I have been keeping everything crossed all summer that Mike McDonald would be able to resume his regular Thursday afternoon watercolour class at the Village Hall this Autumn. It has been hard to motivate oneself to paint during this stressful pandemic summer despite having endless time on ones hands and the lack of practice has led to such unsatisfactory results that it is even more demotivating. In any case Mike’s classes, like all art classes I have attended, are such relaxing and peaceful experiences and provide the kind of focus of mind which blocks out all the Covid noise and stress. So the news of the last couple of weeks of rising Coronavirus cases and threatening further restrictions made me fear that the promised start of class on October 1st may not happen.
So I was delighted no phone call came cancelling the class and I duly walked up to the village hall for 2pm on 1st October. It was a bit like a scene from the Keystone Cops as a dozen cars or more converged on the Village Hall to find the gates locked. Gridlock ensued with art students piling up and normal traffic stranded either side of the blockage trying to effect multi-point turns to extricate themselves. Fortunately the key code for the gate lock was discovered after a few frantic phone calls and the padlock removed only to find that the gate opens outwards so that all the cars had to back up in all directions. However it was all very good-humoured as I think we were all just so glad to be back in class.
The class was as enjoyable as expected with a drawing exercise to help us to get back into it and work on building up tones. The new normal meant that everyone wore a mask, and as we always work at separate tables anyway social distancing was maintained at all times. Apparently the Village Hall is allowed to have 16 tables out in this way. We all signed in giving our contact details for Track and Trace, and those of us that had downloaded the NHS App found it very easy to connect to the barcode Mike had laid out for us so that our presence at this class was recorded. For most of us this was the first time of using the App and I can reassure everyone it was amazingly easy!! At the end of class we all cleaned our table and chair with Anti-bacterial spray before putting them away. Hand sanitiser was available too. We brought our own refreshments as the kitchen is closed, though of course, the loos were open. In all I can reassure anyone contemplating attending an event like this at the Village Hall that it felt very safe and well—organised, though anyone organising an event or class should make sure they get the key code for the gate at the time of booking!!!
Thank you Mike for the new-normal, it was great to be back.