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How is my Lockdown going so far? The Lockdown chronicles of Gary Irving

The weeks are passing by very quickly. Since we had to close the prison gate in March life has been quite literally turned upside down.

I worked from home for only a week before furlough hit and I had to stop work. In that one week of working from early morning to early afternoon I got nearly 4 weeks of electrical work done in a week. It was great to have time to sit quietly and peacefully and plough through the work. Subsequently I’ve turned to jobs that have been on the ‘to do’ list for a long time.

A few days before lockdown my wife and I announced to the world that in October we will be welcoming a new life. This lockdown has come at an opportune time to carry out all our preparations including clearing a room after two years! The house is cleaner, the junk is gone and we are ready to welcome a new born.

I have also rediscovered some passions and hobbies such as building, maintaining and racing remote control cars. I was a 5th scale racing champion in the UK but lost a lot of passion for it because of the cost and simultaneously discovering a new passion for horror attractions. My time has been spent building horror props and animatronics – a skill I now bring to my working life at both our prisons.

I cannot wait ‘till lockdown is lifted and I can get back into the locations I adore and with my colleagues push forward and introduce new technology, events and excitement to offer to the public.

During this time,I have been listening to music and podcasts particularly rainbow FM and at times being reprimanded by my wife for dancing around the room or singing way too loudly. Watching the Scarecon Scare awards, listening to the after party on rainbow FM was a completely different experience but very enjoyable and one of the highlights of this lockdown.

I’ve had concerns during this time. Will the business survive and be able to re open? How much will the virus affect our visitors and when we do open will there be enough demand from customers? Will we be able to run large events? Will we have any funding to do the exciting projects we have discussed? I’m sure I share these feelings with many. I ask my colleagues to keep the faith, trust each other and our leader and be confident that our future is bright?

Although I’ve had my bad days as I’m sure you all have I need be positive overall. Once this is over the ‘new normal’ is going to be be very different to the ‘old normal’ but only good things can come from change. I’m looking forward to the new addition to my family, to how this will change the prisons and the events industry as a whole. I’m thankful for the time to learn new skills, for the time i have been given to sort my home and life and for the time I have spent with my family.

I will raise my mug of tea to the future (and have a celebratory home cooked crumpet) and how amazing it’s going to be, not only for myself and my new family but for what we are all going to bring to the world and especially for what we can bring to our prisons.

I’d like to finish this blog with what I’ve learnt during lockdown:

1. I’m more resilient than I thought and I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. 2. Making time is more important than having time. 3. Time is important and making that time for what you want to do pays off. 4. Money is nice to have, getting what you need is much nicer. 5. No matter how far apart you are, your family will try to stay in contact with you. 6. Sometimes it’s ok to be down, it only makes the other parts of your life better. 7. The time you spend apart is just as important as the time you are together.

8. Social media is mostly just attention, look at only those that inspire you, help you and learn to take a break. 9. All things happen for a good reason, it’s up to you to decide what you do with what is laid before you, use it well and you will be rewarded.

Only had it 6 years and it’s taken a pandemic to get a water pump and make this fountain work.

Learning new skills in creating props (as above).

Re-creating items that were in the prison and improving them to a much more solid and reliable state. Re-writing code from scratch and wiring in a new system.

Re-discovering a forgotten hobby.

Improving props I’ve had for a while.

Baking naughty things like this rolo cookie dessert!

Rebuilding a very old model i built when i was 15 after it got damaged when i moved home 2 years ago!

Summing up quarantine for me in memes!

Gary Irving - Inventor, Engineer, Scare enthusiast

#shrewsburyprsion #sheptonmalletprison #realprison #lifebehindbars #scare #entertainment #lockdown

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