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Elmbridge Village has responded well to a situation none of us could possibly have seen coming. Quite rightly, in line with the rest of the country, the communal areas of the village have been closed.

Myself and my wife Norma are extremely outgoing people, so clearly, we’ve had to modify our daily routines which has meant us adapting and also finding new pursuits.

An online community

One highlight for all residents with computers is an awakening of this device as a means of communicating with each other. Our village Intranet has really come into its own too, providing a great channel for contacting friends within our community as well as keeping in touch with relatives.

Although it was still a learning curve for some, the use of Zoom has proved to be a great success. My wife has introduced weekly quiz sessions with residents taking it in turns to set questions on a wide range of subjects.

Another surprising outcome was the problem for those of us who attended weekly Medau classes in the Manor. Not to be deterred, Jo who takes the class, set up a weekly Zoom class which has been brilliant with up to 20-25 residents still able to regularly take part.

Hats off to village staff

Throughout this time the village staff have been very good in recognising the concerns of residents and sending around regular briefs on the current situation.

As things have started to ease a little, we now have meals delivered Sunday to Friday and the village shop opening three days a week. Another plus is we are once again playing croquet and boules which gets us out into the fresh air. Needless to say, anyone with a cough or sneeze is given space. We wear masks if going into other buildings so we are taking it seriously.

Time for a new pursuit

On a personal note, having been in the computing world for most of my life, I have been able to explore other options to help fulfil my time – I have become a member of the Royal Metrological Society and take part in Zoom sessions on presentations by some of the experts in the industry. I even have a daily logbook (it lasts 3 years!) to fill in the weather situation at Elmbridge. It is really quite fun checking the computer forecast and realising it is not all that accurate!

Chance to meet new neighbours

In conclusion, I have found residents in the village have remained calm and resourceful, if at times some have been super cautious in their daily lives which is understandable.

Residents have spent more time walking around the village than normal and the large green meadow has had wide paths created and many more benches added with the advice about spacing.

What has been a really pleasant surprise is to meet and talk to residents we do not normally encounter in our pre-pandemic days, even if the subject matter is to discuss our individual approach to this unwelcome virus.

Looking ahead, none of us are sure about the future but personally I am surprised and pleased that we oldies have responded so well to this situation.

By Derrick Myers

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