Nina George at home in London in lockdown.
Nina George at home in London in lockdown.

LONDON LOCKDOWN: How my three children are coping

MY THREE grown-up children live in London.

Daniel, 31, Nina, 28 and Harry, 22, are each dealing with the national coronavirus lockdown in their own way.

Harry has stocked up on giant jars of Nutella, Nina is learning to sew and play guitar while in isolation and Dan is continuing his business from home.

We connect via the Zoom app, where I see them on screen at the same time.

We sing our favourite songs, share meals together and generally act silly.

We are connecting. More than ever.

Still, I wish they were home. Closer. They are my children after all.

Here's a description of what the London lockdown is like for Nina.

I LIVE in a big old house in London with two septuagenarians, a twenty-one year old student and my boyfriend.

We are taking the best measures we can to protect the older generation which means to isolate in solidarity even though we'd love to be out helping.

I work in fashion and my industry shut down mid-March so I haven't worked since the March 10 or caught public transport since the March 12.

Fortunately, the UK has pledged to pay 80% of affected worker's wages during this time.

We are still waiting on an order of soaps and hand sanitisers from two weeks ago.

Five of my friends have reported symptoms so far, none critical.

I limit my outdoor activity to running once a day and buying food from the shop across the road.

London went into official lockdown on Monday, March 23 and I have been exclusively at home since then.

One week ago, a member of my household showed symptoms, so was confined to her room for seven days while we left meals and books outside her door.

This means two weeks in for the rest of us, in case we are carrying.

Britain's lockdown regulations are staying home except for buying medicine, food and going to work (for healthcare or essential workers only).

We can also exercise for one hour per day, alone or with a member of our household. It is recommended we stay 2m apart when outside and police have the power to disperse and fine groups of more than two.

London prides itself on its convenience and with small storage spaces for food, we get used to buying things when we need them.

This has been a return to planning ahead, always soaking or prepping elements of the next meal.

We are getting through the frozen and tinned food and glad to have topped up jars of nuts, chick peas, lentils, pasta and flours.

A friend has just brought around some medication and fresh vegetables and a mobile zero-waste van will be coming to our street this week.

The effects of any food shortages have not been felt in our household yet although rice is getting hard to find.

We take shifts in the kitchen and are lucky enough to have multiple bathrooms, plenty of windows and a long garden.

I do yoga and meditate outside in the mornings. Its spring, and the garden is beginning to bloom.

This year we've built vegetable beds for the first time and my seedlings are waking up by a sunny window inside.

Sometimes we lose track of which day it is. It's a fine balance to choose the right sources and stay informed while also preserving mental health.

The internet has been funnier, kinder and more inventive.

There are galleries, museums, theatres and studios all over the world that have opened their virtual doors.

Free classes have been offered on every possible topic; I'm halfway through An Introduction to Aquatic Mammals.

I've had the time to read more, practice a few bar chords, draw and learn to sew.

And I've spoken to my family and closest friends on the phone more than I normally do.

My thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones, the critically ill and their families, the brave medical staff of our exhausted public healthcare system and the families waiting at home for them, the teachers continuing to run schools for children of healthcare workers, the growers and delivery drivers working around the clock to feed us and particularly our most vulnerable members of society; at home but not safe or without homes at all, for whom this crisis will hit hardest.

I hope this pause in our busy reality will change us for the better. I feel lucky every day. There is a more tangible sense of community now.

People have mobilised with the resources they have; from neighbours shopping for those who are isolated to groups making home cooked meals and sewing scrubs for hospitals.

Over half a million have offered their help to the NHS.

On Thursday, from windows and doorways all over London, we applauded our medical staff. In what's been a silent city of late, the sound of millions clapping hung over us, alone, together, grateful.

Nina George


The view from Nina George’s room in London.
The view from Nina George’s room in London.

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