Mick and Mavis. “Watching the world go by from our garden has been very sociable and we are lucky to have family close by to see safely. We both miss seeing our friends and having a beer or two in the pub. Mick does not drink at home so we’re saving up for the day when we can socialise and have a beer in our local pub”.
The Wards. “In our busy lives (studying/work) we as a family struggle to spend time together. The isolation process has changed that and it’s been lovely to see all the family engaging like never before. Meal times, chatting in the garden. We have had a disco night, film nights, table tennis competitions and the boys have helped us in the garden and kitchen”
Andy Saunders “Buying a hot tub during lockdown is a bit of a cliche but we all love it - my 17 year old daughter enjoys having friends over (they spend the whole time taking selfies in it to be honest) , my wife likes to turn the temperature down and cool off in it and I'm pathetically grateful for it after a game of cricket! In my head I'm starring in 'Sexy Beast' whenever I'm sitting in it so why not go the whole hog and channel my inner Ray Winstone?”
The Tustains. "It's strange how much time the four of us are spending alone on our own projects and schoolwork. But we've also done more eating, playing and viewing together. Zoom has helped, but we miss our friends - and Inca misses Mrs Biggles".
The Stricklands "The isolation has been a challenge for us with its mix of uncertainty and disappointment at cancelled plans. Amongst this there have been tender moments and also a growing belief that we will come through it stronger. Chris's photo in my vegetable patch captures this mix perfectly".
The Howards. “Being given more time together as a family has allowed us to see our children successfully adapt and embrace the challenges this period of time has thrown at us. We are very proud of them”.
The Kingsburys. “Lockdown has given us back the hours spent each day commuting or driving the kids here and there. Time to properly enjoy the place we live in, the family banter and the unexpected satisfaction of a tidy garden shed.
The Smiths "My family never cease to amaze me and especially so during this moment in world history. I find myself feeling stronger and safer listening to their positive opinions and ideas looking to a brighter future for us all and the planet".
The Fergusons. "Freedom is never appreciated until it is lost, (I think Yeltsin said that), but I am loving that the planet and its wildlife are getting a break from us. We have enjoyed larking about, waking up naturally with no alarms table tennis on kitchen table, doing different accents and having conversations about all kinds of subjects that we probably would never get to. We are missing football and tennis badly".
The TenHoves. “In spite. of the Lockdown, it has been lovely to welcome in the Spring together as a family. We feel fortunate in many ways.” 
The Hughes. "Isolation has given us time….. time to sort out our home and plant vegetables in the garden, time to cook and create and explore new hobbies, time to do those jobs we never get to do, time to play with forgotten toys and camp in the garden, time for a cup of tea in bed in the mornings but most importantly time for each other. Stolen moments we will cherish for all time."
Brian. “In a time of uncertainty and worry -the neighbourhood has united, showing traits that perhaps were previously ''hidden''patience and understanding , volunteering to help the cause and a ''love'' for their compromised neighbours and friends like never before”
Elisa and Rocco. "Not only has the long self isolation period given myself and my son special and truly unique time together which we are most unlikely to ever experience again, it has re-opened my eyes to the invaluable benefit, to both of us, of the many lovely nature walks surrounding us". 
The Hills “(Re)discovering hobbies, baking, sports, games, quizzes - all of us together, in different combinations and apart. Easy companionship, the luxury of time to simply hang out together and enjoy, unhurried. Busy lives on the outside, on pause, inside.”
Howard and Helen. “As the world around us flounders in the unknown of Covid, we have been awestruck by the wonderful bubble Ashwell truly is, as an environment to enjoy and live in and a community that has compassion and generally good humour.”
The Moynihans. “Home Isolation with older kids can be challenging and expensive but also very rewarding and precious. It summons memories and feelings of past times when they were more reliant on our care but also highlights the joy of the ‘empty nest’. The sunshine has been a blessing too.......long may it continue!!”
The Gellers. "The simple dining room table has always symbolised family to me, but now, more than ever this humble table has gone from a place for food to helping us survive home learning and working. The lockdown has given my family a chance to be a family again and refocus on what matters. I have also learnt how much I appreciate teachers!!!”
Geraldine Crump. “I am missing folk dropping in for a cup of tea”
The Talks. "Sarah and I were quietly shuffling into the fluffy carpet slippers of the empty nester. Suddenly two of our adult children and their partners returned bringing tequila, YouTube dance tutorials and themed cooking nights. We have occasionally wandered off for gardening, Egyptology and novel writing, but our pace of life has definitely been upped and we’re rather enjoying it.”
Jo and Ago. “Watching winter turn to full bloom spring with hope in our hearts for the coming months”
The Fields “The natural beauty and resilient community of Ashwell has yet again provided us with security and support during challenging times”
Mrs and Mrs Crump. “Is it six o’clock yet ?”
The Rhodes. “Whilst physically apart, lockdown has brought us closer. We have learnt to be together 24/7, enjoying and valuing each other’s company: eating together, chatting, discovering Zoom and welcoming our new puppy, Otto. Home haircuts, walking Roody, cycling, savouring the peace around us – no planes and little traffic”.
Revd. Robert Evens. “The Church buildings are closed during this period of self-isolation. The Church is not a building and is flourishing thanks to the many “Good Neighbours” in our community, for pre-recorded services on YouTube and live streaming on Zoom on Sunday morning”.
The Boormans. “It’s been an absolute joy being together and an unexpected treat. Teamwork has made this experience a positive one we won’t forget“.
Tracey Luggeri. “Highs and lows. Busy days and sleepy ones. Loving our daughter at home and missing our son. Yoga on zoom. Quiet country walks. Reflecting in peace and stillness. Cherishing family and friends. Enjoying warm sunny days and holding hope in my heart”.
Margaret. " I was happy that the eased lockdown meant I could get out and play golf again and see friends. Real isolation limited me to (just a little) garden practice. Mind you, I have got to know my garden better than ever this year and I've appreciated the amazing wonders of nature."
The Bedfords. “A family of six can be challenging at the best of times! Feeling very grateful for this time together, glorious sunshine, bike rides through quiet lanes, long dog walks, new kittens, BBQ suppers, Peroni’s and Negroni’s”.
Annie. “When you live on your own you are used to spending time alone but during lockdown everyone seemed to have more spare time so my Face Time and Zoom conversations increased and were more meaningful. I know that I am fortunate to be in good health and thankful to have my garden and studio for creative pursuits”.
Paul. ”Will the season ever start?”.
The Ducketts. “It’s been hard not to be with family and friends, but we are lucky to have a garden and open fields around us. And the trampoline has been rediscovered - that and board games have brought us together”.
The Day Family. “Some of us have not stopped working on the front line, knowing my family are safe and well under one roof is a comfort and as we try to return to some degree of normality it is a relief to get back outside together”
The Banisters. “Whilst we have missed seeing our wider circle of friends and family, lockdown has given us quality time together without the usual distractions. We’ve all quite enjoyed playing in the garden, sunlit village walks and chats with neighbours over the fence. With two young children and a new puppy, it’s certainly not been boring”.
The Mills. “Your photographs make me pleased that I too decided to concentrate my sculpture on the ever stimulating ever changing world of proper people”
The Smiths
Jim. “I have been bowled over by the welcome and support the village has shown me during the pandemic and it is good to be able to welcome my customers back ”.
The Pickings. “We have all enjoyed spending more time together over the last few weeks, but have missed sport both participation and watching. We are thankful for the good weather which has meant we have all been able to spend time enjoying our garden.”
The Fishes “Physical isolation from family and friends has pushed us into more use of technology. In common with others, we’re finding Zoom meetings very successful, and we now see the family more often than ever!”
Tilley Loughrey’s “It was odd knowing that the cottage was empty, probably for the first time in its 300 years. I dreamed of that view towards Porthgain harbour and the sea breeze wafting through the door.”
Lesley and Nicola “It’s felt extremely strange coming out of lock down as a business, we have had to invest and put a lot of new procedures in place to make sure it’s safe for everyone that visits us. On the first week of re- opening it felt like we had opened for the the first time. It was lovely to see all our customers again both 4 and 2 legged.”
Liz, Robin & Kris Day “Going through lockdown with a toddler and still working meant we could only look jealously at friends baking banana bread and taking up new hobbies. I don’t think we’ve managed to get to the end of a movie for that matter. However, being able to spend so much time with Robin, watching him grow, take his first steps and (attempt) his first words is a blessing we’ll be grateful for the rest of our lives…once we catch up on a bit of sleep that is.”
The Welch’s “We were lucky to spend lockdown together. We spent lots of time in the garden and discovered some beautiful walks around Stotfold. The music was ever present with Tim teaching on line.” Tim played with the Welwyn Garden City Band for three years before following in his fathers footsteps and joining the Band of the Royal Artillery in 1980. In 1984 he went to Trinity College of Music where he did a teaching diploma and started working for Hertfordshire Music Service in 1988. He is now based in North Herts and does much work with youth bands and ensembles. He has been director of music for Letchworth Garden City Band for over 20 years . Letchworth Garden City Band has been active on the local music scene for over 100 years - something we are very proud of. We have players of all ages and abilities with a core of adults and many of school age. Young players from the band regularly go on to take specialist music studies at colleges and university.

In late March I took it upon myself to record, through portraiture, my community in lock down and ask the portrayed to reflect how they were responding to the pandemic in one sentence. To date I have shot over 50 portraits in the community and now further afield. The project is ongoing always looking for more people to participate and sit for me. We often seek the exotic in far flung locations but I was inspired by the resilience and optimism of families in my community and found the exotic right on my doorstep.

"Mick & Mavis" has been selected from over 31,000  as one of the final 100 images included in the 100 #HoldStill2020 digital exhibition, presented by The Duchess of Cambridge and @nationalportraitgallery ! You can see my portrait and view the full exhibition here: www.npg.org.uk/holdstill

TOP