The following was written by Mudchute Playworker, Penny Wilson
The sun still shone done on us for our doorstep Elevensies and the knot of people stopping by to chat to each other became a part of our new routines.
So had the Thursday clapping.
By the second Thursday evening we had become aware that the NHS staff still needed sufficient protection. We realised that the carers who looked after our community in their homes and in residential homes also needed more supplies. Their role was now being recognised as being as vital as any in society. The Home that my mum had spent her last years in had suffered huge losses because of Covid19. My brother and I thought of the delicacy of love and care that the staff had always shown her. How must they be feeling?
So our second Thursday clapping was vibrant and thunderous. NHS workers living in our street joined in too. It was a shout for fairness. An explosive expression of gratitude and a thing we could do together that seemed to make us feel stronger and bring us closer.
We needed it.
It was the beginning of us finding a street identity. We were a little tiny bit of the mass of cheering we could hear bouncing of the buildings and echoing down the deserted Main Street.
We felt, well, somehow, a sort of pride in ourselves. I had only found that in private, or small groups of people before. This was new.
Two young brothers who live a couple of doors up from me enthusiastically started the cheering and clapping. They scampered up and down the street, sort of unable to believe what was happening. One of them played his guitar to each house, a mini performance for everyone. We all felt a little lifted, elated by this Thursday.
Several of us had made rainbows to put in our windows. These were tiny islands of daring colour that we hadn’t risked before. But they served their purpose, they became little defiant landmarks for passers by and neighbours. Another sign of our togetherness in the weirdness of this episode of our world.
The habit of Sunday music in our street made it to week two. We selected and shared music together and there was dancing and chatting and distanced closeness. This new tradition added another marker to our week.
Monday, and I was working in my basement. I looked out of the window, out onto the Area and up to the railings. There were some of my little neighbours looking down at me waving and shouting hello.
We were all excited by our new friendships.
The strangely empty street had been mocking me while I drank my doorstep coffee. And somehow an idea developed and took hold. If all the children were faithfully doing their school work at home, then what was missing was playtime.
So, by a consensus of neighbours, eleven o’clock became playtime.
I had the supplies that we needed.
We started to chalk on the pavement.
In those early days the children were tentative about asking permission.
‘May I draw a rainbow on the pavement, for the NHS.’
‘Yes, of course. And you can draw something just for yourself as well.’
Another new thing had begun.