There is one thing for sure, at GFH we love celebrating. Celebrating birthdays, anniversary’s, special occasions and events, special dates, Christmas and of course most recently Easter.
On Monday 23rd March 2020, the Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, announced to the country that we were to simply “Stay at Home”. The message was clear. We were only to go outside for food, health reasons or work where we could not work from home. There were of course social distancing rules that we are now all too familiar with but the biggest message that has affected not just us at GFH, but the whole world very hard was that we must not meet others, even friends and family. We had to stay home to stay safe and save lives. A tough request but one that is temporary, also very vital to the Government strategy to save our NHS staff from being unable to care for us in the darker days ahead.
Whilst we have all responded to the “lockdown” differently, some of us enjoying time away from the daily demands of our lives, some of us becoming teachers to our children whose school days are now conducted at the kitchen table, celebrities encouraging us to move, meditate, dance, de-clutter, take up arts, crafts and other activities, what wasn’t obvious was how to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and events when we couldn’t leave the house!
And so with the art of technology, wi-fi connections and mobile phones / tablets / computers “Social Distancing Parties” were introduced around the Globe!
One never to miss out on an excuse for a party our “Family Fun” Whatsapp group arranged and hosted a social distancing birthday party for my younger brother on Tuesday 7th April. Previous employee Jacob (also my nephew) took the reins (as he has the brains) and got the oldies of the group, better known as GFH packers and posters Mum Sue and Step Mum Jane involved by meticulously talking them through how to download and operate SKYPE. Not the easiest task, but one he did well and before long we could all see and talk to each other!
Everyone was then given a role.
Big sister – write 10 quiz questions
My family – write 10 quiz questions, organise a bingo game
Mum Sue – write 10 quiz questions and also a mini-scavenger hunt so the kids involved could have a mad 5 minutes running around looking for nonsense items.
Step-Mum Jane and Dad Pete – write 10 quiz questions
Jacob, technology expert – write a music quiz
Me – boss them all around of course!!!!
On the night we tested the Skpe call out before inviting the birthday boy to join our group chat and well, words of advise…. agree to all have your screens in one direction (Landscape works best) so you are not met with foreheads and cleavages, know how to connect the call so you don’t have to call the technology expert and be talked through the whole process again, and don’t all talk at once!!!
Thankfully Jacob had organised a running order so that we didn’t all get consumed in shouting to be heard over each other. We all took in in turns to read our quiz questions and then answers with the scavenger hunt and music quiz thrown in break it up. Questions ranged from personal ones about the birthday boy and his birth date and year, to questions stolen from recent episodes of ITV quiz shows, to ones that the kids would know and the adults wouldn’t and the best ones – taken from the internet that were just for fun! Favourite question of the night:-
“True or False” Do Pigeons feed their young milk ?!?!?
Answers on a postcard please ...
The music quiz was supported by tunes from music apps. We had all provided our dates of birth and Jacob played the number one song that was top of the charts on the dates we were born. Easy? Nope. Lots of guesses? Yep. Lots of correct answers? Nope! Fun? Yep.
There were no winners; there were no losers, but lots of smiling faces, laughter, good food, lots of alcohol, good company and for a few hours nobody gave a thought to the world outside.
I personally ended the evening with a belly full of laughter and a sadness that for now this was the closest we are going to get to being altogether for family celebrations.
But, it did prove popular, so much so that this Friday we are having a second party with the same faces and a few new ones who are yet to experience a social distancing party!
No reason this time, just because it is Friday!