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Grace, Joe, Tina, John and Bonzo Arthur
Photographed 17th April 2020 - 26 days into lockdown 


John - I am a bit of a news junkie and read with some concern the outbreak of a new virus in Wuhan, China. My working life has been in investment and I watched as the news of the outbreak caused a fall in global equity markets from mid January by 5% and then as the Chinese Government started to impose travel restrictions, in a way that we thought only an authoritarian state could, equity markets recovered. By early February markets were hitting all time highs again. We had seen market falls on virus outbreaks before, SARS, MERS, Ebola and Zika virus have all caused slight market wobbles in the last 20 years but none had ever really caught hold in the developed world and markets had moved on. Two weeks later, global equity markets had fallen 30%, Even democratically elected governments were imposing stringent economic lockdowns and the world economy was lurching towards a very sudden and sharp recession. I had a pitch to a potential client on March 12th and sneezed into my handkerchief on the train on the way to London, the man opposite me smiled anxiously and moved seat. I was nervous at the pitch and we lost it. I am a slow mover in investment terms, thinking in years and decades not minutes and hours and it takes me a while to reorganise my thoughts when everything changes so suddenly; I found the early weeks of this experience quite unsettling as a result and struggled to concentrate.


Life during lockdown has made me realise how very lucky we are. I love this village, the countryside and the people here. The addition of good weather, the garden, quiet roads and skies and a stronger sense of community within the village than ever before has undoubtedly lifted my spirits. This has been accompanied with a strong sense of guilt at how lucky we are as a family. We live well together, eat our evening meal as a family and spend most evenings playing games or watching a film together. There are so many so less fortunate than us.
The virus outbreak will undoubtedly change our behaviour into the future. Partly by accelerating trends which are already in place such as online shopping, video conferencing and working remotely, but hopefully also by resetting our direction as a people. Economically, the last 50 years have produced strong returns for investors with success measured purely by financial metrics. But, just because financial metrics are easily measurable, it does not  make them the only thing by which success should be measured. It would be great to look back and see the good that came out of this situation, the only way to make that happen is to actively strive for it.

Joe - As a 20 year old dragged home from university, life back home is lovely in it's own way. It is somewhat boring as part of me misses the student life of spending time with friends and going out drinking (instead of drinking alone!) This is aided by frequent zoom calls with mates all stuck in the same situation but ultimately by suffering the social losses now, when life begins to return to normal we will all value the little things such as a coffee and a catch up more. On the positive side the weather has been decent, I've spent much of my time out walking Bonzo in the village or pretending to write university essays but actually sitting on my phone. Although I didn't intend at the beginning of the year to be at home for such a long period of time, it is a refreshing break and we aren't driving each other crazy just yet.

Grace - Isolation is alright, it's weird but okay.  I look at it like a really really long summer holiday because it has pretty much been sunny all the time. It is also kinda fun because even though school is supposed to be boing, virtual school is alright.  All the teachers are trying to make lessons fun and when we meet up virtually and make funny comments they don't really mind! Plus in some lessons when we are done with the work, we get to play games.  To be fair, at the weekends and after school it is kinda hard to find something to do rather than just watching TV or playing on electronics, but we worked it out and alternate evenings between movie night, games night and fire pit night where we listen to music and chat. Lastly, we have a dog and we all take it in turns to walk him. Living in a village with a lot of grassy areas means that there is more nature and slightly less people than in a city and it's quieter with larger views - you can literally see for miles!

Tina - Having suffered from a nasty bout of flu post Christmas, I was just bouncing back to health when the news was consumed by reports about the corona virus.  Before the lockdown D-day (although we were already being advised to self isolate if in the vulnerable group)  I missed meeting up with my Mum (who's 80 this year) for Mother's day but we did manage to facetime.  I've always been a bit anti all the tech but, this year, I have to say it has come into its own.  Both the children use it to keep in regular contact with their friends - daily; John and I for zoom chats with friends for drinks and games evenings; John also for his work meetings and Grace for 'virtual' school.  What would we have done without it?  My daily life has not been so different but I have missed going out to meet friends for a coffee and a chat and, as Grace has said, we are lucky to have Bonzo, who enjoys all the extra walks and attention!  We have been blessed with wonderful weather and it has been a super Spring this year but it does make me feel guilty for those who have had to self isolate in cities in flats and had to entertain young children who just want to get outside and play.  I have greatly admired the creativity in the media and also of friends who have celebrated self isolation birthdays! I do hope that, going forward, we will remember all the positives that this period has brought as well as  the strength of friends and communities. Lastly, I think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands who have selflessly worked to bring this virus to a controllable level.

Written 8th May 2020


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