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10.07.2020- Lockdown Lunch #11: Jolene Dyke

One more week done! Again, nothing particularly dramatic has occurred in this neck of the woods- for me the most exciting thing about this week was finally being able to get my hair cut at my lovely local salon. It's funny how something so small can make such a wonderful difference to how you feel about things, and if this slower, more appreciative way of living is here to stay then I'm sold. The week started off with some really reassuring news about government funding for the arts too, which was a definite boost for me and so many of the people I know in the industry.

Speaking of which, my lockdown lunch guest this week is someone I first met through work! I've known my wonderful friend (and also colleague!) Jolene for just short of three years now, and she's beyond inspirational. It's been so strange not seeing her in the office every day for the last three months, but a few weekends ago we were able to catch up at a distance along with some other friends which was just lovely- and a total tonic to the stresses of lockdown life. My last pre-pandemic holiday was with Jolene too, to wonderful Dubrovnik, and looking back on that adventure has really helped me whenever I've been feeling frustrated about not being able to get further from home. Here's what Jolene has been up to lately:

How are you coping with things at the moment? 

I am doing much better than I expected to be honest. A lot has changed for me due to Covid-19 and I ended up moving out of my place in London and am staying with my Mum at the moment. I was furloughed three weeks ago and with everything feeling so uncertain it felt like the right choice. I am healthy and safe and I know deep down that is all that really matters right now, however if you had asked me 4 months ago how i thought things would pan out, this wouldn’t be my number one guess.! The idea that the life which I had built for myself in London has now changed so much is difficult to fathom and also pretty upsetting. It is such a dramatic foundation shift, and one which I never saw coming. London is a place I’ve lived for the past nine years, so I hope it’s not too long before I can head back, however, I’m not crazy about the idea of commuting to work on public transport during rush hour. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to prioritise things I usually don’t have time for, such as reading for pleasure, finding time to relax, and learning new things; I recently singed up to an introduction to British Sign Language course which I’m finding really interesting.
I do have the odd moment where I panic about what my life has become and what the future holds for me, but I am sure that I am not alone in this which brings me some comfort. 

What are you missing most about life? 

This changes every few days, but more generally I miss being able to walk out of my front door without panicking about how many people I might encounter. I am in an vulnerable category so I haven’t been out and about as much as others, but I am starting to see friends at a distance in the park now. Although I don’t miss the commute to work I really miss London and socialising, from brunch to nights out at the theatre. I also really miss regularly seeing my family and being able to give them hugs (I really, really miss hugs!) I know that it is all for the best, and I know we are all safer inside but I miss having more variety and choice in daily life. I was meant to go to America on holiday in April
to see my oldest friend get married, so I certainly had a lot of FOMO around that. 

Which foods / recipes have you been reaching for? 

I have been reaching out for all the bad foods lately, however I am determined to make some positive changes now I am furloughed. I really enjoy cooking and creating new recipes; I have countless recipe books and am often found making the latest Deliciously Ella creation. As I’ve been staying with my Mum I haven’t done half as much cooking as I am used too, but now I have a lot more time on my hands so perhaps I will find my calling as a chef! A few weeks ago I did a scone cook along with some friends over Zoom which was a lot of fun, so perhaps I should do that again. I’ve also been taking inspiration from John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen and Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On. 

What small things are making you happy? 

Being able to have a lie in when I like and FaceTime with family and friends, which has become a much more regular occurrence than pre-lockdown. I’m also really enjoying being able to sit in my Mum’s garden and read my book whilst enjoying the lovely weather. Having a garden to relax in has made a huge difference over the past 12 weeks.

What’s the first thing you are planning on doing once lockdown is eased? 

Hugging family and friends! I am also keen to travel (within the UK) and make the most of places I’ve probably taken for granted before.

So keen for a little UK trip soon! Big thanks to Jolene for taking part- follow her blog here and Instagram here.

(Image credit: Jolene Dyke, do not reproduce without permission.)


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