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More Museum Team in Lockdown Stories

 As the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, a partial return to our pre-Covid lives seems possible. But the pandemic is a long way from being over, and the experience is going to reverberate in our lives and our thoughts for some time.

Museum Assistant Shirley Buckle summarises what it has been like these part few months:

My lockdown experience started in late March – I knew it had been on the cards for some time but when it happened, I was not prepared!  The first thing I noticed was the panic buying in our local shops – it was such a surprise to find empty shelves, with all the basic necessities sold out – items that a few months ago were readily available.  Instead of being able to buy everything I needed in one store, I was having to search high and low for everyday goods in different shops, such as baked beans pasta tomatoes rice etc.  Hand wash, hand sanitiser and toilet rolls were like gold dust.  I even saw these items advertised on Ebay at ridiculous prices!  Even when the toilet rolls were on the shelves, customers were grabbing them like no tomorrow until rationing was introduced.  Queuing at supermarkets was a novelty at first – customers getting to the supermarket before 6 am so they could get what shopping they could before the stock ran out – thank goodness the supermarkets got organised and designed a proper system for queuing and giving priority to our Key workers and senior citizens.  Over time this has improved – not as many shortages, and most customers are polite and happy to queue.  During this time the staff have been polite, friendly and very patient.

I was told that the Museum would close from 20th March and I would have to work from home which I was happy to do.  I was given work to do and I was also asked if I would like to volunteer delivering leaflets.   This gave me an opportunity to help our local community and get some fresh air and exercise instead of working on my computer. I decided to walk into town as I did not want to risk going on the bus so with leaflets, gloves and hand gel in hand off I went.  Deliveries completed, I made my way home. 

The lovely weather has been a complete bonus – it has given me an opportunity to spend time on my garden, weeding, mowing the lawn and making up hanging baskets and pots – because the garden centres have been closed until recently I struggled to find any plants or compost – luckily our local supermarket has a good supply of both.

At the beginning of lockdown I did find it hard not having a routine like before – going to the shops, cinema or pub when I wanted to and having a catch up with friends.  I also enjoy going to concerts and the theatre and a lot of these events have been cancelled or postponed until next year.  At least I can still contact friends and family by phone or on Facebook.

A lot of pop stars and actors have been giving up their time by performing online which is good to see.  They have also been running online quizzes and raising money for good causes.

Who can forget Sir Tom Moore – what a gentleman – what started out as a family fundraiser for the NHS turned into something wonderful raising nearly 33 million!  He really caught the nation’s attention and getting a No 1 record into the bargain – the oldest person to ever get a no.1!

What has also caught my attention is the kindness of people even more so during this time.  I am hearing about so many good deeds being done, even small things, which mean such a lot to people that need a bit of help and support.

Now Lockdown is easing you can see things starting to get back to normal (whatever the new normal is). People starting to go back to work – schools opening again along with garden centres, takeaways and other shops and eventually public buildings too – I look forward to this very much!

Museum Assistant Stuart Twinn has some practical advice for those who can’t get an appointment at the re-opened hairdressers yet: how to cut your own hair into a stylish bob. He also tells why he is well qualified to give such advice:

In 1965 I left school aged 15 years on a Friday, and started a hairdressing apprenticeship on the Saturday. The salon was on the High Street, Oxford, named “Richard Henry London and Rome”. I worked there for 6 years. From there I went to work for Beryl Morris in Cowley centre.

In 1971 I came to work in Abingdon for John Sillitoe, a well-known local hairdresser. Tragically John was killed in a car accident along with Gary, an apprentice. The salon was eventually sold. Barry, who I was working with during my time with John Sillitoe, and myself decided to open our own salon, which we ran for many years.

In 2005 after 42 years in hairdressing, I decided to retire.

Hopefully, if needed, my suggestion on how to cut your own bob will help.

The bob became popular through the Mod movement in the 1960s. The style was well defined and evenly cut, most would have been cut with a straight edge.

The modern bob is suitable for all ages and has many variations, such as the A-line bob, the asymmetrical bob, or the angled bob. Most bob haircuts now are more cut into rather than having a straight edge.

Let’s get started on how to cut your own bob. You need a sharp pair of scissors, and ideally your hair should be wet. Section the hair with a parting front to back in the centre. Comb the hair down, ideally you should try to do one half at the time. Clip the other half to the top of your head.

Decide on the length of bob you want to end up with. Then, with your scissors pointing upwards cut into the bottom ends to you end up with tapered ends rather than blunt ends. When you are happy with the length, take down the other half and repeat the cutting at the same length as the half you have already done.

When you are happy with the length you have cut, comb or brush your hair in different directions all over the head and cut any ends you’ve missed. Dry the hair and check through again if necessary.

Saxon miniature combs, shears and tweezers displayed at Abingdon Museum

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