A LOVE of classic cars and motorcycles has kept Gez Nahoulakian busy throughout the lockdown, working on orders at his family trim shop. He tells the musician Piney Gir about village life and battling the virus itself.

Piney: Who are you?

Gez: My name’s Gez known to my family as Jiro, and I make bespoke classic car interiors and motorcycle seats for the family-run Nahoulakian Classic Car & Motorcycle trim shop in Drayton.

P: Where do you live and how has it changed since lockdown?

G: I live in Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon, and feel very grateful to be here during these unusual times. Nature surrounds me and it’s quite a quiet little place at the best of times but with lockdown I’ve definitely noticed it getting quieter... especially as the three pubs are closed. Saying that, I’ve definitely felt more of a connection with my neighbours. Everyone’s been checking in on each other via street group chats, from making sure everyone has their essentials to swapping seeds for gardening, and even linking up with a local Scrubhub group to do our bit for the NHS, making scrubs, masks and bags. I definitely feel like it’s bringing people together, even if we’re self isolating.

P: How far away do you work?

G: I live close to my parents which is also where I work in the small family business – in Steventon Road, Drayton

P: How do you work while avoiding contact with others?

G: We can arrange pick up and drop off without contact for most jobs. As daily norms have come to a bit of a stop due to lockdown, my regular work load has slowed down a bit, though I do still consider myself lucky as I’ve had a backlog of work I’ve been managing to get through without having much interaction with customers.

Hopefully this will ease soon, but until then I’ll do my best to keep my chin up and to not worry about a future I have no control over.

Oxford Mail:

P: What does your typical day look like in isolation?

G: Luckily, I still manage to see my parents and try to keep their spirits high even with all the fear. It’s not always easy but it’s essential.

P: What has been your experience of cornavirus and what advice would you give to others?

G: My family and I have all had it to differing levels of severity. It really does hit everyone in very different ways. My mother definitely got hit hard and struggled for a good few weeks, where as I had a heavy week followed by a week of almost normality, though I definitely found myself getting tired quickly and grew short of breath at the sight of any exercise – and couldn’t taste a thing!! It’s no joke, it really does suck! We were the lucky ones though.

P: What else do you get up to?

G: I spent the past year spending more time by myself and figuring out what I really love. I developed a deeper connection to nature which got me into foraging. I did a course pre-lockdown with local forager Justine H Gens. I highly recommend checking her out.

I’ve always been a keen cook and love experimenting. I’ve taken to making beef jerky and rhubarb candy to send to friends and family so that keeps me entertained through these weird times. And I am still able to sample natural wines from Catalonia courtesy of Rubén a great friend of mine from L’altre Vi in Oxford – another small, local, family business.

Oxford Mail:

P: Is there anything positive you are getting from the lockdown?

G: Having more time to myself has made me more health conscious. I’m actually making more time for myself. Another good friend of mine Lewis at Root Steady Yoga in Abingdon got me into yoga a year or so ago, and I’ve definitely had more time to myself to be able to work that into my routine.

But I’m also not giving myself a hard time when I just want to sit around and be unproductive.

P: There is no denying the Corona virus is horrible, but has there been anything positive to have come through these awful times?

G: Through all the fear, we just have to keep a positive outlook. Obviously stick to the rules, but also understand that the planet is doing well at this time and we’ll just have to evolve into whatever comes our way.