Corona Chronicle February 2022

With my alpaca friend Evan at Shallowford December HIVitality Weekend

Before I start beating myself up for not posting since September last year, I must remind myself that my focus of attention has of necessity been elsewhere. Take a look at North Midlands LGBT Older Peoples Group website for verification. The OLGBT Group is just one of my many commitments…but as I am its webmaster as well as its Chair…the activities recorded on its web pages provide definitive proof that I’ve not been idle. Thankfully, life hasn’t been all work and no play…many of the OLGBT group’s online activities have been great fun. Now that we are beginning to meet in person again, the pleasure has greatly increased. This month saw the start of a new project organised by Deborah Rogers of the Cultural Sisters and run by inspirational Sarah Fraser. We met for the first session at the BCB Studios in Stoke and had our hands covered in clay within minutes.

Sarah gave us 10 minutes to create an object connected with a recent happy experience

At home, I try to practice the piano every day as well as exploring the sound world of my new Johannus Studio 357. This was a present to myself for achieving the status of Octogenarian in September 2021. Apart from needing the kind of focused attention that is totally absorbing…daily playing is also a form of gentle exercise that toughens when practicing fast pedal passages.

New Johannus three manual digital organ

The HIV support group HIVitality continues to provide me with access to premium quality peer support. It is always refreshing and uplifting to spend time with old friends and to make new ones in a warm, relaxing environment. Not to mention spending relaxing time in the nature reserve that is home to a wide diversity of plant and animal life, including two friendly alpacas, Bruce and Evan (see picture at top of page)

Gaia Earth Art Work by Luke Jeram – Keele Chapel

Singing and dancing beneath the huge revolving earth artwork in Keele Chapel was a truly memorable experience. Listening to the massed voices of Women and Upmen choirs under the inspired direction of Paul Rogerson of Restoke was amazing. This was followed by a stimulating singing workshop, again led by Paul. I sang bottom bass.

Dancing in the same magical space with another inspirational artist…Rachel Lines of FRONTLINEdance…provided another fabulous creative experience. In fact, Keele University together with Appetite Stoke organised a month long cultural feast of activities in the chapel as well as offering blocks of time for individuals and groups to spend time with the artwork.
Unitarian Church Shrewsbury

I can’t end this post without mentioning the North Staffs and District Organ Society, who’s fellowship and encouragement have sustained me throughout the year. NSDOS (for short) is a group of lovers of organs and organ music. It is made up of playing and non-playing members who instead of going on pub crawls…do organ crawls instead. This friendly, enthusiastic band of comrades support the Organ Proms at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, as well as embarking on visits to historic and interesting organs both in the surrounding area and further afield. We meet up with other organ enthusiasts in addition to enjoying the hospitality of people in a wide variety of churches, chapels and other venues. Last year was remarkably successful…given the circumstances. This year has already got off to a fantastic start with a trip in January to churches in and around Uttoxeter, followed by an equally enjoyable February visit to organs in Shrewsbury and Shifnal.

Not a bad start to yet another pandemic year. Whilst COVID restrictions are being lifted…personally, as someone classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’… I will continue to take sensible precautions.






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