January 2021 NEWSLETTER No 10

Hello Everyone,

A Happy New Year to you all.  I don’t mean just have a good time around Midnight December 31st. I mean have a whole year that is better than this last 12 month tale of woe. It can be better. It will be better.

We are past the shortest day and we already have the Pfizer vaccine, and the Oxford one was approved the day I’m writing this.  I know a few people who have already had part one and others who have appointments for theirs. The new vaccines won’t solve all our problems immediately but they will make things better and eventually enable us to get back to something like normal life. Remember normal life? I really miss the Cafe twice a week, the company and the camaraderie of very special people coping magnificently with problems no one deserves. Our hearts go out to you all. Like Chris I’m missing the biscuits and getting more exercise. I have installed an exercise bike and a treadmill in the garage and use them most days. I’ve even lost weight!  Not everyone has.

Ann and I had a very quiet but pleasant Christmas alone at home.  We had planned to have our daughter and partner over for Christmas Day and overnight but with the mounting figures the Government was putting out we decided not to take an unnecessary risk. We would have been hopping mad if one of us had caught Covid after 9 months of being so careful. In the end they turned up on our drive and we had a nice chat with them at a distance through the windows.

Thank Heaven for modern communications.  We have family and friends all over the Country, all over the planet in fact, as many of you do too. We have learned to connect with them by Zoom, Houseparty, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other systems that confuse me even more. It amazes me that so many of the (even more) senior among us have taken to using the new media. Who’d have thought great aunt Mini would be zooming about the planet at 96 but she is!  And it’s so nice to have contact with people even if it’s just electronic. We are lucky to live in these times when such things can help keep us sane. If any good has come out of this Covid tragedy it’s that it’s reminded us of what is really important in life. Chris’s reminiscences last month of his early years with very little took me back to mine in very rural Norfolk. We had good food but no electricity, gas, mains water, or sewerage.  Would you believe the first service to arrive was the GPO telephone, a party line, and the last sewerage in about 1953.

Of course they have also enabled the KIT and Carers groups to continue meeting which I am sure is much appreciated. The volunteers also had a zoom meeting on December 11th which many attended and all enjoyed. I am also in a painting group which meets online. It’s amazing what a mess you can make online.

A friend who was having one of his Mr Angry moments sent me this:

I know how he felt but I also think we are lucky to be living in a country which has some very talented, hard-working and dedicated people who have tried so hard to keep us alive and produced world leading vaccines.

T’was the week before Christmas: ‘Hope is not cancelled’ by Shawna Hickling and Sheila Merriman

T’was a week before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.
The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
Changed everything.
They called it corona,
But unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times,
It didn’t bring cheer.
Contagious and deadly,
This virus spread fast
Like a wildfire that starts
When fuelled by gas.
Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.
As the world entered lockdown
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their nerve.
From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.
When summer emerged
The lockdown was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.
Now it’s December
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.
It’s true that this year
Has had sadness a plenty,
We’ll never forget
The year 2020.
And just ‘round the corner –
The holiday season,
But why be merry?
Is there even one reason?
To decorate the house
And put up the tree,
Who will see it,
No one but me.
But outside my window
The rain gently falls,
And I think to myself,
Let’s deck the halls!
So, I gather the ribbon,
The garland and bows,
As I play those old carols,
My happiness grows.
Christmas is not cancelled
And neither is hope.
If we lean on each other,
I know we can cope.

I hope I haven’t rambled on too much but raised a few smiles and revived a few hopes for the coming few months when the vaccines will do their work.

Best wishes and stay safe and well until we can meet in the Café again.

John Mattocks

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