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My name is Lauren, I’m 45 years old and I live in Portsmouth.

My husband is in the Navy and when I read about the PROPS project it rang a bell with me in terms of how isolation issues have affected certain groups for a long time. 

My situation

Although COVID has made isolation a hot topic recently, I’ve been in a situation for many years of having plenty of support offered but never being able to take advantage of it, leading to a feeling of being a one-woman island. I live away from relatives and work full time, raising two children, most of the time single-handed, I either work or parent with little time to form friendships. 

Three things in my handbag

My Swiss army knife (always useful, more for the nail file, than anything else)

Mask (says it all right now)

Mobile phone (best way to keep in touch with people at the moment).

Three objects on my shelf

A Buddha with a coin (for good fortune), gin bottle (for good feelings), glass bowl from Scotland (reminds me of good times).

Something that I’m waiting for

I dream of a house by the beach. (Which wouldn’t help with my isolation issues, but I like the idea anyway).

A routine I can’t do

Hanging out the girl’s uniform the night before school, and closing down the house (closing all curtains, turning lamps on, laying out the breakfast table). I can’t settle for the evening until this is done. Some call it anal; I call it organised!

The kinds of things people say to me in my situation

“Time will fly” (it will crawl at the pace of a snail)

“At least you get all the bed to yourself” (I like cuddling my husband)

“You knew what you were getting into” (Nope)

Three random comments I overheard

(These are from my girls – normally delivered at bed time to delay the inevitable)

What is earth?

Do you know that right now millions of people are having a number 2?

What is your favourite dinosaur?

Things I would change if I ran the country

I would award post-deployment certificates/awards to Forces spouses and children, and offer free gin during deployments. 

Thinking big, I would do everything in my power to help the environment and also help empower young girls to achieve their dreams. Thinking realistically, in this age of technology, there must be better ways to help people cope with isolation. We need some out-of-the-box thinking here.

Three things I can see out of my window right now

Seagulls on the roof opposite

My patio with lovely new furniture that I’ll get to use in summer

A massive tree which is home to mad squirrels which distract me from working by running round the garden

A thing which marks a boundary in my life

My front door. I know that’s a bit literal but my front door is a psychological boundary as well as a physical on. Sometimes I have to remind myself to get out there and meet/mix with people. Difficult at the moment, I will work on this when we can socialise again.

Three pieces of music that get me through