Marie Keen answers the challenge of the last blog to follow in Shedder Colin’s footsteps and say how Covid-19 interruption impacted everyday life. What was life like without a Shed for 15 months? She is in Zoom chat with Graham.
When Covid-19 emerged in UK as part of what became a global pandemic, nobody knew that much about it, how transmissible it really was, how to protect ourselves and protect others. Marie was in a vulnerable health category too so when lockdown came she followed the rules fully. Living in a Whitby housing complex there were people around but other than nods or waves she stayed in and away from people, including her family member and friends at the Whitby Shed and Slimming World.
Marie lives alone anyway and as a temporary imposition lockdown (or lock in) would not be too hard to bear. She already had shopping delivered to her and enjoys cooking (see her healthy bread pudding recipe at the end). As the seriousness of Covid-19 emerged and spread to all corners of the UK and elsewhere, Marie admits to being quite scared as numbers of cases and deaths rose rapidly. As time went on and lockdown stretched on, she began to feel isolated and lonely from contact other than by social media.
Her complex is fairly friendly and when she moved in nearly 9 years ago she joined in communal activities there like BBQs, birthday celebrations and events in the garden which she helped to maintain. It has been a good social environment and that is slowly returning.
Marie explained how the Shed entered her life and opened up unexpected and welcome opportunities for her. When she moved to Whitby it was to be her final move to a place she loved and where she would “end her days”. That was not a morbid comment!
It was Shedder Dave Mawdesley who attended Sleights Area Shed in Littlebeck who drew Marie’s attention to the concept of The Shed. Dave only agreed to come to Whitby to be near his daughter if there was a Shed to attend because he had gained so much from the Shed in Oldham. Dave enthused Marie and when Marie heard that a women’s Shed might be on the way she kept alert to developments.
She saw the announcement of the She Shed in an article in the Whitby Gazette and was at the launch meeting for planning it. The Shed appealed to her because it reminded her of a night school for mixed crafts that she attended in her younger days. It was a mix of familiar and new skills plus giving and receiving help from others in the class.
It was the Shed that led Marie to to sign up for a City & Guilds courses on embroidery centred on Durham. She did distance learning but attended Durham on a monthly basis to engage with others and her course tutor. She said that it allowed her to escape Whitby and her four walls. It widened her horizons. After two years the course closed but she found an online course – the School of Stitch Textiles in Lancashire – with international participants, including from Australia and USA. The Shed was the confidence driver to do the courses but it required Marie’s determination.
The Shed led her to meet new people. She was “bowled over by how kind people were”. It becomes a family amongst a mixed bag of people (both men and women).
Marie welcomed the Talking Sheds at the Kitchen Table (TSATKT) sessions on Zoom started in October 2020. Shedders from different Sheds could meet each other (often for the first time). Marie introduced the idea of TSATKT cooking online. Marie felt the Zoom sessions helped hold the Sheds together even when closed for many months. The work of friendship building went on!
NOW FOR THE BREAD PUDDING . . . .
BREAD PUDDING – HEALTHY VERSION
400g wholemeal bread
250g dried fruit
50g glace cherries
2 tsps mixed spice
300ml milk – optional
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsps sweetener
zest of 1 lemon, optional
zest of 1 orange, optional
Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl & soak in milk for 20mins (or alternatively use hot water). Squeeze out the liquid through a fine strainer. Add all the dried fruit & mixed spice, mix well, making sure the bread is broken up. Add the eggs, sweetener & zest, mix well & set aside for 15 mins.
Heat oven to 160C fan. Spray a tin with frylight & line with paper. Pour mix into prepared tin. Bake for 1 – 1½ hours until firm & golden, covering with foil to prevent over cooking. Allow to cool, turn out of tin & peel off paper. Serve warm or cold.
A couple of pleased Staithes faces
Down at Whitby
Inspired by the planter made by Tony & Betty (reclaimed pallet wood) Marie requested a planter to go with the repaired seat.