

As this crisis carried on Zoom can be used to see friends but we were invited to use Houseparty by family members to join their weekly quiz which was very good, kept the brain working answering the questions as well as looking for them, each had 10 to find. As time marches on we find the second wave hitting the country and we are told again to stay in, we have never been out except Hospital and Doctor Appointments, click-and-collect etc.

Another reality check was after a hospital visit, being an ex-worker in agriculture noticed that the oil seed rape crop had been harvested, saw the green crop in March and missed the golden yellow totally, lock down!

Just to finish, with the winter coming soon and long nights in-doors we will now be as isolated as people living in high raise buildings so it will be an interesting time, Ah! home decorating ! STAY SAFE. AND a big thank you to all delivery people who kept us all going with food, letters and parcels.

Brian Kay

Clean Bubbles

Lockdown Stories from friends and members of AOPF (Andover Older People's Forum)

We hope you've enjoyed reading them.

** PRIZE DRAW **

We decided it would be a nice idea to do a Prize of £25 for one of our story contributors.  So a hat was duly produced, and a visitor was tasked with the job of pulling a name out of the hat, of all the story tellers.  We are delighted to let you know that 'Sheila' was the lucky winner of the £25.

Here is our friend picking the name out of the hat, socially distancing, in our garden.

​Thank you again to everyone who shared their Lockdown stories, experiences, hobbies and rhymes with us all. We are still open for additional contributions, if you'd like to share them with us.

Best wishes and please stay safe and well.

>  from your AOPF Executive Committee  <

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