Simon Whitehead – Pakefield Ferrets
It was February 2020. I had battled through Storm Dennis on my return from The British Shooting show. My year was building up to be a busy and fruitful one with plenty of demonstrations and shows booked. My talks around the country were becoming highly anticipated, and I was looking forward to moving forward with my life after moving to the beautiful hills of North Yorkshire.
Now it feels like we have been living on some sort of filmset for a sci fi movie. The news resembled something off a Netflix series as opposed to actual real life, the whole nation gathers around the TV to watch the Prime Ministers announcements.
Covid-19 was getting to grips with the world. Slowly, week by week, email by email, my own personal nightmare was beginning to unfold in front of my eyes. There was nothing I could do about it. In the space of fourteen-days, I lost almost all of my shows, talks and demonstrations for the year. Cancelled to help halt the spread of Covid-19. My year was now just a load of messy crossed out events on my wall planner. What the hell was I going to do?
Thankfully, I had just moved into a lovely part of North Yorkshire before we were all officially told to stay home, and in my case, shield. After taking stock of the unprecedented turn of events, survival mode kicked in and I looked towards the positives of the situation. I was in good health, had a roof over my head and food in my belly. I had plenty to keep me occupied and sane however hard is was, and still is, to get my head around how this would affect me, and the rest of the country going forward. I was determined that I wasn’t going to let it beat me.
Before all of this was even on the radar, I had made the decision to keep my lurcher Tawny, off the shows and breed her. I now have seven larger than life pups running about. I also made a promise to myself that I would get fitter and run a 10k this year. Well, after I achieved this sooner than I expected my ambitions have moved higher and there is a laminated plan on the wall to get to running a distance that should only be done in a car in my opinion! Keeping physically fit has helped me keep mentally astute especially with my usual routine and calendar up the swanny, I need to have a new one. The last thing I wanted to do was to slip into a lazy mindset, lounging about feeling sorry for myself. Not that I expect that would be allowed with ‘The List’ that had been created for me. But still, eating and drinking too much and not making the most of this unexpected time that I have at home would be an easy trap to fall into.
I have and continue to work on the never-ending list of jobs around the house. A nice veg patch, chicken run and a mega cool drink shack at the bottom of the front garden to name a few. I picked up my cameras and started to snap, film and edit more. I used the time to edit a short film about stalking that was sitting on my hard drive for a year that I was too busy to produce.
The local rabbits are getting sorted, and I have had time to research and practice some delicious new rabbit recipes. I have started another book project, and maybe another as well, who knows. As I keep myself busy and the time flies by and I find myself wondering how I had time to do everything before? The answer is I didn’t, I’m not normally home for long in ‘show season’.
But, it hasn’t all been sweet roses or a holiday. At times it has been extremely hard. Mentally it has knocked the stuffing out of me on many levels. I have not seen my daughter in Suffolk for over three months, although with modern technology we talk each day, it’s not the same as seeing her smile and giving her a huge monkey armed hug. The way in which my whole year unravelled made me realise that ‘plan B’ should have been better thought out. Like many others, the financial implications of covid-19 are draining. Despite the limited income, the bills are still the same and the money needs to be found.
As time goes on, we now look to the future and consider how will we react when we can socialise, work, and go about our lives again. How will it feel to have guests in our houses again? Will we ever feel comfortable being around crowds of people again? Will we be able to be in public spaces without face coverings? I like most others, do not have the answers.
What I do know is that when I come back, I will be better for the experience. Fitter both physically and mentally, and able to utilise the new skills that I have acquired whilst being at home for longer than I have in 20 years.
My ferreting experience days are now drawing enquiries from all over the world, and locally as people want to become more self-sufficient. My website has been tweaked, my writing is in full swing and hopefully by time I start ferreting, we will have the new normal, whatever that will is.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/simon.m.whitehead/
Website – www.pakefieldferrets.co.uk