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Are we human?

We hope you are enjoying the new Blog which we are adding each week. This week, we are giving you the chance to meet another of the hArt team, Martin, who works in the office and is in charge of the website, social media, and various other important tasks. He has a different view of things, as he explains, and we think having a slightly different “voice” is a great way of hearing how we are managing day to day life at the moment.

My weeks are a whirlwind of home schooling, non-stop housework, working for hArt, and trying to entertain two young children. It is a challenge, but one that brings so many positives, and I realise that collapsing in bed every night exhausted from it all is a privilege. I say this because I have had two zoom calls this week, one with a friend since school, and one with another good friend, both of whom are in very different circumstances to both myself and each other. The phrase, “The grass is always greener” is an old one, but something that rung true when I was on those calls. Each one of us admitted to being a little jealous of the others situation. In fact, we all said, “I wouldn’t mind temporarily swapping with you, at least just for a day or so”. Sometimes I crave a bit of ‘Me’ time, or a bit of peace and quiet, and like everyone, I also want a house with more space, and I wouldn’t say no to a car a bit nicer than my 14 year old Nissan hatchback!

One of my friends is having a tough time financially (due to Covid 19). He lives on his own and is pretty lonely. He said he would love what I have: A busy, family house.

The other friend is very busy working from home. His job pays extremely well, which affords him a beautiful house which he shares with his elderly, fragile father, a gorgeous car and multiple holidays every year. He said he craves a lower stress lifestyle, and maybe a partner to share what he has.

I came off those calls and realised that loneliness can manifest itself in many different ways. Ways which this pandemic is exacerbating for us all.

If I were to say, ‘Picture a lonely person in your mind’, it is likely you may think of an older person in an empty house? But the Zoom calls I had showed me that this lockdown is causing loneliness and feelings of depression in young and old, rich and poor alike.

So, my takeaway from those calls was this; Appreciate what you have, but also remember to check in with those we know who may feel isolated, alone or fragile at the moment, whether they live alone, with someone, or are in a busy family home. It could be a quiet, non-judgemental ear, or a good belly-laugh, but touching base with them could be the lift that they so desperately need. It could give you a lift too, because my friends and I agreed we felt much, much better for having the call.

Continuing Annie’s uplifting theme of weekly ‘Bright spots’, I have two to tell you about.

The first was a fantastic moment of peace and tranquillity I enjoyed on a rare, sunny walk.

As you’ll see from the image, this beautiful scene in the forest made me stop and stare for a while. It is a shame the picture doesn’t come with sound, because when I stood still and my breathing slowed and the sound of gravel crunching underfoot ceased, all the noises of nature could be heard, from a huffing horse exhaling nearby, to a high-pitched screech from a bird of prey in the trees.

My second ‘Bright spot’ came whilst doing late night shopping in Tesco. I know that sounds ridiculous, so bear with me…

I couldn’t go shopping until around 8:30pm due to childcare, but it meant I was only sharing a big superstore with a handful of customers and shelf-stacking staff. Music was being played over the public address system. I think the evening shift had turned the volume up, which combined with less customers, meant it was coming through loud and clear. I’d just left the fruit and veg and started my walk up and down the aisles, when the song ‘Human’ by The Killers came on. As it was quiet, I started quietly singing along, all be it muffled behind my mask. It quickly became apparent that I wasn’t the only one. I passed a woman who was humming the tune and wiggling her hips as she reached up to a top shelf, which made me smile. Then I passed the big double doors leading out to the warehouse, where the not-quite-in-tune sound of at least 3 members of staff were belting out the lyrics without a care in the world. As I rounded the opposite end of that aisle I saw the senior checkout person happily doing her best Brandon Flowers impersonation. The effect was increased because she was wearing a Madonna-style head mic. Around the next aisle staff pushing tall trolleys of goods were singing pretty loudly. They quickly quietened down to a low murmur when I appeared around the corner, but smiled at me singing the same lyrics before returning to singing a bit louder again. At least, I think they smiled behind their masks.

This went on for the next few aisles before the song changed, and I cannot tell you how much it cheered me up. It was hardly a ‘Flash mob’, but the way that music brought everyone together – if you can call shopping whilst socially distancing ‘together’ – was just brilliant and definitely a ‘Bright spot’. I wished I were wearing a hidden camera to capture it, as I’m sure if I’d have posted the video it would have been the sort of ‘Viral’ that we do want!?

Take care,


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