Lockdown Diaries – Charlotte

This week we have a diary entry from Charlotte, an active member of RSBC for many years who has written about her life, her job and her free time whilst social distancing.

So… Lockdown?

I think it feels pretty normal by now for most people. The ‘new norm’ as they say.

For me? There’s many ups and downs.

I work for the Home Office in a department where we have always said we can’t work from home. But, in March, we had to find a way. People were told we were now working from home. It started with people with underlying conditions. I was getting extremely anxious as I didn’t have any condition on the at risk list. However, I did travel from north to south London for work as a visually impaired person. Touching every seat and pole and not being able to social distance myself effectively. For this reason, I started working from home.

I feel very confident at work with my 30 inch screen and high contrast keyboard. Luckily the keyboard come with me and my laptop. As for the screen, I can plug my laptop into a TV screen as big as I like to work so in actual fact it does me great sitting at home working as I have all the equipment.

Now, the trouble was, I had just got a promotion to a line management role. Now I had to learn the HR side of the role, manage a team of eight and do this while at home successfully and effectively

I lead a great team that are very supportive so that made it a lot easier. I had already learnt a lot in the office and I am very proactive so I started to take on my new role with passion and enthusiasm and just ‘get on with it’ as they say

I started to realise how great it was that instead of someone asking me to look at the screen while asking me a question, everything I was looking at was on my own ‘big as I like’ screen.

On the other hand, I started to realise how much time you spend with colleagues. It’s more than what you are at home. This made it really hit me how much I am missing everyone and how isolating it is not being able to just turn to the person next to you for a chat

Anyway, outside of work, lockdown is okay I guess. I am in a house with four others so I am never lonely which is good. But I can imagine how hard it would be if I was on my own. It is very challenging as a visually impaired person to go out making sure you are socially distancing. I am someone that never uses a cane, but it is always in my bag. Lockdown has got me using my cane And people that know me will know that that is very unusual, but then so is this situation. I started running again. Admittedly I haven’t really run since doing the marathon two years ago but lockdown seemed the perfect time to get back into it and I even done it to raise money. I also made use of a static exercise bike I didn’t even know was in the house. I must say my dog is also loving having company every day. But I don’t know what’s going to happen when he is left on his own again. The only thing I will say is he is my dog, not a guide dog, and likes exercise, Taking a dog over a packed field of families playing in the fresh air is very hard, especially as a VI person. I miss all of my friends and family a lot. But I’m quite getting used to this virtual world. Thank God for Zoom and FaceTime! (I didn’t think I would get my Nan on a video call, but it’s happened). I have had a lot of spare time after work being hectic to relax. I’ve cooked more, sunbathed, exercised more, spoken to people I haven’t spoken to in a while, even if it isn’t face to face and had quality time with the people I am with. All whilst learning to value what you have a lot more.

When I think of it like that… lockdown isn’t so bad.