by Malcom Bullivant
I was in my mid seventies, retired and leading a very full life. I took part in a Portrait Group, and studied art and writing at the City Literary in London. I was an active participant at my local gym, exercising and swimming four times a week. Then suddenly the Pandemic was upon us, and everything changed. Colleges and gyms were closed, group meetings were discouraged, and we were asked to stay at home. Everything my week focused upon was gone.
It was then that Ashley Jordan came up with the idea of people in similar circumstances meeting once a week online for a virtual cafe. Cafe Connections was born, and throughout the Pandemic we met every Thursday at 10:00am. We had the chance to say briefly what was going on in our lives, and then Ashley would provide a speaker who gave a presentation. Speakers ranged from health and wealth professionals to technical support and gardening experts. Added to this, no matter what assistance we needed, whether it be electrical work, building or legal, Ashley always had a tried and trusted contact who could do the job. No matter the problem, there was always a solution.
After several months, the rules around the Pandemic eased, and Ashley suggested that perhaps Cafe Connections had run its course. We, the participants, absolutely refused to let it go, as we had all benefited so much.
We are now into our third year, the structure of the Cafe has changed a little, but is essentially still a place where we can share, learn and be social. We are not a bunch of frail “oldies”; everyone has interests and passions, and we are always ready to welcome new members. Over sixty is the recommended age, but we would never turn anyone away.