Hello from England 5 25 2020

And here we are again!!!! I hope this blog finds you all well and happy albeit in lockdown and missing all the usual treats of each day –  like meeting friends, a hug, a handshake……all those little things which we take for granted and will savour so much when all this is over.IMG_6489.JPG

Things here in England are pretty much the same, rules are still in place but somehow there is an air of people starting to flout the them in small ways….there is more traffic on the roads, people are at the beach in bigger groups than allowed, young people gathering more openly! There are due to be more changes this week which will hopefully relax things a little more yet not go overboard. I worry that we must be careful of sending the death rates up again, there are so many heartbreaking stories that show us just how easy it would be to start this all up againIMG_6682 2.jpgIMG_0752.jpg

We have a bank holiday this weekend and usually the seaside resorts are where people would head for the day or a whole weekend if the weather is good which it is this weekend. But we are trying to discourage rather then encourage people from descending on our town, so many people seem to think that this pandemic is over and crowd onto the beaches despite many roads and car parks being closed. They ignore the rules and park anywhere…..needless to say, residents stay away and make do with long walks along the promenades!      IMG_0751.jpg Then of course, there is the issue that always appears when day trippers have left, the rubbish!!!! I wonder sometimes about people who cannot put their rubbish into a bag and take it home with them to dispose of there when we all have weekly collections of rubbish.Thankfully we have have many volunteers  who are part of the ‘keep our beaches clean’ group and help collect what is left ……. This helps the refuse collectors who are constantly emptying bins and replacing bags. Litter is one of my pet hates, I have been known to run after people who have dropped something to tell them, ‘I think you have dropped this’….I cannot repeat here what the response is sometimes, mostly they walk away from this mad woman chasing them and sometimes they actually apologise and take it from me, no doubt to throw it down again further up the road but I feel a sense of satisfaction……..

After telling you last week that we had completed the orders for scrubs, production has started up again, not in such a big way but enough to fulfil orders from care homes and doctors that fell through the net and did not get the scrubs and gowns first time around.

I am anxious to get the community hub up and running again, even in some small way – so to this end we have been getting the garden around the hub looking inviting and reminding people that we will return, it was a big job and has needed to be done for a long time. We cleared every speck of rubbish, pulled every weed, mowed the grass and planted more shrubs and flowers after pruning back overgrown and dead shrubs that had been allowed to grow wild. We hired a skip and filled it to the brim, jumping on the rubbish inside to break it down, a satisfying process!! What I love about working outside at the hub is that lots of people stop to chat, it is the correct distance, we are opposites sides of the wall, and use the library that has been outside for a couple of years now, I have seen at first hand just how valuable the library is to our neighbourhood. I keep meaning to make a map of where all the libraries are so they can visit them all, maybe next week!IMG_6778.jpg

We have a community out there just waiting to get back to the wonderful groups and projects that have been put on hold……board games, book clubs, history groups, film buffs, Astronomy (who will be able to get a clearer look into space with the atmosphere clearing), we have sewing groups, photography and lots more. I think the over 65 group is one of those that is hugely missing the company of others…….and our most vulnerable people who rely on us for so many things, I cannot wait to see them all! I realise of course, that it will be different and a long time before we get back to some semblance of normality.

I am, just like huge amounts of other people, loving the Zoom sessions, they are becoming more and more inventive as time goes on. We have quizzes and Bingo and guessing games as well as charades and challenges with friends and families, in some ways it is better for us because we are spending more quality time with people than before, it is such fun and can get crazy with everyone trying to answer a question or guess a person, combine it with a cocktail and it can be hilarious! We are also still taking part in our daily yoga sessions, these are brilliant and keep us moving!

Our weather continues to be glorious and although we are still officially in Spring the weather is in Summer mode, if it continues like this until Autumn it will be fabulous and holidays abroad will not be missed quite as much. In fact, we have been thinking about holidays and as most of you know, we love to travel but with the restrictions around going out of the country (as well as a little anxiety about getting on a crowded plane) we have been thinking about adventuring in our own lovely country of England. There are so many places we have not seen, historic buildings like Downton Abbey, Warwick Castle, country parks and the Peak District, coastal areas, countryside, activities such as the worlds fastest zip wire in the world, Zip World Velocity, and the longest in Europe which is in Wales, Stonehenge and many, many more. Always something to which we can look forward, even our next trip to LWB!!8ea3f829-dd13-4051-9e8c-b551a65f104b.JPG

I am attaching one of the Zoom puzzles we completed…IMG_0628.jpg……answers  next week

See you next week, stay safe, stay happy, always stay happy…..

XXX

       Hello from England…IMG_0742

Where it is Spring and the weather is beautiful. I never thought I would say it but sometimes it is better during this time if the weather is not so good because while the sun is shining,  day trippers will descend on our beaches and unfortunately some people have no sense of social distancing!!! Just last week the rules were relaxed to allow people to travel in their cars outside their immediate locations, to go out to exercise more than once a day and to meet up with family or friends in open spaces…..that was a good one as all those people who had not seen family or friends other than on Zoom or WhatsApp got to see them in person. Of course lots of groups are out, picnicking and playing games which involved being together. Although longing to rush up to them and have physical contact by way of a hug, it was better than nothing.

And my daily Thoughts for the Day’ board which I put outside every day states it is day 61 today. I thought back to 60 days ago and I was in Cambodia, having been sent out of Vietnam earlier than planned and arriving in Cambodia earlier than planned. It became obvious that we would have to come home and  the tour company managed eventually to get us on the last flight out of Cambodia, quite a circuitous route which just seemed a blur of airports and temperature checks and masks and form filling but we made it and two days later on Monday the lockdown was put in place!!!!! What a strange situation to be in……..IMG_6806

was a terrible time to start, we knew the NHS (National Health Service) would be stretched to the limit which it was…. and it wasn’t too long before the PPE equipment was running out and doctors and nurses and key workers were left vulnerable ….but as usual the community rose up to help. The community Hub that I run became the centre for collecting material, patterns and thread and before long completed sets of scrubs were completed and on their way to hospitals, care homes, hospices……and they kept coming. People donated material, dropping off in the box I put outside, it was full every day of sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases….all ready to be transformed into funky scrubs. The pillow cases make fabulous  uniform bags which nurses put the uniform into coming off shift and then throw the whole lot into the washing machine to prevent transference of germs.  IMG_6802 We have just last week stopped making them because the orders had been fulfilled and we are now onto masks because when we are going back to school or out in public we are going to have to wear them. I have just organised a group to make children’s masks as they will also have to wear them, once again people are offering to make them….community is wonderful! Our oldest sewer is a man of 90 years of age who is incredible with a sewing machine, in fact he can turn his hand to anything and was instrumental in changing an old store room at the back of the hub into a workshop where we hold classes for sewing and crafting and creating wonderful things. He gathered a team of women around him and with me delivering material and picking up completed scrubs, he had quite an operation going. Now he has turned his hands to the masks and, not content with using the usual pattern, has designed his own with a special pouch inside into which an antibacterial cloth is inserted, he’s incredible!!!IMG_6586

And so we continue, we are just about to open places like coffee shops, mostly for take away although there are lines on the floor denoting where you can and cannot sit…it’s a start. And my favourite, garden centres, are opening woohoo!!!! Now the garden can look beautiful. Clothes stores and large department stores are not yet opening and the High Street is deserted which is so strange to see, even more strange to see are the streets of London empty, it is always busy and like many big cities, it never usually sleeps….well, it’s having a long nap at the moment!

We have a big debate on at the moment about school openings, some say yes, some say no and it is all up in the air! I think schools should reopen for all students with restrictions, like wearing masks, washing hands and using sanitising gel….restrict movement around the High Schools which have narrow corridors and thousands of young people, not a good mix at the moment….and so we wait for the edict on that one, I will be interested to hear what is happening in LWB!!! We were supposed to be with you in LWB at this particular time, needless to say, it was cancelled………..I hope it won’t be long before we can all meet again.

Numbers of deaths have diminished hugely and we are winning this particular battle for the moment but when this is all over the hospitals will be stretched once more dealing with all the operations and appointments that were cancelled, seeing all those people who were too scared to visit the doctor or hospital………..let’s hope everyone has learned lessons from this and money is put into the right places, like the hospitals and clinics and care homes….time will tell.

IMG_0743Every Thursday all over the country people come out of their homes to applaud the doctors, nurses, key workers, refuse collectors, postmen and women and thousands of others keeping us going. It has turned into a big event every week now, cars blow horns, people, bang spoons on saucepans, musicians entertain ……. a nice event to show our appreciation. Even the royal family clap…………..IMG_5893

I hope you all continue to keep safe and well, we are all in this together…..see you next week with lots of positive news I hope……

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