How to Survive ‘Lockdown’ by Catherine


I’ve been thinking about the way different people have worked their way through ‘Lockdown’, that is Lockdown Number 1, Lockdown Number 2 and Tier 3. For Catherine, my aunt, this has not been easy. She hadn’t finished going through the grieving process, her husband having died in October 2019 and suddenly she was faced being on her own. The clubs she had joined, for company, closed down; the trips out with her daughter, to remember ‘special places’, were not possible. She has, however, taken her own route through the pandemic.

I have talked about the fact that Catherine doesn’t have a computer or iPad, she doesn’t have a fancy phone that can take and receive pictures. I had hoped that she would encompass improved technology. But I think I was wrong. It was my own personal convenience that I was talking about. She had her own way of dealing with things, as she always has.

Having invited her to write a ‘Diary’ for the Virtual Tea Towel Museum, she did the first ‘episode’ and then another and then another……. The last one was Number 35. She has a lot of ‘followers’, people who enjoy hearing about the every day life of someone living in Essex, everything from getting a new Garden Waste Bin to birds in the garden, from Tesco/Sainsbury delivery order to key workers, from Brussel Sprouts in the freezer to learning to bake new cakes.

Each ‘Diary’ Catherine writes is accompanied by a message on the back of an envelope. Writing is therapy for Catherine, as for many people, but it provides a ‘routine’ that isn’t there for those of us using a computer. She hand-writes between 8 and 10 pages every week, has to ensure that she has a stamp, walks to the Post Box to post it and sends messages to the Post Man and my cat.

Dear Barbara,

Please could you buy your regular, delightful and friendly Postman some sweets from me to thank him for delivering my letters to you. He is a Key Worker who has helped us through the year, to keep in touch

Love Catherine, Tilly, Tinker, Blackie and Rupert.

Catherine enclosed some money and off I went to buy the Postman a present and a card. However, when the present was wrapped and the card written, I put a note on the door asking the Postman to knock, which he did. Sadly, this was not the regular Postman. I had a long chat with the man on the doorstep who was a ‘Christmas Worker’, while the regular man was delivering parcels. He said he would put a note on the notice board at the delivery office. For two weeks the parcel sat on my desk. I had decided that it was going to be after Christmas when he got it; better late than never. Today, Christmas Eve, the regular Postman knocked on the door; I explained the situation and the man was in tears, touched by an act of kindness from someone he didn’t know.


A week after Catherine’s note to get a present for the Postman, came a note for Isabella (the cat).

This is the last Quiz, Isabella, for you to answer as you are so clever, and you are so photogenic. You need to be on Tea Towels, Stamps, Posters, Billboards and star in your own film, with Tilly as producer, Tinker as Director (who knows her way to the kitchen by heart), Blackie as gaffer and Rupert as Key Grip (whatever that means)”.

Inside the envelope was a ‘Christmas Riddle’ Quiz which Isabella and Liz did together. They were very successful but there was no money prize. This was a useful exercise for the two of them at this very difficult time. Thank you Catherine.

The Tea Towel of Choice for today was the one that Catherine recently bought for me, randomly. I love it and feels appropriate for this weird time. Happy Christmas Everyone!

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