Spectacle repairs, tears and toilet rolls – our life in lockdown

As the Coronavirus crisis eases and some form of normality returns, one reflects on what we’ve been doing during lockdown.

As a small independent business, we, like many others across the country, closed our doors mid-March in the face of increasing fear and concerns around the spread of Covid-19.

We were able to connect with other opticians in the country and discuss the implications of the lockdown as a member of SightCare Services @SightCareGroup.

SightCare were helpful in many ways, providing support with furlough and weekly webinars with speakers who helped us gain perspective on the situation and offered a wealth of ideas and suggestions both personal and for the business.

Cost cutting

Well-being was a tough one. Whilst our staff were furloughed, we were plunged into a period of uncertainty. Would our business actually survive at all? How would we feed our family?

There followed a frantic cost cutting exercise. We immediately cancelled all personal non-essential direct debits, sorry Weight Watchers you were the first to go. And did we really need two subscriptions to Amazon Prime?

On the other hand my regular order of ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet rolls was confirmed. At a time when there there was a national shortage, I was happy to read they were still going to deliver…although maybe 48 rolls a month for a family of four is a little excessive!

As the weeks turned into the first month things eased a little with Government funding schemes and NHS support.

spectacle repairs

It was tough going, but at least essential household supplies were available

Flour was still difficult to buy but, still at home, we baked all types of bread from croissants (never again, far too long winded) to sour dough.  Waistlines thickened. Free online fitness classes were streamed by generous local fitness instructors (thanks ladies for keeping the weight down, a little).

Business was more of a struggle. We remained open for essential and emergency calls only, Steve must have had at least four patients a day calling with eye emergencies.

The dog ate my glasses

Spectacle repairs were constant from replacing screws and nose pads to twisted frames or ‘the dog ate it’ repairs. Our contact lens patients responded wonderfully well to the changed circumstances. They readily agreed to have their lenses home delivered as many were also under huge pressures themselves. One reflects on how important a spare pair of glasses is for a contact lens wearer!

As we began to get the hang of Zoom and remembered to wear pants when taking calls, we also produced amusing TikTok routines and cried at emotional family renditions of  ‘One Day More‘ from Les Miserables,

There were weeks on SightCare’s Whatsapp group when colleagues cried with worry or frustration.

We also shared pictures of our sunsets and drinks – make mine an aperol spritser!

We also worked through the implications of what the new world would look like. There was PPE to be sourced, beginning to prepare ourselves for a new way of working.

So as #newnormal begins for some of us what does it look like? Shops are slowly opening, restaurants and cafes soon.

Covid-19 is still out there. People are still dying but thankfully many more are recovering.

People are out and about in Blackpool. And rarely social distancing tourists are leaving rubbish on our beaches again!