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  • Lockdown – a chance to learn something new. Share your stories with us

    From Spanish on Duolingo to guitar tutorials on YouTube, Bonsai horticulture (I’m sure Mark will share how he’s doing that) to history on FutureLearn (does anyone else see the irony there?), there has been a flurry of learning going on since ‘lock down’. What have you learned and how have you gone about it? Skills swaps with friends? Books that have been downloaded on your Kindle and you’ve never quite got to them (guilty, as charged!), webinars, formal courses…?

    We’d love to hear your stories, do share them below.

    Posted by Helen Burns
Viewing 10 reply threads
    • Reply by jo.bodley

      I notice that there are crochet courses available on this site. I’ve designed some amigurumi (little toys) for charity, patterns to make them, and ideas for crochet projects available free on my blog. https://jobodley.blogspot.com/

      I began crocheting in 2010 (although I’ve always knitted)and its led to a modest career as a designer/maker. There is such a demand out there, I’ve had patterns published in Inside Crochet magazine and online US publication, ilikeknitting.com. Fees range from £60-200, depending on pattern complexity. Most publishers have a template to follow, when drafting your original design.

      For health reasons,I am semi-retired, so I find that project based work suits me best. I think one has to be careful, in turning a hobby into a business- it can take the joy out of things.

      Just lately I’m doing a design project for a Lincolnshire farmer who sells wool from her flock, and attempting Fine Art crochet- I got a degree in Fine Art in 1983 from Hornsey.

      Its never too late to develop your creativity. I believe that everyone has that capacity.

    • Reply by julie.cragg

      Linda I loved your story absolutely excellent! And David I just have to find the Buddhist Psychology Course!
      for me lockdown meant I had to slow down a bit and I think I learnt to be more patient. I also learnt that I can live with my husband 24/7 and not wish to cause bodily harm so generally all good : )

    • Reply by jaylucy

      I started a Business Admin course Level 2 online – got a third of the way through and received an email to say that I would have to stop – the online tutor allocated for me was off sick – not due to Covid, but the poor woman fell off her horse and broke one leg in two places and her wrist as well! They are hoping to recommence the course later in the year.

      Now looking at other online courses to re- learn Excel (I have forgotten most of what I learnt originally) . Son is planning to upgrade my lap top to help with this.



    • Reply by dancermaid

      I’ve started several new things whilst in lock-down. I’m learning to play the Ukulele, as I wanted to learn an instrument and join a group.

      I’ve taken an online course for Sign Language, as my gt nephew is autistic, and I thought it might help him, as he’s never spoken. Trouble was that he’d have to learn it too, but parents haven’t taught him.

      Then I took on a food- hygiene course, as I’m just interested in the subject.

      I’ve also done an online course in animal first aid. This is really important for me as I go and look after animals in their own homes. I’m a self employed house and animal Sitter, and do know quite a bit of first aid, but mainly for humans(before retiring, I was a midwife).

      I’ve certainly filled my days, but now restrictions are easing and I’m getting to do more of my previous outdoor activities, I feel I don’t have enough time for all my indoor activities!😬

    • Reply by zoembarlow

      I have not been able to work but have done on line learning including wellbeing courses I have also met with members of a group that I belong to by Zoom

    • Reply by Stephen

      Lockdown had me climbing up the wall,to start with then i looked at the environment around me ,and the work of environmental organisations ,and that seemed to help , also doing things at home online ,having just retired things are different for me and i have to say a little uncertain ,but i shall get there .

    • Reply by Kate

      That’s a wonderful, funny short story 🙂

    • Reply by jo.bodley


    • Reply by lindacdone

      I wrote a little story about lockdown. Hope you enjoy it.

      Before quarantine
      This is linda. Linda is a creative person. She has lots of hobbies and very little time. Linda teaches English to foreign students and immigrants. She loves her job and works full time at a local college. She enjoys being active; she cycles to work and visits the gym 3 times a week. Linda enjoys cooking. She also enjoys painting and decorating pages in her scrapbook. Linda lives in a city centre apartment with her husband and their daughter. Linda is very busy and does not feel there are enough hours in the day. She feels isolation would be the perfect time to start creative projects.

      2nd week quarantine.
      Linda has lots of time. She has been learning to teach online with webinars and short online courses. Linda has lots of information and has started to build a stock of interesting online lessons. Linda has maintained a healthy fitness routine with YouTube videos, enjoying kick boxing, wrestling, and cage fighting, though her husband, a little concerned at the vocal expression, has offered a yoga training course with the gift of a mat. Linda has subsequently offered her husband several creative uses for the yoga mat none of which involved actual yoga and it has not been mentioned again. Linda has enjoyed exploring ingredients for soup and has created her own hearty recipes using wonky vegetables and the surprise component of wonky biscuits.

      4th week quarantine
      After the 17th webinar, Linda feels she knows far more than she needs to know about online teaching. She now has a healthy resource library which could last the next 2 decades and feels on reflection she could not possibly listen to another word. Linda is still creative in the kitchen and can often be seen making gin cocktails with boot polish and Brasso. Linda feels it is important to maintain 5 a day whilst also finding a use for Brasso. Linda also feels that the effect of these cocktails on her kick boxing prowess is hitherto undervalued by current marketing campaigns and has offered to create her own healthy drinking video. Applying her artistic abilities is important for Linda and she has produced copious painted canvases and almost completed her ZEN colouring book although the family feel the current black vibe could be replaced with a variety of colours used within the lines to better effect. The family feel Linda’s mental health is mental and suggest she returns to writing. Linda feels mindful that her mental health is completely mental and does not require any more discussion on the matter. Linda has made a Mexican out of a wonky beef tomato and a coffin out 12 cereal packets.

      End of quarantine
      Linda feels isolation has been beneficial. She has made lots of new friends in south Korea who follow her healthy drinking videos and has written a book on the health benefits of gin. She can swear profusely in 14 languages and has created a whole village out of empty boxes. She has also created a family of wonky turnips to live there. Linda has realised personal grooming is a choice and has been fascinated by the amount of body hair she can still grow at 58. She has shared this information with her Korean fanbase who have also followed her lead and the Instagram account posts daily updates. Linda will never do online teaching again and would like to focus on her new career as a full-time kick-boxing celebrity:’ The hairy fighter’.

      • Reply by dancermaid

        I love that story, and can relate to it in places!😅


      • Reply by shell66

        Thats brilliant Linda and it sounds very similar to my lockdown pastimes.lol. ive been making things out of cardboard. Started 1st project the first week of shielding. Now it is a storage box for cardboard but I made a top hat but thats in the bin now. Oh my list is endless! Lolxxx

      • Reply by mspjbainbridge

        I love this story, its so funny and relatable. Thanks so much!

        • Reply by lindacdone

          Thanks 👏👏👏

      • Reply by vinevenci2016

        Very inspiring Linda. Thank you for sharing. Linda I am wanting to learn to teach online, because it is something new for me, I am puzzled about it and going around in circles without starting it. You seem to be very good at getting on with it, would you be so king to give me some tips, where to start, did you do a course about it? Did it help? Thank you for your assistance Linda. :o)

      • Reply by janieshep

        Linda …that is just so GOOD! For me it really sums up the sort of mindset that lockdown can create …from earnest to ruthless in just a few short weeks 🧐😆

        • Reply by lindacdone

          Thanks Janie👏👏

      • Reply by davidlarbert

        Loved it!

      • Reply by Helen Burns

        Oh Linda, this is great! And I’m excited that we might be some of the first of your UK-based kick-boxing celebrity, ‘Hairy Fighter’ fan base.

        Say a big hello to the Wonky Turnip family at number 6.

    • Reply by davidlarbert

      Sometimes things can work out for the best

      Just before we went into lockdown I left my job – I was almost set for retirement and this just accelerated me straight there rather than in a phased slowing down. Several months before, I had signed up to a Mindfulness Course taught by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield through the University of California. At the time I did wonder how I would fit this in with work and family commitments but after two weeks not being very attentive to the course, Corona Virus came along and I suddenly had the time and space to study the videos, reading and meditation practice in the most ideal conditions. I have been a meditator for 20 years and lead mindfulness sessions myself but this course was approaching the practice in a different way (in a very Californian way ;¬). I have kept a meditation diary properly for the first time, I am reading and studying a book on the nature of Buddhism and I have beeen leading online meditation for a lunchtime group that I used to attend in Edinburgh, my local buddhist group and a beginners mindfulness group for friends and family. At 61 it seems my applications to help elsewhere during the crisis are being ignored but I have found a way to help people on lockdown and I am really enjoying zoom meetings with fellow Power of Awareness Course members from all over America and elsewhere. Thanks to restless I have now found Coursera and have enrolled on a free Buddhist Psychology Course, my difficulty now is fitting it all in!  David Robertson, Larbert, Scotland.

      • Reply by Helen Burns

        David, thank you so much for sharing your lock down learning experience and I love your observation that “sometimes things can work out for the best”. Great news that Rest Less has helped you find an interesting course on Coursera, too. It really does sound like a busy and fulfilling diary.

    • Reply by janieshep

      I joined an online art class as a complete beginner. I’m working on an online course for children similar to Toastmasters because I am a public speaking trainer and see a need for children to master this at an early age. I did set this up years ago and it went well but it has been mothballed for a few years. Isolation is not always a great motivator though and i wonder if there’s anyone out there who would like to join my project as working together can give you that energy and motivation boost

      • Reply by Helen Burns

        Hi there. Toastmasters for children sounds like a wonderful initiative. Interestingly, we’re working on an article about staying motivated for this week’s newsletter, as I think you can safely say that you’re not alone in this struggle. It might be worth posting on the entrepreneur discussion as they’re a lively and creative group of individuals.

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