BEING OF CERTAIN VINTAGE, I am enduring an enforced period of self isolation during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Until just a few weeks ago, I would normally be calling into the Brixham Does Care Café for a cuppa, meeting friends and fellow volunteers in the BDC Shop and chatting to the staff in the adjoining BDC Office. I miss having a chat over a cuppa with those who attend the weekly Support Group and occasionally joining the regulars at the BDC Film Club. Others regularly attended the Knit & Natter/Knit Together groups, Bingo, Scrabble or the Ladies Group. Perhaps Colour & Chat, Bridge, The Lunch Club, Art or Craft groups. Sadly, all now closed, although the staff have moved up to the Friends Centre to man the ‘phone lines (01803 857727) offering support to those who need some. My regular exercise would be taken each month leading the BDC Stragglers Walking Group on a 5 mile walk anywhere between Dartmoor in the north, Prawle Point in the south, Cawsands (Cornwall) in the west and Sandy Bay, east of Exmouth. Every couple of months I would co-host Martyn & Josephine Song & Dance Parties (also held in the BDC Café) and usually, by now, I would be planning the next annual fund-raising variety show in aid of the same befriending charity. My regular visits to entertain at the local Memory Cafes and Residential Care Homes, including Douglas House, together with the Gateway Club (Torbay), also have ceased for now, along with my attendance at church.
So, here I am at home, doing my best to comply with the Government’s requirements to combat this terrible virus. We all know it makes sense and we owe it to one another to do the right thing. Of course, I miss social interaction, but this temporary life style isn’t that bad. Having been born soon after D-Day in 1944, I am too young to remember what life was like during World War 2. However, I know that people lived in fear of being bombed in their own homes and had to be ready to seek refuge in Air Raid shelters when out on the street, or in Anderson/Morrison shelters when at home. At least, during today’s crisis, we know that we are safe if we remain at home and can sleep soundly in our beds. With access to home deliveries by local traders, neighbourhood groups and charity volunteers, we have no need to venture out for food or medications. If we don’t have a garden to exercise in, we should stay well clear of other people as we walk around the block, and should avoid public transport unless we have to when attending medical appointments. If you have contact numbers or email addresses of anyone in the usual groups you attend, keep in touch. If not, Brixham Does Care is always there for you offering support and a friendly ear. They have lists of local traders who deliver.
If like me, you are fed up with singing “Happy Bithday” (twice) when constantly washing your hands, consider “Nellie the Elephant” (my wife’s favourite), “This little piggy went to market,” “We’ll meet again” or “The white cliffs of Dover.” The last two also serve to remind us that this long ordeal will eventually come to an end. We just don’t know when. Follow your usual routine and keep busy. Use the radio for company during the day, remembering to walk around every so often and save the telly for the evening. Read a good book or play your CD collection. In between helping with the housework, pottering in the garden, hedge trimming, painting the garden shed and fence, I’m busy creating another song list for the next time we can host another Song & Dance Party. Watch this space!
So let us all be of one mind. Stay Calm and Be Kind. Stay Home and Stay Safe. By keeping ourselves safe we are helping to keep others safe, too. By saving the NHS from being overwhelmed we are ultimately saving lives. Stay clear of others for now and for as long as it takes. Have faith and live in hope that someday soon we will all be together again with our friends, our families and all of those we love. Then, once again we will be able to enjoy the company of others, walking, talking, singing, laughing and, maybe, even dancing. It will happen. Just you wait and see! In the meantime, lots of love from Martyn & Josephine. And never forget: you are NOT alone and BRIXHAM DOES CARE.
Chairman, Brixham Does Care