Lockdown habits I’m keeping

Blog post photo 1 JulyMost of the things I learned over the lockdown period weren’t really new – more a rebooting of old interests and habits. Revitalising languishing skills, consolidating stronger ones or acquiring new ones, especially through webinars and courses, have all come into play during this time.

woman writing on her notebook
Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com (Not of me! For my profile visit About)

Remote working: Now that working from home has become the new normal, previous posts about alternative ways to work seem all the more prescient. Not saying we’ll do away with the office entirely (or that we should) but really good that organisations are conceding the need to allow for greater flexibility. And that working remotely can actually improve productivity and output.

Blogging: I had been on autopilot since my post in December, getting my head around a new normal of lockdown life. But a one-week WordPress Zoom workshop on topics ranging from understanding audiences, to SEO to creating content plans and editorial calendars, were enough to reinvigorate the writing habit and create comeback posts that somehow tried to make sense of the last four months.

Blog post MI6 July
The ‘007’ MI6 building (right) sun-drenched in a golden-rust glow

Photography: Thankfully we don’t have to get on a plane to find photogenic materials or to go on a great adventure. Sometimes it really is there right in front of you.

Blog post St James July
St James’s Park, London

Online courses: I’ve done many during this time, plus webinars and extra reading. They include courses on Covid-19 that may not turn me into an epidemiologist, but certainly make me more well-informed about the disease, the SARS CoV-2 virus, and public health more generally – for example, the processes that are triggered once an outbreak, epidemic and pandemic are identified. FT, NYTimes and LinkedIn webinars have given me access to hear from some formidable opinion-formers and experts.

Keeping up with friends digitally: Strangely (in a nice way) I’ve had school friends make contact through Facebook, and vice versa. It’s also been a time to reconnect and catch up with other good friendships that had languished.

Some healthy habits should be the norm – Such as washing hands (and face), carrying antibacterial wipes and gels (and using them, especially after using ATMs and supermarkets pay points). I’m inclined to add keeping physical distance especially from smokers and joggers who breathe heavily in your face as they fly past. Which brings me to my next point.

Jogging: This is something I love to do and I’ve tried to keep it up during lockdown. The only problem is I think I’m snacking on carbs a bit more, so need to get some better dietary habits going.

Drinking coffee at home: Has been kinder on my wallet as well as tasting a lot better than some of the high-street milk-fuelled concoctions.




A London Lockdown – in pictures

London 1 edit

I was able to take in some London sights during ‘permitted’ lockdown exercise times. Invariably this meant early morning jogging away from the crowds, headphones set resolutely around my ears, with upbeat tunes blasting like splashes of cold water on the face. BTS currently plays this role for me: aside from the occasional English phrase I don’t understand what they are saying (part of their charm), but I like the summer vibe beats that also remind me of pre-Covid trips to Asia.

As summer presses in and lockdown eases, I won’t be too relaxed yet. I plan on keeping my guard up, continuing to stay safe and alert, and see out balmy months filled with work projects and quieter urban landscapes.

I didn’t take this final photo while out jogging but, rather, simply walking around the city pre-lockdown.

Last London edit

Stay safe all.


Top: Houses of Parliament, Westminster
Second row (left, right): London Eye; South Bank Lion
Third row (left, right): Park Plaza Hotel; London Eye
Bottom photo: County Hall/London Eye


Cyprus 1
Long Beach, North Cyprus


What a rollercoaster of a few months it’s been since I wrote my previous post.

Back in December when I published that article, my head was full of the pernicious effects of climate change on our environment and lives. I was staying in San Lucido, a quiet small town in Calabria, southern Italy. With an apartment overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, I had hidden away to focus on my latest client project: researching, writing and editing articles on global disaster risk reduction, with climate change playing a leading role. Little did I realise then that another risk – an infectious disease – had already emerged and manifested (we now know in retrospect). And that the beautiful country in which I found myself would become a prime target.

Cyprus 3
Cafe de Paris opposite Caesar’s Resort, North Cyprus

Mid-February found me in the Turkish-controlled northern side of Cyprus. Amidst the myriad of colourful K-Pop bands on the South Korean TV channel I took to watching, emerged a steady stream of news about a creeping SARS CoV-2 virus. I watched as drivers were stopped at drive-through stations by heavily cladded testers; and listened to reports on intensive contract tracing using sophisticated mobile tech. Koreans raised concerns about privacy but acquiesced, perhaps mindful of MERS and SARS. “Take care, keep your loved ones safe” a TV presenter ended one news segment. Time to go home, I thought.

My Airbnb landlord told me he was off work with flu. I commiserated, adding anxiously: “Are you sure it wasn’t COVID?” His doctor had decided against testing him because he had no fever or cough, he WhatsApp’d back. Yep, time to head back to the UK. Which I did, just as the borders shuddered to a close across Cyprus and the rest of Europe.

London 2

Not that the UK was in much better shape. Even as massive efforts against COVID-19 took flight over February and early March in other countries, we gave infections an easy passage. On March 11, for example, some 52,000 fans watched my brother’s favourite football club – Liverpool – play Atletico Madrid on home ground. No, my brother wasn’t one of them.

But have we learned our lesson?



Vanessa Curney