One year on – a photographic diary of the Covid-19 Lockdown in Solihull

It’s a few days after the first anniversary of the lockdown here in the UK so it’s naturally a time to reflect on this landmark date and look back at the last year. In a previous post, I used part of my photographic diary to look at the differences and similarities to mine and Richard’s lives due to the restrictions in place here in England. This post reveals a few more images from my lockdown photography diary and some of the good things that happened during the past year. Little things that would be so easy to forget if we didn’t have these photos to remind us…

We really missed camping (we did manage to get away to the Lake District when the rules allowed) so we made camping porridge in the garden with our fast boiler. It’s delicious and the recipe is here on our Youtube channel.
Whilst we have our breakfast in the garden they have theirs. Forming an orderly queue this morning, normally there is a squable.
A Blue Tit checks out it’s new temporary home, attached to our home.
Babies, a busy parent catching caterpillars for the young which are singing loudly from the birdbox.
The seed sill.
It was hard to obtain seeds this year, mum to the rescue.
Betty liked to get involved in the gardening. He ‘helped’ by trampling over the compost bags and throwing up my seedlings in the air with his huge nashers.
I’m innocent. Can’t prove nothing. I did not get in the greenhouse and upturn the pots.
This Robin followed Betty around the garden for days. I think he was hoping that Betty liked to dig, but Betty does not enjoy exerting himself or manual labour.
Without any races to train for, there was a lot more time to look after the plot this year. So lovley to see the uptake on plots this year.
We enjoyed a good harvest this year from the plot and the garden.
The Blue Tit parents looked more harassed and scraggly as time went on, but they successfully raised a few babies. It was very special to see so many baby birds feeding on the sunflower feeder. Learning how to access the food.
This one looks a little bit scraggly. That’s it little dude, eat up.
And lockdown birthdays, out in the garden in all weathers to do distanced celebrating. Luckily we are hardy souls.
And my birthday too, in April when the lockdown was very resrictive and Amazon delivered all my gifts.
Bike rides were safer and trendy.
And the boy. My wonderful Richard making me laugh, keeping me sane.
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Stages of puppyhood – the first walk off lead

Often a nervous moment for any dog owner, the first walk-off the lead came on Christmas day for this youngster. The best present he could have gotten right? It was down to the park with multiple in tow to ensure that the pup’s first experience off the lead was a good one. He remembered that we are a lot more interesting than the other dogs and people in the park but the most interesting thing was my gloves.

When we had guide dog puppies, we had them a little earlier and therefore their vaccinations were earlier, and they could be ‘released’ from the leash when then they were a bit less brave than this boy here. But he (and we) did great. And we’ve got the photos to prove it…

And if you need some additional cuteness, head on over to the virtual licks and cuddles blog from his arrival day. 8 weeks of fluff and chubbiness and gorgeous puppy smell.

Ladies walking dog past poo sign and laughing

Oh those eyes! Butter would not melt. Head on over to the dog gallery page if you want to see some more adorable puppy dog eyes.

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Virtual puppy licks and cuddles

I think one of my favourite things in the world is puppy cuddles. Warm fat bellies, that unique smell that you just want to breathe in, curious big eyes exploring new faces and places. It’s one of the most exciting days for a dog owner. The anticipation of all the adventures you’ll go on, all the love you’ll have for your new member of the family and all the tricks you’re going to teach them. Re-reading those puppy guide books and watching puppy programmes on catch-up.

For this family they’ve been through this stage many times before, each time just as special as the last. For many people this year they’ll be bringing up their first puppy in a long time, or perhaps ever. Embrace this time, treasure it, even if they are little naughty so-and-so’s. It doesn’t last long, which is why it is so lovely to have photos like these to look back on and remember when they were only relativly tiny in comparison to now, when they had to put everything in their mouth to taste it, and you were just starting to think about the dog that they might becom.

Here is pup’s first day meeting the family, and figuring the next chapter of his life out…

pupp in lady's lap
puppy in womans arms
puppy looking at dog toys
puppy black cocker spaniel
cocker spaniel puppy in kitchen
puppy looking out of window
puppy in crate

Follow pup’s journey and see the next big chapter in his life, the first walk off lead or get in touch if you’d like to know more about our gift vouchers and photoshoots.

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Lockdown 2020

As you can imagine, we only shot a handful of weddings in 2020 due to Coronavirus and the restrictions surrounding ceremonies in the UK. The weddings we did photograph were wonderful, and we were so happy to be there on your day. As storytellers and photographers, it felt natural to document Lockdown, the progression of restrictions, the changes to our lives and relationships, with ourselves and others. There are so many stories to be told from the different periods of Lockdown. The new hobbies or skills people invested time in, the way we adapted to working from home or still going in to work during a pandemic. Spending more time with spouses or family, or spending more time alone. The way we celebrated big events like birthdays, and sadly funerals too. There was a lot to process, a lot to reflect on, and for us some good memories to document and look back on, as well as the sad.

I think like many people, the first few weeks we spent a lot of our time at home together. I think we’d gotten out of the habit of taking photos of each other before lockdown, apart from a quick phone shot as we topped another mountain. We love photography but we’d kind of forgotten to document each other as well as all the things we capture. I think having a photography project helped keep me sane and there are some memories here that I will treasure forever. One of the few things that came out well out of this was getting to spend more time with Richard. I adored sitting out in the garden watching the birds with him, camping in a tent in the garden because we couldn’t go on holiday. Discovering that night that there are owl’s nearby and the Stratford Road does go quiet, eventually!

Below are a few images from my Lockdown photography project. A memoir of what we got up to, what we were allowed to do, and thinking about the little things that stayed the same, as well as what changed for us due to Coronavirus.

Various restrictions and times throughout the Lockdown(s) of 2020…

lockdown binnoculars
A lot fewer commercial planes flying overhead. I remember it being quite exciting when we spotted the first one in ages. However there were aa lot more helicopters circling and circling…
A lot less editing for Mr S.
Something that stayed the same – Betty had to conduct a large amount of personal grooming each day.
rabbit asleep under tables
Spending a lot more time at home means a lot more time with this little guy. After lots of strokes (just on the head), I was ‘approved for licks’ as Richard would say. I’m not sure I really enjoy the rabbit licking my forehead, but I am now accepted by Betty bunny. Only took 3 years.
rainbow in window colouring
There are a lot more rainbows in the street. As well as a lot more of a community atmosphere
make up for date night
Not much need for this, apart from date night. At home this time though, of course!
Richard continues to be incredibly handsome
I asked Richard to cut my hair. Of course, he does a brilliant job.
rabbot hiding in garden
Somethings didn’t change. Betty contiuned to ‘help’ with the gardening, including picking up my recycled newspaper pots with his teeth, and throwing them across the garden.
magic beans and rabbit
Magic beans.
hearts plant
The same – flowers come back after dissaperaring all winter. Loved getting to enjoy the garden more this year.
rabbit eating blossom
Betty eats ever plant in sight. No change there then.
seed sin Wilko greenhouse
seeds on bin
The same – everything I plant germinates and I end up with too much to plant at the allotment. This year I can’t give the extra plants to my mum.
woman compost
man cutting grass
Sorry Betty – Your efforts at the cutting the grass just weren’t quite good enough
rabbit locked in cage angry
Let me at it!
shirley high street covid lockdown
A very different Shirley High Street.
Time to finally tidy out those bloody drawers. Richard sorts out that horrible drawer of cables which has been in the house longer than I have known him. Whilst I do the ‘I have nothing to wear’ clean out.
cycling jigsaw
The closest I’ve been to a group ride is this jigsaw. i missed cycling and running clubs and races a lot.
covid jars
makin gface mask out of trousers
In desperation with no shops open, I cut my trousers to make shorts. This somehow takes my whole day off.
blue tit with caterpillar
blue tit making nest
The nest is carefully curated. Each year a new Blue Tit family create a new temporary home, attached to our home.
blue tit making home
man doing woodwork in garden
rabbit on garden with owner
Rabbit hiding under stairs
Yes Betty, I think a lot of us felt like hiding somewhere until it was all over – part two of the lockdown photo project is here
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Coast to Coast in a day – one second everyday training


I finally did it. Not the coast to coast cycle – I mean, yes I did do it, but that was ages ago. No I mean I finally made my one second everyday (1SE) video documenting the training (and a few other bits of life) in the run-up to the Open Adventures C2C cycle ride in a day.

I’ve been doing 1SE for few years and I love watching them back with my family, they reflect little snippets of life in an accessible and way. Showing the changes that go unnoticed day to day, which amount to a lot over a year. That’s why I decided to use 1SEin a new way this year. I decided to record from the day I bought my first bike on 19th February last year (a Cannondale Synapse Alloy road bike with Sora gears and rim brakes, if you’re a bike geek like I now am) and capture little snippets of learning how to ride and maintain it, then I found out about the Coast to Coast in a day and kept recording to show my progress before completing it this summer – just over a year after learning how to ride on the road for the first time ever.

As kids, we’d had bikes but we weren’t allowed to venture off the grass outside the front of the house, my dad in constant fear that we would get hurt. As an adult getting a bike I could just about steer but it felt completely alien being sat on a road bike with its drop bars and weird shifters.

 

My very patient husband helped me teaching me from the very basics of how to do arm signals to how to use the shifters and gears. I soon found myself borrowing books from the library about road cycling and trawling the internet for training advice and tech talk, navigating through a whole new language of cycling terms. Going to the local bike shops trying to not look like a total newbie. And soon I was cycling 150 miles in a day across the country.

It’s been a whole big adventure and I’m so glad I captured it. There isn’t a shot for every day (thank goodness, the video would be very very long) but enough to look back on and think ‘hell yeah, I did that’.

Why did I get a bike? I’d never considered cycling before I started working at the local running shop, I was marathon training and running 50-mile weeks but being on my feet all day was making my bunion really sore. A friend at the shop was looking for a bike for a triathlon, and her enthusiasm and research got me thinking…

I am now one of ‘those people’ who have a winter and a summer bike, a turbo, a tool kit, a whole wardrobe full of jerseys, bib shorts and bike accessories. A subscriber to GCN (thank goodness for their training videos and maintenance tips, I love those guys) and a proud member of Solihull Cycling Club.

But you don’t have to become a ‘cycling obsessive’ to enjoy life on two wheels. You could get a motorbike…:)

 

 

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