The merry-go-round of bellringing and Covid

I am so over Covid now!

As rates of Covid infection rise again, and we enter a twilight zone of semi-lockdown, there are going to be a lot of disappointed ringers out there. Or angry, or lonely, or frustrated, or worried, or (I personally find this worst of all) empty. 

The Central Council have considered their advice, and (in line with the Church of England and the UK Government) have concluded that in areas that enter high or very high alert levels ringing should cease again, until spread of the virus can be brought under control.

As always, the decision on whether to ring or not ultimately lies between the local ringers and their incumbent, and if they agree that they can ring safely in line with government guidelines, they have the option of continuing. This does not seem likely in most scenarios. 

I am most worried about how people feel. Ringing is a big part of our lives, and many of our social circles exist almost entirely within ringing. I am acutely aware that I haven’t seen my friends properly now for months, and it’s OK for us all to miss the wonderful activity that is bellringing, and to feel less because of its absence.

The Essex Association has pulled together and done a good job of looking after each other this year, and as most of the county enters Tier 2 restrictions and ringing ceases again we need to continue our efforts. The zoom meetings and pub sessions, the quizzes, the Ringing Room meetings, the socially distanced handbells, the phone call on practice night to the isolated ringer – these are all such valuable assets to have, and although a poor substitute for the real thing, are nonetheless meaningful ways to continue to connect. 

Covid has ravaged through our lives in many ways, and few of us feel completely ourselves at the moment. It will end, and we will go back to our old lives. 

Stay safe, look after each other, and be kind to yourselves.