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  • STEVE COOKE AATA

Ray Stearn, Foreign Correspondent

So, here we are, over the border in Yorkshire. Though it seems borders are no more than two metres wide at this difficult time. My wife, Chris and I are fortunate to have an allotment within walking distance for our daily exercise programme. I can tell you, there have never been less weeds on show. We could do with some rain there though.


On the arts scene, we both sing in one choir and I sing in two. I keep in touch with one through twitter, #CSIHalifax (Community Singing Initiative, Halifax) trying to tweet a daft or cheery message on a Wednesday, when we would usually meet.


My other choir, Out of the Box, has discovered Zoom, we have found it is difficult to sing together but we meet up on Tuesday evening for a chat and a drink, online.


Chris and I are also with two ukulele groups, one with Calderdale Music Trust, we call ourselves The Grateful Undead. The other is Pigeon Pluckers, because we meet at a great Art Deco listed pub, The Three Pigeons, and Osset Brewery have also sponsored tee shirts for us. Zoom works here with one leading a song and the others, muted from each other, playing along.


Sadly, for our jewel in the crown, Square Chapel Arts Centre, the virus was the final straw and it has gone into administration.


Generally, for local groups in Halifax, centre of the universe, and its environs, the arts continues online.


A little poem


Mum’s knitting face masks for nurses

Gran’s swilling Corona Beer

Grandad just sits there and curses

I want to be miles from here


The government say we are lumbered

Three weeks or more we must face

I want to nip out for a burger

But afraid the police will give chase


In a lifetime or two they will wonder

What the national plague was about

But we just try not to go under

As our future just goes up the spout


Wash your hands, wash your hands is the message

Don’t go out, don’t meet up with your friends

Not with a bang but a virus

Is this how the universe ends


Copyright Ray Stearn 17 April 2020

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