Bridge the Distancing

Online get-togethers and a new board game.

Our writing group – the Whittlesey Wordsmiths – held our first meeting on Zoom in April. Some members were wobbly about the technology involved and left us pioneers to try it first.

Although our first meeting was a doggy paddle of discovery, we soon got used to watching ourselves talking and forgot to be self-conscious.

Technically speaking, success was variable. We lost one member early (about the time I joined the meeting – I hope that wasn’t relevant). Another had ipad problems synchronising video and audio so dropped out halfway.

Subtitles would have been helpful for the audio mismatch (we decided holding up cue cards wasn’t practical) but Zoom’s chat window will no doubt help if we remember to open it at our next meeting. One member who lipreads found it helped to see speakers’ faces on screen, instead of trying to look around corners along a meeting room table.

As usual, we wandered frequently off topic, sharing lockdown anecdotes and information before setting next month’s writing challenge, but it was good to talk to someone other than our respective better halves. With luck, we’ll be more numerous at our next meeting, although probably no more productive.

For less business-oriented meetings, my family are proposing we meet up on to play games together (my family are big on board games). I’ve heard good things about Houseparty. It has downloaded and installed with no problems but we have yet to try an evening in together. I’ll let you know how it goes.


And on the subject of board games…

Worms and Straw Bales is a new take on Snakes and Ladders, devised by blogger John Spiers (of My Life with Gracie) in honour of his chickens’ hatchday.

Gracie and Bessie are now three years old. This is a Big Deal as three is all the toes they can see on one foot. Go to his blog post to download the board to print out for Worms and Straw Bales. There is also a download for playing pieces to make up (and maybe decorate with colours of your choice) or, if you’re keen to get started, you can use your own dice and counters.


red dice


Dropping Catalogues

Since I retired, I’ve been selling eco-friendly products locally for a UK company called Wikaniko (pronounced we-can-eco). Most of my customers are of an age to be socially isolating (as am I) so catalogue drops aren’t happening at the moment.

However, online ordering continues (although shipping charges apply). So, for UK readers interested in ecologically sound home and garden products, biodegradable bags, chemical free skincare or natural health supplements, links on this page will take you to my Wikaniko website. (Delivery to the UK only, I’m afraid. Orders over £50 are shipped free to UK mainland addresses.)


What former chores are you missing in isolation?

15 thoughts on “Bridge the Distancing

  1. You’ve all done well to get Zoom going, and great to bring your writing group together. I’m sure you’ll all master it and eventually find the button where you can each display your own backgrounds to your image. We use it weekly for a wine tasting with our daughter and husband, each of us chooses a background from our own photos relating to the wine we are tasting ….. often a memory of having visited the vineyard together. I just googled your town, looks an interesting place with a lot of history and culture. St Mary’s church looks worth a visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are two big churches, St Mary’s and St. Anthony’s. they are at opposite ends of a not vey long road which used to be the main market street a few centuries back. Interesting that they were built so close together and both still survive. i’ve read that the “sea” (or “sey”) at the end of a place name around here originally meant “isle”. Much of the Fens is below sea level and was originally marsh until the Dutch were brought in to drain it in the 17th Century.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just had my first Zoom book club meeting. We had been just about to launch when the virus hit. So we don’t know each other and are just beginning. An odd way to start, but we will give it a go. Hadn’t heard of House Party so I will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Zoom meeting went pretty well I thought. I enjoyed it, Though not as good as the real thing. I made the mistake of not having a cuppa to hand before the meeting started, something to be rectified next time. The virtual meeting was a good idea, yours I believe. Stephen and yourself did very well to organise it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought the meeting went petty well, it was a good idea on your part. You and Stephen did well to organise it, thank you. I shall have to make sure I have a cuppa at hand before the next meeting starts.

    Liked by 1 person

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