Ed and Peter

Ed Prichard in conversation with
Peter Hotston

Peter is a senior programme manager, working with DEFRA as a Strategic Portfolio Delivery Advisor for the last couple of years. We met at school in the late 70s and spent many years making an unholy racket together in various bands. Today, he continues to write and perform solo or with his band.

Note 1: March-May

Peter contracted Covid-19 in March (possibly at an Elvis Costello gig or at the office). His elderly neighbours looked out for him while he was ill, and he does the same for them now. He has a daily lockdown routine; exercise followed by long hours working at ‘mission control’ – two screens and a standing desk.

He’s missing ‘time anchors’ and he feels what he calls “a lack” in lockdown – of friends, old routines, travel. Freedom is much on his mind as he was about to embark on a two-month adventure sailing around Britain. He’s enjoyed the gang of goldfinches that have taken over his garden, they lift his spirits.

He misses sailing with his teenage daughter but the time they spend together is precious – cuddled up on the sofa watching a film together is “great for her, fantastic for me”. Her close friends have become closer – as one said: “We’re not friends, we’re family now.” She’s taking things in her stride, but he’s worried about the mark all this might leave.

As always, he’s optimistic but clear-sighted: “It would be lovely if things change,” he says. “But the system has to change to support the people who will fall by the wayside.”

Ed & Peter in a school band live on stage

Note 2: May-July

E: “How’s it been?” 

It’s been an eventful few weeks – the same routine of exercise, work, eat, sleep, repeat. That said Peter has been busy as ever. His yacht ‘Feronia’ is back in the water. Half the house has been demolished, building work begun. He’s built a Shepherd’s hut in the garden for his home office. He still can’t taste or smell anything.

P: “Can’t complain.”

Ed: “How’s it been?” 

He’s missing being around people, which suits his personal style of collaborating and getting things done. Zoom World is grinding – a digital playground with the swings, jungle gyms and fun removed, by order. Other’s lack of respect is starting to grate too – someone interrupted a meeting to check out on Ocado.

Peter: “I don’t get it.”

Ed: “How’s it been?

It’s not all doom and gloom. He’s still his usual optimistic self, looking out for neighbours and friends. He’s fine with his own company, but even that’s being stretched. Easing of lockdown has opened up precious long walks to see the sunset with his daughter Inika. But time is still morphing in weird ways. The days drag, his time anchors are still adrift.

Peter: “It’s life on Mars.”


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