As I write this article it is 157 days since the UK went into lockdown.
That’s 3768 hours, 226,080 minutes and 13,564,800 seconds.
With children returning to school next week, workers gradually going back into offices and even trials of fans going back into sporting stadiums, it feels as though the lockdown as we know it is well and truly over.
So, what did the nation get up to in the past 13 million seconds?
From Joe Wicks workouts to banana bread baking, I’m looking back at some of the key moments of the lockdown…
A global pandemic sweeping the world. The UK Prime Minister announces that everyone must stay in their homes.
We’ve never seen anything like this in all our lives, people living in fear and terror.
How are we going to survive? What are we going to do?
‘Surely you’d watch a documentary about a man who owns a big cat zoo in southern USA, who’s a wannabe country singer, who’s married to two men and is in prison for allegedly trying to kill another big cat owner, who herself might have killed her own husband by feeding him to some tigers???’
Of course! How silly of me to think otherwise…
And that’s what happened. Tiger King became a worldwide sensation with the series becoming one of Netflix’s most watched programmes of all time.
Everyone was gripped as each episode got crazier and crazier, just when you thought it couldn’t. If it had been written as a film, you would have thought it was too far-fetched.
Tiger King was the first of many popular series that kept people occupied during the lockdown period, with others including Normal People, The Last Dance, series 6 of Friday Night Dinner and season 2 of After Life.
Unable to see friends in person during lockdown, seeing them virtually was the only way possible.
Up stepped Houseparty, an app where you could video call up to eight people, while at the same time being able to play games and quizzes with them.
It was perfect, friends were able to see each other and chat to each other without meeting.
The app became hugely popular amongst young people, topping the app store chart, until one day a viral Twitter post announced that the app had been hacked. Apparently personal details of their users had been given away.
Thousands of people started to delete the app, worrying about their online information leaking.
It turned out that Houseparty most likely wasn’t hacked and that no personal data had been given away. The developers called it a smear campaign but the damage was done and the app never returned to its early glory.
When you’re bored it’s often hard to find the motivation to do something.
Lockdown brought a new meaning to the word bored, and once people had finished watching Tiger King and seen their friends over on Houseparty, it was back to boredom again.
People like doing things that have a good end result. If you work out, you’ll get fit. Good. If you paint a picture, you can hang it on the wall. Good.
But if you bake… well then you can eat what you’ve made, and as we know: there’s nothing better than eating.
So, a nation of Mary Berry wannabes decided that they were going to bake during lockdown. Not only would it keep them occupied, they would get an end result. A delicious end result, hopefully.
Surprisingly, however, it wasn’t cakes and cookies that everyone was baking, it was banana bread.
5 Amazing Banana Bread Recipes pic.twitter.com/4JUBa9CyZV
— Tasty (@tasty) August 21, 2020
Why? I hear you ask.
Well I have no idea, but counsellor Natasha Crowe told Grazia magazine that people were baking it because “it’s fairly straight forward and doesn’t seem too indulgent if you fancy something sweet.”
Makes sense, I guess. Anyway, flour sold out everywhere and the banana bread craze swept the nation.
Mind you, I still haven’t seen it in Greggs.
P.E. with Joe
That’s it. That’s the tweet.
Where do we even begin with this legendary man.
If lockdown was a successful time for anyone you could probably narrow it down to three people: Wicks, Captain Tom and whoever owns a facemask company. God I wish I owned a facemask company.
The fitness coach was well loved before lockdown, helping adults get healthier and fitter, uploading regular workout videos on his YouTube channel and recipe ideas on his Instagram, ‘that right there, is lean in 15’ (I know you just read that in his voice).
But in lockdown he came up with his greatest idea: ‘P.E. with Joe’.
As schools were closed, he decided he would do a live home P.E. session for kids, and adults, to get involved with.
Not only did he keep the nation’s children fit and healthy during the lockdown period, he helped keep the world’s kids fit and healthy too – with viewers watching from nearly every country.
Best of all he gave all of the profits earnt from the millions of YouTube views to NHS charities and cemented himself as a national treasure.
Joe Wicks: Legend.
For the love of quizzes
Anyone who knows me or has read my UNIfied pieces can tell you that I absolutely love quizzes. Adore them. Probably more than my family. I even appeared on a TV quiz show once, but I’ll leave it at that as I hate talking about it…
So when someone mentioned to me that there was going to be a pub quiz night, live on Zoom (which I hadn’t heard of before), I was sceptical, but at the same time extremely excited.
It was amazing.
Of course, you had to trust that people weren’t cheating, which I did, most of the time. But aside from that a quiz playing out live over the internet was even better than I could have dreamed of.
From here lockdown quizzes took off. It wasn’t just Zoom anymore either, YouTube had live quizzes, there were Facebook live quizzes and even Instagram as well.
Quiz fever was sweeping the nation and I couldn’t have been happier.
So, I did what any normal person would do, and I decided to host my own live virtual quiz right here on UNIfied. In the end I think I hosted four live quizzes and I loved every second of it.
Seeing people who were stuck indoors getting involved with something I was doing was a great feeling. I guess you could say I was the Joe Wicks of quizzing for a short time…
For some reason it all came to an end after a couple of months. People stopped being interested in online quizzes, and quiz fever was no more.
I was heartbroken.
New hair, don’t care
When you know you’re going to be stuck indoors for a long period of time, not seeing your friends, not going out in public and not going to work, what is your first thought?
For many men it was of course: ‘I’m going to shave my head’.
Most men go through life thinking about shaving their head but don’t because A) work and B) fear of looking stupid.
Lockdown, then, seemed like the perfect time to give it a go, and so many did…
Every lads expectation of shaving their head in lockdown vs the reality. pic.twitter.com/OeSXkcTpoI
— Stacey (@Stackalaka_) April 19, 2020
From me, to my friends, to celebrities, to footballers, it seemed that everyone was.
Women, on the other hand, were understandably more reluctant to shave their heads. Instead what many did was bleach the front of their hair blonde.
Apparently, it all started with Kylie Jenner doing it and became a viral trend around the world.
View this post on Instagram
In comparison to the men this trend was more successful for many, with a lot of women keeping their blonde streaks after liking it so much.
Most men, on the other hand, were happy to see theirs grow back.
With school restarting and people heading back to work I doubt we’ll see many shaved heads continue, but it was something different, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many.
The NHS are known for always doing an incredible job and the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic highlighted it more than usual.
And so, because we’re British, we started clapping them. Thursdays became known as ‘Clap for Carers’, with people standing outside their doorsteps at 8pm clapping the NHS for all their hard work.
This was one of the most incredible moments of lockdown, with the whole nation coming together to show their admiration for key workers who were putting their lives on the line.
On the other hand, it also meant you had to see your neighbours.
For some it became a competition, who could get out there first. For some, they didn’t want to be out first. They ducked under the window, popping their head up waiting to see if anyone was outside their front door already.
Then it was seeing who would go in first; how long was it meant to last? Everyone would be waiting around hoping for someone else to head in.
You also had the dog walkers, sometimes oblivious as to what was going on. You imagine they’d be walking down the street thinking ‘what have I done to deserve all this applause?’.
Anyway, like most of these highlights it came to an end after a couple of months.
But what a few months it was, it felt like a time where the nation was really together.
As a football fan I will happily admit that before this year I hadn’t watched much German football.
I wasn’t that interested as I knew that Bayern Munich would probably end up winning the league, like they always do, and if I was to watch football outside of England it would probably be Spanish.
But from March this year ALL football was cancelled. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was lost.
I started watching highlights of all the West Ham victories in recent seasons. But after 30 seconds that had finished and I still didn’t know what to do with myself.
And then, one day, the news came on the TV.
After months without live football there was some breaking news…
*GERMAN FOOTBALL TO RETURN NEXT WEEK*
My jaw sunk to the floor. Real football was about to restart. Suddenly I was draped in a black, red and yellow flag singing ‘Deutschlandlied’.
Watching the Bundesliga today https://t.co/Lw2waleZsh
— Dan Bichener (@dan_bichener) May 16, 2020
I extensively researched the teams, watched the matches, then read the reports on the matches I had just watched.
I was immersed.
BT Sport, who showed the games, received great viewing figures, with some matches even reaching the same numbers as Premier League games, unheard of in this country for the Bundesliga.
But then, it all changed.
A few weeks later it was announced that English football was to return.
I’d forgotten about German football quicker than you could say Auf Wiedersehen.
It was fun while it lasted.