Hybrid Coffee Morning
On Monday morning we entered into a new setup for the Havin’ a Laugh Coffee Morning. I was online with two other members and another member was connected to the Zoom call from The Blind Tiger café where there was a great turnout.
There were a few people in the café that hadn’t been at the online Coffee Mornings. They had been greatly missed by the members who attended regularly online and they themselves had missed the Coffee Mornings.
Seeing their smiling faces in the café, sitting at the two-metre distance we’ve all become so used to, was a lovely sight. We’ve all missed gathering in person, and even though a physical distance remained, a sense of community spirit felt very tangible in the café.
It felt strange to watch their interactions through a screen while continuing with a Virtual Coffee Morning. While our conversation was wonderful and I was glad of the continuation of the online experience, I was struck by the craic that was had by the gang in the Blind Tiger.
There were no pauses due to bad connection for them and although there was a distance between them it didn’t feel as big as the distance between people on screens in separate locations. There is a lot to be said for Zoom but it can never replace human interaction completely.
Blaithin was part of the virtual Coffee Morning. She sat in her van outside the café and at the end I reveled in seeing a number of the members come out to say hello to her. It was lovely seeing a hint of normality resuming.
That being said, I was really glad that the Virtual Coffee Morning went ahead and that it’s continuing again next month. I’m sure others will be glad that lifeline is still available. Some people are still very nervous to go out and about and be in large groups. It also leaves the option open for people who can’t join the in-person Coffee Morning if they have symptoms and are self-isolating at home.
I was honestly glad that there were fewer people online this month too because it meant that I got to actually fully participate in the experience, not just as an onlooker. I’m very aware at the Coffee Mornings of my duty to take notes and to write a blog at the end and I never want to take up too much of the conversation. This month I felt like a fully-fledged member, and while I still took notes, it was really nice to chat.
I’ve always been struck by the kindness and empathy of the members in the group – of their care for one another. When I came on this month, I said I had an ear infection and a few people in the café were even asking me about it, which was lovely. It was so nice to have the chat with the online members, too. Our conversation, as usual, was quite varied. A few things really stood out to me, though.
We talked about the time of year we’re entering into. Samhain or Halloween is over. It’s normally a very busy time of year, preparing for the big event at the end of the year that I dare not mention.
One of the members talked about this time of year as an important time to reflect. That, at this time of year, we need to be easy on ourselves and not stay stuck in that constant cycle of doing. For me, that was a lovely thought. A way of doing this is to think about what our soul desires. Not what we want in life, career-wise or family-wise, but what does our soul need? What would nourish our soul? It could be peace, stillness, hope, or a whole manner of other things.
I thought this was a really interesting idea as it’s not something we generally think about but it makes a lot of sense when you do think about it. Your soul is your inner being: who you are, what you’re made of, and what makes you who you are. You. If we tap into that thought, a lot of things would naturally become clearer. It’s something I’m definitely going to try and learn more about.
We also talked about a few tips and tricks for better sleep, including getting in tune with your circadian rhythm by going outside in the early morning sun. I was also intrigued to learn how long it takes coffee to leave your system.
This Coffee Morning was probably my favourite yet. It felt even more inclusive with both options available. I am glad the Virtual Coffee Mornings are continuing and that I got to have a glimpse into what the in-person Coffee Morning is like, too. It’s lovely to see things getting back to normal, whatever normal is.
It has been decided that the in-person Coffee Morning will continue on Monday the 6th of December. It will be held from 11-12 pm and will coincide with the Virtual Coffee Morning. It is hoped that both events will collide again in some way.
Anyone is welcome to pop in to say hello and listen or contribute to the conversation at either Coffee Morning. The Coffee Morning is always easy-going and cordial. Registration in advance for the Virtual Coffee Morning is necessary to receive an email zoom link on the morning.