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A 11 Year Old in Lockdown

4 June 20 words: Jagoda Brown-Polanowska
illustrations: Emmy Smith

With social media and the endless cycle of 24-hour news, it’s easy to get lost in the stories of how COVID-19 has affected adults. But with schools reportedly opening sooner than most of society, eleven-year-old Jagoda Brown-Polanowska describes her experiences of lockdown…

I am an eleven-year-old girl, I am in Year 7 and so far I have found lockdown quite boring and lonely.

I quite enjoyed it at the beginning because I had one week of learning and then two weeks of Easter break. I didn’t have to get up early every morning, or wear my uncomfortable school uniform, rush for the bus or carry my heavy bag. I could just enjoy the company of my loyal friend, my kitten Mela. Whenever I’m doing my homework she sits on my windowsill, or squeezes in-between me and my chair, and falls asleep. 

After a while I really started to miss my friends, and found myself getting quite bored. My school is still setting me quite a lot of work, and when I was at my laptop I could see the sun shining outside, which made it difficult to know that I had to stay inside. By the time I’d finished my work for the day, it was already going dark and my eyes were starting to hurt. 

Every morning my mum and I would go on a short bike ride to the Forest Recreation Ground which is close to my house and in the evening, once we’d both finished our work for the day, we’d go on a short walk. I love climbing trees and nature so whenever we went out I’d always look for new trees to climb. One day, while climbing my favourite tree, I saw a pigeon sitting on a branch just above me. After it flew away I clambered up higher and saw a nest with an egg, just slightly smaller than a chicken’s. When I looked up later, the pigeon had returned and was sitting in the nest. 

I’m trying to do lots of other things during lockdown – aside from climbing trees. In my spare time, when I’m not doing schoolwork, I like making small fires and trying to cook things like baked potatoes or simple bread made from flour and water (all supervised by my Mum!). I also made some small accessories for cooking on the fire, like a simple kettle that I boil water in to make my tea. I love drinking the tea that I make from boiling nettles. I’ve also taken up some different crafts, like making friendship bracelets, sewing, drawing and painting. 

There is an old Victorian cemetery near my house, and in the farthest corner of the graveyard there is a large section of graves from the beginning of the 20th century. One day I decided to go out and have a closer look, and discovered that they were mass graves with twenty or more names on each headstone. The dates were from the time of the Spanish Flu, and they were in a separate area of the cemetery with no other graves around them. What a discovery to make during another health crisis! 

I am really missing my friends, being able to travel freely to see family in Poland and just being close to people. But for now, I make sure I talk to my neighbours over the fence whenever I see them going to the park or to the shop

I’ve enjoyed bird-watching during lockdown, and have recently noticed a pair of wrens building a nest in my birdhouse. In my garden alone I’ve also seen blue tits, great tits, blackbirds, swifts, robins, wood pigeons and swallows, as well as a mallard in my neighbour’s pond. One day I even saw a skein of geese flying above my house. 

The extra free time has also given me the chance to do a bit more gardening, and my neighbours and I have both planted sunflowers, and are racing to see which of us will grow the tallest and prettiest flower. I’ve grown quite a few little tomato plants for my neighbours too.

Before the pandemic, I had created a little business called Blast from the Past, where I sold parchment paper, origami envelopes, bookmarks and maps, all made with my own secret design. I sold quite a few before coronavirus, but sadly I have not sold any items since it started. I have very friendly neighbours who I enjoy talking to and are always eager to buy things that I make. I’m saving all of the money I make from this business to buy a laptop.

I am really missing my friends, being able to travel freely to see family in Poland and just being close to people. But for now, I make sure I talk to my neighbours over the fence whenever I see them going to the park or to the shop. 

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