Hybrid Coffee Morning

Hybrid Coffee Morning

by Eamon Ó Cléirigh

Hybrid Coffee Morning

01/11/21 at 11am

We had a good turnout for our first Having a Laugh face-to-face coffee morning since the beginning of the lockdown.

While we gathered inside the Blind Tiger, Bláithín operated the online version from the back of her van, just a few feet away in the car park. I had my phone connected inside but had to be muted, what with our chit-chat drowning out the online attendees.

Even so, they got to see how we were getting on every now and again when I’d give them a brief sweep of our gathering. Nothing like a collective wave to bring on a smile.

I have to say, it was a nice experience being back in face-to-face mode, though we were all careful not to get too close to each other.

As much as I liked the Zoom meetings, nothing beats sitting over a coffee and chatting or listening to others around a table. In saying that, the online version may suit others better, and it’s great that Bláithín facilitated that side of it.

A few of those who arrived in hadn’t attended any of the Zoom meetings during Lockdown so it was particularly good to see them. Some people just don’t do online, which is understandable, whereas others have never been to an ‘in-person’ coffee morning event and have grown used to the screened meeting, which is why it’s so good that the hybrid version was being utilised.

Even though we only met for an hour, so many issues were touched on, which isn’t really a surprise when you have small clusters chatting about one thing in particular, then turning to share their thoughts or comment on another subject being covered at the next table. It was great to see everyone either involving themselves in the chat or just sitting there and listening in comfort, with no pressure whatsoever to join in.

I won’t go into the issues covered but I found it humbling to be included in what were quite personal stories, and it’s easy to see how people benefit from being in the company of someone who shares their experiences relating to coping with mental health. Not that it was all about the nitty-gritty of that – no, we chatted about all kinds of things and had a good chuckle along the way. It really was a pleasant experience, and my coffee and scone did the trick, too.

Be sure to keep an eye/ear out for details of our next meet-up. You’ll receive the email and can decide if you’d like to attend in person or register for the Zoom gathering.

Our next Hybrid Coffee Morning is happening on the 6th of December. Anyone is welcome to pop into the Blind Tiger to say hello or register online to attend by zoom. For online attendees please register in advance to get an email zoom link on the morning.