Letters from Lockdown 22: Camille Allan

This entry is a diary entry from Lockdown.

I am writing you to remember what it felt like to be living in a pandemic. This is going to be something we are all going to talk about in a variety of ways throughout our lives and I want to diarise the details. From the lockdown induced hysterics of cabin-fever to the more sobering moments. In years to come we’ll ask eachother where were you in 2020, how did you fare in isolation? For myself and my friends, our uni days will probably come up in conversation like this –

Them: So, what year did you graduate? 

You: Hah, well, hmm, 2020… technically 

Them: Oh heck


Oh god SAME! What a time, the online exams were mad! 

– (and hopefully by then the cancelled graduation ceremonies won’t be as much of a sore point – a necessary move but still bloody disappointing) 

I’ve made it my mission to make this isolating lockdown a beneficial time. The lead up to complete lock down has just been chaotic panic for everyone. Where my uni house started the week talking about our weekend activities as per, we ended by packing up the majority of our belongings with a different focus to the normal end of term– asking eachother how many will shoes we really need in isolation? Stuff like that. The lack of an end date in sight sparked uncertainty and sadness. We said goodbye with defiance that it wasn’t the proper farewell whilst also being acutely aware that it could very well be.

The adjustment of moving back home had its little teething period, a time which I spent redecorating my room and playing happy music. ‘If this is going to be my main place of existing then I better make it aesthetic’ was my motto as I rearranged photos on my wall, so they are now deadly straight – the work of a truly anal Capricorn. 

No schedule existing anymore (except for the odd online uni seminar I’m tuning into) means it’s time to get creative. And where before I’d be scheduling all my work, I’ve taken to writing in my diary different exercises to do (and actuallydoing them) and scribbling in the things I’ve been wanting to do (time permitting) for ages. Films on my watch list, projects to brainstorm etc. 

This has been something across the board with friends I’ve been in contact with – whether they’re teaching themselves guitar, trying winged eyeliner for the first time, or making a little house for their budgies. One even got ordained online (true to character in gaining qualifications come rain or shine). Everyone is taking the time to occupy their minds in ways that bring joy or a sense of accomplishment, big or small. 

Of course, there are the days that feel more stressful than others and being able to hone every skill you desire goes from inspiration to challenge -just no! You know you might fall foul to this Camille. ‘I’m wasting my time’, ‘I haven’t tried baking bread from scratch’ or attempted a new language blah blah blah. You know what potential future me, sitting in bed watching Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques with ANOTHER cup of tea, this is a privileged moment of rest. You won’t (fingers crossed and touching all wood) have a time like this dedicated to keeping safe and well at home. A lot of people don’t get this time now, run off their feet and putting themselves at risk for hours on end. This isn’t to make you feel guilty, it’s just grounding. It’s the reason we came out of our front doors at 8 o’clock, and made the streets resound with applause and ‘101 Dalmatians‘ style barking accompaniment from the neighbourhood hounds. So many neighbours we hadn’t seen in ages were on their doorsteps, sharing this moment, before returning to our respective sanctuaries. It was near impossible not to tear up. 

So, if ever there was a reminder of why we do it that’s the one. Skills (if that’s what you’re in the mood for), self -care in all respects and being mindful of family and vulnerable neighbours is what you can achieve in this time. 

Facetime someone dear to you, watch a film in sync with your friends whilst phoning them – have a cute ‘When Harry Met Sally’ moment. 

And don’t be bummed that you haven’t written the next Fleabag during the next few weeks. 

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