Tag Archives: Pandemic

Goodbye to Cole Brothers

Before starting my nursing training, I worked for a few months at the John Lewis store in Sheffield. At that time, it was named Cole Brothers and my role involved stocking shelves and being a general dogsbody in the Christmas Decoration section. The store was a landmark in the city centre and I remember meeting many friends and relatives at the entrance.

Every morning I caught the bus that seemed to race along the roads, wiggling across the moors before it slowed for the city traffic. In the evening, I shed glitter over its seats and aisles and no matter how often I washed my waist-long hair, those tiny shiny specs stuck like limpets.

We were a partnership, a group of employees who looked after one another and who genuinely loved working for a company that rewarded our loyalty. I loved being a witness to the excitement of shoppers as they chose their baubles and tinsel. It was a magical workplace.

The distribution of the bonus caused great cheer and even though I was a temporary employee, I took home my share.

The news that John Lewis is closing the Sheffield store breaks my heart. One more thing this pandemic has stolen. My memories of my time there will last forever.

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Lockdown Journal May 5th Sore Legs

I have done long walks on most of the days I have been well during Lockdown and my legs are beginning to protest. Even though I attended a gym regularly and did spin classes several times a week, these walks are challenging some of the major muscle groups. If I carried weights, it would be a great workout.

My route includes hills, beaches and the beautiful Bournemouth Gardens. This photo is of the Upper Gardens which is filled with a variety of trees, bushes and flowering plants. The great weather of April has produced a pallet of colour and every day this changes.

This pandemic has given me time to enjoy our local beauty and I hope that wherever you are, it is giving you equal pleasure.


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Smiling Through a Pandemic

I am not a writer of humour. Although I enjoy a joke as much as most, I am hopeless at remembering punchlines and I don’t always have the wit to come up with something funny. In particular, at the present time, it can feel inappropriate to try to lighten the mood with humour.

And yet in my career as a NHS nurse and midwife, humour was how my colleagues and I dealt with difficult times. It didn’t mean that we weren’t sensitive and considerate when the occasion dictated, but it did allow us to express emotion in useful ways.

Once in a while someone makes me smile with a joke about haircuts or other pandemic dilemmas and I know that the human spirit will carry us through this worldwide challenge. So when I think about writing a pandemic journal I try to remember to include the positive thoughts in addition to the negative ones and to inject an item of humour.


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A Poem for Our Times

This beautiful poem was sent to me recently (thanks to J.C.) and is worth sharing with you today while we go through the difficult days of our own pandemic. I acknowledge the talent and skill of the writer Kathleen O’Mara.


History repeats itself. This poem that was written in 1869 & reprinted during the 1919 pandemic

It was written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara:

And people stayed at home

And read books

And listened

And they rested

And did exercises

And made art and played

And learned new ways of being

And stopped and listened

More deeply

Someone meditated, someone prayed

Someone met their shadow

And people began to think differently

And people healed.

And in the absence of people who

Lived in ignorant ways

Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,

The earth also began to heal

And when the danger ended and

People found themselves

They grieved for the dead

And made new choices

And dreamed of new visions

And created new ways of living

And completely healed the earth

Just as they were healed.

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