Saying ‘hi’ during the lock-down

Posted on April 7, 2020 by Julian Smith

Please keep in touch here …

Strange to think that on a glorious day like today that the PM is not only in hospital, but in intensive care fighting for his life with so many others. May God grant him and them protection, strength, healing, delivery and restoration. Amen.

I am pleased to report all our members and friends are well. Nobody has been ill or shown any symptoms of Covid-19.

I am also pleased to report we’ve all been rigidly following the Government’s guidance to ‘Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives’, and that some of us have had a further opportunity to fight the pandemic. Myself, our District Minister Martin, and Minister at Kensington Sarah, have answered the call from the Chaplaincy at Guy’s and Tommy’s to volunteer our services, and we await our first instructions as I write; some of Bruce’s community work continues; and Chris H is helping his employers, the Welcome Foundation, in using their premises on Euston Road as a respite space for workers from UCLH.

Further good news is that all those employed have retained their jobs and are working at home. However, one of us has been furloughed, and another on a relatively low wage already has had to take a 20% pay cut. For our self-employed, things are more difficult. Edwin is least affected, as he’s had a good career and is heading towards retirement. For Chris D it’s really tough. Immediately prior to the beginning of the pandemic, he launched a website business which is having a hard time generating income right now. A particular shame given Chris D’s talent, enthusiasm, easygoing approach and reasonable fees. I can’t recommend him enough. Indeed he is responsible for this website still being developed. It seemed a good time to replace the old website and help Chris out at the same time. If you or anybody you know could do the same with Chris, I know he’d be most grateful.

Our furthest away is Edwin, enjoying life in the countryside and near the sea in wonderful West Sussex with Leena, while working on a virtual tour. It must be lovely there today. Andrew and I are in our flat in peaceful Waterloo, sat in the sitting-room with the patio / balcony doors open, enjoying the light and heat, gentle breeze, fresh air, view over the garden to the cherry blossom on the other side of Windmill Walk, and quiet. I know most of you will be making the most of the weather on your daily walks, from Toby in the re-opened Brockwell Park in our blessed Brixton, to: Bruce and Joan and John in terrific Tooting; Chris H and Benjy both in dazzling Crystal Palace; Jodie, Phil and Chloe in the super market that is Walworth; Sue in pearly Lambeth; and Stephen in leisurely Lewisham.

Our 96 year old Hilda who enjoys her weekly trip to Chapel, which can be her only outside journey in the week, is not having the easiest of times. To make matters worse, she finds telephone calls not so easy, but we persevere and usually make ourselves understood and find something funny to share. At least she has carers and family popping-in, if they’re obliged to keep their distance from her as much as possible for her sake most of all. This is a hard time for Cynthia also, however well-supported by Tracy and her family generally. If we’re confused, how much more is she?

There are also several more of us completely home alone. But nobody seems to be too put-out by that thanks to the enjoyment of their own company, being able to work from home, their daily walk or cycle, some shopping, calls with family and friends, social media, and above all their grateful dispositions.