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LIFE UNDER LOCKDOWN - AN UPDATE FROM OUR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT RAY STEARN

My musings this week


The weather over the border in Yorkshire has been variable to say the least. A week ago the tender plants just emerging on the allotment were scorched by frost, then, a few days after that, they were scorched by the sun. Ne’er cast a clout ‘til May is out is certainly holding its own this year.


Walking round to the allotment, via a local cemetery and local park, I have noticed an increase of dog excrement left on the pathways. Are dog owners taking the two metre ruling too far and not getting close enough to the poo to pick it up and bin it? I wonder if anyone in Lancashire has noticed the same. Nothing very arts related there but I needed to get that off my......chest.


So when we (we being my wife and I) are in lockdown at home, the arts come to us via the internet. We sing with Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus, 5.30 pm every Monday-Friday, except for 25-29 May which has been declared half term. This is a national choir, well organised with downloadable music and audio backing recordings. Everyone is encouraged to record the songs and send them in for a programme to be broadcast some time in the future.


We also sing along with Rock Choir which is on every day at 3.00 pm. The lyrics can be downloaded and Rock Choir and non-Rock Choir members are welcome.

These are two National, and indeed International, initiatives but the local arts over here are not being ignored.


With our Pigeon Pluckers Ukulele Group we meet once a week via Zoom and play a few songs together. We can’t all play together as time delays mean a cacophony worse than usual is made, but it works well enough if one person leads and the rest mute, as sort of duet for many instruments. As much as anything it’s keeping us playing and practicing, and as relative beginners we do need the practice!


We also use Zoom to keep in touch with our Out of the Box Choir, we can practice a few warm up singing techniques but then we switch to a quiz, general chat and the benefits of just keeping in touch cannot be underestimated.


So with grateful thanks to technology the arts are alive and well over the border in Yorkshire.

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