Finding your way through lockdown 2

Here we are, all together, in the middle of Lockdown 2, writes Caroline Green of Wetherby U3A. We have a second chance and another opportunity to turn out our possessions. Admittedly it has taken a few days to settle into the new regime, and another few days to come up with a plan. However, this is where we are with just over a month to Christmas and a plan has taken shape.

Friday, 20th November 2020, 1:28 pm

Sadly, the U3A Group Meetings have come to an immediate halt, although some of the Groups have taken to Zoom again. The Monthly Memo is still being issued albeit online and the Monthly Open Meetings are still happening on Zoom. We are still able to enjoy certain freedoms, unlike my family in France who can only leave the house with a permit, for exercise, going no further than a kilometre from the house, shopping, work and school. Everyone is required to wear a mask everywhere, including the children, all day in school. My granddaughter tells me she likes her mask as it keeps her face warm!

So, how do we keep body and soul together, keep our spirits high and remain optimistic? It is difficult. Many of us have vowed to get out of the house every day, whatever the weather, even if only for a short while. We can enjoy an Autumn walk or cycle ride, enjoy the last of this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, perhaps taking a few photos to share with family and friends, even producing our own cards to keep in touch with family and friends. If it is not possible to leave the house without help, there is a great website called virtualtrips.io which has guided tours all over the world. It is free to sign up and it’s possible to share your virtual trip with friends. There’s also Sky Arts on Freeview for anything arty. My sister and I ‘met’ in Paris yesterday although she lives in Devon and I live in Yorkshire! There’s also Sky Arts on Freeview for anything arty.

Part of my plan is looking through old letters and photographs and every month I meet up with ex Wren friends on Zoom, when we have a quiz and provide each other with long distance support and laughter. I recently discovered a copy of the Navy News from 1966, and in the back was an article about the WRNS and what their jobs entailed. Following a paragraph describing the jobs done by Wrens, the article finished with the line….’All these jobs and others are well within the scope of women’. A sign of the times and in all probability the reason why none of us married into the Services!

My focus these days is to live and enjoy every day as it comes. We still do ‘informal childcare’ for our grandchildren, so it has given me an opportunity to delve even further into my ‘archives’. Last week’s questions……’Grandma, have you got any pictures of big ships?’ and ‘Grandma, do you have any relatives who were in the First World War’. The week before, ‘Have you got lots of black ribbon for Messy Hair Day?’ and ‘Can you show me how to do Calligraphy?’ I love this engagement with the younger generation, helping them read, encouraging them to ride to school on bikes, walking together in the fog when the 7 year old says, ‘It makes my eyes go funny’!

Luckily, because everyone is required to wear masks, designing and making masks out of all the old scraps of material in my sewing box, has kept me occupied and resulted in a very strange collection of masks for anyone who will accept one as a gift.

This year is like no other and we will remember it, as will our friends and families. So, what was my plan? Over the last few weeks, I’ve parted with possessions and clothes to a local charity, done volunteer litter picking, contributed to a food bank, shared recipes, ideas, letters and photographs with friends, neighbours and family. I am not alone, others have done the same; to keep sane. We are all making memories for the future.

All this activity, virtual and otherwise, will keep us going until the U3A groups can recommence and we can meet again in person. wetherbyu3a.org.uk;