Life in Lockdown: Hugh Martin

In the latest instalment of our “Life in Lockdown” series, Hugh Martin, Registrar and Chief Administrative Officer at The British University in Dubai, shares his personal experiences of life and work during lockdown. Hugh talks to us about baking, hummingbirds, and cycling in the scorching Dubai heat.

What is your proudest achievement since lockdown began?

Forcing myself to go out cycling every evening after the last Zoom meeting, even though it’s still 38°c in Dubai with 70% humidity. My iPhone helpfully tells me it “feels like 50°c.”

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

Trying to work out why meetings and committees – which used to take two hours face-to-face – now take a whole day and/or need several reconvenings on Zoom.

How are you finding working from home?

A combination of relaxing, frustrating, frenetic, distracting, comforting (time for real breakfast and real coffee), inventive, monotonous, connected, and disconnected.

A bit like working from the office then… except for the breakfast and coffee.

What have you learned about yourself during lockdown?

That so many other people have it much, much worse than me. I continue to be grateful.

What are you most looking forward to once lockdown is lifted?

A much cheaper electricity bill by not having to have the air conditioning on at home all day.

Also, getting back to the office where I can Zoom without being interrupted by cooking smells, kettles boiling, vacuuming, dishwashers, washing machines, doorbells, microwave pings, leaf blowers, and children playing.

What will you miss the most about life in lockdown?

Baking, daily exercise, keeping regular hours, peace and quiet, getting up just before 9am, and having time for family and friends online.

I’ll also miss seeing my friendly street cat pop by for a visit, and watching the hummingbirds in the garden.

What one piece of advice or lesson learned in lockdown would you share with members?

Walk, don’t run.

Nobody knows all the answers and nobody has been through this before, so don’t rush at solutions, and don’t beat yourself up when you get things wrong.

You shouldn’t be afraid to change your mind, direction or purpose.


Hugh Martin is the Registrar and Chief Administrative Officer at The British University in Dubai. You can follow Hugh on Twitter.