Bill Taylor
Photographed 4th June 2020 - 74 days into lockdown 

Having tightened up hygiene measures at the office and prepared staff for potentially working from home the final instruction to depart for home still came as a shock for many.

Fortunately agriculture and crop protection is an industry that has to carry on, and the roles we have based at the UK office can be done remotely, so no lay-offs or furloughs.

As many people have observed, for those able to work from home, workload seems to have increased significantly and Zoom features in most waking hours.

Having moved back to UK from Switzerland a year ago as the advance party for the rest of the family meant that I’ve been locked down here, with Sarah and our daughters Charlotte and Helena having a slightly less onerous and seemingly more successful lock-down in Switzerland.

After three weeks of working from the kitchen table I realised that the proximity to the fridge and the biscuit tin wasn’t doing my waistline any good - so moving into another room, along with digging my old bike out of the shed and trying to have a daily spin out past closed pubs, means that I’ve managed to lose half a stone during lock-down. For food supplies then Barley Stores and Toby’s deliveries have been superb, meaning that Tesco has seen me only three times in three months.

The garden is in much better shape and the battle with Leylandiis is almost won, which has temporarily removed some wildlife habitat but muntjacs and foxes are still regular visitors, and an owl box awaits installation, though a hedgehog box remains empty.

Standing in the garden and not hearing the sound of aeroplanes has been notable, and when one does venture over it is really notable. Having them back will be very intrusive, though not of course when I want to travel on one.

Not wanting to miss out on the trends I was rather proud to successfully create a starter culture and make sourdough bread – Barley Stores coming up with flour when Tesco’s shelves remained bare.

I’m awaiting refunds for match tickets to see West Indies and Australia at Lords this summer, but more importantly this was going to be the season when my cricket kit was going to be dusted off and put to use again after a twenty year rest period, that may well have to wait until 2021.

Though the tennis racquet and golf clubs have now had a couple of outings. With the relaxation on travel distance for “exercise” I had a day trip to Durham to empty Charlotte’s student digs – though allowed by that time I still had my eye-sight testing excuses ready should I have been challenged.

Aside from the inevitable economic depression to follow, the lockdown has been a nice chance to see neighbours, albeit at a distance, spend some decent time at home and catch up on a lot of pending jobs – though what we have had to manage with in the rural villages with low infection rates is far removed from the situations for many more people in more congested or depressed areas around the country.

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