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Christophe Château

Head of Communications, Customer and Local Services, Government of Jersey / Performer

2020 what a year!

It started off quite exciting. I was flown out to Saudi Arabia to provide the first of a series of communication skills courses. Then everything changed. The curtain came crashing down on our own entertainments business in late February as lockdown loomed. Every booking was cancelled and at the very same time I heard a rumour that my day job was at risk. Lockdown was brought in. I transitioned to home-working.

We managed to fly our youngest home from university and she continued her studies and dance classes in our makeshift dining-room come dance-studio at home. She went on to graduate, remotely too. Having the family home did mean we could supply a video of Lindy Hop for Liberation Day – we shall not be defeated! And a tiny bit of filming for a certain housewives programme too.

I think I missed hugging the most, friends shouting greetings through the kitchen window was never going to be the same.

My redundancy was communicated mid-year over Zoom. It was a role I loved and the news came as a much tougher blow than I had expected. I am naturally positive but I took it personally. The marketplace was saturated with job-seekers and I wasn’t looking forward to no income during the remainder of the year or Covid-19. Perhaps the stars were aligned in my favour though because I was immediately offered another role. It helped me cope with being ‘dumped’ and now that I am in a new place I love it. I work with a brilliant team making a difference to the Island, working with a real sense of purpose.

With no choreography lessons to give I began teaching tap dance classes over Zoom for free. The weekly class gave me a sense of time and place and accountability to the students. It became my ‘normality’ - if you can call filming yourself from an ironing board with a GoPro and tap shoes normal.

So, looking back, what have I done with the extra time? I’ve improved my yoga headstands with Mike Canas, embraced Mary Kondo clothes folding, been blackberry picking and made sorbet, tried lots of new vegan recipes, made a disastrous hazelnut brittle (more like soft sponge than brittle) and eaten hundreds of home-made loaves of wholemeal bread.

I have also continued my journey with the Wim Hof method under the careful eyes of local instructor Russ Allchin ‘on line’. Ice Baths are a great way to test your mental focus. The toughest bit for me has been watching the events and entertainment industry that I love, just fall over – with little to no support from the various powers that be. I don’t know what the answer will be either.

2020 what a year!