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Book Club in a Pandemic

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Book Club in a Pandemic | story.one

Early in 2020 everything was on the brink of change; the effect of this was that we were only able to meet up twice. Global issues were evolving and we could not yet foresee that a virus which was wreaking havoc in China would spread to other countries and directly impact us.

In January we began the year in our usual, inimitable style. We had a lovely, cosy evening together, considering and choosing our new book titles for the forthcoming year. Even during our last meeting on 29th February we remained blissfully unaware that we were on the slippery slope towards ‘lockdown’ which would change our lives in ways we had never known. We enjoyed that last social event together, laughing and drinking, little knowing that those parting hugs would be our last contact for an indefinite period.

In March one friend poignantly posted that Book Club would have to be cancelled for a while but to keep reading through the list. That little message brought it home to us that times were changing, and that we must adapt to new ways. Whilst we had no choice but to remain apart, we certainly could choose to keep reading and remain in contact.

A group of resourceful nurses cannot and will not be kept down, so in April Book Club was reinvented and we were reunited through the medium of ‘Zoom’. A new age of, “Can you hear me, can you see me and is your mute button switched off?’ was upon us! We were laughing once again and seeing all of our familiar faces, albeit on a laptop screen, was uplifting and a great tonic for us all. We discussed the book as usual but also used the forum to chat about how we were feeling in the midst of the pandemic and the fact that we had family members who tested positive for Covid-19. Some were very stressed at work with increased demands and having to adopt new ways of delivering vital NHS services. I was very thankful to have retired. From the safety of our homes we found a way to link up and offer support to each other, sharing our concerns about this new way of life inflicted upon us.

As the summer approached we tentatively planned to meet outdoors, in the park or on the beach. A combination of ever changing government regulations and some rather cool North East weather hampered these plans and so the Zoom meetings continued throughout the year. Nothing could dampen our friendships or our reading enthusiasm, that's for sure. We shared jokes and enjoy inspirational quotes, and remained positive that this time will surely pass. We look forward to the day that we meet up again and carry on as normal. Until then we all try to live in the moment and enjoy the small things that make us happy.

It was a great morale boost for us to be named as runners up in Prima Magazine's competition to find Britain's most special book club! It was wonderful to have our story published in the July 2021 edition. I'm so pleased that we can celebrate our success in keeping Buddies Book Club alive and have created another great memory to look back on.

© Angela Craddock 2021-08-04

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