Continuing our series sharing our colleagues lives on furlough, we hear from Ben, Berthe, Philippa and Anna. We hope that offering you this glimpse in to their new normal will help you see you’re not alone. You may even pick up some useful tips, on how to better cope with life aboard the good ship Furlough….
Ben’s wife has been working full time and is busier than ever, this means Ben is now more hands day to day, with his 3-year-old daughter. This has been a unique opportunity to treasure for Ben. Living out in Oxford means their morning walks are more picturesque than most, Ben loves being surrounded by the stillness of nature and says life could be so much worse.
Ben did not think he needed a break from work, at least not until now anyway. The imposed sabbatical, (can we call that?), has allowed Ben time to reflect on every facet of his life. Ben is currently brushing up on becoming a better consultant (but we all know you can’t improve on perfection!), with a myriad of online self-help resources. If Ben has a bad day or is feeling flat, he picks up his guitar or immerses himself in his other passion – Astrology. Ben says that focussing on our universe, and
beyond, helps distract him from the stresses found on our own planet. We have shared a link to one of his favourite Astrology videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoW8Tf7hTGA
Like so many of us, Philippa has good days and bad days. She’s limiting the amount of news she consumes, whilst not wanting to feel completely out the loop. The current state of the charity sector also weighs heavy, as does uncertainty around the future of the global economy. Philippa’s plans to marry her partner in September are very much up in the air, as is her daughter’s move to Edinburgh, to start University, as I write this, it sounds like she may have to start remotely from home.
On the up side, Philippa feels more connected to her family than ever, enjoying regular zoom chats, they would have previously never had. Philippa loves the freedom to spend more time in the kitchen. She has been working her way through Chef, Yotam Ottolenghi’s cook-book “Simple” which you can buy here – https://amzn.to/36jXs7F
Philippa tells me she is able to switch off most of the time, but not always at 3:30am, when she might wake up, with her mind ticking on overdrive. To be expected, we agree. In conclusion, Philippa tells me that their life has become both more wholesome and more simplified which is lovely to hear. Philippa is still missing life in the office – especially the rhythm and routine it provides. Philippa is not alone, many of us crave that in-person interaction with colleagues. She misses the infectious energy generated by her colleagues. Which I can see now, most of us took for granted.
The ironic thing is, its Philippa’s effervescent personality, that the rest of us in the office would feed off of. Interesting to learn Philippa sees it the other way round! Haha.
Anna and her partner are discovering that furlough life brings all sorts of welcome revelations, relating to their two young children (one and three). Anna explains to me that their weekends, before the pandemic, were always full of eventful days out. Planned to maximise on the two days, in which they can all spend time together, as a family. However, with the restrictions to stay home, Anna has witnessed her kids bonding like never before. They are now never more content when making mud pictures in the garden. Simpler pleasures, that Anna reflects are similar to her fondest memories when she was a kid. Any number of inventive garden-based activities (mud seems to be the common denominator!) are just as exciting, if not more so now, than an expensive, busy and often stressful “FUN” family day out to Peppa Pig World.
It’s not all been unicorns and rainbows for the Ludeman household, Anna’s partner is an independent Estate Agent, so obviously not an easy time. Finding a balance between child-care for two – and work commitments – minus their usually ever-present support network has been pretty tough.
To off-set the stress, Anna and her partner start the day by joining the nations favourite cockney calorie-burner Joe Wicks for his daily workout: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ
They also make sure they stick to their routine of a daily family bike ride – see pictured.
(Anna, if we had a competition for cutest furlough photo – I think you just won 1st prize!)
Berthe has been busy home-schooling her younger sister, an unusual scenario and one she never had imagined. Berthe jokes that her new role as Tutor has helped her develop a new level of patience that she never knew existed! Hehe. “Challenging, but fun” she says. Berthe is making the most of the situation, especially on the days when she is teaching Art, an area Berthe is particularly passionate about. Not all of Berthe’s new endeavours have been as successful as her new role as Teacher. They’ve also recently turned their hands to baking. From the look of the photo of her cookies, I think it is a good idea for Berthe and her sister to stick to the Art! LOL. However, joking aside, Berthe tells me it was a great bonding experience for the two of them. Who cares that the results looked frankly inedible, right? I’m sure next time round they’ll be just perfect – so please don’t let my poor excuse for humour put you off making more!
Berthe belongs to a local book club, which is now virtual and she is currently reading “House of Stone” by Novuyo Tshuma. Berthe has also enrolled in a couple of courses via Harvard University – if you would like to browse their short courses, you can find the link here – https://online-learning.harvard.edu/catalog/free