On Monday it was the next stage of reopening from the Pandemic Lockdown, with hospitality venues open inside, upto six people able to meet indoors at home and up to thirty outside. Hugs are legal again too. All this is happening despite the spread of the more infectious Indian variant of the virus, frequent testing and vaccine take up is being encouraged . Both main vaccines used in the UK have been found to be effective against the variant, especially after both doses.
The Thursday before, at our regular Zoom meeting, my Ukelele group discussed meeting in person again. The Village Club where we used to meet reopened on Monday. Most wanted to meet there but I really wasn’t sure. The Covanxiety I mentioned in my post a few days ago was holding me back and I couldn’t make my mind up.
If I agreed to go I’d have spent the week stressing about it and if I decided not to I’d hate the thought of missing out. So I dealt with the potential stress and FOMO by deferring my decision until the last minute. I worked really hard to get out more and start feeling a bit better about returning to normal activities with a hair appointment, a couple of shopping trips and a visit to a cafe. After that I was feeling a lot more confident about going along to play on Thursday.
Although the Zoom meetings are great and we will continue to host them from the club for those who can’t make it yet, they are not perfect. One person has to lead each tune and the rest mute, listen and play along unheard by the rest. The timelag, however slight, causes total cacophony otherwise.
When I turned up on Thursday it was lovely to see everyone, especially those who haven’t been able to join us online. The Club had its COVID safety protocols in place. The room we use is quite large and we were able to space ourselves out. We opened the windows to maximise the ventilation and some of us wore masks. They are a lovely bunch and all realise that some us are more nervous about meeting again so there was no question about any of this – we all just did it.
When we started to play I think we all felt a bit giddy. We launched into ‘The Deadwood Stage’ with gusto and at breakneck speed, then settled down to play ‘Eight Days A Week’ at more like our usual tempo. There were fits of giggles every time we had to wrestle with a difficult chord. Some of the tunes, like the sea shanty “Wellerman”, are pretty new to us so it was the first time we’d played it together – it was performed with lots of enthusiasm! I think it will become a regular favourite.
It was also the first time we’d seen the beautiful banjolele that Stella got at Christmas.
It was so nice not to have to watch the corner of a screen for the time counting down to the end of 40 minutes (the maximum length of a meeting on the free version of Zoom)!
We were able to get through more tunes with time to chat in between, but after what still seemed quite a short time we’d got through the list. Time really does fly when you are having fun. in normal times we’d retire to the bar for another drink, but we decided to leave that for another time.
I’m so glad I decided to go. The Ukeladies are back!
Are any of your regular activities restarting?