Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

May 2020

Life under Lockdown

Skype Slide Show

I started thinking about what we were going to do for newsletter content now weíre no longer allowed to go anywhere or do anything. There is a risk of this being quite dull, but I thought it was worth jotting down a few thoughts as we go through this crisis.


Tuesday 31 March

As I start this we are exactly 1 week into lockdown, Boris has the lurgy and we are about to all receive a letter clarifying the rules - I hope heís not licking the envelope. Iíve done one weekly shop where weíve had to queue in the cold in order to keep the numbers down in Tescoís. The shelves were still looking pretty thin, but I was lucky enough to grab a couple of bottles of Wainwright in the beer aisle (the last), so at least we were sorted for the essentials.

A couple of days ago we Skyped Geli in Germany. Geli told us all about teaching using Zoom, which actually sounded pretty organised, although she did say that sometimes her pupilís cameras mysteriously drop out and she suspects theyíre pulling faces and making rude gestures on the quiet. Germany has been locked down for a week longer than us, but despite their reputation as an orderly nation, the loo roll shelves have still not recovered. I guess some things are universal.


Wednesday 01 April

It has become our routine that Dave and I go out for a bike ride at lunch time and today was no exception. It was a bit chilly, but thereís nothing quite like the hills round Walden to warm you up! In Wendens Ambo we saw our first Teddy Bear Hunt bear. The Teddy Bear Hunt has been started as a way to distract children whilst they are on their daily exercise walk. Bears have been spotted in the US, Australia and New Zealand as well as in the UK. Iím not sure how distracting this one would have been Ė it was wearing a face mask and a pair of latex gloves.

As it is a Wednesday, itís CYHA virtual pub night. Cress volunteered to run a quiz and went to a great deal of trouble to not only research questions relating to members names, but to hand-craft the CYHA Covid Cup Ė to be presented (virtually) to the winner. There was conceivably some advantage if you were calling in as a pair. Dave wouldnít let me see his hostels beginning with ďCĒ, but somehow we still managed to win. Honourable mentions go to Dave and Helen (second place) and Jim (third).

The Skype call worked well. We were able to celebrate with Geli that after two weeks, and getting close to crisis point, she had finally managed to buy some loo roll. Jim managed to show us his very nearly completed kitchen, and, after numerous attempts, John M finally managed to join the call. I think we had around 20 people. Whilst not perfect, itís a great way to stay in touch when cabin fever is a real risk. We still need to work on Caroline, who is threatening evil things to her computer because she canít get Skype to work.

Monday 6th April

Itís Monday morning after a rather glorious weekend, marred only by the thought that we should have been in the Lake District and we still canít really leave the house. We managed a lovely walk on Saturday and a bike ride on Sunday. Although we are only supposed to go out for necessary exercise, it was impossible not to enjoy such a beautiful weekend. Puffing my way up and down the hills of north Essex also means Iíve done my bit to keep my cardiovascular system healthy.

There are a lot of thatched houses in this bit of Essex and I have been admiring the latest trend in elaborate straw finials. You used to get the odd fox or pheasant, but recently Iíve seen a duck with ducklings, swans with arched wings and even a unicorn.

Dave spent much of Sunday trying to clear out junk in the garage. Lurking near the back we had a wardrobe of old coats and walking kit that we were never going to wear, but was not actually unserviceable. Dave found his old salopettes and I had a bright purple windproof fleece I bought in the early 90s. Theyíre now consigned to a bin bag, but you canít help but feel a little bit sad at this loss of slices of our youth.


Tuesday 7th April

Oh dear. Poor Boris is in ICU. I mean, you know that people are getting sick and dying, but this is someone roughly our age and whose health status is being broadcast on every news bulletin. It canít help but make it all much more real.

Yesterdayís bike ride included another Covid landmark moment. As we were passing the little local supermarket, there was a bobby on patrol. Saffron Walden is a very orderly place, so he had nothing to do, but it was the first time Iíve ever seen a policeman outside of the town centre Ė and precious few times Iíve seen them there.

Iím training Dave to go to Aldi for the weekly shop. There is a list, but I wonder what weíll end up with. The reason for this is that there is a British Cactus and Succulent Society Zoom lecture tonight and I wonít have time to attend if I do the shopping as well. Besides in these odd times leaving the house, even for something as mundane as the weekly shop, is an exciting change from the routine. Dave deserves his time off the lockdown leash.


Wednesday 8th April

An excellent BCSS lecture last night from a chap in the Czech Republic to an audience of about 276. Heíd visited Baja California a couple of years ago and the slides included canyons, beaches and mountains Ė you could almost feel the fresh air. I hope our Nepal slides go as well tonight!

As for the Aldi shop, Iím sure it wonít surprise you to hear that pork pies and sausages made it into the trolley (not on the list!). We are going to come out of lockdown so fat.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


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