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Life in lockdown: Simon’s story

author icon author icon 17/06/2020 author icon Member StoriesNews

June 2020

Life in lockdown for me (like so many of us) has been really tough. Before lockdown, I was often out travelling to various meetings, usually with Cardiff People First, Hijinx Odyssey, or my part-time work with Barod. Or to see my dad, brother, sister, nephews and walk the dogs Molly and Toby!
All of that was put on hold when lockdown was announced (on my birthday!!) and three months on it has been a very ” up and down” time for me. As well as the daytime activities I mentioned, I was also regularly going to evening open mic nights and karaokes in my local area (Cardiff), meeting friends and having a great time.

It all stopped. It made me very sad, as suddenly I realised I would have to spend much more time at home (all my time, at first). Fortunately, I live in a supported house, so staff are able to do shopping for me (which I have been extremely grateful for!)

But not long after lockdown, I was thrilled to see that Ffrindiau Gigiau/Gig Buddies had plans to introduce a Friday night KAZOOOM party, on Zoom.
I had never heard of Zoom, but I was just so happy to get the chance to speak to people outside of home. And little did I know at that point just HOW important Zoom would become.

I now do at least 3 or 4 Zoom meetings a week- literally all my groups, including AWPF, are using Zoom in some way or other, and it is vital for keeping us all connected, staying in touch with friends and most importantly making us feel happier and more positive in a very difficult and strange time.

Those Kazoom parties have been going on Friday nights ever since, and are a highlight of the week.
It was great that AWPF managed to hold our first ever virtual meeting on Zoom- which I got to chair alongside Linton our National Council vice-chair, supported as usual by Tracey (thank you!)

I’ve also regularly been speaking to my dad to check he and the family are ok. Very important to keep in touch!

In the past few weeks, I have been able to get outside for walks more often. Usually in the evening when it is quieter and much easier to keep my distance from others (as we’re supposed to). This has been vital for my mental AND physical health and luckily long spells of good weather made it fairly easy to do (well…maybe not so much the past few days!!)

I’m sad because due to the Wales Millennium Centre being closed till at least January, Hijinx Odyssey will not get to perform there this year. I’ve been with them since 2010 and Odyssey’s Christmas show is always a highlight of the year for me. I hope we’ll get to perform in 2021 and that AWPF can be there to see it!

To get me through lockdown, I bought some new things for the flat, including a pool table (that has been very popular with housemates and staff alike!!) and a keyboard. I’m hoping I’ll get some more practice in, ready for when the pubs reopen!!!

Some days have been very sad, thinking when (or even if) things will be back to where they were before lockdown and missing being able to go to places especially in the evenings. But others have been much better. I find I’m happiest when I get to speak to people on Zoom, Facebook, or my fellow housemates and staff, or find something to keep me occupied. Right now, I’m trying to sort my music collection, which is taking a while as there are literally THOUSANDS of songs to sort through!!

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