Early in January 2020 rumours of a mysterious new virus began to surface from Wuhan, in China and we were soon able to see pictures on our televisions of a ‘lockdown’, which quickly spread to the whole of China. The infection rate and seriousness of the virus soon became clear to the world.
The virus became known as “Covid-19” and Britain found itself in its first of 3 lockdowns on 24th March, 2020.
This ‘Covid-19’ project was originally scheduled to conclude after 3 months in June 2020 but, as events were to show, this was far from the truth. Now, with thanks to the most efficient vaccination project ever, Britain finds itself starting to envisage ‘getting back to normal’ in August 2021. Time will tell…..
St. Nicholas Glatton – When the doors shut ~ Rev. Becky Dyball
Unprecedented: ‘without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unparalleled’ It was certainly one of the most commonly used words for 2020 and I think with good reason.
2020 started with many of the much enjoyed usual church activities including a New Year’s Lunch at St. Nicholas and other activities across the Benefice of Sawtry, Glatton and Holme with Conignton. On the 24th March in the midst of our Lent study, due to the Covid -19 Pandemic a national lockdown was declared. For the first time in the Church’s history we closed our church buildings. However, the Church itself was never closed. The Church is a community of people and although the buildings is important and gives us the visual reminder of worship being in this place well before we were here the activities of the Church continued to function and we “gathered” in new ways together. We sent out regular emails and letters, created packs to support reflection and study at home, we offered pastoral care in our communities and continued to minister especially to those grieving, in crisis or in need of a friend. We had service booklets produced to encourage worship at home and introduced online Zoom services. These services where initially broadcast live from the Rectory and then from the different churches across the Benefice. A great example of this was the St. Nicholas Carol Service which allowed for both in person bubbles and a Zoom Audience to attend. It was not the same but we adapted, we innovated and we continued to worship together.
2020 has taken us on a journey very few anticipated. In my first email to the congregations following the 1st lockdown I spoke about how although we are all in the same storm, we are all in different vessels and encouraged us all to care for one another, being generous with grace and kindness. In the conversations had with others in became clear everyone was managing differently, some were doing ok, to continue the metaphor they had sturdy boats and the kit needed to go through the storm, but even they had days when it was hard and they felt the effects more acutely. Others had no boat to think of and already battle worn from pervious storms were barely clinging to a life vest, it was through the generosity of time, energy and self that as a community we came together and helped our wider community giving a bit of respite from the relentless storm of Covid-19. This Care, compassion, help and resourcing has been unequivocally evident across the Benefice, has spanned 3 national lockdowns, local restrictions and the closure of church buildings for nearly a year.
It has been shown in the care for one another and our communities, seen in the growth in numbers, increasing faith and innovation in service. The compassion in concern, worry, illness and grief speaks volumes of the love, hope and light offered in the God we gather together to worship be that online or in person.
This year has brought many challenges and difficulties. We have mourned the loss of family, friends and neighbours. Experienced isolation and separation from those we love and care for. We have had to adapt to a new way of living and learn how to be church in a totally new way. Within the difficulties we have much cause for praise, thanksgiving and celebration.
Held 79 Church Services online with an average attendance of 60 people (highest attendance 95).
Some of our congregations fighting and overcoming Covid-19!
Raised over £3000 to improve tech and established a permanent and portable online service provision via Zoom for the whole benefice!
Even with a pandemic we introduced brand new and improved heating at St, Nicholas’
Held a Civic Remembrance Day Service online with over 100 people in attendance.
Offered 3 Study/Bible groups online and twice weekly coffee times.
Held a Zoomtastic Messy Easter!
Joined with the Light Factory (Sawtry) to present Seaside Rock and Countdown to Christmas online Holiday Club provision.
During 2020 across the Benefice we held 2 baptisms, 6 weddings and 25 funerals across the Benefice.
Working From Home in Glatton during lockdown ~ Paul Cole
COVID-19 has created many challenges both in people’s personal lives as well as business where no industry has been left untouched. As a home worker for a technology company that is already aligned with agile work practices, I expected the transition to this current state of working to be relatively easy. Already familiar with conducting one to one as well as mass attendance meetings via Zoom and other technologies meant that I thought I was prepared!
When this all ‘kicked off’ we were out of the country and our first challenge was to ensure we were able to get back home, after our return flight was cancelled. We managed to shorten our holiday and return home just over a week into lockdown and to a full house! Our son and his girlfriend had no desire to be confined in their London flats without easy access to open space and so elected to be locked down in Glatton. As we had returned from a foreign country, although showing no signs of the virus, as a precautionary measure our daughter was also asked to remain at home for a period of two weeks.
Suddenly we went from having one person working on-line to four people using the internet fairly intensively during the day, from different rooms in the house……… my Wi-Fi was not as resilient or performant as I had first thought. Easter weekend was spent running Ethernet cables and installing Wi-Fi access points around the home, resulting in rather good Wi-Fi coverage (even if I say so myself) and almost full internet speed for everyone, a positive from lockdown.
On the flip side my wife’s Beauty Salon in the village has had to close and is likely to be one of the last types of business permitted to start up again. This however has allowed her to focus more time of her crafts business creating willow and metal fairy sculptures, both of which are selling almost as fast as she can make them, this bodes well for when we come out of lockdown and she is able to exhibit these again at craft and country fairs.
In the current household I am the odd one out when it comes to cooking, I still think I do a mean barbeque but in terms of culinary capabilities I take a back seat compared to the rest of the family. My son’s girlfriend is Malaysian and as a result we have been treated to a range of foods we would not normally have prepared at home and this has been enhanced by my son, wife and daughter’s own culinary skills. Combining all four of the cook’s abilities in the house has resulted in some fantastic food combinations that I hope will remain with us when this all blows over, although portion sizes need to be reviewed!
Being blessed with living in such a beautiful village and also having a bit of sunshine has meant we can enjoy the garden. Sitting outside with the sound of the birds singing with minimal interruption from aircraft, cars or motor bikes has been a delight. In fact so relaxed that I have on more than one occasion woken from an unplanned afternoon siesta on the decking, so the red nose is sun not alcohol induced!
The one thing that I think everyone is missing is the face to face interaction with people outside of the family, particularly accentuated in our village that normally is such a sociable environment. VE day gave some respite and allowed measured interactions with neighbours for a couple of hours, albeit in a rather unnatural environment, distanced from friends by at least 2 metres. I have seen a magnificent sense of community within Glatton with support from all quarters for many people, topped off with the Addison’s kind distribution of cream teas for the VE day celebrations.
I am however disappointed by the disregard that has been evident with people across the country who feel that the current rules do not apply to them, or it will be OK to flout then on ‘just this one occasion’. Do they not realise the risk they are taking, not just with their own health but as potential carriers and the resultant risk to health of others around them?
I thought about mentioning some of the negatives of lockdown until I received some news recently that puts our current situation back in perspective. I found out that a work colleague with a young family, has lost his fight with a brain tumour and now has only a matter of months before the inevitable will happen. Whilst we may feel hard done by and frustrated with the restrictions and the current loss of liberty, many of us will have the opportunity to look forward to moving onto some sort of new normal and we are seeing the buds of this starting to emerge as restrictions are being lifted.
So whilst the current lockdown situation is not great, I think for many of us we have many reasons to still be thankful.
Home Schooling During Lockdown ~ Lisa Smith
Well, home schooling, what can I say, I never thought in a million years that I would be teaching my children from home, but here we are faced with weeks of endless lockdown and a full school timetable everyday !
Our home schooling experience so far has been on the whole quite good and a positive one. The boys have got their individual time tables which for Harry starts at 8.40am and Oliver at 9am with a full day of lessons until 4pm.
Harry at the age of 14 pretty much sorts himself out and to be fair I haven’t really got a clue about the things he is learning (it has been a long time since I was at school learning about trigonometry) so I would not be much use to him anyway. Most of his lessons are video linked with his teacher and classmates so other than physically being in a room with them it is just like having a normal lesson. I however learnt very quickly that walking into the office with your pyjamas on and your hair in a mess was really not a good idea when everyone can see and speak to you !
Oliver in year 5 does need a little more help in sorting out his work and so is a little more time consuming and more of a hands on experience. I am getting to brush up on my verbs, adjectives and simplifying fractions so hopefully one day in the future I may get to use my new found knowledge in a pub quiz or something. As the weeks go by it has become much easier to navigate the systems, hand work in electronically and see the feedback and marking by the teachers on a daily basis before the next lesson so at least we know if he is understanding what is being asked. We really cannot fault the commitment, dedication, teaching and the variety of work that is being set each day. We also are very impressed with the kids and the way they have taken very easily to schooling at home and doing a full day of lessons. Their technology knowledge is very impressive too with power points and graphs being done digitally, I just look on in amazement and would not know where to begin !
The school still have their assembly’s via video and still hand out awards (virtually) every week, encouraging the children to join in with singing the hymns (Steve and I love to join in with the hymns much to the annoyance and embarrassment of the kids !!).We certainly do not feel like the boys education has suffered at all whilst being taught from home.
On another positive note it has been really nice to not have to get up so early and do so much driving each day which normally involves around 1½ hours of time spent in the car, and not to mention the amount of fuel consumed thus helping to save the environment. On the downside there seems to be a constant conveyor belt of food and drink that is required throughout the day to keep these young minds ticking over !!!
We will be pleased when the time is right for schools to safely reopen and we can put the teaching back into the hands of the people who know what they are talking about (and who have a lot more patience than me !). And for the boys to finally see and play with their friends in the real world instead of a virtual one !
Small Business ~ Sue Williams.
I have been asked by Carole Green to write a little about how the Coronavirus has affected running our business in 2020.
We started in 1981. Unfortunately John Williams my husband died in 2016. I was able to continue running the business from Manor Farms thanks to the kindness of my step-son Paul and his boys Owen and Thomas.
When it was stated that we all went into lockdown I had 3 members of staff who went straight into self isolation. My daughter was in America, and still is (at the time or writing), and I thought if I shut down then I may never reopen! Our staff has been so loyal over the years I thought I must try and stay open.
We have never been SO busy, except at Christmas!
People decided to try and use Farm Shops and buy locally grown produce through the counties. It changed peoples shopping habits and little shops have never been so busy and as we deliver wholesale to little companies as far as Surrey and Hampshire, we found the demand was high and still is.
It is difficult to maintain distancing but we have managed and I can’t thank the staff enough. They have been absolutely marvellous. Carole wanted a photo for a moment in time but of course with social distancing it is impossible.
We had been living in Tanzania for nearly 20 years, working in the safari business. We loved it and had a long and happy time there, first in Dar es Salaam by the Indian Ocean and then five years in Arusha in the north, near to the world famous Serengeti National Park. Our two children came along in 2013 and 2015 and we found ourselves living a very different life as parents to Catrin and Leo. Both children started at the nearby international school which was a lovely place and full of friendly people. However we wanted to see more of our families, so we made the difficult decision to leave our home in Africa and return to the UK.
We searched for and found a house, midway between both sets of grandparents and offering a lovely semi-rural environment in which to settle and bring up the kids. Glatton was the perfect location for us – good schools nearby, rail access to London, and lovely countryside all around. We began packing up– a complicated and emotional process of arranging the container for our possessions, sorting through years and years worth of accumulated stuff, saying goodbye to treasured friends, and visiting our favourite places for the last time. The packers came and took away our belongings a few weeks before our scheduled flight, leaving us in a half empty house sleeping on borrowed mattresses and trying to keep things upbeat for the children.
And all the while we were doing this, a storm was brewing in Asia. We had heard about it on the news, of course – a virus – dangerous – locking down cities. I was initially unconcerned – I had lived in Vietnam throughout both the SARS outbreak and the bird flu crisis – it was just another passing illness, sad for those affected but it would fizzle out.
Gradually the alarm started to grow throughout February and into March – cases of COVID-19 spreading across Europe, devastating Italy, then reaching the UK. Our families were growing increasingly concerned we would be stuck in Tanzania with borders closing, and we were getting very anxious ourselves. The last week was a blur of goodbyes, in between panicked calls to the airline to confirm flights were still flying, and included Catrin’s 7th birthday party as well (as if we didn’t have enough going on!) When the wheels lifted off and we flew out over Mount Kilimanjaro for the last time, there was a huge sense of relief – we had made it – as well as sadness.
We landed in London on the morning of March 23rd2020 and a taxi brought us straight from the airport all the way to Glatton. It was a beautiful morning but goodness, so cold, especially for the kids who weren’t used to it at all! We got into the house, got the heating on, and spent the day pottering around the house and garden. That evening, Boris Johnson made his first televised press conference on Covid-19 and announced full lockdown. Welcome to Britain – and don’t go out! Woody says it felt like being in the movies, pushing the family safely out of the burning building and rolling out under the closing metal door just in time before it slammed shut!
And so lockdown began, and we were in our new house – we knew no one in the village, and couldn’t see our families or friends. All our planned reunions – cancelled. Easter with my parents in Norfolk – cancelled. Just like everyone else in Britain, we were stuck at home, but for us it was even more odd as we had expected a grand re-entry, and instead we found ourselves isolated.
However we found the first couple of months in Glatton to be a most enjoyable time. As we settled in, various Glattonites poked their heads over the front hedge, as far as they were allowed, and introduced themselves. We heard about all the things which would usually be happening in the village; we chatted to many friendly people, all of whom were incredibly welcoming. The weather was spectacular and we spent a lot of time gardening and planting vegetables. The kids developed a taste for splashing in the pond in warm weather, so we hung a swing over it and they started swinging out and throwing themselves in. It was all pretty lovely, considering the awfulness unfolding across the country, and we felt lucky to be together, and safe, every day.
Our move to Glatton was confirmed as a good plan on VE Day when we realised just how much of a wonderful community we had stumbled into. We hadn’t really engaged much with the VE Day preparations and were just having a normal day, when a friendly Glattonite arrived in the garden bearing large paper bags. Gifts for VE Day, he said, courtesy of the Addison Arms and the village, for the newcomers. The bags contained delicious cream teas for all four of us, complete with beer for Woody and prosecco for me! We were incredibly touched, and we put our table out front immediately and sat having our tea with our newly coloured-in bunting flapping in the breeze and the kids getting cream all over their delighted faces.
Our appreciation for the village has grown over the year as we meet and get to know people gradually and as circumstances allow. We were once again blown away by Glattonite generosity when we were badly affected by the Christmas floods, and found ourselves surrounded by fantastic people, helping us to stay dry and safe into the night despite the rain, the festive season and the ever-present pandemic.
So, our move to Glatton happened a year ago, almost exactly as I write these words. So much has happened, and yet at the same time very little. We still don’t know many Glattonites, but what encounters we have managed have left us feeling welcomed, warm and contented. We haven’t seen much of family and friends, but we have spent a year together as a family, walking across the fields in summer, and collecting blackberries along the Denton track, and cycling up High Haden and around the block on a fine day. The snow day we had in January lingers as one of the most wonderful experiences I have had for a long time. The vegetables I planted last lockdown grew, with varying degrees of success. The kids swing is still up. The house is still standing. And thanks to the support of the village, so are we.
Wellside Surgery ~ Dr Richard Smith
A normal busy start to the year. We are seeing the usual increase in respiratory infections at this time of year as we all spend more time inside due to the short days and cold weather. On a normal Monday we might see in our medium sized surgery over 150 patients face to face, the waiting room is packed. The frail elderly might be sitting next to younger people with coughs and colds. In our system there is no telephone triage:- a patient could ring and make an appointment and often be seen the same day, there was not really any need to think about any more than basic infection control measures to protect patients and staff as there was not really much risk of passing things between people. We are starting see news reports of a severe respiratory infection affecting Wuhan in China, it sounds extremely serious. We hope it doesn’t spread!
March 2020 The virus is definitely spreading, the first cases in the UK are widely reported, cases are linked to travel to various parts of China and South East Asia. We have been told to drastically change the way we work. We are urged, to move to virtual consulting, with all patients contacted by phone first and only seeing people face to face if this is essential. Patients who have a cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell with a travel history that puts them at risk are diverted to phone 111 for advice and help. Covid testing is not available through us, only through 111 and only then if you have the right travel history or if you are sick enough to be admitted to hospital. We are told to stop all routine blood tests and monitoring of chronic diseases, we designate one of our outlying treatment rooms near an emergency exit as the “hot room” for high risk cases, to make deep cleaning easier in case we see a coronavirus case. We are told to use PPE if we see high risk patients but PPE is in very short supply and not easily available. The price has increased 10 fold since December of last year. The guidance is changing day by day on how we should be tackling the situation – it is hard to keep up with the constant change. We worry about infecting our must vulnerable patients but we also worry about missing something else we can treat. When I get home from work, I now take off my work clothes at the back door, make sure they are washed every day and have a hot shower before I have any contact with my family. I am scared I will bring home the infection to my family on my clothes. The computing department at the Clinical Commissioning Group are working hard to enable virtual consulting, laptops are supplied to allow us to work from home, a program that allows us to communicate to patients by text, and allowing patients to download photos of rashes and other conditions into their clinical records and also to perform video consultations are all gradually rolled out. This had been planned to happen gradually over the next few years, but unusually for the NHS somehow is rolled out in just 2-3 weeks. By the end of the month the first member of staff at our surgery goes off sick with what might be Covid 19, they have mild symptoms and despite going off as soon as they are ill, over the next 6 weeks nearly three quarters of the staff go off with what sounds like Covid. There is no testing so we are not sure it is Covid but nothing like this has spread around the staff like this before. We try to increase our infection control measures to stop the disease spreading round the surgery but every few days someone else develops symptoms. Fortunately all staff recover within 2- 3 weeks and no-one needs to be treated in hospital. We are relieved that there are no Covid cases in the patients we have been treating.
April 2020 Early in April I am off sick with covid, it started with a dry cough and flu like symptoms, my skin aches and I feel tired, I have a low-grade temperature on and off. As other doctors are also off sick or having to work from home I manage to keep working from home, fortunately we are not as busy as normal, as our patients are trying not to consult with us. I have to go to bed for a nap at lunchtimes to feel able to work again in the afternoon – unheard of for me. After a week I think I can go back to work as my 7 days are up. I get up to try to go to work but feel too faint to even make a cup of coffee, I take 2 days without working at all as I just don’t feel well enough. Fortunately I recover quickly over the next few days and return to work at the surgery after 2 weeks.
May 2020 The staff are all back at work, the Covid infection rates in the community are high but people can now start to get tested for covid if they fit defined criteria a dry persistent cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell, but it can still only be organised through 111. There is still very little advice about how to prevent spread at work. We wear aprons, gloves and masks and sometimes visors with every direct contact with patients now, but we still sit next to each other at coffee and cram into the tiny coffee room up to 8 people, as the month goes now start to get advice about social distancing at work and wearing masks. By the autumn we wear mask whenever we are not on our own. We wash hands or use alcohol gel when moving between areas. We space out our chairs in rooms to ensure 2 metre gaps. And have limits as to the number of people in each room in the building. We try to work out how we can safely see patient for more routine conditions again, we have to give our nurses and healthcare assistant longer appointment slots as we need to factor in time for cleaning and changing PPE between patients, we don’t think it is safe to use the waiting room yet so we get people to wait outside. We are fortunate that we have a door buzzer and speaker which means we can safely talk to patients waiting outside. Patients are now accustomed to wearing face coverings when going to shops and so it becomes second nature now to wear it to the doctors surgery too, but we can still not safely see anything like the usual volume of patients inside the building and doctor appointments are still done mainly over the phone or by video call.
July 2020 The rates are quite a bit lower, we are no longer on lockdown, but things are not back to normal at the surgery, we still deal with most patients over the phone and people are still having to wait outside rather than in the waiting room, there are now probably more patient contacts than there would normally be as people who have been putting off contacting us start to try to get their health issues sorted out. We are starting to refer people back to the hospital clinics but the wait is longer than normal and they are also doing a lot of work by telephone rather than face to face. I still probably only see 3 or 4 patients face to face in a day compared to about 30 this time last year. It is a very different way of working compared to the way I trained but it is still too risky to see lots of patients at the moment.
September and October 2020 Things have stayed settled and our current priority is to try to get back on to top of the management of chronic diseases and any referrals that may have been delayed earlier in the year. There are still all the usual serious conditions around like strokes, heart attacks and cancers, they are just not all over the news at the moment. The other thing we need to do is get our older and vulnerable patients vaccinated for flu. We have to rethink the system as we can no longer cram 600 people through our building in 3 hours on a Saturday morning, as we now have to have social distancing between patients. We arrange the clinics differently. Spread the session over 12 hours instead of 3 and hope for good weather as we will need to have a queue in the carpark. In the end the clinics run smoothly and we manage to get our patient vaccinated for the flu and still maintain social distancing.
January 2021 Christmas has come and gone and the rates of Covid are starting to climb again, we have been watching the news about the start of the Pfizer vaccine roll out. We worry about the logistics of coordinating a clinic in which we have to give over a thousand vaccines within 3 days as we cannot store the vaccine at -70degrees C. But we desperately want to get our patients protected as this the only tool we currently have to turn the corner on this disease. We team up with the 4 other practices in our primary care network, and decide we have to sign up for the sake of our patients. Fortunately the clinics are very well organised and run smoothly, we get tremendous help from volunteers to help us run the clinic, we are grateful for people giving up their time to help our whole community get vaccinated. We soon get into the swing of delivering the vaccine starting with the over 80 year olds. We see some people who have not been out of their house or had any real contact with people outside their immediate family for over a year. Patients are so grateful to be getting vaccinated they all hope that they can now start getting their lives back to normal.
April 2021 The rates are dropping again in the UK and lockdown restrictions are starting to ease. But rates in other countries in Europe are climbing again and there is a massive increase in cases in India on the news. There is definitely no room for complacency. We are busy delivering the second doses of vaccines now. We are still not able to work as we would normally have done 15 months ago. We are not sure if we will be able to work “normally” again for the next few years. The more people we see the more chance we have of inadvertently giving the virus to one of our vulnerable patients – it is a very difficult balance. The only really effective tools we have is for everyone to be vaccinated and to follow the rules on social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands regularly. All of us must follow the rules so that we all protect each other and reduce the risk of the virus spreading again. NHS workers like everyone in our community are still trying to get used to the “new normal” way of working and living in this strange Covid world.
A year with Covid 19, a perspective from Glatton Parish Council ~ Neil Mundell-Phipps
We had our normal quarterly meeting in February 2020 and of course covid-19 was a topic of conversation, but I don’t think any of us could imagine what was about to happen to the world. Little did we know, how we would have to embrace “virtual meetings and get-togethers, even us the Parish Council have now ran about 6 meetings on Zoom but hopefully later this year we will be back face to face in the village hall and cant ait to see may of you there. Let’s hope we recognise each other, as who knew how we would have to embrace the new fashion item “facemasks”
March 23rd and a live TV announcement by our Prime Minister informing us of how the landscape for how we would now be living day to day was launched upon us. Immediately we knew that the demographic of our village there would be people that would or may need some support and contact, so we created a Glatton volunteer WhatsApp group of volunteers. This was to help with such things has having a conversation with, collect shopping and medicines etc. and I am pleased to say that it was used by those villagers who needed us. As an update we have renamed the WhatsApp group as the Glattonites Volunteer group and we currently have 22 members. Also, during this time, we had new residents moving into the village, so it was a case of walking the village and saying hello over garden hedges and meeting our new neighbours, so grateful for the lovely weather last spring and summer.
The Parish Council held its AGM in June and I was elected as Chairman of the parish council my main focus for the year ahead was ensure that the village was informed and safe as could be and to ensure communication was cascade from all avenues, such as Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire Council etc. We did this by introducing Covid-19 notices and it is good to look back and see that we have issued 8 Glatton notices in total, in addition to more national and county level notices and I hope that people in Glatton feel informed. In the summer the village had an awesome celebration of VE75, 75 years of VE and there were many of us having an afternoon tea on our front lawns and drives, and how lovely that the Addison Arms provided many of our residents with a lovely afternoon tea delivered to their doors.
What else has happened this year, one key memory for me is the flooding, it was dark, late into the evening and the village came alive with offers of help, support, pumps being delivered to people’s homes. Afterwards we had volunteer group clearing gulley’s and drains, and we have even had every drain in the village now cleared by HDC.
Flooding support and social distancing. My overriding memory is the neighbourly camaraderie and all hands in to help was lovely to witness and be a part of. It was sad to lose our newly created calendar of events, like CPR/Defib training, and some planned speakers at the village hall, litter collection around our village and I truly hope we can have a calendar for later 2021 onwards. Speedwatch was definitely a stop and start situation but at the time of writing this blog it appears as of 1st May 2021 we can restart the activity in the village.
I hope that gives you a flavour of the Parish Councils perspective of the last year, and a huge thank you to all residents of Glatton, and I wish us all a safe, fun and closer future. I encourage everyone to join our Glatton Village Group on Facebook and use the Glatton Parish Council website, even sign up for e-mail notifications, and hopefully you will see the continuation of our seasonal Glatton newsletter.
2020 The Stefanelli Family Lockdown Year ~ June Stefanelli
The year started as usual with a party with family in Sawtry. Little did we know just how much life was about to change in the very near future. Tony and June had booked a holiday in Orkney with family in March and were flying from Heathrow for a change. A night at an airport hotel prior to the flight was lovely, however there was lots of talk about this Corona virus and the fact that many people were dying both in Italy and the UK. We had heard about it in Wuhan, but never took much notice of it at the time. On return to Heathrow Airport on the 14th March, we thought it resembled a ghost town with very few people around.
In the village, we quickly became aware of the lack of cars driving through the village and that there seemed to be more birdsong, or perhaps we just noticed it more. We thank God that the weather throughout the spring was fantastic and that the garden bloomed really early. My sister in law and I used to walk round the garden and just a little way up the village and back.
We of course like any other family, celebrated lockdown birthdays, with three special ones over the year:- Nancy in June, Nicole in April and Tony in December. Nicole got a surprise when family and friends joined in a zoom sing along for her birthday but that couldn’t make up for the trip we should have had to America and Canada. This should have been a trip of a life time to celebrate Tony and June’s Silver wedding, and Nicole’s 21st Birthday. June began a blog outlining everything that they would have done if the holiday had gone ahead. Lots of other people had also started doing that on Face Book.
This was a tough time for anyone who should have been attending school or university. Nancy was having to teach children on line as part of her school job, but was also having to complete her degree from home. Dissertation is hard enough without having to do everything from home.
Online shopping became the norm for the family, as initially Tony was sent to the supermarket each week (which he hated) and on his return was made to get showered and changed. He felt very uncomfortable in the supermarket as people often forgot or didn’t see the importance of social distancing. Angelo continued to work most of the time as he worked outside and on his own. Tony had to continue to work at the foodbank as there was a great demand for foodbank parcels during this time. He would often make up the parcels on his own, with June helping when she could.
One of the highlights of the week became the clap for the front line workers, when everyone would come outside to the main road and make some noise. Grandma could often be heard blowing a whistle or ringing the bell, something she enjoyed doing. We were all glad that she kept well throughout the whole year and in fact is still going strong as ever and still looking after the family as well as cooking for them.
June took up baking scones and crocheting which was something that helped to pass the time. She unfortunately was prevented from continuing her voluntary work at the hospital due to being on inhalers. Risk assessments are still carried out now on a three monthly basis for the volunteers, Along with twice weekly lateral flow tests.
Some of the positive things that happened during lock down were that it brought out the good in a lot of people. Captain Tom became an inspiration to everyone, which raising a phenomenal amount of cash for the NHS. Many others began raising money for various charities which was lovely. Gary Barlow would post a duet every day with a celebrity, something that would also lift the spirits. It was also lovely to actually see and speak to the children and grandchildren every day on face time, although not the same as seeing them in person.
We were truly grateful that the weather was fabulous and we thoroughly enjoyed the VE 75 year celebrations on the 8th May. Everyone in the village seemed to make an effort and decorate their gardens and houses for the event. We had afternoon tea outside on the patio and the weather was lovely and warm on the day. Grandma was very grateful to receive an afternoon tea from Ruth and Ray at the Addison Arms, something they did for the elder residents in the village. Actually we also had some lovely takeaways from them, throughout lockdown.
On the 11 May, the government announced the first steps to ease the lock down, which was good, but we noticed that there were very little good news stories on the news and many tales of woe and doom. Made us wonder if any relaxing of the lockdown would be counterproductive.
Summer was good and June managed a holiday by the sea at Bacton in Norfolk, where she was joined by daughter and granddaughter. The weather was glorious and the beach was lovely but It wasn’t Italy and June really missed her spring time holiday over there. Thankfully though, all the Italian relatives remained in good health throughout. Christmas was a very quiet affair in the Stefanelli household as normally there are around 24 guests for dinner on Christmas Eve. It was very strange with just five round the table but we still managed to have a good time.
We have been very lucky as a family to escape the virus so far but we acknowledge and feel so sorry for those who have been affected. Although we are pleased things are now opening up, and grateful for our vaccinations, and being able to see our family in ‘the flesh’, we still are concerned that we will see further rises in this nasty virus and guess that we will just have to learn to live with it and be as safe as we can possibly be in protecting ourselves.
My sincere thanks go to the contributors to this blog and for Paul Cole’s help. It is an account of 2020 – 2021 in Glatton and how it affected some residents of Glatton.
I am hoping for further blogs and if you would like to contribute to this Covid – 2020-2021 page please contact me on email@example.com.