Alexia Carter – Living in the UK in 2020

I studied building design and interior design directly after finishing school.  I then worked for a few years in Perth, then travelled for 12 months, before settling in London in 1998. We have two children and continue to travel at every opportunity.

I worked for a while in Abu Dhabi, setting up an overseas branch of the London interior design company I was working for at the time. I moved back to London and a few years later set up my own interior design studio, which I am still doing to date.

Living in London during the pandemic has been interesting. We are currently in week 10 of lockdown. It is becoming the new normal and we are used to the routine. We start each day with Joe Wicks PE.

We really miss having space and our own garden. Although we are lucky enough to have a large communal courtyard inside the gated mansion block…a trade-off for living in the centre of a large city. It normally isn’t a consideration, as we are out and about at every chance and live close to the river and some beautiful parks.
We are now allowed out for more than our one-hour daily exercise and next week the rules will relax a bit more and we can see family outdoors.
The first few weeks were overwhelming, not being able to buy essential products, queuing for hours to get prescriptions from chemists and juggling homeschooling for two young children, with both of us working from home. It has been a sad and hard learning curve for the children, difficult for them to understand why their lives have been turned upside down because of something they can’t see. There have been ups and downs.
A few families we know have been directly impacted by COVID-19, and it is heartbreaking to know they have lost someone close.
We have had amazing weather which has helped keep the isolation in check. The sky has been empty of the usual planes overhead, in its place, there is a constant background noise of ambulance sirens, with streets relatively clear of traffic.
The weekly ‘clap for carers’ has broken up the week and reminded us what day it is. Our neighbours even put on a little fireworks display for each ‘clap’.
We have had 2 holidays and my parents’ visit cancelled. We would love to get back to Perth to catch up with family and friends but have no idea when we will be able to fly again.
Our youngest is able to start back at school in a week, however, our older one doesn’t have a start date yet.
The situation in London is bringing out the best in most people and we are finding ways to stay in touch. The kids attended a Lego zoom birthday party, and FaceTime friends daily, we have received freshly baked bread and dropped off cakes, care packages and friendship bracelets from the children.  
It’s oddly the little things that we miss: having coffee with friends, jumping on a bus to get somewhere. The time together has made us realise that we need to slow down in the future.
Alexia Carter, Class of 1990, Day Student
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