Kate Ashton

By Kate Ashton, Trustee

Through years of commuting to the City of London by tube, I never wished to work from home. I liked the clear demarcation between work and home life, and secretly relished the commuting time when I could read a book or simply gather my thoughts for the day ahead. But I have been amazed by how easily my work as a solicitor can be carried on from home.

I am blessed with enough space and a very helpful husband, so have set up a desk and spend my days talking to clients on the phone, emailing, and holding meetings just as I did pre-lockdown, except that the meetings are now on Zoom or another visual platform. It is hard not knowing when I will be able to see my parents and our two older children, who are in the US, again, but all are well so far. Our two younger children are home from university and living with us; the extra time with them, and my husband, is another blessing.

I am using my rusty German to help our son with his assigned anthology of German lyric poetry and our daughter and I are working through a huge cache of newspaper and magazine recipes I have clipped over the last 20 years to try someday. I obsessively cook and plan meals and challenge myself to avoid food waste: our kitchen is a constant ecosystem of chicken bones turned to stock and homemade sourdough bread ground into crumbs.

Infuriatingly, the animal kingdom has chosen lockdown as a time to attack: our house has been invaded in succession by moths, ants and mice so we have to be constantly vigilant, in particular to protect my precious stash of flour. I go for an hour’s walk every day and am discovering hidden corners of Central London: so many charming mews I had never entered, and so many architectural details I never before took time to appreciate!

The Instagram accounts of my friends at the Society are another source of joy; I am impressed by the art many of you are managing to create in these constrained circumstances and can’t wait to see it in person.

When so many people are suffering, I know my experience of lockdown has been very fortunate.

KA 29 May 2020