December in the Time of Covid

Ah, the first of December, the day it’s acceptable to put up something Christmassy and not before!! The fireplace, hearth and mantel, has been cleared and cleaned, my peace lily is holidaying in the kitchen and this year’s advent calendar now has pride of place. This afternoon I trotted along to St John’s Church at the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road to check out this year’s Cards For Good Causes.

It’s a marvellous institution, been going for years, from October to December pop-up shops pop up all over the UK in places like churches, libraries, community centres, town halls and the like, mainly run by volunteers, selling Christmas cards for over twenty five charities. That is, twenty five national charities and then any local charities, like hospices. Cards For Good Causes is a not-for-profit organisation so all the proceeds after the overheads goes to the charities (and yes, the money goes to the specific charity for each pack of cards), last year it was 70p in every £1, which is way better than the charity cut from the so-called charity cards from some high street retailers!

St John’s Church

Of course, you can buy the cards at the charity shops themselves but I enjoy perusing all that’s on offer from the various charities then I make my choices – something sweet and cute, something more sombre. At the end next to the till they have Chrustmas paraphernalia, wrapping paper, tags, decorations, gifts for sale (the profits from these help to meet some of the running costs of the pop-up shops). Okay, so I would usually have already been along before now to have a peek at what was on offer, but, well, with all the social distancing measures I feel disinclined to go earlier, I wondered what changes they would have had to make, actually not a lot (besides the obvious hand sanitiser and screen at the till). There’s been a doorbell installed to buzz for entry, then one heads down the centre aisle to go one way up the side aisle where the cards are displayed back up to the till and exit side door. One obvious problem with this is some folk (erm, like me) would usually wander down the row seeing what there was before walking back up and picking out their choices; luckily for me, there was no one else there for a wee while so I was able to go back and forth a bit.

Of course, this being 2020, I’m still not definite where I’ll actually be for Christmas. The Powers That Be are currently saying the nation will have a five day window for family Christmases, but this is only the first of the month, with all their constant rule-changing I’m not convinced they’ll still be saying the same thing in twenty days time!!

I shall leave you with a lovely picture from a late afternoon stroll along Portobello Prom just last week. I say late afternoon, it was round about half past five and the moon was well up, I was quite surprised how many people were about on the beach and the Prom, but then, we’re not to meet indoors, so…..

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