And just like that... the country went into lock down! After a week of remaining at home, venturing out twice in search of food, it's certainly been a different experience. Of course, these limitations to our lives are all for very good reasons so I don't resent being home bound. If anything, it's probably made me appreciate smaller, everyday things a little more.
Of course, with this has come the growing realisation that I'm unlikely to take part in many, if any re-enactment events this year. Being part of Sir Thomas Tyldesley's and the wider ECWS is like being part of a community and I'm certainly going to miss seeing both my fellow re-enactors, taking part in the displays and being able to chat to our visitor who turn out to watch the display.
However, it's important to stay positive! Being part of such a welcoming and friendly community with Sir Thomas Tyldesley's is always good for mental health and it is very important to look after ourselves and keep our connections during a time in which some of us are living in isolation.
We are lucky enough to live at a time where it's never been so easy to be connected. Whilst this can have its drawbacks, there are also big, big benefits for living under lockdown.
On Saturday, Sir Thomas Tyldesley's had a 'virtual campfire' over Zoom. There were technical problems, it was definitely chaotic but it was also really heartwarming to see the faces and hear the voices of our friends from across the country.
Some of us got fully involved and put on a their re-enactment coat and lit their campfires outside in the garden. There may be a lockdown but that's no reason to miss out on to have the fully 'smoky' experience.
Others thought that perhaps the end of March was still a little too cold for sitting outside, fire or note and used a candle. Charlie's 'fire' had the scent of lemon and cucumber! Others went for the classic Netflix 'roaring fire' on the TV.
Regardless, unity and camaraderie in the face of an adversity is something that Sir Thomas Tyldesley's do very well and although an online meeting is only a tiny thing, those opportunities to connect, even if it is only for a short period of time, can do a lot to boost mental health and remind you that there is a life outside your house. We hope to do it again soon; why not join us?
Starting a new hobby
Remember all those occasions when you told yourself that you'd take up that hobby 'when you have time'? Even though most of the population are working from home, other than those key workers, without whom, things would be so much worse, many people are finding themselves with more time on their hands. So why not put it to use?
There are so many things that you could try that don't require shopping/ leaving the house at all and, whilst obviously I'd advocate something that is historical, as long as you're enjoying it, then it's worthwhile!
Cooking those new recipes you've been meaning to try. I've got some historical recipes that I'll post over the next few weeks if you fancy experimenting!
Learning to play a musical instrument. OK, you might not be the most popular with your neighbours but it's a great time to learn drum calls or how to play the fife! Instructional videos to come...
Getting some fancy new kit. If you're like me and pretty incompetent when it comes to sewing, we are out of excuses! Most re-enactors have a stash of material in the cupboard and will 'get round to making their coat eventually'. Well, it's time.
Learning a new song. Whilst virtual campfires are good for now, we all look forward to the time where life can return to something a little more normal. So why not get some songs ready to entertain us around the fire. I might not be able to sing it in tune but that theme from 'The Witcher' deserves a campfire outing.
Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list. Has anybody got any other 'lockdown' recommendations?
I'd love to hear from you all so please do get in touch with us. Although I probably won't be able to offer you an event to show you how good being a member of Sir Thomas Tyldesley's is, I am always up for a chat! Don't forget to find us on Facebook (@SirThomasTyldesleys) and Instagram (@tt_regiment).
Take care and stay safe!