The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
The New Era of Virtual Wednesdays
Daily routines for most of us changed suddenly in March, but despite lockdown we have continued with CYHA meetings of some sort every Wednesday. Our online Skype/Zoom video meetings have often been better attended than physical meetings were.
It all started on all started on 18th March when our curry night was cancelled. At just a few hours’ notice, I emailed a Skype meeting link to everyone, not really expecting much response. But when we logged on, one by one more faces appeared. There were 20 people able to participate in some way, from as far afield as New Zealand, Sheffield and Norfolk. There was of course quite a lot of “I can’t see you … can you hear me …”, but overall it worked better than I’d expected, so we’ve continue with online video meetings every Wednesday since.
Mind-expanding Quiz Nights
There have been several quiz nights; Cress did one with questions themed on names of members of the group. Winners’ names have been inscribed on the CYHA COVID CUP (Tin foil and sellotape – no expense spared). Marion and Jim co-hosted a quiz with rounds including famous alias names and unusual place names. Cressida also tested our knowledge of walking and the outdoors.
Baffling Game Shows
Jonathan mastered the technology to host a “Countdown” game, complete with clock and annoying music.
Dave J’s “Would I lie to You” revealed some unbelievable facts (and fictions) about each other. These included Colin’s television appearances, Dave J’s drunken escapades, Jonathan’s DIY misadventures and many others.
Lynn was particularly creative, organising a Murder Mystery Evening for us. Each of us took on characters (some in costume) to interrogate each other and solve the crime. Despite the fiendish complexity of the plot, most of us agreed that Helen couldn’t be trusted and had committed the deadly deed.
Around the World in Slide Shows
Our slide show of our trek in Nepal was rescheduled online, and seemed to be well received, becoming the first of many exotic online destinations. A show reminiscing about some of our trips to National Parks of the Western United States provided dramatic views of canyons, waterfalls, deserts and geysers, as well as reminders of what some of us looked like 20 years ago! John M gave a fascinating insight into the history and geography of Paraguay – including pictures of himself visiting 40 years ago!
Then we had pictures from two trips to New Zealand, with geysers, whales, penguins. Dave J showed us his trip to Canada with Jim, Dave, Mike and Ian, touring from Calgary to Banff and Jasper including elk, marmots, chipmunks and Ian's insatiable need for tea.
Another highlight was John & Judi’s stunning pictures of their many voyages to the Arctic, including Svalbard and Greenland, polar bears, walruses and the Northern Lights.
Boozy Cocktail Night
Particularly memorable was our online cocktail party. We dressed up in our best party clothes and emptied our drinks cabinets in front of our webcams. There were a few headaches next morning – another reason to work at home.
As with so many other people and organisations around the world, this experience has shown us there’s a lot we can do “virtually” without the need to travel and rent meeting rooms. So even as “real world” events start to become possible, it seems likely that some Zoom meetings will continue to feature in our programme. Somehow it’s just not the same as meeting face-to-face with a real live person, but it has been good to keep in touch and especially nice to link up with some of our more far-flung members. A big thank you to everyone who has helped organise our virtual events!
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer