Lockdown Stories

Lockdown Stories

Lockdown – how is it for you?……. The testimony of Helen!

I have to admit that I’m quite enjoying lockdown! Should I though? So many people can’t go out for various reasons but so far I’m lucky.  I’ve been visiting my horse every day and spending time with her which is wonderful, as she’s an old mare (it takes one to know one!) and not sure how much longer she’ll be here. But there again nobody knows!! Her name is Khali and she’s 32 years old in human years, 90+ in horse years!

I’ve also joined Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus so I get to sing every night- not sure my neighbours appreciate it! Just doing Vivaldi’s Gloria at the moment!  And I am finally learning to play the ukulele 🎸 via WhatsApp video courtesy of Marjorie who is very patient with me.’



Here’s some news from chez Wilson:

On Saturday 2 May, our daughter Jenny gave birth to her first baby. Lucy Anne Darlow weighed 8 lb 2 oz (3.68 kg) at birth and she and her mum are both doing well. We now have three grandchildren, all girls: our Sam’s twins Eleni and Eres celebrated their third birthday on 26 April.


News from Ged and friends

“Thank you so much Monton voices for your contributions” 

During the lockdown my friend Jane and I decided to make a few drawstring bags to fill with crayons, colouring books and stickers to give to children at risk in our area.

So we asked for donations!

We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people and as a result of this we have been able to put together lots of bags of goodies for children who are finding this a very challenging time.

In addition people have very generously also donated toiletries and personal items which has enabled us to fill bags for adults at risk/ women’s refuge.

A big thank you goes to Jane Cookson’s friends, Monton Voices Choir and Monton ‘FitforLife class’ and to Ursula for her fabulous sewing and putting up with a house full of donations!

A special thank you to Emma Powell and Nick Powell – Powell Creative Products, for generously supplying beautiful pencil cases, notebooks and much, much, more! We couldn’t have provided our goody bags to so many children without you.

To each and every one of those who donated THANK YOU!



Helen has been busy!

This photo is of me and the Tapathon tappers. We took part in Roy Castle’s Tapathon on Sunday 24th at 3pm raising funds for cancer.

Our group K&K dance academy have raised £220. There is a link to the Justgiving page via K&K Facebook page.

Our group K&K dance academy have raised £220.

There is a link to the Justgiving page via K&K Facebook page.

The Roy Castle’s Lung Cancer charity Tapathon which was nation-wide and consisted of over 1000 tap dancers, raised £50,000! Brilliant!

Find out more by following this link: https://www.roycastle.org/events/national-tapathon-2/

Being creative during ‘Lockdown’ -Ursula and Ged

This photo shows of decorative honeycomb trellis I made out of bits of wood I found in the shed when we were tidying it.  Eric kindly helped by cutting the wood to the correct angles for hexagons and we got the bees from a company on the internet.

The next picture shows one of the sketches when we followed the BBC 4 programme Life Drawing Live!
We are also attempting some art work to send into the Grayson Perry Art Club on Channel 4. He is putting together a gallery of Art from everyone during lockdown. This week’s theme is ‘Home’.

So Watch this space 😄

Salford Foyer


Ged forwarded this email, saying how the toiletry bags were donated to Salford Foyer

Hi Jane,

 Just letting you know that your lovely toiletry bags were taken to Salford Foyer on Friday. Salford Foyer is a homeless charity which helps young single homeless people aged 16-25, as well as young single mothers based in Salford.

 Thank you again for your donation.


Knowing how generous Monton Voices people are, if anyone is interested in ‘direct-giving’, have a look at this charity,   https://acts435.org.uk/   Marjorie

News from Helen

On Tuesday 23rd June at 9pm on BBC2, Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus programme started. Not sure how many programmes but apparently it’s called “The Choir: Singing for Britain”.

Actually there are people all over the world from different countries in the choir not just Britain! I was going to apply to take part in it but it meant jumping through lots of hoops!!

Anyway, it has given me a focus throughout this lockdown scenario, knowing that at 5.30pm every weekday evening ‘I have a date with Gareth ‘.

Also, I couldn’t let this opportunity go by without a lovely photo of my horse! During lockdown so many people have walked past her field and fed them, I’ve had to put up the sign!! She looks so forlorn now! 

Cheers for now, Helen 

Sad news from Helen

‘In the previous newsletter I mentioned my lovely old mare Khali.   Sadly I have to report that on Saturday 27th June she passed away. 

 She had been ailing for the past week and despite her taking me for a walk up the lane on Tuesday (video enclosed), on Saturday she could hardly move.  Her joints were stiff and she had developed laminitis.   Despite there being treatment available it really was kinder to let her go. 

 I have been privileged to have had her in my life for the past 15 years.   During lockdown she has been my saviour and I was able to spend every day of the last 13 weeks with her.   She was a full Arab mare and in her earlier years had been quite a madam!!   

When I first started going to the stables, taking her on as a loan, she wouldn’t let me catch her in the field…. every time she saw me, she’d wait until I got within a couple of yards of her then she’d turn and run away!!!   However, we had many a happy time hacking out along with her field companion Gizmo, a chestnut gelding (a male horse without his…..).   

Gizmo and Khali became inseparable and would look after each other, calling for each other if one of them was not out in the field.   Gizmo is 26 and between them they had a full set of teeth!   He, having had his front teeth removed a couple of years ago, and Khali only able to use her front teeth, as her back teeth had worn down so she was unable to eat hay as it is long strands.   As in ‘old people’ she needed a soft diet and so ate chopped grass as well as feed mixed with water.

I’m sorry to have gone on a bit but she was such a huge part of my life  and, as anyone who has lost a beloved pet will know, it is truly heart-breaking.

Thank you to all those who have sent me messages and apologies to everyone for going on…’

Ged and Ursula

We are living in strange times, but good things sometimes come out of the chaos.

Firstly, we can hear the birds singing in the morning and it is so nice to be woken up by the sound of birds rather than the sounds of the traffic on the East Lancashire Road!

One of the best things Ursula and I are grateful for is the weekly Zoom quiz we have with our family.  We come from a large family and contrary to what I said when Ursula and I sang a few weeks ago, we wanted for nothing as children and luckily because of our Mum and Dad we stayed a very close family.

On Friday afternoon, we all Zoom and do a family Quiz.  It’s quite true to say we reach the far-flung corners of the world!

Our eldest brother, who is 80 and his wife live in South Africa, after moving there from Germany where they had lived for 30+ years.  One of our nephews lives in Vienna and another in Singapore and the list goes on!

This week, through Zoom, we visited Canada, separate parts of South Africa, Vienna, Singapore, Italy,  Germany and of course good old Blighty! 

We take turns to ask questions on the usual subjects General Knowledge, Food and Drink, History, Geography etc.  This week our niece asked questions on her specialist subject which was Nuclear Physics!  Luckily, she gave us multiple choice questions, or my score would have been zero!

One thing we have decided if that we will carry on with the Quiz when this nightmare is over. It’s amazing to think that you can still have that close connection to your family even when they live across the world

Charmaine has some wonderful, inspiring news about her hubby, Phil.

To read more about this story, click on this link which takes you to The Manc

Greater Manchester Police has shared a story of the triumphs of Specials Sergeant Phil Leonard, who has been producing thousands of face masks for local care home staff at his factory in Salford.


So instead of making textiles for the film and television industry [lighting textiles], this is what they decided to do and produce face masks


And of course, Broughton House was one of the very many care homes to benefit from this wonderful kindness and generosity.

No wonder Charmaine is so proud of her hubby!

News from Rob

Hello Monton Voiceoomers

I am sending you my apologies for not joining you in your weekly get togethers. It is amazing how quickly time has gone since this all started. I have busied myself during this prolonged period at home ( the longest I have spent in the country for 14 years) by undertaking a bit of a labour of love project which has tended to take up my time, when not out on my bike. I

 I have been putting hundreds of photos documenting the history of Moorside High School onto a Facebook Group. There may be choir members who are not in this group who would like to have a look at where we are up to – let me know and I will add you to the group. The task is made more interesting by having lots of responses from ex Moorsiders with anecdotes and questions generated from the photos and can be time consuming.

My daughter and family were due to be here in Tyldesley from Arizona for three weeks starting last week but that has gone by the board of course. She has been hard at it as a school Principal and working from home since before we responded by closing our schools. She is now officially on summer break along with my grandchildren who have been at home with her. Her husband is a policeman so as you can imagine lots going on and especially as the virus is currently spreading quickly in Yuma County after a slow infection rate early on.

My best wishes to everyone and, to those who have been, I hope you continue to enjoy zooming.

Anyone wishing to be added to the Moorside Facebook group can either drop me a line and I will invite them or they can look it up ( it’s the one with a photo of the school front on) and ask to be added.

There is a question to answer but that could be answered eg ‘ I went there’ ‘children went there’ or in Judy’s case ‘worked there’

News from Brennan

I got a job for the council at last! I had to pick up a load of home-made teddy bears and heart shapes from a high-rise block in Barton and deliver them to the CVS headquarters opposite Morrison’s.

They are going to give them to seriously ill patients at hospices, I think, and at Salford Royal.

But nobody has wanted me for anything else since.

Lucy is seven weeks old and slept for six hours yesterday night… I’ve been learning Welsh and discovered that there’s a Welsh lullaby about a girl called Lucy. The name is spelt Lleucu in Welsh and the song is Lleucu Llwyd. Anybody heard of it?

Lleucu Llwyd Chorus:
Lleucu Llwyd, you are beautiful,
Lleucu Llwyd you’re worth the world to me.
Lleucu Llwyd, you are an angel,
Lleucu Llwyd I love you still.       Lleucu Llwyd

Lleucu Llwyd, rwyt ti’n hardd,
Lleucu Llwyd rwyt ti’n werth y byd i mi.
Lleucu Llwyd, rwyt ti’n angel,
Lleucu Llwyd rwy’n dy garu di o hyd.

https://youtu.be/ej4llHNIGl4  You can listen to the song by following this link

My niece Emily is working in a refugee camp outside Athens and doing a Master’s degree in refugee education. She misses the family but mercifully the camp has been relatively free of coronavirus.


I should be in Spain

News from Lynda

Yep. We should be coming to the end of a long holiday in northern Spain in our motorhome, the fair Brunhilda.  We should be basking in the sun, enjoying the last few weeks of a trip that took us along the Bay of Biscay, across Rioja to the Mediterranean before crossing the Pyrenees and winding back through the mountains to the Basque country. Wonderful!

I’ve always had restless, itchy feet – wanting to know what’s round the next corner or the other side of the hill, hence the motorhome. Initially, when the children were small, camping was a cheap way of savouring the delights of “abroad” but then we grew to love the freedom of going where we wanted, when we wanted. Mind you we have upgraded from a leaky tent to Brunhilda – I’m no masochist and I love my creature comforts.

So, what have we been doing instead? We’ve been stuck at home in Bolton enduring the weird world of the lockdown. But you know what? It’s been a revelation! A real eye opener.

I’ve always felt lucky to live where I do. To be able to look out of my bedroom window and see the West Pennine Moors on one side and Manchester and Salford laid out below on the other, but I’ve never really explored the area.  All that has changed in the last few months.

We’ve put on our walking boots and traipsed the moors – finding paths and hidden valleys well off the beaten track.  As well as going further than we’d been before, we’ve also walked the same paths time and again. And you know what, it hasn’t been at all boring. It’s given us the opportunity to experience the changing seasons – from the chill of late winter, through the burst of growth in spring and into the full bloom of summer.  Being a real townie, I never realised there was so much to see and how much I was missing so close to home.

It’s also meant that we’ve got to know the people who, like us, walk the paths regularly.  Such knowledgeable and interesting people too. From the fishermen who told us about the history of the area, to the lady who has spotted 55 different bird species locally and the Woodland Trust volunteers who give their time to looking after the local environment – not to mention the local comedians with their dry wit who made us laugh!

So I may have had to put away my foreign travel ambitions for another year but it’s been good to exchange “Buenos dias senor” for “ ’Ow do luv. All reet?”

Doreen has new birdlife in her garden .

I have found a new interest in watching the birds in our back garden. We have bought a bird feeder and lots of little birds as well as a squirrel are coming each day to feed on it. The squirrel is so agile. He hangs upside down on it to get at the container holding nuts. Some of the seeds fall on to the ground underneath but they aren’t wasted as the pigeon and a magpie come to hoover those up! They are eating us out of house and home! I am also putting some bedding plants into tubs to get some colour in the garden. That makes the garden more cheerful. Keep your spirits up. We will get back to choir eventually. 

Jen and Eric

This was a lovely morning wake up   We just hope she found her way back home with her babies. We are enjoying the weather and garden but look forward to socialising again when choir restarts. 

Parakeets enjoying fat balls.  We have a woodpecker who breakfasts at 11 o’clock every day.  We are keeping busy twitching, painting and jigsawing! 

News from Marion

Hello everyone,

Not much to report on an ordinary day during lockdown.  Like many others my days are quite repetitive.  Us oldies have to be careful and stay indoors!

I am very thankful when the weather is good so I can potter about in the garden and have a chat with my neighbour over the fence.  Don’t know how people go on without access to an open space.  Now that I can be in a ‘bubble’ with my family, it’s going to be a lot easier and make all the difference being able to visit and see my grandchildren.

A couple of weeks ago, two of the children in my road, popped a note through my door inviting me to a ‘lockdown street party’.  It was to be on Saturday 6th June.  Sadly, the weather put a stop to it, but yesterday the sun was shining and the party went ahead.  It was great and the two families involved provided a BBQ, a bar, all kinds of games (it’s a long time since I’ve had a game of bingo) and some very happy music.  Everything was free, they wouldn’t accept any money.  I met neighbours I hadn’t really known before and had a really good catch-up.  Albeit at a distance. We were all very mindful about social distancing.  It really was a good day (and evening).  The two little girls and their families worked hard to make us all happy.  Thank you to number 8 and 14 Brooklands.

The next thing now is to get some good news from Lytham that I can use my caravan again.  There were rumours that it would be 1st July but that doesn’t look likely now.  I bet the garden needs a lot of attention.

My daughter Jeanette, lost her dog Alfie just after lockdown, he was 15, and a really super dog. She was devastated.  A couple of weeks after, the lady at the farm where they keep the pony asked Jeanette and Alex to wait a minute whilst she went inside the house.  When she came out, she had a one week old Labrador puppy, eyes still closed, in a blanket.  She put it down on the ground and let Jeanette and Alex pick it up and have a cuddle.  Well to cut a long story short, there was a weekly meeting with this gorgeous pup.  Week two, Jacob met him and had a cuddle.  Week three, Dad, Dave had a cuddle.  I know you are all in front of me now.  Yes, his name is Stanley and will be going home with them in two weeks time.  Lol

Alfie’s ashes are at home now and they will be planting a tree for him.  He will never be forgotten.

I do hope my contribution to the newsletter has kept you occupied for a few minutes and I hope you are fit and well and in good voice.  Looking forward to being able to sing with you all when lockdown eases!

Love to you all

Marion x

News from Dot

I have just completed a 1000 piece jigsaw and have been gardening and making scones…  

Also myself and family have sponsored 6 guide dogs for the blind between us all…. 

Take care 

Dorothy Jordan 

Alan’s day as a hospital volunteer.

Although I have a basic routine, every day is obviously slightly different, which is the same for everyone.

I now specifically practise the guitar every day, “I” think that I am getting better, but it is others who will truly decide the efficacy of that statement.

The hospital volunteer role has changed. I now work two afternoons of three hours only. (it was 4 days of 4 hours).The main reason for this is that there are more volunteers ie.  Students no longer at lectures etc., furloughed workers and volunteers transferred from patient facing roles. So the more experienced volunteers, eg moi, are being spread more “thinly” to support the less experienced, though younger, new voluntary staff. We are also doing responding roles, acting as runners to carry items, eg samples, from one ward/department to another ward/department/laboratory. This latter work is new. It also perhaps of note, that in the last few days, there has been increased security at the hospital, in an attempt to reduce cross infection.