Chris and Annie Brooks

Self isolating? I’m a bit of an expert now.

Introductory note from Master, Lesley Wilson

Many Marketors will know Liveryman Annie Brooks.  A stalwart member who has contributed a huge amount to our Company, she is fellowship personified. Annie has been in (undiagnosed ) pain for some time, and finally had a back operation in January this year.  Annie and husband Chris, were devastated to miss Installation, as they are regular attendees at Great Events and much more besides. I asked Annie to give us a little insight into how she has coped with enforced confinement - as the rest of the world now faces this issue, and we all need inspiration, support and fellowship at this time.

Self isolating? I’m a bit of an expert now.

This week, PM Boris Johnson ‘grounded’ the UK because of the Coronavirus with the words we were all dreading "From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home," Johnson said. "Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households."

Like most people my heart sank, but my head had to agree that his decision was the most sensible thing to do.

This is nothing new for me as I have been ‘self isolating’ for almost 10 weeks now. In January I had back surgery and one of the things I couldn’t do was travel. I have been at home since then. Just as my excitement was building about my first trip into London since just after the New Year, this dreadful virus put the brakes on it and my longed for trip was cancelled.

I have been asked how I have been ‘coping’. Well, it’s not really such a hardship staying at home. At least for me. I am one of the lucky ones. And I fully appreciate that not everyone is as lucky. I live with my husband (we still like one another even after this period of ‘self isolation’) in a beautiful part of the country in East Sussex and can walk to the beach. Which of course is where I go for my one walk a day for exercise, to fill my lungs with sea air and to lower my stress levels. I always feel calmer after a visit to the beach. We all have our happy place and that is mine.

I have been able to work, which has been a salvation. I have worked from home for several years now so was able to ‘go back to work’ part-time about two weeks after the surgery (with my instructions to sit, stand, walk and lie down - little and often). I have also found enjoyment in things I don’t always have time for such as reading books. I love books. However I never seem to have enough time to read. When I was ‘lying down’ it was a great opportunity to read. I love biographies and have caught up on several including Michael Caine’s ‘Blowing the bloody doors off’ which I can highly recommend as a self help book too. He’s a wonderful man with a great work ethic. I can completely understand that, as we are both south east Londoners!

The saving grace this week of course has been the spring and the sunny weather it has brought. We might be in lockdown but Mother Nature isn’t. I have found so much joy while out on my daily walk. The blossoms are blooming on the trees. The butterflies have started to flutter into life fresh from their pupas. Daffodils are ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’. The sea still ebbs and flows and Beachy Head still stands majestically overlooking The Channel.

We are having such fun catching up with our friends and family via Zoom/FaceTime/WhatsApp. In fact we are in touch with them even more often than usual! Everyone is checking in on everyone else to make sure they are OK. I had drinks with my clients on Thursday evening and went to a pub quiz last night and on Monday I am organising a birthday party for my best friend. All via the virtual world of Zoom. We are lucky to have all this technology at our fingertips which enables us to keep in touch. This pandemic is making us think about the things in life which are really precious to us. People. That is really all that matters. Absolutely nothing else.

I fully appreciate that so many people are facing heartbreak for so many reasons. Everyone is being affected by this virus in one way or another. But we are all in this together. None of us is an island. We work better together being part of an archipelago. We all have different tribes in our lives and if you’re reading this then we share one of them - the Marketors.

It may not feel it right now but I believe that we will come out of this stronger and more optimistic for the future because this virus is testing us and making us look at everything differently. This is a great time to think about a new way to do business. My business partner and I are enjoying the challenge of discovering new ways to do things in order to survive. Yes it’s tough. But we’re still here!

This could also be a good time to review and consider more traditional ways of doing business. Surely direct mail should be climbing to the top of the marketing department’s agenda. The promotion of products and services via DM will have a captive audience. We’re all at home and discovering what a delicious distraction the post is right now. We devour anything that pops through our letterbox.

On Saturday my 2020 Marketors Directory arrived. Having had a flick through something jumped out at me! It’s obvious. Here’s something many of us could do. Submit an up-to-date photograph to the Clerk’s Office for inclusion in the 2021 Directory!

If you find yourself isolated and fancy a catch up by any method at all. Do get in touch with me, or any other Marketor friends. You’ll find our details in the new directory that should be dropping onto your mat soon (if it hasn’t already).

I look forward to seeing you in person on the other side. In the meantime I am looking forward to smelling the roses as soon as they are in bloom.

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