The Ukeladies: Apart and Still Playing Together

Isn’t technology wonderful? We may have to stay at home but I’ve been trying to maintain contact with all my lovely friends – thanks to Zoom I’ve been doing this all week. Tonight my ukelele group (alias the Ukeladies) had a bit of a practice, so we belted out Eight Days a Week, Country Roads, Wagon Wheel and Sunny Afternoon. It was good to catch up.

On Sunday we had our first virtual coffee morning on Zoom, joined by other friends, including one that recently emigrated to Australia. It was 7pm rather than coffee time for her, so she had a glass of wine instead! It was interesting to see how things are going in Australia compared with here.

We also held a virtual quiz this week. Five couples took part over Zoom. Each couple set ten questions on a subject of their choice and took their turn reading them out. That way nobody got lumbered with having to think up 50 questions. Obviously you can’t score on your own round so with five teams and 50 questions, your maximum score would be 40. of course it relies on honesty, no cheating, no using Google or Alexa. It was a great laugh so we are going to do it all again next week.

So, I’ve been able to maintain my social life, despite the restrictions… just means I switch the computer on instead of going out! Virtual Knit and Natter anyone?

The Virtual Ukelele Band

Trying to keep our spirits up during these difficult times is so important and the social isolation is going to be hard, especially for those who live alone. Even when you live with your family, being with them and only them 24/7 could be a little claustrophobic.

I’ve just found out about video conferencing with Zoom. Several choirs are using this programme to interact online – you can enjoy the uplifting activity of singing and have social contact even when you are self-isolating or in quarantine from Coronavirus.. I’m planning on joining in with one of these choirs on Friday night, but then I thought we could try something with my ukulele group.

Some of us tried it tonight. It was great fun, though not perfect. When we all played together it was a bit of a cacophony! The volume on my laptop was a long way from being in the room with the others (might be worth trying headphones) and there was a slight time delay. It worked a lot better when one person led and everyone else muted themselves. That way we were each singing along to that one lead player. Tomorrow we are going to try taking turns leading songs.

There is also a 40 minute limit on meetings of more than 3 people, unless you subscribe to the premium version of Zoom.

In between tunes we unmuted and had a good catch up. Various husbands, children and dogs joined us at some points too which was nice. One of our members got a FaceTime call from her son in London in the middle of it all so she pointed her phone at the laptop camera and we all said hello.

It was so lovely to spend some time online with my friends this way. It really cheered me up. We might even use it for our book club or have a virtual coffee morning.

Have you come up with any creative ways of dealing with social isolation?