In no more than 100 words tell us about your lockdown experiences, the highs and the lows!

Did you start gardening, learn to knit, make bread, feel frustrated, laugh, cry, rely on WI friends, discover Zoom …
The rules are simple

One entry per WI member
All entries to be submitted by email to Sarah
All entries must include a word count (max 100 words)
Make sure you tell us which WI you are a member of
Closing date for entries 12.00 noon Thurs 21st Jan 2021
Winner will be notified via email on 25th Jan 2021

As a vulnerable wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy, I went into lockdown feeling very low, so one of my friends suggested I try “virtual cycling” using my Medimotion Cycle. 

Since March, I’ve completed a Trussell Trust Challenge charity 280 mile cycle from Glasgow-John O’Groats and a Santa 5km charity cycle for Air Ambulance. I’ve raised over £400 in doing so.

I’m now doing a Land’s End to John O’Groats Conquerer medal challenge for fun and look forward to adding to my medal tally.

Jacqueline Thomas, Bulkington WI
(84 word count)

During the first lockdown I was recovering from a major operation which meant tennis was out of the question. However in compensation, tennis was not allowed anyway, so I didn’t feel quite so deprived. Then tennis was back on the radar and I could play.
During the second lockdown, I was recovering from a second major operation, and tennis was not for me . But then tennis was not allowed again so once more I did not miss out.
Was I lucky or unlucky? A bit of both I think

Betty Harris – Long Itchington WI
(92 word count). 

My plans for three new careers were carried away on an ill wind called coronavirus. Invigilator? Exams cancelled. WI speaker? Selection evening postponed. Home tutor? Too risky for me, being ‘medically vulnerable’.

Instead, community goodness blasted its way into my life. A rotation of volunteers brought medication prescribed during telephone consultations. Our wonderful village pub placed pre-ordered food and toilet rolls into my car boot.

Our main road reverted to being a country lane. We clapped for carers, created a rainbow and welcomed, with exposed left arms, every mention of a vaccine. Patiently we wash our hands and wait.

Janet Mobbs – Church Lawford and King’s Newnham WI
(99 word count)

Our second grandchild had just arrived, his great grandfather had suddenly passed away and thriving businesses closed down!!

However dry, warm weather arrived, once sodden fields were worked, lambing time came, house and garden maintenance began.

There was time to ring family and friends, enjoy the garden, the peace and quiet.

Walking the dogs over the fields on VE day surrounded by silence, I looked over towards Coventry and tried to imagine that day 75 years ago.

The dancing, singing, street parties, the joy that war was over and I thought our time will come also

Jane Gibbs – Wolston WI
(96 word count)

How scary and frustrating the last year has been. Don’t go out! Stay home! Wash hands! Clean house, tidy cupboards, wash dishes, cook food etc what a bore! Plant flowers, grow tomatoes make facemasks and greeting cards to keep busy.

No friends and no sport. Family on Zoom and W.I. Members on WhyPay and whatsupp is just not the same but better than nothing! Loved summer when we chatted and laughed over the hedge with my Neighbours. Winter is much more difficult outside wrapped up warm with blankets and a hot toddy but we still laugh.  Roll on vaccine!

Diane Emberton – Stockton WI
(100 word count)

“Going on a Bear Hunt” is a popular children’s story.  During lockdown householders were asked to display teddy bears in their windows. This encouraged children to exercise while walking round the village “going on a bear hunt”.

In addition I knitted a bright orange teddy and placed it in a different position around the front garden each day. It was fun to watch the children looking for it, often calling out “where are you ginger Ted ?”

Adults have admitted they joined in too!
It was good to have this small routine every day

Heather Rogers – Harbury WI
(100 word count)

Busy lives kept us apart.  Diary crammed with trips and visits, work and overtime to help pay for it. Catching up only on birthdays – the standard caterpillar cake tradition. Easter – too many eggs to make up for lack of presence. Sacks of pressies at Christmas – “Sorry I haven’t seen you – been so busy.” Then lockdown. Suddenly the diary page was clear. The stress of leading an ‘interesting’ life began to disappear. Now it’s laughter and gossip with family and friends on screen – I can’t wait to catch up again “See you Sunday at 6” xxx

Amanda Carter – Henley in Arden WI
(100 word count)

After the first two months of staying in and eating and drinking too much, I had an epiphany that this could be an opportunity to get myself healthier. So on May 26th I started Couch to 5k. It was hard going, I run slower than I walk!

Also started watching what I eat and cooking (after finally getting my kitchen fitted).
I completed the course on 17th July. I’m still running, but still haven’t done 5k in 30 minutes.
I am more tortoise than hare.
As of today, 13th January, I am also four and a half stone lighter.

Julie Griffiths – Avonside WI
(98 word count)

I moved house prior to Lockdown, for a new adventure.  Instead I spent my time baking, walking and eating.

I’ve never been able to make scones so found a recipe which was foolproof; I can now make fruit, plain or cheese ones.  I can hardly eat (as much as I try) all the scones I make so neighbours benefit from parcels on their doorstep.

Since then I’ve made lemon drizzle, bread, millionaires shortbread, biscotti, shortbread, cheese-straws, jaffa cakes, mango chutney, Christmas chutney, pear chutney, pineapple upside-down cake and cake favoured by Winston Churchill which helped him to win the war!

Beverly Elliott – Stratford Lite WI
(100 word count)

New highs have evolved, holidays abroad replaced spending time discovering England’s stunning National Trust gardens so close to home.

Can’t climb a mountain they won’t let us go; content exploring miles of peaceful countryside footpaths on the doorstep instead.

Can’t visit the children, they are busy front line workers; cherished chilly walks in the park and a distanced chat have had to suffice!

But when the time is right, sporting our home knitted bobble hats, together we will climb a mountain and picnic at the top, eating turkey sandwiches and homemade cakes and reflect on the simple pleasures in life.

Ruth Price – Broom WI
(100 word count)

Mask wearing, who would have thought it?  Using the NFWI pattern, I even made them!
How serious it soon became; daily bulletins, increased infections. We clapped the NHS and met our neighbours.
Zoom was like being at a séance, ‘I can hear you, but I can’t see you yet’. But how we have adapted to it!
My Lockdown challenges were knitting a long gilet to keep me warm during winter and making a collage of friends’ masked selfies, to recreate our sharing a Christmas lunch.
Now, vaccinations give us hope for the future.  Onwards and upwards!

Freda Bennet – Dunchurch & Thurlaston WI
(96 word count)

Quincy is a 9 year old terrier who came into my life as a rehome in September.  From being known as “cat woman” I suddenly became “dog woman”!  After six months of isolation, my life magically improved thanks to this little dog.

Quincy and I walk everyday.  On the plus side we have discovered the fields and lanes of Warwickshire.  On the downside we have seen just how much rubbish and litter is cluttering our lovely countryside.

Quincy gives unconditional love.  He is my constant shadow and helpmate.  All he demands in return is one of my homemade ginger biscuits.

Shirley Talboys – Broom WI
(100 word count)

It’s funny what you learn during Lockdown……  

It is easy to take cuttings from Honeysuckle,

Three cans of chopped tomatoes go a long way,

Having breakfast at 10.45 isn’t a sin,       

On-line Yoga is actually very good,

John at #21 used to be a Ventriloquist,

Finding the ‘mute’ button on Zoom is beneficial in certain situations,

Cleaning skirting boards isn’t as dull as some people make out,

53 pairs of earrings is too many.

De-cluttering is amazing,

So is Birdsong,

Hugs are the best thing in the world…and I miss them SO much.

Jill Price – Kineton WI
(97 word count)

Being a retired scientist, I have never had much time with the propensity of my literary friends to use one hundred words when they could have used only twenty – as I would have done!

However, that was before Lockdown. An old friend challenged me to write a short story. “Who, me?” I exclaimed.  “I can’t do that.”

Later, when I had had a chance to think about this, I commenced on a story about my time in the Sudan, with two very young children.  Now, I have completed nine tales and am still going strong.  Thank you Lockdown.

Judy Klinkenberg – wellesbourne WI
(98 word count)

Sadly our beloved dog left us at the beginning of Lockdown One.  I never thought I would walk alone, but with exercise our only release, I started walking miles across the beautiful Warwickshire countryside.

Inspired by my daughter in Hong Kong, we ‘virtually’ swam the English Channel over a period of 21 days in October. My second Virtual Challenge started in Lockdown 2 – walking Land’s End to John O’Groats (1083 miles) – I’m 50% of the way.

For my mental health, I’m learning Spanish; have traced my ancestors back to the 16th century; I’m reading all Charles Dickens’ works.

Denise Lewis – Brinklow WI
(99 word count)

2020 … A picture is indelibly stamped on my mind – that of a toddler, lifted up to a Care Home window.

             If only….

A tiny hand and a wrinkled one

      meet with glass between.

No visits, no hugs – how do I explain

      this vírus so obscene.

“A global scourge that reaches all?

      And masks compulsory wear?

Don’t tease, your words are fanciful,

      that joke you should not share.”

If only it was a joke, Nana,

         If only …..

Barbara Emm – Old Milverton WI
(76 word count)

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021. THEN LET US HOPE WE WILL BE
OUT OF THIS DREADFUL LOCKDOWN. LIFE WILL BE NORMAL AGAIN.
CANNOT SEE MY FAMILY AS THEY LIVE IN HONG
KONG. MISSING THEM DREADFULLY. AND I
DO NOT KNOW WHEN I WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THEM.
ONLY ABLE TO SEE COLOURFUL PHOTOGRAPHS AND JOLLY VIDEOS
WHENEVER THEY SEND THEM. SO I CAN AT LEAST SEE THE GRANDDAUGHTERS.
NOT THE SAME AS BEING THERE AND GIVING THEM A HUG.

Angela Watkins, Barford W
(79 word count)

No need to do housework, because no one can visit. The pub’s delivering meals, so why bother to cook. Lots I could do but I have no motivation. I was always so busy but everything’s stopped. It’s so very quiet, no traffic goes by. No one to speak to, no where to go. I can’t meet up with family or friends, just two dogs and me for days on end. The news is gloomy. It’s very scary.
At least we’re allowed just one walk each day, I can wave to my WI friends as I pass by.

Diana Rippin – Long Marston WI
(97 word count)

Once upon a time I used to use pay with cash after drawing cash from an ATM machine.  The down side of paying electronically is spending money without adding up the cost! A plus is never having to donate your cash to that man in your life who seemed to think it alright for him to make use of your cash but not for you to use his! No more, “got any change for the car park?” conversations, rummaging in your purse to pay the bill and no thinking “how can I have spent that money I drew out yesterday”. 

Anne Bloxham – Old Milverton WI
(100 word count)

Sliding my hand into the dusty space, touching what?  It’s dry and not moving, from the depth a seed packet SOW before 2013!  Turning over picture –  Spring Onions.

Into the greenhouse – disturb the spiders find and fill a pot with compost.  Sprinkle on seeds more compost and water.  Daily watering – nothing then, YES spikes pushing through.  Getting longer thicker and is that a baby onion showing?

Patience the day comes – pull a few stalks on the end of each beautiful onion.  Washed,onto the plat a delight – I have joined the many Growing Their Own. 

Kathy Little – Newbold on Stour WI
(96 word count)

It came to me in lockdown,
It seemed a good idea
I’d knit a cosy blanket
To commemorate the year.

With yarn in rainbow colours
To thank the NHS,
I started off so boldly,
But soon got in a mess.

My knits and purls got muddled,
The thing just didn’t grow.
I worked on it for hours
With nothing much to show.

I modified my pattern,
Now I’ve got the knitting bug.
My lockdown project’s finished –
It’s a coaster for my mug!

Krys Pietrecki – Bishops Tachbrook WI
(82 word count)

Lockdown after return from Africa was disheartening.
The first weeks were ones of discontent.
Gradually the garden took me over.
More and more to keep me busy.
The sun was cheering me on.
Few meetings with family.  Not enough.
Come November there were opportunities.
Taking on helping roles.  Learning new skills.
How can I be of use to others.
Gradually one learns.  A walk. A talk.  A letter.
The towpath was a gem….
Now I’ve learned so much and want to learn more.
And teach others what gives me a purpose.
This is our opportunity to live lives more fully

Jenny Bragg – Kingswood & Lapworth WI
(100 word count)

Who would have thought it another year on, being in lockdown oh no not again!
We’ve laughed & cried washed our hands till they’re raw, we just can’t take it anymore.
Thankfully the sun shone so I painted my shed, some mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed.
I gardened, I baked, walked miles in the sun. I shopped for others, grew veg on a plot, caulis, peas & raspberries the lot.
We clapped for the carers & made lots of noise. We helped each other, were caring & kind.
We’ll get through this together. Good luck

Margaret Carney – Wolston WI
(99 word count)

To me Lockdown equals a quieter life, free of my manic diary of activities, people, places, expectations… it provides time for me to stop, think, smell the roses, listen to the birds, watch the bees. Senses heighten, enjoyment increases, nature provides the most wonderful entertainment. I’m hooked. Blue skies bright and clear, stars twinkle, an owl in my garden… my heart sings. Time with hubby and chance meetings with friends are new highlights. Banging pans with appreciation ‘Thank you NHS’. New vocabulary… Zoom, Furlough, Pfizer… facemasks. Great British Spirit. Host our first virtual WI meeting in May. Hurray! We’re back.

Sue Steel – Norton Lindsey WI
(100 word count)

What a great chance to catch up on all those jobs hiding in the dark corners, time to read a book that has been waiting, and for me, the start of a super project. I am making a tapestry for each of my nine grandchildren, they choose a design and I work it for a cushion or framed picture. So far I have completed a flowery cat, a laughing octopus and a selection of colourful camper vans. I am waiting for the next one’s choice

Jenny Hunt – Avonside WI
(85 word count)

Lockdown. Well what can I say.  Covid’s omnipotent strength in anunwelcome stay.
Using time in lockdown to reflect upon my life. My family, my children and as a cherished wĺfe.
I keep up communication by internet and phone. This does help immensely as I rarely leave my home.
The village is a lifeline, the walks stopped me going mad. Zoom session’s rated fabulous and helped me not be sad.
Face masks I’ve found are useful in covering up a hairy chin. But the final revelation is my bra’s are in the bin. 

Keri Barnes – Church Lawford & Kings Newnham WI
(92 word count)

What a great chance to catch up on all those jobs hiding in the dark corners, time to read a book that has been waiting, and for me, the start of a super project. I am making a tapestry for each of my nine grandchildren, they choose a design and I work it for a cushion or framed picture. So far I have completed a flowery cat, a laughing octopus and a selection of colourful camper vans. I am waiting for the next one’s choice

Jenny Hunt – Avonside WI
(85 word count)

I have approached this lockdown differently this time, as the first one was baking, knitting, and coffee and cake in the garden. This time I am doing a diamond art and I am an avid reader of all books and due to health reasons eating a lot more healthier and lots of exercising not giving into the niceties.

I have made a WRONG move though as I have put a word game on my husband’s phone and he his now obsessed with it, so as for the garden chores they are a thing of the past.  Roll on SPRING.

Janet Gibb – Binley Woods WI
(99 word count)

What have I done in Lockdown?  My head is in a spin!
It’s all been so ‘exciting’, so where do I begin?
Play piano, learn guitar, strum a chord or two,
Plant a bulb, get up a weed – there is so much to do!
Christmas presents opened on Zoom, decorations viewed from afar!
Reminiscence of times gone by, like holidays and meals out by car!
But what do I miss most of all?  My daily swimming dip?
No, not on your life, what I really miss are my WI friends and trips!

Kay Aldersley – Bulkington & Bedworth Belles WI
(92 word count)

A little head with sticky black hair and a scrunched up face suddenly appeared.

         ‘ It’s a boy ‘ we all shouted.

Never do i feel so happy in lockdown when i think of the moment my grandson was born.

On days when i can’t see my family and friends and i feel a bit down, I see him on zoom and i feel so good.!

The thought of him…..his smell, his softness and loveliness will all be mine to hold one day.

Now, ginger haired, rosy cheeked , roly-poly chubby and full of smiles for me.

Julie Sanders Grendon WI
(96 word count)

How will we keep going?
The Federation Chair said.
We can’t have the members
Thinking we’re dead.

Let’s plan on as usual,
Come on, give it a try.
We can’t let this virus
Beat the WI.

We write and we email
We blog  and we Zoom.
We chat and we natter
All from the front room!

We are keeping going
The Federation Chair said
Our members are great
We’re steaming ahead!

Anne Bufton-McCoy – Newton Regis WI
(75 word count)

Its amazing what we are capable of. Living in a village has been my saviour over this pandemic – well that & a bottle of Tonic for low days A journey of self discovery, appreciation of nature, the community spirit Bacon Baps & coffees which we’ve laced with the odd shot of liquor while out on long walks Building Tiny snowmen when only having 1” of snow Peeling potatoes (at a distance) for the Salvation Army on Christmas Eve Doing a virtual dinner party & exercise classes with technology Seeing funny photos of friends that home hairdressing has gone wrong.

Denyse Tuck – Stockton WI
(99word count)