Lesley Rumble has shared her lockdown story with us

A few weeks before the lockdown, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, which sent us reeling into despair. Determined not to let the illness defeat us, we got on with coping as best we could. I had no time or energy for teaching, and they being very understanding students, continued meeting to paint with the themes I had set them. For me, there was no time for creative thought, let alone time to paint. So when the country came to a halt, I was already recovering from lack of sleep and was quite a dab hand at nursing and cooking.

As with most people during the first few weeks of lockdown, I wasted an incredible amount of time searching for supermarket delivery slots and toilet rolls! None of this was good for the soul. Then the sun came out, my husband felt well enough to sit outside, and I was able to tidy a part of the garden. I made some raised beds from old drawers and old palettes, filled them with straw and compost, and have thoroughly enjoyed tending them daily. I bought a bench in kit form, and my husband enjoyed sitting there, having a cup of tea or an ice cream, while I doodled on my old i-pad.

Thoughts in the garden by Lesley Rumble (ipad drawing)

It’s ideal, portable, no other tools needed, just my finger, and so simple to use. I drew my husband, myself reflected on the screen, the garden, and imaginary scenes.

Clive by Lesley Rumble (coloured pencil)

Three months on, my husband is responding well to his treatment; we both feel more relaxed; I have started painting again, just small things, and each week at our family Zoom call, a new topic is set up for each of us to respond to.

Family on zoom call by Lesley Rumble

This has been a good incentive for us all in so many ways, enabling us to think, and not vegetate. We have been writing poetry or limericks, making and sharing chutney, painting, taking photographs, writing a quiz.

I am taking part in the Cambridge Open Windows as we cannot open to visitors. Because my front garden has many trees in it, and the windows are not easily seen from the road, I will hang copies of the pictures from the branches, and if the sun isn’t too bright, I will display a few paintings in my upstairs windows too. Fingers crossed for a dry July.