I think I was more excited, maybe relieved is a better word, that we have finally reached half term.

I’m not sure who squealed louder last Friday when we completed the spring term of home learning. I’m a qualified primary school teacher for goodness sake and we are still all bursting at the seams. The first month was an adventure, the second month I turned to bribery and now I have nothing left to give! Seems to echo relationships from my youth!

It was actually my son's birthday at the weekend. Trying to excite a seven year old about spending his birthday with the same three people he has been seeing everyday for the last 9 weeks was certainly a challenge. However, with a mass of steak, cake and a trampoline - we pulled it off. ‘Best Birthday Ever!’ he said as I tucked him into bed that night, before spending the evening cleaning out the BBQ and hiding the remains of copious amounts of doughnuts and cake.

It’s amazing what we can achieve when push comes to shove. Just this morning I managed to massacre my son's beautiful blonde mop of hair with some over excited clippers. I soon realised if I hide all the mirrors he will be none the wiser.

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Luckily, local businesses are proving more successful than my hairdressing skills in creating innovative ways to serve customers. As my team juggle kids and work, we are doing all we can to support local businesses who need to acquire some social media skills to promote their new business model. I receive daily emails from people who have been furloughed or lost their jobs and are beginning a new life running their own online business or finding ways to use their skills to support the community.

Husband and wife Kiki and Jason Heyman have recently come up with a brilliant way of supporting local butchers, bakeries and fishmongers by collecting their produce and delivering them to our doors by electric vehicles. Closy is a brand spanking new company born from our fast changing world.

Wimbledon Times:

Sophie Ellis

With such innovative ways being developed to save us making pointless, time consuming and quite frankly scary trips to the supermarket, I doubt I will be visiting them anytime soon. However, I would honestly be delighted to visit our local farmers markets opening up from 1st June. When venturing out, it seems sensible to use a facemask when leaving my home. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across the prettiest floral face masks made by @sophie__sews_. Within moments of liking her designs we got chatting online and she told me her story. “After being furloughed I decided I wanted to use my time wisely and be able to look back and say I did something productive whilst on lockdown. When the government advised that face coverings should be worn in public places I quickly dusted off my old sewing machine, put out a few ads on social media and within 3 days I had made over 50 masks!" Living in South West London, Sophie could see the hard work that volunteers were putting in to support their local community and soon decided that a third of all sales would be donated to the Dons Local Action Group. "To support the group and Wimbledon AFC even further, I am beginning to offer blue and yellow masks that club supporters and volunteers can wear." She explained.

There is no end to people's ability to adapt to new livelihoods and daily routines. Recognisable local events and festivals have little future this year, but this is not stopping the organisers finding ways to make the community feel even more connected than it was before.

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By Siyona Bhandari

It was simply wonderful to learn how 'My Raynes Park Festival' has continued to celebrate their community by bringing people together and supporting local businesses without anyone leaving their homes. “We've already had a successful Online Pub Quiz which was attended by 45 households around Raynes Park and beyond.” Claimed Chair of the festival Tom Underwood.

Last week, I was honoured to be one of the judges for their art competition for kids. They invited children to design their own posters to say thank you to NHS workers, delivery drivers, waste disposal workers, supermarket staff and social care workers. I was pleasantly surprised by how many beautiful paintings and drawings I had to choose from. My personal favourite was drawn by Jayvon Wilson who created a poster of rules for boys to follow during the pandemic. It is simply brilliant, and reminded me of Tom Gates' humour. Perhaps this is a start of a career in illustration for Jayvon. I was also moved by Sharanya Sonthalia's poem which accompanied her beautiful poster of 'Earth surviving the hardest battle.'

Wimbledon Times:

By Sharanya Sonthalia

Kids are resilient creatures, sometimes more so than adults. However, like us they remember and are holding on to memories of life which seems to pale into insignificance as the days roll on to weeks and months. They miss playing tag with their friends, their teachers smile, kicking a football in the playground, their grandmother and of course a change of scenery during half term. Yet, whatever moment pulls us all down, there is so much to be grateful for. We are waking up each morning to a brave new world of local cafes selling coffee and food to enjoy in a safe space, sunny parks with parents holding their children's hands, dogs happily bounding freely with their attentive owner and perfectly trimmed front gardens pruned to the inch of their lives by new acclaimed garden lovers.

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By Jayvon Wilson

A lighter few weeks of flexi-lockdown lay before us. Wimbledon's favourite local independent cafes such as The Windmill Tearooms on the Common and Bliss in the Park, located in South Park Gardens are serving takeaway hot drinks, smoothies and food. With boxes of fresh food delivered from the market to my home and some pretty floral cotton facemarks hanging by the door, I am ready for an alternative kind of summer.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful space.