With seven weeks of lockdown behind us, we asked the B P Collins team how they are finding their lockdown experience and to share any interesting, non-work, things they have been up to in order to stay positive and busy during this difficult time.

Fran Hipperson, partner in our family team, has been keeping a great balance between home-schooling her three children and some creative fun. Fran and her children have been creating crafts out of recycled materials, baking, growing vegetables and enjoying daily walks and bike rides. To support the local community as a family they have introduced ‘Fego  Fridays’ where they order takeaway from a local Gerrards Cross Café.

Belinda Mears, our wills, trusts and probate legal assistant has been spending her time with her two daughters embracing daily online yoga, some baking, daily socially distanced walks and bike rides.

As a family they have come up with a great idea to host a ‘home sweet home day’ where they made little presents for each other and decorated the house with balloons and bunting, before watching their favourite family film and enjoying a scrumptious feast.

The first thing Bee will be doing when lockdown eases is visiting her parents as they have been greatly missed by her and the girls, as well as going to the park. For those struggling Bee recommends to embrace your inner slob. If you’re working and looking after children your house is probably akin to after an explosion, and that’s ok. It’s not like anyone will see it!’.

Steve Perry, our business development manager, has been looking after his three year old daughter whilst keeping active and raising money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance through an endurance running challenge with the football club. Steve is looking forward to dusting off his passport once lockdown eases and celebrating his 40th birthday!

We asked Steve ‘What is one thing that this situation has taught you and what advice would you give to those struggling’: ‘We have forgotten how to simplify our worlds and taken freedom for granted. My advice it to try not to immerse yourself in the negative news and outlooks’.

To pass the time Steve recommends ‘The Last Dance’ on Netflix, a story of Michael Jordan’s final year with Chicago Bulls.

Pardeep Bancil, solicitor from our wills, trusts and probate team, has been signing up for various exercise challenges with her children in order to stay active. “I signed up for the burpees challenge for the month of April. I’ve just completed 5000 burpees yesterday and my youngest son Devan (aged 7) did 1000! We’ve been following PE with Joe Wicks and B-Fit Bhangra workouts on Facebook videos live”. Pardeep and her family also enjoy a bike ride as part of their daily exercise and take part in Kahoot quizzes and kids birthday parties via Zoom.

We asked Pardeep ‘What is the first thing you want to do when lockdown eases?’: ‘Let the kids hug their grandparents and go to a restaurant with friends’.

Some advice that Pardeep would give to those who may be struggling with the situation: ‘Don’t watch the news! Focus on all the things you’re looking forward to when it is over. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your friends about the challenges as they are facing them too!’.

Pardeep also recommends the film ‘Wonder, a powerful family movie to watch with young children. It helps children see the world from another child’s perspective.

Our employment solicitor Greg Clark has been getting adventurous with his cooking. The bamboo steamer from the back of his cupboard piqued his interest and Greg is now teaching himself how to make gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and steamed bao buns from scratch. Once lockdown eases Greg can’t wait to invite his family over to show off his new cooking skills.

We asked Greg ‘What is one thing that this situation has taught you and what advice would you give to those struggling?’: ‘I’m amazed and inspired by the enormous sense of togetherness and community at a time when we are all forced to be apart. Times are tough now and might get tougher – but I’m convinced we’re going to come out stronger on the other side’.

Greg also recommends RuPaul’s Drag race for some sheer trashy entertainment and Exhalation by Ted Chiang, which is a fantastic collection of short science fiction. It includes a story about a robot disassembling its own brain to learn deeper secrets about the nature of the universe (Exhalation) and an absolutely fantastic time travel tale which reads like it was taken straight out of the Arabian Nights (The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate). Despite the complex nature of the ideas behind all of the stories, Chiang tells them all in such beautiful, precise prose that you can’t help but feel your mind expanding as you read.

Claire Bird, our property legal assistant is embracing the lockdown. Claire found that B P Collins’ investment in technology has allowed her to work effectively from home. It was nice to see everyone at the daily departmental chat (and interesting to see my colleagues in their home environment), although I did miss seeing them all in person’.

During lockdown Claire is keeping busy with her gardening and with the extra time she has increased her vegetable patch, whilst putting a new fence up to protect the vegetables form her mischievous dog. ‘I have many seedlings growing in my green house ready to plant out – carrots, runner beans, courgettes, tomatoes and various salad varieties.  I also have strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries in my fruit frame. We have also planted 3 new cherry trees’. 

Claire’s village community has been a great support, they have set up a WhatsApp group to help each other with shopping, swapping plants and other good will deeds. They are planning a VE Day celebration whilst maintaining social distancing.

For the last 3 years Claire has been involved with a charity motoring event – the Kop Hill Climb in Princes Risborough which raises money for local charities. They are continuing to plan in the hope that it may go ahead in September, but if not they will hope to have an online event to raise money for NHS charities.

We asked Claire ‘What is the first thing you want to do when lockdown eases?’: ‘When lockdown eases, I am looking forward to returning to work and also to seeing my friends and family again.  My daughter lives in Cornwall and I am longing to visit her and walk on a beach with the dog’.

We also asked, ‘What is one thing that this situation has taught you and what advice would you give to those struggling?’: ‘I think this whole situation has hopefully taught us not to take things, and people especially, for granted.  We should value the small things in life and possibly slow down a little.  The planet and wildlife have benefitted enormously from less traffic and less pollution.  We have discovered that we can work effectively from home and that we don’t need to take as many journeys. I am hoping that some things will not go back to the way they were’.

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Simon Deans
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