Julie McKinnon

Julie usually spends much of her time managing bookings for the church properties, but since COVID she’s been ‘booking’ in a different way around the neighbourhood.

No bookings for the church Booking Officer – how are you filling in your time, Julie?

Well, as my lovely, late mum would say “There are always windows to clean, Julie,” – but I just can’t face it!

What has got you through?

We decided early on that we wouldn’t watch or read anything that was too violent or depressing – we needed to do uplifting things. So, that put an end to watching ‘Game of Thrones’…

I’ve loved how all around Fairfield, where we live, little ‘libraries’ have sprung up on people’s fences that are essentially book exchanges. Fairfield Uniting, for example, have one and I often drop by and pick up books that I would never normally read, but select because they’re available. That’s been good fun and an opportunity to chat to a host of people across fences because of it.

What has brought you joy?

In the second lockdown we decided that, since our son and our daughter both live within our 5 km distance, we would take our four year old grandson, Smith, and 10 month old granddaughter, Mary, on an hour walk once a week as part of their care and the care of their parents. We pick them up at the front gate and walk on with them. The great thing about walking Smith is we never, ever talk about coronavirus. Instead we talk about pirates and Lego and how he’s worked his way through all the Enid Blyton ‘Magic Faraway Tree’ books, which I loved when I was in Grade Three – great fun.

In moments of boredom I’ve found myself making a batch of Playdoh (after all, Pete has to have something that will keep him occupied!). No, I use it to mould cake decorations that I see on YouTube. I didn’t have any cake fondant so, hence, the play dough!!  It works a treat. Who knows, I might even put one on a cake some time!

What have you learned during this time?

I learned early on in life, through a tough childhood, that life is not always going to work out how you hope it will work out and that it’s really important to be resilient and resolute during these times. So, even when I don’t feel like it, I try and put a smile on my face and be upbeat, because often just acting that way makes you feel that way.

What have you been most looking forward to on the ‘other side’ of this second wave?

Seeing my other two grandsons more regularly again. They live outside our 5 km limit and I haven’t seen them during the latest lockdown. Although they haven’t changed much physically or personality-wise, we’ve certainly missed sharing in their lives and experiencing all the development milestone moments of our granddaughter, who has just had her first birthday. So hooray for the latest changes that allow us to now do so.

Plus, going back to the library – the real one!

What changes would you like to see in the wider world after all this?

During times of great upheaval, there often seems to be a swing back to conservatism: around inclusion, gender, politics, climate. Given we are in a mind-boggling conservative time already, my dearest hope is that does not slide further in that direction. The latest American election results give me some hope.

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