And the people stayed home is a journal of life during Coronavirus outbreak in England in 2020 and 2021. The title is inspired by a poem attributed to Kitty O’Meara, which circulated on social media as countries all over the world faced the unthinkable and unprecedented prospect of total lockdown:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

-Kitty O’Meara

Writer Maddie Grigg is the pen name of magazine columnist and former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. She lives in the idyllic Dorset village she calls Lush Places, which she writes about for the oldest women’s weekly magazine in the world, The People’s Friend.

From 2007 to 2019 she wrote The World from My Window blog, charted the seasons in 2017 for A Dorset Year and contributed to The Lady Shed, posts from three female writers living in the same village.

The blog you’re reading now began in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic gave a new focus to her writing.

Margery’s career highlights include going down Plymouth’s sewers as a trainee journalist in 1981, visiting the Falkland Islands as part of a press trip in 1987, editing the Bridport and Lyme Regis News from 1999-2004, graduating with First Class Honours in Humanities with Creative Writing from The Open University in 2011, finding out early in 2016 that she was related to Ernest Hemingway (his intrepid great grandfather and her three times great grandmother were brother and sister) and winning a holiday for two to Peru for a national travel writing essay later that year.

During the first lockdown in 2020, Margery played the theme tune to The Sound of Music, followed by a song request, from her window overlooking the village square, every day at one o’clock. She was featured on the BBC World Service and a special lockdown edition of Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs. The music was reprised during the second lockdown and then followed by carols in the lead-up to Christmas when the village became a living Advent calendar. She did this for a total of one hundred and twenty six days.

Now working as a freelance writer, she is in her second year of studying for an MA in creative writing with the OU, with a historical novel to complete and a collection of short stories in 2021.