This is going to be the most peculiar Easter Sunday I’ve ever lived.
I think that observation will be the same for most if not all of us. Usually we meet on Easter Sunday having broken our normal rhythm of practices, quarter peals and peals for the traditional suspension of ringing during Holy Week. If you’re like me, you will usually reflect on the preceding week, feeling slightly out of sorts that it hasn’t felt quite right somehow, but glad that we’re with our friends and ringing again.
Of course, this year things are very different. The Coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a massive lockdown, restricting most of us to our homes, and causing extensive economic and social disruption. Aside from the difficulties, and sometimes illness, that social isolation causes, we also have the spectre of an as yet poorly understood illness on our minds, and the number of people with first hand experience of it is steadily growing.
Already a series of Association events have not happened – many district events, as well as the Essex Course (an annual lynch pin of our calendars) have had to be cancelled. There remains uncertainty about future events, although they are being actively reviewed. I miss them acutely – I know you will as well.
It seems ironic that this is the time that we need normality, we need to be able to see our friends and take our minds off life’s worries – most of us do this with ringing. Many places have maintained that link with their local bands – my own tower has “Zoom pub sessions” – many others are doing similar things. We need our friends and families to be together in whatever way is safe and possible, to help us through these difficult times. Some people can feel socially awkward, and may not naturally gravitate towards jolly virtual events. We need to find ways of reaching out to them, to remind them (and ourselves) that we are still thinking about them and miss them (even the most curmudgeonly).
Things will come back to something appearing normal, even if we can’t see how or when at the moment. Bellringers are really good at being good friends. This Easter, I’m going to make an extra effort to reach out to all my friends and say hi, and by way of this message I’m saying this same to all of you.
Hi. I hope you’re OK. Let me know if I can help you.
Please stay safe and take care.