I hope that this finds you and your loved ones safe? We repeatedly hear the word `un-precedented` when applied to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, what other word could we use? The long-lasting impact on every citizen, business or government is, at this early stage, to difficult to call. Who could ever have predicted this scene in Church Street on a Saturday afternoon in April? When will our beleaguered businesses be allowed to open again? When will National Trust be free to open its doors and grounds?
But we all have to deal with the situation in our own way, and are fortunate to live in a wonderful part of the county; lockdown must be dire for those living in urban areas, possibly with no outside space. April turned out to be the sunniest on record and has, for many, made this enforced self-catering holiday more bearable.
There is much talk now on how and when Lockdown will be eased. Your committee anticipates that our agenda of outings will continue to be affected for the next few months. Social distancing cannot be easily practiced by coach travellers, and of course many of our visits are in group form. So we all await Government rules and guidelines to be released, which in turn will inform our decision to proceed or not.
Some members are due for re-imbursement for events that were cancelled. Please spare a thought for Stephen Lawrence, our new Treasurer, who has the unusual task of sending out lots of cheques as his first role with us. The process has been a tad slow, held up by the need for two signatures on cheques. With one signatory in Worcester, one in Great Malvern and the Treasurer in Malvern Link and social distancing that has slowed us up!. Stephen has also undertaken to collate as many cheques into single return payments as possible. Please be patient. Thank you Stephen.
Felicity and I live near the centre of Malvern, and we are fortunate to be able to choose some wonderful walks to all points of the compass from our home. This view of bluebells in woods near to Malvern College grounds a few days ago was quite inspirational.
Janet Bailey, our Membership Secretary, has forwarded some information on National Trust Membership renewals. In summary, National Trust has decided to allow 25% discount on membership renewals this year if paid by cheque or annual DD, and a three month payment break if paying by monthly DD. These discounts have to be requested as they hope most people will pay the full fee.
For those of you who attended our AGM in February, you will recall that we unanimously voted to increase WMNT Centre annual membership from £7 to £10 for First member and £5 for each additional member from October 2020. It is at least 6 years since our last increase, and many costs such as postage, have risen since then. However, these are unusual times and your Committee remains uncertain whether to implement the increase this year. What do you think? Please write back to me with your views. We wish to act in the best interests of all, so the more input we have, the more informed our decision will be.
I thought that you would appreciate this picture of the "Handkerchief Tree" in Priory Park. It`s Official name is Davidia involuctrata (I looked that up!) and is also known by other names such as Ghost tree, and Dove Tree. For just a few weeks each year it really is quite spectacular, this year being no different.
Many members tell me that their gardens are getting some un-divided attention and providing welcome distraction to the pandemic. The absence of traffic has improved the quality of the air we breathe, trees and shrubs have never looked more colourful, and the birdsong can be heard so much more clearly. We must take our pleasures where we can.
I did not write the words below. I wish that I had (or even could have!)
LEISURE by William Henry Davies
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when wood we pass Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn to Beauty`s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
Stay strong and safe; one day this horrible period will be over, but until then we must be thankful for Nature reminding us what a wonderful world it can be.