March 13th –  July 8th

I started with a dry cough and after a few days had to take some time off work ( for the first time in 10 years ), well a week later and we’re in an official “lockdown”. Now months later, the world as we knew it has changed – there is a new normal.

So much went through my head. Mainly, what was l going to do? Studio environment had been my life for over 45 years. What was l going to do to occupy myself and keep sane?

Two weeks in lockdown and having not left the house, I received a panicked phone call from my neighbour Pamela whose husband was not well and had  collapsed at home. Human instant kicked in, lockdown didn’t matter in this moment, my neighbours (and friends) needed me, so l dashed over the road to help,
The ambulance arrived and my neighbour Stewart, ended up in hospital and ended up with another two weeks in quarantine. Hey Ho.

Stewart recovered after two week with the help of our wonderful NHS.

The never ending list of things to do was written and added to every single night with the help of my wife Lealah in no uncertain lengthy terms. Fence, shed, garage and every other surface that could be painted. Manicured garden and steam spray patio. Well that kept me busy, for a total of 2 weeks.

The walks started and didn’t stop, walking and talking at distance to anyone that would spare a minute, just as well no one was in a rush.

Reality often hit. Is this really happening? I’m missing all the interaction with Dally, Suzanne and our clients at work as well as missing all of my family especially my grandchildren and my elderly mum who l could only visit at distance from her back garden.

Yes, old smiley me, the joker, rarely felt low was now having dreadful anxiety and it was there all the time, especially at night and very hard to control. These were crazy times – the news was always dreadful, my Leeds hero and friend Norman Hunter passed away and Trevor Cherry also passed away, so sad.

Well the weeks moved on and I’m  feeling much easier now seeing my friends, mum, my family and getting back to a new if strange “normal.”

How l missed it all, you only realise when it’s taken away.

It’s good to be back.

Be kinder and nicer, enjoy every precious day.

Love to you all – soppy old Martin

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