29 April 2020

Milligan Life Under Lockdown: Paul Hanegraaf

At the weekends, Paul and his family have been spending their time cutting patterns and sewing in a surgical gown production line, making PPE for a local NHS trust. But during the week, his working set up looks a lot like this.

What’s your working from home set up?

When we redid the house some years ago we created workspaces (modest but effective) in each of the kids bedrooms and thus have had very little qualm about excommunicating them, sequestering them and seeing them off to their rooms. We have a large studio that has two workplaces (one photographers) and then in the kitchen dining space we made one for my wife, Cindy… so in a way this is a full on test for what was designed and built during the last recession and it works rather nicely… and having a big garden to enjoy sunshine lunches in helps a great deal.

Have you dedicated any lockdown time to learning a new skill?

Less a new skill and more doing more of what I enjoy. We have a weekly cooking rota so I am cooking a lot more. Sharing more of the domestics… and trying to read more. I spend a bit more time researching new gins too.

What’s the best and most challenging thing about working from home?

Best?…  being able to step out at midday and in about three minutes be along the River Thames for as long a walk as you might wish for. I have also really enjoyed the convening of very bright professionals in two conversational chat groups I have been invited to… they have been exceedingly stimulating.

Challenging?… I would say it is the social restrictions… both business and personal.

What are you reading at the moment?

In a business related sense I feel the world we are headed into will have every possibility of being quite different than the one we left before lockdown. I also feel the first 2-3 years after will be uniquely different than the years thereafter and so have been seining the internet and news feeds to garner insight and thought about those. I find the research process; the questioning and discovery very enjoyable. I also bought three new books about current trends in the makers, creators and craft world before we got sent away and am wading through those as and when.

In casual reading I have just finished and Orange Prize nominated book called Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line – was a fine read. Now wading into The Salt Path.

What are you listening to when working from home?

At the cusp of the morn with first coffee it is generally orchestral classical. During the day I am enjoying working my way through every one of the NPR Tiny Desk concerts. NPR is the US equivalent of Radio 4. They take a producers desk – his workstation, and invite musicians to play three songs. The only audience are NPR staff and it has earned a real cult following. Folks like Tower or Power, Adele and Sting and Harry Styles to the most obscure regional US Indie bands play. It is really lovely. Because of the lockdown, they are doing Tiny Desk Home Concerts with the artists filming and playing from their homes. Lang Lang and Laura Marling were posted this week – really cool.  https://www.npr.org/series/tiny-desk-concerts/

What’s your snack and drink of choice?

I wouldn’t say the drink of choice has changed – coffee am, fruit juice daytime and some form of gin by 5/6pm… however the quality has elevated a bit. Snacking is held to fresh fruits save for when there are mixed nuts or salted cashews in the house!