There are few people who will one day look back at 2020 and not see it changed them in some way. We wanted to find out what lockdown (the first one) was like for a variety of the population, and how they have emerged as different people. One phrase that was said in nearly every interview was “the new normal”. That means many things to many people, as we discovered:

“I’ve just missed chatting to folk! I live on my own, just me and the cat who is probably fed up with me talking to her by now, and although I can message, Skype, phone etc. It isn’t the same as face to face interaction. I know couples have had their own problems but at least with two of you conversation is possible.

“The biggest thing for me, which I fear may be the case for one or two is that I lost a wonderful relationship because of this lockdown.

“I had been with Nigel for 16 years.  We had weekends together (he lives in Leicester), holidays; long weekends away; meals out; cosy nights in by the woodburner, all those lovely things that keep a relationship going. We got on well, liked the same things, history, heritage, countryside, long walks. Then lockdown happened…

“It affected his mental health badly. He just didn’t know what to do and was scared. He stopped phoning and one evening he announced that he wanted to end our relationship. There was no one else involved, he just wanted to be on his own. I believe some sort of breakdown had happened. It’s all very sad, no real reason, but I blame this virus and lockdown.

“I will be ok. I’ve lots of lovely friends and family, gorgeous grandchildren. I’m just sad that he has no one. Apart from all that my garden has been my lifesaver. I’m out there every day, and grown lots of veg took on new projects, raised beds, etc. I cannot imagine lockdown without a garden. It is a great healer.”