Amelia and Evie
Amelia and Evie

WhatsApp Warrior and FaceTime Gran...

THE occasional FaceTime call would catch me off-guard, pre-lockdown.

The staccato beeping drilling into my ears used to fill me with a sense of anxiety – “Why on earth is somebody FaceTiming me?” 

As a millennial, I live my life on the internet, leaving the art of writing letters behind in favour of the instant message. I class myself as a WhatsApp Warrior, safe in the knowledge that nobody could possibly see me sitting on my sofa in my beloved llama pyjamas, while I type away for hours on end.

Anything is possible online, from buying clothes to ordering your favourite takeaway – no feat is too great. Three years ago, we decided to give my grandmother an iPad for Christmas to try to negate the space between us, to bring her back into the social sphere and connect her with her distant friends and family.

We tried and tried but nothing seemed to make the touch screen buttons and strange filters coincide with her daily life. She’d lived 72 years without an iPad, so the urgency for one simply wasn’t there.

But in March, as the realities of lockdown became more apparent, she decided to revisit her long-lost piece of technology and unlock it for the first time in two years.

A few weeks ago, my phone suddenly started to buzz on the kitchen counter with the name “Granny” boldly plastered on the screen. In utter disbelief I answered the call to see her delighted face beaming back at me. We were both completely overjoyed to finally see each other after a painfully long time apart.

It felt as if she was sitting right beside me giving me a big hug – just what I needed! Whether the rest of my family felt the same way is unclear, as once she had pressed the red ‘end’ button she then proceeded to FaceTime all her family contacts in an uncontrollable wave of glee. We may not be physically together, but FaceTime has given us the opportunity to be emotionally connected with our loved ones like never before – and it’s brilliant!

Amelia Oates

Only outing has been down memory lane...

PRE-CORONAVIRUS, life was all about living in the moment, making plans for the next social event and enjoying the company of others. It was not about dwelling on the past.

Under lockdown, day-to-day living, for me, is repetitive: I spend my time visiting the fridge, working at my desk and taking refuge in my bed. And we all need an escape from the bad news which constantly pours onto our screens. The ‘moment’ has been replaced by a seemingly endless succession of days melding into one another. The enforced change of pace has, for some, brought a change of focus. Instead of the now, we can take time to reflect on the past.

As I miss my friends and playing in orchestra, I cling to memories of those happier times, in coffee shops and restaurants and parks. Nostalgia for the recent past (though it doesn’t feel so recent) gives us hope for what’s ahead, as restrictions continue to be eased. Reliving more distant memories has also brought giggles: mum and I recently re-discovered a mystery video game from about 10 years ago, which remained unfinished because life got in the way. 

But now, with all of this time, I’m delighted to say that we have fulfilled seven-year-old Evie’s ambitions and solved it. It has been fantastic to delve into the past, take a trip down memory lane and, for once, not live in the moment so much.

Evie Brenkley

Keeping up with the Quaranteens is an occasional column looking at life for teenagers, edited by Evie Brenkley and Amelia Oates. To get involved email