Malvern Hills

What a difference a day (or two) makes. This desolate picture of Malvern Town centre was taken on 5th May, 2020. The recent announcement that Lockdown is to be progressively eased from the beginning of June has led to a massive increase in traffic. Indeed, sometimes it is already difficult to cross the road!
When I started to think about this email a few days ago we were still in Lockdown. Here we are, a few days later, and the whole scene is changing quite rapidly. Some schools are to tentatively return, some businesses have been given clearance to open and, within a few weeks many more shops will be able to open. We are allowed to meet up with family groups, and so on. Listening to television news or following events in our press, indeed just witnessing the crowds in our local beauty spots and hills, one could be forgiven for thinking that Covid-19 was a thing of the past, a figment of our imagination. 

Yet things will not be the same as before. Social distancing will remain in place for a long time into the future. Restrictions on group meetings, shopping, work, travel, holidays, education and every aspect of our lives will be subject to new rules and guidance. Many changes either already have, or will, take place that will impact on how life moves forward. 
The amazing weather during the Lockdown has provided the opportunity (and time!) for wonderful walking. On balance, social distancing has been cheerfully observed, although the amount of litter provides a sad reminder that some humans have little regard for the countryside.

Life for National Trust has become massively difficult to manage. With the entire property portfolio closed down, many staff furloughed and no end in sight for full restoration of access and membership enjoyment the practical and financial implications are stupendous. At the time of writing, some grounds and gardens are being allowed to open for access, but obviously not the properties. Please visit the National Trust website for details of properties that can be visited and information pages on booking your slot for visiting. Numbers of available  properties are currently very limited. (30 at time of writing) but this will probably be gradually extended. Do go on line to check what is available.
Enforced Lockdown has given many of us a problem. What to do with our hair? The latest bovine style showcased here may provide us with a clue! A few more weeks and many of us could be copying this!

Here at our own Centre, as with so many other organisations, we are faced with the dilemma of what to do. It is quite clear to your committee that the style of events that form our current agenda are just not possible to operate within the current and proposed social distancing guidelines. For as long as current rules are in place, then, our Social Lunch,  Coach trips and talks in village halls will not be possible. This is likely to be the case for the rest of 2020. 

So, very reluctantly, your committee has decided to cancel all Events for the rest of 2020. It is extremely difficult to deal with uncertainty and we owe it to you, Village halls, Speakers, coach operators, indeed everyone involved, to clarify the position. My heart ( and I am sure yours too) goes out to everyone who has put so much time into organising our Agenda and Trips. 

We are also faced with repaying all those who have booked, some obviously for more than one outing. Our Treasurer, Stephen Lawrence is working hard to collate all repayments to mitigate costs. Please note that we are repaying everyone in full, waiving the normal cancellation charge.

Cast ne`er a clout `till May is out! Some take this old saying to mean clothing until the end of the month of May, but others take it to mean the May flower or Hawthorn. There was no shortage of blossom this year. This photo was taken overlooking Colwall.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members who have decided to waive their re-payments. Clearly our normal fund-raising schedule has been severely disrupted, whilst at the same time we have had to meet extra postage and admin costs. Obviously and rightly these generous gifts will remain anonymous - but THANK YOU.

Some days this month the weather has been so hot that shade was a welcome part of a walk. This delightful glade with a mass of forget-me-nots looked just like a secret garden. And there was no-one around, so peace reigned.

I am sure that, like all of us on your committee, we are deeply dismayed to cancel so much of our Agenda. We really felt that we had no choice but to turn a negative situation into a positive decision. 

The age demographic of our membership means that we will probably be the last group to be released from suggested isolation. 

However, let us use this fallow time to think about our future programme. We are actively thinking about 2021, and how can get back into action! We are looking at holding an increased number of Talks; we would like to hold many more social events, probably in smaller groups that would bring more fellowship. We must not overlook that next year is our 50th Anniversary. What should we do? What can we do? What would YOU like to do?

Please come on, everyone. Surely you are sitting at home with time on your hands? Please get involved. Please write back to me with suggestions, Anything. Everything. Help us to shape the future. 
The Lockdown has given us time to live through the phases of Spring. From snowdrops, bluebells, blossom, and so much more to the current un-veiling of foxgloves. This picture shows them apparently alarmed (rather like meerkats). I wonder if it is the returning hordes of visitors?

So here we are at a pivotal time for all, not least your Centre. This "out of this World" situation could easily lull us into a kind of dreamy stupor, with all sense of reality suspended, and an all to easy excuse to drift and "wait and see" what will happen attitude. How dangerous is that?

To-day is the first day of the rest of our lives!!

Let us take this down time to think about next year. What sort of year do we want? Think about it. Ring up your friends, discuss possibilities. Write to us. You matter, your opinion matters.


This video is a new departure for our email Newsletter. It was filmed by family members of Alan & Ruth Dyson near where they live at Stiffords Bridge. (Alan is our Talks Organiser) Just click on the arrow and watch this delightful scene.

At our AGM in February, I announced that I would not be standing for re-election as Chair. The clock is ticking. Please spend some time thinking about who in your circle or acquaintance could take up this role. As 2021 will be our 50th Anniversary it would offer a wonderful start for a new person to lead the Centre into the future. Please pass on your suggestions to any committee member or myself at the earliest opportunity. Thank you.

David Ebsworth