“I love getting out to the allotments in the fresh air, meeting new people, and chatting to them about their plots. It has kept me positive…”Toni Koppel
Toni’s Lockdown Story
‘Gillian Reynolds volunteers with me at a local computer club. I make videos, usually for small businesses, but during lockdown I wasn’t filming anything. She invited me to come and see her allotment in Highgate. I was bowled over. I had never before visited any allotments, and I was so amazed to see so many different fruits, vegetables and flowers growing in abundance. I also realised that allotments are great places to be during lockdown; safely locked away behind gates, with clearly defined areas for each person, so social distancing is easy. To be outside in the fresh air amongst all these nurtured green plants in the sunshine made me feel so happy! And the people on the allotments spend hours there, totally absorbed in what they are doing, and caring for each plant’s idiosyncrasies, as if they were children. We put together this one minute film, and there’s a longer one in the pipeline too.
The beginning of lockdown was very scary. My son and I were both ill, but once we settled in to lockdown, and we were all well again, we adopted a new rhythm at home, and some elements of the lockdown, such as family meals together, and the community spirit that developed in our neighbourhood were wonderful.
The allotment videos I made with Gillian and John (on two different allotments) started me on a new personal project to film people at their allotments. I have a lot more footage to edit, and it will keep me busy until work picks up again. It has helped me to not worry, and I love getting out to the allotments in the fresh air, meeting new people, and chatting to them about their plots. It has kept me positive, and we may start some cookery videos with produce from the allotments.
[Covid-19] has made me slow down, and just enjoy what I’m doing.’
Text and video © Toni Koppel