This week has been a time of going out, not just to the allotment but to visit family and friends and even to walk down the High Street and go into shops. Isn’t it amazing that such a sentence is remarkable?
We chose a quiet day to venture to the High Street, not one of the Market days. It was relatively quiet, with only one or two people in any of the shops we entered. We bought a battery, went to the Post Office to pay in some cheques and bought some pens at WH Smiths. Not earth shattering stuff nor the material of a novel, but significant for us.
We also had our longest car trip for three months when we went to see one of our daughters. It was wonderful and strange at the same time. It was great to be with them in person but odd not to be able to hug them. When we visited friends it was the same. We remembered the date when we last did such a thing, and it felt like a lifetime ago.
On Sunday, six Friends (Quakers) meet in person for a Meeting for Worship in the garden of the Meeting House. This also was the first time for three months that we had met. It was a lovely sunny day, with bird song to accompany us. The courtyard that welcomed us was full of beautiful flowers? We sat two meters apart and used hand sanitiser at the beginning and end, and did not share anything except our company! Nevertheless, it was much appreciated. Some of us were aware that the saints of the past were with us, in the burial ground beneath our feet! That added to the sense of it being a special occasion.
Each of these occasions required preparation including careful consideration of how we were going to manage to ensure each other’s safety. I had carried out a detailed risk assessment of the Friends Meeting House, bought hand sanitiser, paper towels, latex gloves, printed out posters about hand washing and keeping social distance and marked two meter distances on the path.
I have also been engaged in long and detailed conversations about other risk assessments, as I carry the responsibility of a Trustee for the health and safety of Friends throughout our Area.
Once upon a time, going out meant dressing up, being excited about what to do, where to go and whom to meet. Today, going out still means taking great pains, as well as face coverings, keeping a safe distance and washing our hands regularly. However, this week has also proved that going out can still be exiting!