In these interesting times (!) it's difficult to think of how to mark a special celebration when you are expressly forbidden from meeting.
It's my Dad's 90th birthday tomorrow (8th October) so we're celebrating via the internet and electronically.
As part of the celebrations all the extended family members were charged with designing a "90" that is meaningful to them in some way. These have been put into a slideshow and printed as a photo album.
... It got the creative juices flowing and kept us all out of trouble for a while.
The picture is a collage of some of the efforts.
Jessica Louise Gilberg was born to our daughter Deborah and husband Pete 10th September 8lb 11oz
We're very proud grandparents.
I was sort of spurred by the photos of a walk around Washington to respond with a couple of pictures from a bike ride around Bolton!! First confession is that I now have an e-bike which makes tackling the hills around here much less of an effort. Every option from our place is either an uphill start or an uphill finish. so a bit of help is great. Bank Holiday Monday was fine with not too much breeze so I took the opportunity to have a run out of about 20 miles as part of my 'how to stop adding pounds' regime(failed). You may recall that in other messages I've referred to being 'from Lancashire' - well this is confession two as our bit of Bolton is (just) inside the administrative boundary of Greater Manchester BUT is still in the pre-boundary change traditional area of Lancs. As a penance, then, a couple of fairly poor shots (and distant ones to boot) from my phone of two of Lancashire landmarks. For those with good eyesight, then Blackpool tower is just visible on the horizon right of centre of the pic shown as Tower 2 with Preston sprawled to the right centre and Southport just creeping into the distance on the left hand side. Pendle Hill is seen in the Pendle1 shot taken looking over Blackburn but I'm not mentioning the witchcraft connection for the hill with Pam around :)
Hope to see you all soon
So here we are September upon us and no signs of getting back to singing, I do miss the choir and fellowship singing at home is not the same.
On the bright side we've had some good days out. We were going to Leeds for Anne's 70th birthday to stay in a house all the family but it got cancelled last minute due to maintenance issues, so we all went to Lindisfarne for a picnic and had a great time. We then went back to Marie's for an Italian meal from Sambuca’s Ch-le -St so it was a brilliant day anyway.
I am starting back to lollipopping on Wednesday. It will be strange because I am not allowed to keep my uniform and stick in school and must clean it all after every shift - oh joy this covid has a lot to answer for.
Anne is going in for cataracts on the 11th Sept so we have to self-isolate till then, then things we can't do is really silly: no shopping, no going out etc. We will be staying safe and going for walks and car rides to the coast, keeping a safe distance from others, then we will see what the next instructions are.
Hope everyone is safe and well, take care, we will meet again one day.
Anne & Ron
It is good to hear from you.
We are both good, although missing our singing with Argus.
Have cancelled two holidays (cruising) as have decided to stay in the U.K. There are plenty of places in the U.K. to go and see, although we have spent much time in our garden.
I have done 7 hanging baskets, they are beautiful, although I say it myself. We are even doing Tesco on line and David enjoys choosing.
Please take care and hope to see you all soon.
Barbara & David xx
Some good news to cheer us on our merry way.
Alison our eldest daughter, had a baby girl, Evie, August 10th, just before lunch!! 8lb7ozs.
Alison and Craig have Oscar aged 3,and now a beautiful daughter.
All doing well.
Unfortunately as you will have already anticipated we will not be starting Argus rehearsals in September.
It is so disappointing that singing will be at the bottom of the list to start (especially amateur).
We are booking dates from January - May 2021. Hopefully they will be able to happen.
Attached are the minutes from the Zoom committee meeting we had recently.
We aim to have a Zoom or Teams "speaking get together" for everyone on 5th September at 2pm.
Please join us if you can. It will be great to see each other, even though it will be remotely.
In the meantime take care & stay safe (& sane).
I wonder if you've seen this article which is more hopeful about singing? Studies are still at an early stage but it cheered me up this morning!
Full article "Singing might not be so great a risk, after all" extracts below.
"NEW scientific evidence from Germany has cast doubt on the claim that singing constitutes a high-risk activity in the transmission of Covid-19.
Stories about the danger of transmitting the coronavirus through singing have proliferated since the widely reported outbreak of Covid-19 in Washington State, where 53 of the 61 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale fell ill after rehearsals on 3 and 10 March, immediately before lockdown measures. The incident was subsequently correlated with two other “super-spreader” events involving choirs in Amsterdam and Berlin (News, 29 May). An investigation by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, however, established that Skagit Valley choir members were sitting six to ten inches from one another, and sharing snacks and stacking chairs together, and that 19 members with “probable symptoms” were never tested.
The one study based on research specifically into the safety of singing in the context of Covid has come from the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics in Munich: “Singing in choirs and making music with wind instruments - Is that safe during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic?” In the study, detailed measurement of the ballistic propagation of larger droplets when singing and speaking, and the flow-related spreading of small droplets, was conducted with a professional singer and vocal coach at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and two amateur choral singers and five professional musicians.
The Munich study concludes: “Air is only set in motion in the immediate vicinity of the mouth when singing. In the case of the professional singer, the experiments showed that at a distance of around 0.5 m, almost no air movement can be detected, regardless of how loud the sound was and what pitch was sung. It is therefore unlikely that the virus could spread beyond this limit via the air flow created during singing.”
The researchers deemed this to be “not surprising, since singing does not expel a large volume of air in jerks like coughing or sneezing”. They concluded, with provisos: “If the findings and recommendations from our quantitative measurements are taken into account, then making music in a community should be relatively safe.”
Similar experiments have been carried out for orchestral instruments, in research commissioned by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. The Freiburger Institüt fur Musikermedizin, which previously deemed singing a danger, has now released new guidelines that “Two metres will result in there being no increased risk of infection through droplets.”
They also conclude: “Singing in very large enclosed spaces such as concert halls and church spaces appears to be very favourable.
My daughter is working as a Quantity Surveyor in Germany, and sent me these thoughts about the effect of Covid-19 where she is living. It was a couple of weeks ago, and things have eased since she wrote this.
There has been no 'shielding' and outright bans on people leaving their home which has been good. Measures have predominately focussed on maintaining business as far as possible whilst trying to break the chain of infection. I have so far not been affected by shorter working hours, nor have I yet had to leave my job due to me belonging to a risk category (due to underlying health conditions, my age).
However, as the risks and infection rates worldwide grew, a lot of changes have taken place during the last two months. Lots of people, a number of my colleagues included, are now on compulsory part time working - 3 days a week for 6 hours a day. This is hard especially where you have families to look after. Other colleagues were compulsorily withdrawn from sites and sent home due to their age and / or other underlying health conditions. (These sites are in many different countries - not just Germany). The majority of the construction sites have closed as the countries in which these sites are located countries have fought to control the disease. Since 3 March 2020 business travel has just about stopped unless this is absolutely necessary. This is also the date that disinfection measures were stepped up throughout my ofﬁce location and was triggered after a co-worker was contacted through the track and trace programme instigated after a business trip meant he had had a meeting with someone who then tested positive for COVID-19. It meant 2 entire ofﬁces were on a compulsory 14-day home quarantine. Between that date (3 March 2020) and 16 March 2020 3 other ofﬁces went into compulsory home quarantine as suspect cases rose. Fortunately, even now at my location we have only had this one conﬁrmed case, despite under normal conditions a few thousand people work at this location under normal conditions.
In general, Germany was about 2 weeks behind Italy and Spain in closing Restaurants and non-essential (i.e. non food shops and non chemists) shops. These closures occurred on my ﬁrst or second day of working from home (i.e. 17 or 18 March). Other businesses have been allowed to operate provided that social distancing measures can be implemented and that extra hygiene measures were brought in (I dread to think how often my desk has been disinfected during my absence). From March onwards, a lot of companies undertook their own risk reviews and proactively requested those deemed to be 'at risk' of catching the infection to work from home where this is technically possible. This included myself as I travel to work by public transport. Others were given the option to work from home (again provided that the business did not suffer) to reduce the footfall into the ofﬁces.
Now if I want to go into the ofﬁce, I have to provide 48 hours notice, and I am not allowed to sit at my own desk as a colleague is sitting at another desk in my ofﬁce: he struggles to work from home effectively (his computer seems to dislike his home Internet) Despite this, there has still been a high level of relative freedom. Although staying at home was actively encouraged, public transport still ran (with people being encouraged to sit at least 1.5m away from neighbours) and more businesses appear to have remained open than in other neighbouring countries.
I send very warm wishes to all my Argus friends. It has been lovely to hear your news via the regular newsletters – many thanks to Helen and all contributors for these. I am fine, working and studying from home and looking forward to when we can come together again. Take care and all the best,
For one of my distractions during lockdown, please read on....A tomato story (with apologies to real gardeners!)