Tag Archives: coronavirus

Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: David, Pettigrew Bakeries

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from David Le Masurier of Pettigrew Bakeries. Please follow and support them as they keep you fed and in bread! We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

So we’ve been doing home deliveries for a while now.

We’ve had a lot of people ordering care packages, birthday gifts as well as essentials for themselves.

Last week, as we were finalising the daily orders for delivery, we spotted two identical addresses just the letter of the flat being different on each order. They were both for the same day and same building, but two different orders placed by two different people for two different addressees. To add to the coincidence they were both surprise birthday gifts, one for flat A and one for flat B.

When we got to the building to deliver there was only one buzzer, upon pressing it a voice answered and explained that both flat A and B share the same buzzer (weird) so who did we want for delivery? We explained, ‘well both of you!’

A few minutes later two strangers who live next door and share a door buzzer were both given birthday gift packages from Pettigrew Bakeries from their two friends, who also don’t know each other!

We all smiled, laughed a bit and they went back into their building wishing each other happy birthday and getting to know each other (at a safe distance).

A beautiful, random, brilliant little coincidence in this grim situation.

David (Pettigrew Bakeries)

Pettigrew Bakeries is the sister to Pettigrew Tearooms. An independent artisan bakery, baking real bread (really, really tasty bread!). They also stock a number of products from other Cardiff independent producers. Please PLEASE visit their website, order tasty treats from them, go visit their store in Victoria Park. Support our amazing local independents!

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Pete Sueref

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Pete Sueref. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Nurses? Forget nurses. They should give me a medal for being locked up with three kids for the last eight weeks. I mean honestly. It’s fine for Mr and Mrs Sourdough Starter and their darling cat, but for us parents, especially us SINGLE PARENTS, lockdown is literally hell. (Yes, literally. Not figuratively. This is actually what hell would be like for me).

It’s not that I don’t love my kids. There’s an expression – love the people, hate the job, right? But have you actually met kids? They’re awful. Just the worst possible humans to be stuck with for an hour, let alone 24 hours, every day, without a let up. Needy, whining, bickering, gross. If you’re thinking of having kids, then DON’T. (Note to We Are Cardiff editors – could we link to a contraceptive provider here?)

(Note from the We Are Cardiff editors: normally we don’t insert ourselves into stories if we can help it, but actually this is a good link, bookmark it kids! Cardiff and Vale UHB Sexual Health info).

Today, this happened at breakfast: My three year old, who can most kindly be described as unhinged, was eating his Rice Crispies. His six-year-old sister decided, for reasons, that she had to have a poached egg for breakfast. Not a fried egg, not a scrambled egg. Poached.

For the childless, it’s worth mentioning that each interaction with your little angel has the potential to turn into a battle. Small decisions, like which colour dress to wear, whether or not to go to the toilet before getting in the car, or how to cook an egg, take on a level of seriousness and import usually more suited to high-level government meetings (I say usually. Not really the case with the current mob; their main decisions seem to be how to pick the policy which causes the most needless death and suffering and then figuring out how to lie about it.)

As with Boris’s daily briefings, every conversation with your child has the potential to end in confusion and tears.

At nine in the morning, after 50-plus monotonous breakfasts in a row, you have to decide if this is really the hill you want to die on. On the one hand: give-in, show weakness to the enemy and then suffer a conflict over every breakfast to come. On the other hand, play hardball, announce to the room that “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” and serve up a hot dish of justice-flavoured scrambled eggs with a side-order of tantrum.

Dear reader, you know the punchline. After some tears and some stern words (from her to me), the poached eggs were served. The previously quietly chomping three-year-old took the opportunity to tell his big sister that he hated the smell of eggs. And by association hated her. Violence was in the air. Their eight-year-old brother, displaying admirable neutrality to that point, decided to play both sides like a cold war double-agent, announcing that he, too, hated the smell of eggs (thus lending credibility to the accusation), but also that despite this hatred he would tolerate it because he was older and “not a baby”. This final remark was the spark that ignited the powder keg, and moments later both the Rice Crispies and Poached Egg were no more. Spilt and splattered, like a metaphor for my family, indeed, for the nation! What joys will lunch bring? God only knows…

And this is just one small incident in five minutes of one day. Repeat this over and over and over again, every day, with no let up, no respite and limited alcohol. A medal, please. A big one. Made of gold.

Lest you all consider me a terrible parent and a terrible person (I won’t try to defend myself against either accusation), I should point out that I have been home-schooling diligently throughout, although we have deviated from the curriculum recently. My eldest is now learning about political revolutions in preparation for the post-COVID world that may emerge. His Machiavellian instincts, practised on his siblings, put in him in a good position to be the next Washington (or more likely Robespierre). My daughter has learnt to read which is a genuine delight, undermined only slightly by her absolute lack of desire to read anything not on an iPad.

My youngest has been building more and more elaborate shapes and patterns out Magna-Tiles. He may be trying to summon some kind of demon. I’ve decided to leave him to it.

It should go without saying that clearly we are in an immensely fortunate position – none of us are ill, none of our family or friends have been seriously affected and my wonderful employers have taken pity on me and allowed me to mostly forget about work and focus on taking care of my children. A word also for my wonderful mum who’s been living with us for the last five months, cannot possibly have expected to be locked up with small children again and has dealt with events like most Greek mothers in a crisis: cleaning and cooking constantly.

And there are some small pleasures to be had, particularly as a runner (I know – you already thought me insufferable, but a runner, too!).

Jogging the full length of Waterloo Road right in the middle of the street with no traffic is still weirdly fun. And crossing the normally log-jammed Newport Road whenever and however I like will be sorely missed once the world returns to normal.

And of course, loudly tutting all the people ignoring the one-way system around Roath Park almost makes the whole catastrophe worth it. Almost.

Anyway. After all that, I don’t actually want a medal. What I’d really prefer is for people to stop dying needlessly. I want doctors and nurses and carers and especially teachers to be paid a lot more. And for a kinder, better world to emerge at the other end.

But mostly, I just want this hell to end, all of us to be safe and happy and to have some time away from my fucking kids.

Before Pete became a full-time quaranteacher and part-time alcoholic, he worked in data science for Centrica. He hopes one day to return…

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Debbie Hiskins

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Debbie Hiskins, who writes about being pregnant during the lockdown. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Spending the final weeks of my first pregnancy in isolation with my husband wasn’t quite what we’d had planned.

The diary was full of grown-up activities we might struggle to enjoy for a bit – meals out, evening drinks with friends, visits to my family in Kent (a 4 hour drive away), cinema trips, my brother’s 30th, a Christmas present of stargazing in the Brecon Beacons and our first wedding anniversary celebrations.

Covid-19 had other ideas though and in the run up to lockdown one by one the cancellation emails arrived. Then the announcement that pregnant women were in the vulnerable category and should self-isolate meaning I’d spent my last day in the office without even knowing it and hadn’t said bye to anyone. Initially I felt really upset about missing all these things I’d been looking forward to doing. When would I next see friends from work? How were we going to meet new parents if our NCT classes didn’t go ahead? Would the hospitals be overrun?

Then came a reality check about how lucky we are. We’re fortunate to work for Principality Building Society, a company which immediately let staff know that no one would be furloughed and changed its operations to support working from home for nearly everyone. We could both do our jobs remotely with surprising ease and that comfortable chair I’d bought for feeding the baby could be used immediately at my new make-shift desk. We work together normally so the adjustment to spending a lot of time with each other during the day was easy although we did set up in separate rooms to avoid hearing each other on calls saying phrases like “let’s drilldown on that” or “going forward…”.

We have a home we love and being there 24/7 meant we had more time to crack on with the jobs that needed sorting before the baby arrived. We tried to pace them out to break up the first few weekends. Soon the nursery was decorated, the wardrobes were full on Marie Kondo bliss, the bathroom cupboards an oasis of organisation. Who knew you could hoard so many half-used bottles of moisturiser?

Our NCT classes went ahead virtually and it wasn’t the crackly, awkward experience I’d feared. Everyone was lovely and we could chat in smaller breakout rooms on Zoom, view the information slides and laugh on mute between the two of us about the hilarious grey(?) knitted (?!) breast used to demonstrate breast feeding without anyone else being able to hear.

We also signed up for hypnobirthing with Claire from Yumi Yoga to help prep for the birth better. I hadn’t been feeling anxious about it but the news that the mid-wife led unit at the Heath had been closed (it’s now back open) and that we wouldn’t be able to stay together for some parts of labour, or if I needed to stay in after the birth, had made me feel less in control. The three sessions, run successfully on Zoom, were really helpful and allowed us to meet another friendly group of very local parents too.

Most significantly all the fun activities we’d had planned could still be achieved with a bit of forethought. The independent restaurants of Cardiff have done an amazing job diversifying their businesses to protect staff and customers but still be able to trade.

Paella made with fish from Ashtons and Spanish ingredients from Curado

We’ve had some splendid romantic dinner takeaways from Heaney’s, Bully’s, Dusty Knuckle, Leyli Joon, Hoof, Matsudai Ramen, Da Ling Kitchen and Mr Croquewich. We’ve also been able to get food delivered without relying on the supermarkets where we could never get a slot. Fresh veg every week from Paul’s Organic Veg, fresh meat and eggs from Oriel Jones and fish from Ashtons, cheese from Ty Caws, tapas treats from Curado, bread and amazing brownies from Pettigrew Bakery. Being able to cook proper meals has helped make things feel a bit more like normal even if you do have to get a bit creative to use up some of the random veg.

Salad made with veg from the veg box and Ty Caws cheese!

We’ve got subscriptions so we could still watch films and binge on box sets. My parents got Facebook so we could video call (albeit with a six second delay due to their appalling bandwidth). We did virtual pub quizzes and an escape room. I started a book club with my octogenarian granny, sister and mum. If anything I was too busy!

Family zoom session!

It’s fair to say the video chat fatigue has set in a bit. Now our classes are finished we’re taking a complete break from video calls next week. After all it might be our last one as a twosome before the baby arrives and we’ve got another “new normal” to adjust to.

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Ashley West

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Ashley West. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown. 

Bute Park. Photo by We Are Cardiff

My anxiety was waiving
My isolation already grown
As we entered into lockdown;
I felt even more alone.

One daily routine of exercise
Didn’t seem to change
The way in which I was feeling
In a world that turned so strange.
Our worlds got flipped, turned upside down,
It happened overnight.
No one could have predicted
That we would ever face this fight.
Each day brings on new worries
As I sit and hear the news.
But I’ve had to try to distance myself
As our leaders set out to confuse.
I work from home to bring normality,
To keep a routine, I’d guess you’d say.
But each morning I get up I think
“Here’s another struggle today.”
So many lives are being lost.
Groceries we had to ration.
It has spread through the world like wildfire
This virus has no compassion.
However, positives are being seen
As the world now starts to heal.
Pollution slowed, travel stopped,
Although still does not feel real.
Even though this has been tough,
This storm we can weather.
As communities have rallied round
Showing we can all get through this together.
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The Welsh Blood Service needs you!

Taking a brief break today from the Letters from Lockdown, we bring you this plea for help from the Welsh Blood Service.

The Welsh Blood Service needs to collect 350 units of blood every day to supply the 19 hospitals in Wales, which is a tough ask during the lockdown. At present only THREE PERCENT of the population donate blood. We need more of you than this!

Sobering stats. Get your butts out to donate! Donating blood is considered essential travel, so you can safely travel to any donation location.  

At the moment they can only accept donors with an appointment, so if you’re keen to donate, please head to the Welsh Blood Service website, register with them and make yourself an appointment.

It’s essential people continue to donate so patients can receive the treatment they need. YOUR BLOOD WILL BE SAVING LIVES! The WBS have taken extra measures to ensure donors and staff are safe while in clinic: read more about that here – Welsh Blood Service – coronavirus.

If you’ve been trying to book an appointment in Cardiff but haven’t found one yet, good news! The Welsh Blood Service will be visiting Plasnewydd Community Centre for five extra days from 1-5 June. They’re looking for people to donate, so please head over to the Welsh Blood Service website, register and book an appointment.

And because we don’t just preach, we practise too, Helia from the We Are Cardiff crew is heading out to give blood next week, and because she is 100% dedicated to life in the Matrix (and to try and encourage more of you to do it) she’ll be posting the whole thing LIVE on we WAC socials. Head to the We Are Cardiff Instagram on Wednesday 27 May for the full bloody Monty.




Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Abbie Morgan

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Abbie Morgan. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

“2020 is going to be my year!” is the statement I made to friends at the end of January. So many other humans had used that phrase before me that it caused an eye roll for most, but I was trying to persuade myself that this would be the case. Moving to a new house, getting back to the person I have always been after the end of a really tough relationship and as I went through February and the start of March, it really felt like I was on track to make the most of that statement. Then came lockdown.

At the first suggestion of some time working from home, I was apprehensive but at the same time believed I could use the time wisely. I bought art supplies in the week running up to my last day in the office and reassured myself that I would be completely fine, knowing full well that loneliness had caused so many mental health issues in the past. Turns out I have done very little drawing or painting but taking photographs has definitely become a thing. Its almost like I have been trying to document what’s been happening to us all with the least amount of mental/physical effort.

Then the day came, as part of my job I had to make sure a few others in the office were okay before leaving. Little did I know that 7/8 weeks later I would miss their faces so much.

Working from home is okay… Just okay I’m afraid. One great piece of advice from my best friend was to make an office space so I could feel like I was in a work environment, not just curled up on the sofa every day or worse still, not getting out of bed other than to eat. My little breakfast bar is the spot, but it means sitting on a bar stool type chair every day leading to having to get up and stretch A LOT.

I have two cats as my isolation buddies and, If I am completely honest, are a great source of company despite sleeping for most of the day. They keep me in a routine and force me to get up at 5am to be fed. If you have ever experienced two cats screaming in your face at that time of day, you will know it is definitely a sound you cannot ignore. This in turn has led to me heading out for a run first thing in the morning and making the most of Cardiff Bay at that time of day. I stop at points on the route each time to take a photo or two and share them on my Instagram stories for those who sleep way past sunrise.

During this whole situation there has been the question of dating. I went on a few dates prior to lockdown being in full force and it was great to have the idea of getting to know someone new.

Dealing with what is now lovingly known as the new normal whilst trying to date or connect with someone new throws up all sorts of challenges. How many messages a day is reasonable? How much do you need to share about your boring day in the flat? How do you know if you actually like this person or how much do they like you without being in each other’s company? Is this just a lockdown thing or are the plans you have made for later this year real or just a fantasy?

It’s a mental health nightmare, especially for an overthinker like myself. All I can say is that the idea of company at the end of a phone from someone who thinks enough of you to reply is a nice feeling. Maybe it’ll be something or, maybe it’ll be a strange version of a holiday romance and once lockdown changes, their attention will head back to their life before. Either way, a connection with someone who you are slowly getting know, a message or call at a time, has allowed me to dream about a time without restrictions.

My favourite personal challenge during this time has been to post a photo of all the outfits I have decided to wear. It has to be plural as I often feel the need for a costume change half way through a day. I have spent 17 years collecting so many different items of clothing from vintage fairs, charity shops and even some expensive gowns for posh events in the past. Most have only seen the light of day once so it felt like a good time to show them off. There have been fancy dress Zoom parties and dressing up for VE day which have been little excuses to dig right to the back of the wardrobe for something special.

As I write this, I am currently wearing outfit 65.. and still have, I think, at least another 30 days’ worth to go. I honestly do not want this lock down to continue until I run out of clothes, but I get the feeling that may well be the case!

Follow Abbie on Instagram @babos87 

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Jill Berrett

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Jill Berrett. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Lockdown for me, far from limiting my life, has opened up a certain freedom and new opportunities which have given me back something of what I had lost.

One of the strangest aspects of lockdown for me has been so many people in the UK and around the world, joining in my lifestyle – one of having to stay at home. Although nothing like COVID-19, I know how a virus can devastate and change a life beyond recognition.

Over 30 years ago I got up one morning to get ready for work and collapsed. I could not move part of my body, and was hospitalised in the Heath where they thought initially that I had had a stroke.

Eventually after blood tests a viral attack was diagnosed from which after years of struggle I have only partially recovered with my mobility becoming increasingly poor over the years. Initially I kept trying to work and be active but I kept getting more ill, having been diagnosed with M.E. There was no treatment and it was some time before I realised how much I had to give up in order to rest and try to build some energy as I was running on empty.

Following a fall five years ago, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and despite having no further falls I now have five fractures in my spine which led to my becoming, a year ago, a wheelchair user and mostly housebound.

Lockdown for me, far from limiting my life, has opened up a certain freedom and new opportunities which have given me back something of what I have lost.

Fewer cars on the roads has made a huge difference. I am not in the shielded group, and I can get out in the wheelchair using the roads, now shared with mobility scooters and cyclists – a joy. The pavements in my area are unusable for wheelchairs, being uneven and broken, usually leaving me marooned in the house. I can still drive a little but I have to be surrounded by cushions, it’s painful, and worsens my back.

Now my partner can push me down the road from home to use the paths along Roath Brook with me shouting ‘pothole ahead’! We can be amongst beautiful mature trees, clear water, ducks, squirrels and an ever increasing range of birds in just a few minutes.  As we pass dog walkers, people with buggies etc, all social distancing, there are lots of smiles and ‘hellos’.

Visiting the park

I am a member of Roath Writers and an Ekphrastic writing group and used to love going to meetings but as I became weaker and my back became fragile and painful making it difficult to sit in ordinary hard backed chairs I could no longer go to them.

Now I can attend a poetry book launch with others on Zoom, enjoy daily readings of Wordsworth poems by a variety of people recognising the remarkable voice of Leslie Caron at 88 years, as the 250th anniversary of his birth moves online.

I will also be able to attend The Hay Literature Festival as it moves online. I used to visit regularly until my mobility became too poor and access was too difficult. Now I will be able to share this with others again.

For the first two weeks of lockdown my greatest worry was getting food, as I was used to ordering nearly everything online for delivery into the house being unable to do my own shopping. Suddenly I couldn’t get supermarket delivery slots and the Welsh organic company that used to deliver regularly could not continue to provide this service.

But gradually with a lot of hanging on the phone I got online slots restored and my local Beanfreaks have been brilliant at a busy time for staff, taking orders by phone and my partner can pick them up. And since then a lot of other companies who didn’t usually deliver have started to do so and I have a larger choice than in the past.

I have long appreciated my garden as I can get outside easily but never have I been so grateful for it as during lockdown. Freed up from FOMO, feeling that everyone else is having a busy active time that I can’t participate in and that I ‘should’ be doing more useful things. I feel that pressure less, my health has improved and I’m enjoying my third lockdown novel.

My deep hope is that as the lockdown is eased and people can return to their former lifestyles, opportunities to participate online will continue for disabled people and others.

I am a member of a global organisation called Millions Missing and this week is M.E. Awareness Week. Now more than ever we need more investment in biomedical research and treatment for this long neglected illness, and education for health workers as after this pandemic there is a real likelihood of more people struggling to recover from COVID-19 and having M.E.

Jill Berrett has lived in Cardiff for 40 years, having come from London to work in Cardiff Law Centre. She is now a writer and campaigner.

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Claire Ait-Hammi, The Med Shed

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Claire Ait-Hammi of The Med Shed. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

One thing I am absolutely loving at the moment is getting to know our local community a lot more. Usually I am dashing to work/from work/running after the kids/working at weekends, so I am really loving being able to take leisurely walks in our local area of Penylan.

So here’s my summary of my life so far in lockdown – as a mum to Zach (nine) and Sophia (seven), wife (to Nabil), full-time employee and co-owner of a small food business.

Even though it seems we were following the spread of COVID-19 for ages, and lockdown was inevitable, it still came on a bit sudden. One minute I was in the office, Nabil was at work, the kids at school. Next minute routine was completely out the window as I enjoyed a delicious amount of free time with Nabil and the kids but was the only one who had to get up the next day to work.

Anyway after a few weeks I started to get into the rhythm of things a little bit. Nabil and I were tinkering with various projects in the house, starting painting and tidying jobs that were well overdue.

Zach and Sophia were enjoying (and still very much are), the freedom of childhood not currently bound by strict timetabling and ferrying from one extracurricular activity to the other.

Unfortunately we are not the type of people happy to tinker in the house for very long. Despite working full-time, our weekends are usually busy with events for our street food business – The Med Shed.  At first I was enjoying the freedom of evenings and weekends at home, but we quickly became bored.

We started to see fellow food businesses branch out into other ventures – including offering meals to NHS workers and offering a takeaway service.

We approached a charity based in West Wales – FeedtheNHSWales and began supplying meals to our hardworking NHS staff in Cardiff and Llandough. It can be tough coming up with suitable meals – considering reheating, presentation and flavour – but we’ve had some great feedback so far.

It certainly presented a new and exciting challenge doing bulk catering from a domestic registered premises!  Meals that we have provided so far include:

  • Poulet Roti with Pommes Lyonnaise
  • Algerian Meatballs & Couscous
  • Tchakchouka & Couscous
  • Chicken Shawarma Wraps
  • Falafel Wraps
  • Butternut Squash & Goat’s Cheese Lasagne
  • Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Tartlet.

Nabil is Algerian, so our street food is usually heavily influenced by North Africa, but we decided to create a Mediterranean name and theme to enable us to offer dishes from all over the Med and experiment with different cuisine.

One week in to providing meals for the NHS we got the fever and started to offer takeaway delivery service to locals on a Saturday. We usually take orders during the week and offer a Saturday night delivery. This is going very well and has certainly been a huge learning curve taking on different aspects to a food business during this time!

We have had great support from various local suppliers in helping to feed the NHS. Huge thanks goes out to The Orchard Butchers (Rumney) and C Snell Potatoes. Their generosity knows no bounds and they offer quality produce.

One thing I am absolutely loving at the moment is getting to know our local community a lot more. Usually I am dashing to work/from work/running after the kids/working at weekends, so I am really loving being able to take leisurely walks in our local area of Penylan.

Being a member of a Facebook group such as the Penylan/Cyncoed/Roath community is lovely, but it doesn’t work as well as personal interaction. We were looking forward to hopefully working with everyone at the Penylan Picnic event this year (organised by Waterloo Gardens Fete).

Last year’s event made a huge difference to our community and it was great to meet so many other locals. Hopefully next year! I’m hoping that when things start to go back to ‘normal’ (not sure I ever knew the meaning of the word!), I don’t forget our family evening walks, bike rides and chats (currently at a distance!) to other locals. As someone who has split their time as a full time employee working from home, tutor and food business owner, I never anticipated the lack of energy I sometimes have for either one thing or the other.

Can I confess something? I had big plans for home educating when all this started. I have all the resources/subscription to Twinkl/years of early education/personal tutoring, but sometimes I really can’t be bothered!

I’m often feeling torn between thinking I could (or is that should?) do more with my children; and thinking hang on! They are happy – and as long as they continue to be happy and can reintegrate when all this is over isn’t that enough? Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling this way!

So in short – I, like so many others, am just doing the best I can during this time. I won’t be taking up another language or learning a new subject (although languages is a huge passion of mine and I’ve always wanted to study forensic linguistics), because I really don’t feel like it at the moment.

However I will try my best to get to know my community of Cardiff better and try to be content with what I achieve on a day to day basis. Who else is with me?!

Follow Claire on Facebook (Claire Ait-Hammi), or check out The Med Shed and order all the goodies from them! Email The Med Shed | The Med Shed Facebook | The Med Shed Twitter | The Med Shed Instagram

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Alice, aged two

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Alice, aged two. Full disclosure, she had some help from a human adult she has enslaved to look after her. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

My favourite lockdown activities include: clapping for key workers, swapping books with my friends, colouring the inside of a large cardboard box while sitting in it, yoga (I have invented extra poses, such as ‘fish’ and ‘snake’) and pretending to be a dinosaur. I would recommend all of them.

I ask most days if we can ‘do clapping’. But it turns out that’s only on Thursday nights. I like to see everyone outside clapping. It also means I get to wave to my friend, Jeremy, across the road, who, like me, is also in his pyjamas and sleeping bag by 8pm. When the clapping stops, I am known to shout “More clapping!” And sometimes that works.

It has been nice having Daddy at home. He’s normally at the university but he has been giving lectures to his students from the spare room. I have made the most of him being at home by waiting until I am outside his door to belt out Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. I also once gave him a fright by running up the stairs and into his office while he was in a Zoom meeting and saying “What you up to?” (In case you were wondering, Mummy was just trying to wash her hands during all of this; they don’t call me Speedy GonzAlice for nothing.)

Mummy says our house now looks like we should be on an episode of Hoarders, whatever that is. It’s true that we have a lot more cardboard than we used to: a cardboard house, a cardboard boat, a cardboard TV and a cardboard under-the-sea scene. I also made an Elmer the Elephant using an old milk carton and some colourful paper squares. I say ‘made’, I mean project managed.

It is hard not seeing friends and family, though. I miss them. The other day I was walking past my favourite playground with Mummy and I asked if I could go on the seesaw with my friend Millie, but she said it’s closed now but we will do when we can. So instead we went into the grassy area of the park and I went up to all the trees and hugged them.

I feel a bit wary when I see people I don’t know walking around. I think it’s because Mummy sometimes picks me up or crosses the street if there are people about, and that’s very strange to me. I don’t always know how to react.

Normally I go to lots of different places, but now we have to keep a distance from everyone, even our friends. But we do make each other cards and talk on the phone. One time I said to Millie, “Wash your hands, nice and clean!” and then lay down on the floor and put a toilet roll on my tummy. It was hysterical. I think mummy would call that my peak lockdown moment.

I got upset the other day that I couldn’t go to the supermarket with Daddy. And when we saw an airplane I asked if I could go on it.

I’m lucky that I find beauty in small things. I am interested in all the different kinds of birds. I like spotting helicopters in the sky. Yesterday when I was in the garden, I watched a bee. Then I said “Excuse me, bee” and waited patiently for it to fly away before watering our apple tree.

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Amy

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Amy of Dead Canary and La Pantera, who welcomed a second child to their family three weeks into the lockdown! We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Before lockdown, myself and my husband were busy running two bars in Cardiff city centre, as well as chasing after our wonderful two-year-old daughter and getting preparations ready for our son’s imminent arrival.

Our lockdown experience has been a rollercoaster of emotions, from stress and anxiety to laughter to wonderful life changing moments.

We own the Dead Canary, a speak easy style bar which has been open for almost five years, serving Cardiff cocktails made by the most wonderful, hard working and passionate team. In February we opened our second bar, La Pantera, a small taqueria situated above Sully’s / The Blue Honey Night Cafe.

Although only open for a few weeks before we were forced to close due to the coronavirus, it was an exciting new venture, which had, so far, been doing really well and we were so proud of all the feedback we were receiving.

La Pantera!

The start of lockdown was full of anxiety in regards to future of the two bars, as well as being able to look after our teams and our little family. Once the furlough scheme was announced and small business grants were put into place, it did allow for a bit of breathing space and to let us focus on our growing family.

The first three weeks of lockdown were full of creating jungles in the garden, baking questionable cupcakes, crafting crowns made from flowers and twigs and reading The Gruffalo to a hedgehog who was waking up after hibernating all winter in our outhouse. All these activities were to entertain myself as much as our two-yearold. To take my mind off the worries of bringing a new baby into the world in such an unknown time.

Three weeks and two days into lockdown, we welcomed our beautiful 9 lb 7.5 son to the world. The midwives and all of the team at the Heath Hospital were incredible. All were smiling and chipper, creating an air of ease and calm. I can not thank them all enough for their selfless efforts and for keeping us safe and well and delivering our son.

Aurora meets her little brother, lockdown baby Ozzie

Then home for the second chapter of our lockdown, as a family of four. Bit of a different experience to when we returned home with our daughter, where we saw plenty of visitors coming through our doors to say hello and have cwtches with our new bundle of joy.

We can not wait to show him off to the rest of loved ones, and to take him on little adventures.

We are grateful for our health and the safe arrival of our little boy, and having the time to bond and the time to take things easy and slower. He has slotted in very nicely into our family and stolen our hearts.

Why not go and give the Dead Canary and La Pantera some online love for now – and make sure to go visit them in the future when the lockdown is lifted:

Dead Canary website | Dead Canary Facebook | Dead Canary Twitter

La Pantera website | La Pantera Facebook | La Pantera Instagram

The Dead Canary cocktail bar


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