• Keith Dersley

Chats in the Time of Covid, #6

Updated: Jun 18

A friend is launching his poetry book on the latest online craze, Zoom. This is the same software our coach uses when he supervises us enthusiasts, each in a bubble, while we go through the exercises like good ’uns of a Sunday morning. As his promo leaflets have it, we ‘Turn & Burn’. Yes, Coach, thanks for helping us towards our goals. We may all have different ones, but you help us achieve them. (After the first week I lost 2 lb. But there it stopped, though I thought a sweat-marked T-shirt augured more.)


Of course, with Zoom you can set to Record and make yourself a film. Save it and edit it in iMovie to show the world a slice of how you live, breathe and have your this and that. Even sing. So I made one of me warbling ‘Yesterday When I Was Young’. Finding 70 years of age is not really the time to do without the services of a make-up person, but still plugging on. After uploading this to YouTube, sending out a few emails and describing the jaunt on Facebook you soon find you have in excess of half-a-hundred views. Plus a couple of comments from friends. But you ain’t viral yet, and can’t raise a mint from advertising. You can’t sell your channel to anybody yet either, Sunny Jim.


So now I get this Zoom invitation from Martin. The book launch is a joint one, with Lauren Terry. As it only runs from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m., I thought, what can I lose?


We’ve had song fests on Zoom, two of them, with our ‘Stand & Deliver’ colleagues, a show that used to be held over at Debenham Leisure Centre but now is in the ether.


Ah, the things that Covid has put paid to, activities that you now look back on through frosted glass darkly. (But we are told we may see a lot of them back soon.)


We used to have our monthly trips to Norwich with Pete. Now we’re afraid to get the train. Even to sit where a bug carrier sat before you is not without risk.


And in Norwich we had only just discovered Jarrold’s, a great promising Victorian-type department store. Well, not quite as Dickensian/Lewis Carrollish as nearby Biddie’s, the tea shop, but that’s another tale. We fancied ambling all around Jarrold’s, using the luxurious bogs, nodding at serving folk, being recognised as people of heft.


We would even have considered buying something. There were a surprising number,

pre-Covid, of high-value articles at half price. The café there would, naturally, become Base Camp. We hope to get back there and that the place will go on to thrive long after lockdown.


Norwich, of course, we know for the second hand bookshop in Tomblands, opposite Norwich Cathedral. Then there’s Ellis’s, the ‘new’ one up the hill beside the marketplace. Joan discovered it by looking online and it was full of stuff. I bought a couple of ancient world titles, The Grandeur That Was Rome and a 1939 school prize


book about the myths, with some photos of classical subjects and English poems on the same themes.


Now that old Norwich foray, full of opportunities to relax and gossip and fritter our time away in pleasant speculation seems almost as far off, thanks to Covid, as the assassination of Julius Caesar.

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