Outside In

Marco: “Today is chest and biceps day. I’m 49 and when I hit my 40s I stopped drinking, smoking, all of that stuff, and did more exercise and weights. You need to do that if you want to carry on and keep fit. I wasn’t doing weights outside before all this kicked off and when my son visited we started doing them here. Though he left a month ago I’ve kept it up -  I work for a rail company and on furlough, though I’m back working next week.
"I can’t be going on TV binges, If I did that I’d need to pick up a skipping rope within 30 minutes. I’ve been here in Dalston for 20 years, and near here used to the be front line - muggings, gang stuff, you name it. All sorts. There used to be a shop that sold rock and weed with your groceries, until - or so I heard - they did that with a policeman. He came back with 20 police an hour later.
"I think it was the Olympics that changed it. To be honest with you, I think it’s perfect now.”
 
Elizabaeth: "I'm still working at a Steiner school and going in to teach the pupils of key workers, and I also teach from here using Zoom. That said, I had four calls today and two of them cut out for some reason!
"The barge is called Inspiration, and I bought it a year ago - that's what it was called when I bought it, and they say it's bad luck to change the name. "Normally on barges we have to move every two weeks - I enjoy that part of it. With coronavirus that's not the case now, we're supposed to mostly stay where we are. With Victoria park closed this canal path is busier than ever, but I've got a good spot because I can easily get to work on the overground train nearby.
"The book? It is called Secret Sisterhood, about the friendships of Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot and the little-known letters they sent each other."
Stephan (front): "I run a construction business and we stopped because people were understandably nervous but it's great to be back working again. I've been pretty bored during lockdown. You hear all kinds of messages - masks, no masks, so on - but I just go out because I know the sun is good for me.
"We have four generations living here in Dalston. I'm 42 now, and growing up around here you had to be strong, but if you knew the right people you were fine. It's changed a lot, but change is good.
"I like reading about history, and the environment. You work in documentaries? Have you done anything on chemtrails? You should."
Jermaine (right): "I'm sociable, I want to get back to work though it's often a 50 hour week. I'm food and drink manager, and we've got a Whatsapp group with the other employees where we're sharing cooking tips." 
Chloe (2nd on the left): "It's my 21st birthday...nah, only kidding, it's my 29th. We were going to head over to London Fields but the weather turned and now it's got sunny so here we are. I was a bit sad about having a birthday on lockdown yesterday but you know what? I'm with my friends and I'm enjoying it." I've been living here for the past year. Before that  I was in Muswell Hill."
Marcus, aka Ragga: "I'm a DJ, I've done all sorts but my real passion is roots. I got on the microphone back in the 60s and 70s, and when you'd have others talking patois I'd be talking cockney. People were a bit scared to come to the east end then, but the gangsters loved the music too and everyone - black and white - came for those parties.
"I went to Spain for a decade - they were 15 years behind, musically - and used to organise parties there, but came back for my kids. I'm in my 60s now, and I don't DJ as much. When it comes to coronavirus, I enjoy my own company so I'm actually doing fine at the moment. I can keep busy just polishing and enjoying my old sound system.
"People see me and say "Ragga, you're sitting down". I tell them I've been up for 35 years!"
"I started working at The Market Cartel in February and then everything happened. I'm just here at the moment helping because we're now selling the clothes online and we need to take some pictures."
Sarah: "So this sounds a bit strange, but I'm drawing a newt at the moment. It's for my friend, it's her birthday tonight and she works for DEFRA studying newts.
"We're having a Zoom party for her, and wearing pictures of newts on our heads, and she has to guess which newt it is. "This is supposed to be a great crested newt, but that's actually the only one I know."
Jade: "It's my birthday today, and I've spent it preparing this BBQ with my family. It's the first of the year. Normally we might have a BBQ for the kids earlier in the day and gone out after but you've got to make the best of things, haven't you?"
Kuldeep: "I'm just making this box to go around our drain pipe. I don't normally do this kind of thing - I work at Royal Mail -  but you've got to keep busy haven't you?"
Agatha, Jamie and Dan enjoying a sparking wine.
Agatha: “We would never have hung out here before, and we’ve been living here 15 years. It’s been a hard shift, and though I’m still employed the thought of losing my job is giving me sleepless nights.
“I’m a sociable person too, and miss that aspect of it,  though being out here means you speak to people you wouldn’t have before, too. There was a woman who has passed by here for three or four years, and we never spoke until recently. Now we’re talking whenever we see each other!”
Casper, chasing the sun. Too relaxed to say much at all.