Category Archives: LIVING WITH COVID-19

A Day in the Lock-down Lives of the Ipswich Indoor Group

Social distancing and isolation are very real challenges for all of us – particularly for those whose lives are all about outdoor activity, those who live alone (and there are many of us in the IOG) and those who don’t have strong social media networks. With the goal of maintaining the rewarding social contact so many of us have found in the IOG, we have started this new venue to welcome photo essays on how we are all spending our days: the funny, the sad, the ridiculous, the achievements of life under Covid-19.

At the end of May we plan to run a ballot to vote for winning photographs taken over the next two months and published here. There will be three categories: the funniest, the most inspirational and ‘best photograph’. The prizes will be boxes of delicious home-baked goodies – cake! – delivered to your door.

As editor of our Newsletter, I feel it incumbent upon me to kick off with a pictorial essay on my own meander through another day in lock down, and look forward seeing and hearing about the range of ways we are all muddling through – ‘too busy’ excuses will be met with laughter.

Please send your entries to me at

Sam’s Isolation Diary – Saturday 11th April

Story and pics contributed by Sam

Most of you have probably been reading highly intellectual and informative material during the isolation period. I must warn you now, that this contribution is certainly not that. It’s more like a trashy celebrity magazine, without the pictures of attractive, scantily clad ladies.

Of course indulging in cakes, coffee, alcohol and chocolate have been enjoyable ways to pass some of my time during the current isolation period, but physical exercise has been keeping me feeling positive and upbeat throughout my time alone in isolation.

I am very fortunate to be close to Christchurch Park and have briefly seen some friendly and familiar IOG faces during social distancing.

We all know how marvellous the great outdoors can make us feel, so I have been rising early to beat the crowds, for peaceful runs in the morning sunshine. I can’t help but notice how wonderfully loud and varied the birdsong has become since the cars have stopped and how beautiful the flowers look in bloom.

Along with running or walking daily, I have been partaking in some indoor, online fitness workouts including Joe Wicks PE at 9 am on Youtube every week day and regular video call dance classes run by my seven-year-old niece dressed as a princess asking me to pretend I’m dancing with a handsome man in my lounge (one can dream). I have to admit I am slightly concerned that one morning I may land on my neighbours’ lap as I fall through their ceiling during one of my indoor exercise sessions.


Having been blessed with some unexpected spring sunshine, I have been enjoying the courtyard, despite the odd items hanging on my neighbour’s washing line.  I’ve also been painting fences and made my first floor pouffe. It may shock some of you to hear I have even been cooking meals from scratch most evenings, and I even baked some healthy banana and peanut butter flapjacks this week.

Humanity is the greatest gift we have in life. Friendships and kindness have always been very important to me, but never more so than now. Keeping in touch with friends, family and those who may be lonely via voice and video calls has been invaluable, and a great source of some much needed laughter and company.

Music has been another fantastic mood enhancer for me. Listening to radio and podcasts has been a great way to start the day.  Elizabeth Day’s “How to Fail” podcasts have been really thought-provoking and uplifting for me and I thoroughly recommend you check them out.

If you need some visual stimulation but are fed up with TV may I recommend relaxation videos which are available on YouTube; I found a great one that turned my TV into the ocean.


Many celebrities have been posting on YouTube, some of my favourites being Mylene Klass teaching music and piano and, for a Saturday night, Gok Wan live-streaming DJing 90s anthems on Instagram – which gets me dancing like a crazy lady.

A new sense of community has sprung up nearby. A WhatsApp group has been created for those living in my road, where valuable local information is shared, along with offers to go shopping for the vulnerable and self isolating. It has felt comforting to virtually meet new neighbours I was never aware of prior to Covid 19.

Every Thursday feels like a blessing, as it is the one day of the week that you can identify as different from the others. At 8 p.m. on my road we all stand outside banging saucepans, clapping and cheering in gratitude to the NHS. As I’m sure most of you know, I’m quite good at making a lot of noise.

This whole situation feels very surreal, almost like an awful horror movie, but I frequently remind myself to count my blessings and take comfort in the thought that this will not last forever.

Challenges, uncertainty and death are definite in life but Covid 19 has been a stark reminder of this, and the fact that good health is priceless. I am missing my friends and family, so please take some time to give yours a call (if you can), tell them you love them, call old friends and most of all look after your health. Let’s cherish a time when money is of no value, nature can heal, life is slower and free time is plentiful.

I’m missing you all, I can’t wait for our walks, games nights and social evenings to commence. Until we meet again, take care one and all, stay safe, stay home and stay sane.




Walking from Home into Belstead Brook Park and beyond

Text and pictures contributed by Sarah

I’m lucky to live on the edge of Belstead Brook Park, so I can go down there for a wonder to get some exercise. It’s odd not to be able to go further than a few miles from home at the moment but it’s been great exploring this area again. I’ve found new paths that have sprung up recently that I haven’t used before. I’ve been going for walks some days after I’ve finished working at home and I’ve worked out where the quieter paths are so that I don’t pass too many people.

4a. A New Path I’ve Found

I went for a couple of slightly longer walks over the weekend, heading through the tunnel under the A14 towards Copdock and Belstead. I have a few different options from home, so I shouldn’t get too bored over the coming Easter weekend and the coming weeks.

4c. Signs of Spring – Daffodils


4d. Signs of Spring – Blossom

I’m also enjoying coming across the different messages that people are leaving dotted around. My particular favourite was the wool rainbow tied in a tree with the words “Try to be a Rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

4e. Wool Rainbow

I’m looking forward to seeing all my IOG friends on the other side of this and getting out for longer walks. Stay safe in the meantime everyone.



Florence’s Footwear – Friday 3rd April

Text and pics contributed by Florence

Since I stopped teaching on March 19th, these beloved shoes have been on my feet every day while I have painted ceiling and walls; sawed up a big sheet of plywood and made it into a floor; varnished door treads, hammered in nails, drilled holes, dug the vegetable plot, planted potatoes, done some weeding and even washed a floor or two.

I also enjoyed a solitary walk by the Deben as night was falling ten days ago.



Simon on the Sandlings – Thursday 2nd April

Text and pics contributed by Simon F.

Having worked long hours for a few days I gave myself Thursday afternoon off and headed out for a walk to get my Government Approved daily exercise. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people out and about at 2pm on a Thursday. I wanted to abide by the 2 metres separation rule so that was fine by me, yet it was eerily quiet as I walked off the housing estate and headed towards the countryside.

I initially followed one of my favourite local walks, heading out along the Sandlings Way. Where the official route headed towards a popular wooded area with a boardwalk path I decided to go a different way. On that path it would be impossible to keep 2 metres away from anyone coming from the other direction, so instead I ventured off along some other tracks and paths I wasn’t familiar with.

I hadn’t seen anyone since stepping out of my front door. For 2 hours I walked without seeing a living soul. I could have been the last man alive. It was slightly unnerving. I did see horses and ponies in fields. I surprised some muntjac deer and rabbits, which were not expecting anyone to venture onto their turf. I watched a hovering kestrel dive down into the undergrowth to catch its next meal. But still no people.

Having completed an improvised circular route I returned to the Sandlings Way to head back home. It was now about 4pm and at last people started to appear on the path. It felt reassuring to know they were there. The peace and quiet was shattered by yapping dogs, joggers and lycra-clad men on bikes. At last it started to feel a bit more ‘normal’, only with everyone quite rightly giving everyone else a wide berth.

This seems to be the way it will be for a while. Walks alone or with fellow housemates will replace our sociable days out in the countryside. But this can’t last forever. I am looking forwards to seeing the rest of Ipswich Outdoor Group when the current crisis subsides.

Stay safe everyone.


M-L’s Day – Wednesday 1st April

Pics and text contributed by M-L

Starting the series with an overview of a really pedestrian day; things can only get better from here. It would be great if people who have access to countryside walks would share the coming of spring with those of us who cannot get so far afield, as well as novel ideas for killing time indoors.

Still, while ordinary, my day was not sad, deprived or lonely and, well larded with WhatsApp, phone chats, shared humour and concern for buddies and family, I think it is sustainable. It helps hugely that I can go to my allotment for as long as I like each day – getting plenty of productive exercise, the pleasure and anticipation of crops to come, and rather more serial natters than usual – albeit spaced 10 metres or more apart – as allotment holders are turning up more consistently. [It’s not too late in the season to take one on!]

I also fit in a near-daily visit to my nearby ancient relic (90-year-old dad), ringing his doorbell, depositing a bag of cooked meals and treats on the mat and stepping back four paces to chat. He’s rather enjoying the service – especially as his next food delivery slot is not for another fortnight! At 90, with heart failure and a recent near deadly bout of pneumonia, the UK Govt and NHS do not consider him ‘vulnerable’ and therefore he is ineligible for preferential treatment!

Anyway, I love cooking for my three geographically closest family members – father, mother and sister (who cautiously picks up and delivers to the old mum in Woodbridge) – knowing that they are eating my food, even if not at my table. There are many roads to comunality. Let’s explore them all.