IMPORTANT: Although we had mentioned April 14th as a date when we hoped to re-start our sessions it's now become obvious that this will NOT be possible. At the moment we have no idea when it will be safe for groups such as ours to meet again. We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, we aim to keep in touch with you regularly and would love to hear from you to, with any photos you'd like to send.  

 Here's a lovely photo of Edna and Mo, enjoying singing along to the song links Daphne emailed to members last week. My letter to you follows after the photo.

 

 

 

 

31st March 2020

 Dear RtS Friends

 Well, here we all are – embarking upon our second week of “ Stay at Home” ! I wonder how we are all coping in our various situations? For some it means solitude; for others it's a time of painful separation from those we love and some are now stuck with various family members for goodness knows how long. In my case I'm at home with my husband, Jon; my youngest daughter, Imogen, and her husband, Stuart - oh, and Reuben the Black Lab of course! We are not able to visit my eldest daughter, Tamsin, who has learning difficulties and lives in care near Axminster, or mum-in-law, Betty, who is down in Truro, but we are thankful that both are safe and being well looked after by wonderful staff. I know many of our members are also having to put their faith and trust in care staff to look after loved ones with dementia. What heroes these 'key workers' are.

 I do hope you're all managing to keep yourselves supplied with essentials, whether that's by delivery from kind friends in the community or local shops/supermarkets, or by venturing out yourselves armed with vinyl gloves! Isn't if funny how we've changed our habits so quickly? I'm now happy to eat anything (well, I still draw the line at beetroot) and we're using up all the half-empty packets and strange tins that have been languishing in the dark corners of the kitchen cupboards for months. This morning I did an inventory of all cleaning products! One happy tale: I decided to go to Mole Valley Farmers on the basis that they would have some meat and large packs of washing powder, and joined the queue of 'socially distancing' customers waiting be allowed in. Who should join behind me but one of my dearest friends, whom I had not seen for months. I think we entertained the whole queue with our whoops of joy, 'virtual' hugs across two metres and exchanges of family news, delivered in projected voices (we were both teachers, after all …)

 We're distracting ourselves by creating a golf course in our field for son-in-law Stuart, who's a very keen golfer. So far, there's been lots of mowing and rolling to create two fairways and seven tees. A bunker is planned and the duck pond will be the water feature. We're calling it The Duckspool Golf and Country Club. The old hen house will serve as a clubhouse and various old benches will be re-sited for spectators to watch the action. It's amazing how our field, which was a soggy marshmallow only two weeks ago has dried out in the sun and wind and is being transformed!

I haven't had much time for singing but as life settles down into more of a routine I'm hoping that will change. Lots of folk, of all ages, are becoming more adventurous and confident about using the internet as it's become clear that it can be such a lifeline of communication. Here are some exciting ideas:

 Gareth Malone has started an online choir: You have to subscribe https://decca.com/greatbritishhomechorus/

 This is another one – free but you have to down load an app called Zoom

https://thenudge.com/staying-in/the-sofa-singers/

 And there's also something called Quarantine Chorus/Choir to which Daphne's providing a link, singing our very own Breakfast Song!

 Of course one the easiest things to do online is just use YouTube to find the songs you/your loved one likes to sing.

 In our family we now refer to our “BEV”s ( Boris Exercise Vouchers). I use mine up each afternoon, taking Reuben for a walk. He's not so keen on being on his lead and he hates going past gateways where territorial dogs leap out and bark at him. However, he's gradually getting the idea (rather like the rest of us) that this is how it's going to be for a good while yet. It is glorious to be out in the fresh air and to see all the little changes along the same route as Mother Nature sets about Spring. Today we noticed bluebells coming up.

 

Thinking of you all and missing our Tuesday afternoons!

 

Much love from Jan xx