Lockdown Diaries: A day in the life of new St Neots mayor Stephen Ferguson

Stephen Ferguson at home in St Neots during lockdown.

Stephen Ferguson at home in St Neots during lockdown. - Credit: Archant

“If I’m not too exhausted, then I’ll read or try to solve some maths puzzles,” - Stephen Ferguson on lockdown.

Our alarm goes off at 7:30 am. I’m not usually an early riser. If I could get away with it, I would lie in bed for much longer.

However, my fiancée Charlotte starts work at 8 am and uses our bedroom as her office (at least on those days when she isn’t homeschooling the kids). This means I usually have until exactly 7:59 am to reluctantly vacate the bed.

The first thing that I do is click on the Black Cat Radio app on my phone so that I can listen to Ste Greenall on the Full English Breakfast Radio show. At the same time, I look through the numerous social media notifications from the St Neots Facebook group that will have appeared on my phone overnight. If it’s Wednesday, I’ll download the Hunts post and read it backward, starting at the letters page, and flipping towards the front cover, reading stories as I go. These days I find these local media sources much more exciting and engaging than all the doom and gloom perpetrated by the national media.

If I’m lucky, Charlotte will kick me out of bed with a cup of tea. After a quick shower, I’ll head down to the kitchen for some cuddle time with my two sausage dogs, Sebastian and 10-week-old puppy Rufus, who will cover me with licks as I try to eat my toast. It’s all pretty unhygienic.

From 9am to 12pm, I’ll lock myself in my office and try to do some work. My mornings are usually taken up by avoiding urgent emails and trying to get some writing done. Since my afternoons are always taken up with meetings and phone calls, I try to finish my creative work in the mornings.

Then at lunchtime, I’ll walk the dogs - usually on a 2.8-mile loop around Love’s Farm. I’m trying to walk 1000 miles this year, although I’m currently 70 miles behind that target and failing miserably. I’ll head out at 12pm with Sebastian, and then Charlotte and the kids will join me at 12:30, carrying Rufus in his puppy papoose. This fresh air is usually the highlight of a long and busy day. I typically get back home in time to scoff down a sandwich so that I’m back at my desk for when my virtual meetings start at 1pm.

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Charlotte finishes work at 5:30 pm, and if I’m lucky, I’ll finish before 6 pm. After this, I usually get my head down to try and do some council work. Now that I am mayor, there is always something I need to do. On Tuesdays, I chair full town council meetings, which I find both exhilarating and exhausting. Other than that, I end up attending at least three of four other council related meetings during a typical week. It takes up lots of my free time.

I am fortunate to have such a supportive family; otherwise, I wouldn’t manage to be the mayor alongside my full-time job.

Charlotte usually cooks us all a lovely dinner, and if possible, we sit together as a family to eat it. Charlotte puts the kids to bed between 7pm and 8pm. If I’m not occupied with council meetings, I’ll either return to my office to do some computer programming, or I’ll thrash my 18-year-old son Christopher at American Football games on the Playstation.

The remainder of the evening is usually spent on the sofa with Charlotte and me exchanging cuddles with Sebastian, Rufus, and each other. If I’m not too exhausted, then I’ll read or try to solve some maths puzzles, but these days we usually try to work our way through a couple of episodes of a box set. We head up to bed at about 10:30 pm, where we sit and chat and sometimes read. We rarely get to sleep before midnight.

I quite enjoy the simplicity of lockdown life, especially spending more time at home with the family. Although I miss the Ale Taster and I miss Parkrun, with all the mayor stuff going on, I don’t have much time for a more extensive social life. I honestly can’t remember a happier or more fulfilling time in my life,