JULIA FULLERTON-BATTEN

Project Description

HANNAH and ANNABELLA, Lockdown 1, Day 27

HANNAH
How has Covid 19 affected you?
At my stepfather’s funeral in mid March, my stepbrother arrived form LA with flu symptoms. He had the virus, it turned out, Because he was staying with us, we were all very fearful that the rest of the family would catch it, particularly my 70 year old mother, and my 95 year old grandma. My family is devastated to know that a parent at my daughter’s school caught the virus and died very fast aged 65, tragically leaving 3 young children and his widow behind. His wife had the virus when he died: her mixture of grief with having to combat contagion seems an impossibly cruel situation to be in.

What lesson has Covid 19 taught you so far?
I live with my husband and 3 children aged 18,13 and 10. The pandemic has taught us that our family and our health mean everything. That kindness towards strangers is endless. That we have a responsibility to protect hundreds of people around us. What I miss is being able to hug my wider family, to socialise on the weekend, and have business meetings face to face. I miss working in the same room with my brilliant team. But we have on-boarded a new staff member despite being apart, thanks to technology.

Tell me about your current situation
My mother is indescribably sad: she has lost her husband, yet she can’t even have a cup of tea with her neighbours. We cannot be together to console her, and probate cannot start, so she’s in complete limbo. My 95 year old grandma was still shopping until Easter, thinking she was invincible because she lives in the countryside. That was tough for my mother to handle. My 18 year old has had his A-levels cancelled. My 13 year old is going stir crazy with only 1 hour exercise a day.

I run a public relations business and we are all working from home. It’s harder to manage people from afar, but I’m doing my best to be supportive and keep on the freelancers I employ. Many journalists are WFH too, which means our relationships with them are golden. We are grateful to the BBC and Channel 4 News whose workers are also on the front line. I am so grateful we have the NHS to coordinate care. And that we have each other, we have sunshine, cleaner air and I hear constant birdsong – for the first time! I relax by watching a Sicilian ‘who done it’ series, which takes me away from it all each night. I love being able to drop into neighbours unannounced and have a chat (from 2m away). After all, everyone is ‘at home’ for a change!

ANNABELLA
How has Covid 19 affected you?
It’s stopping me from going outside and being with my friends. It feels like you’re not so much part of a community because you can’t do social things. It’s made me feel separated from the world.

What lesson has Covid 19 taught you so far?
How lucky we are, and how amazing it is to have technology so we can still socialise with our friends, relatives and teachers. It can get really loud in one place because all my family is always at home!

Tell me about your current situation
I’m doing school on a website that sets tasks, explains them, and then we hand them in online. On the weekend, we try to go cycling while social distancing, and try to exercise within the guidelines. I’m doing more creative things like drawing and art.

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