Virtual Christmas Drinks 2020

Christmas Drinks 5:30 pm 13/12/2020

This year’s Christmas Drinks party was quite different, and at least it didn’t mean a discussion about who was going to drive home.

Janet John acted as the technical host of the Zoom-based event, with Gwyndaf sending out invitations and Janet controlling the meeting in the background. We all signed in and soon saw 25 other screens looking back at us with about 45 members present.

David Powell welcomed everyone and explained how the meeting/party was going to be organised.
As a group we heard from members from their own rooms and were particularly pleased to see those who had not been able to make recent events (i.e. a year ago) or had moved away from the area.

Peter and Pat Chapman spoke from Brecon about the joys of living in the country and the fear of the rising river level!
Elan & Robin Preston-Whyte joined us from Englefield Green and we had a quick glimpse around their new flat.Group Screen shot

It was great to see Bridget Murray (with a backdrop of outer space) and Helen Hall again, who had both had issues attending previous meetings and new member Ruth Huckle introduced herself from Maidenhead.

Founder members, the Owens and the Broombys also gave their updates.
Colin and Di Thomas said that their house was a lot quieter this year than when they hosted last year’s get together!

Janet and Gwyndaf then randomly assigned us to ‘break-out rooms’ where we met in groups of 6 or so, so that we could chat informally amongst ourselves. This worked surprisingly well and it seemed no time until Janet called us all back into the main room and then assigned us all to different groups with new people to talk to. These sessions lasted about 8 minutes each.Break out

After 3 rounds of these chat rooms, David spoke about events planned for 2021.
These are currently ‘virtual’ events with a quiz night on Friday 22nd January and a virtual St David’s Day on 26th February with speaker Lord Williams of Oystermouth, better known as Rowan Williams. Born in Swansea, he was Bishop of Monmouth, the only Archbishop of Canterbury not to be a member of the Church of England, Master of Magdalene College Cambridge and is a prolific author and poet.

Depending on the level of restrictions, we may be able to hold a socially distanced Spring Walk and the AGM, but under current conditions, this looks unlikely. Unfortunately, there won’t be any trip to Wales this year.

After these notifications Jonathan Pegler then took over as master of ceremonies. Everyone’s microphones were muted (apart from Jonathan’s) and Jonathan played a selection of carols with Janet showing us the words on the screen. In effect we were all signing duets with Jonathan!

Finally, Jonathan played the National Anthem and we said our farewells to each other at about 7pm.

I think that everyone thought that the event went well, and our thanks go to Janet, Gwyndaf and Jonathan for making the evening go so smoothly.