Although we knew it was going to take a long time before things were normal again, it has still been hard to adjust to hearing of the setbacks and extra restrictions that have gone on and on since March this year. It is so sad that the virus has continued to spread and do so much damage despite the sacrifices we have all made. I am so glad that Made In Molesey has been a constant every month throughout, it has really helped me to talk to people outside my immediate family and to chat about things other than coronavirus. Now it is autumn and makers tend to make more in the winter months I am glad we made the decision to go online and keep meeting monthly.
So what has it been like so far? Well, numbers have varied wildly over the last six months. One meet had just me and two others on but another was very busy and we really should have made better use of the breakout rooms but we are all still getting used to the best way to use them.
We have found that it is not at all like a work call. You do not have to sit up straight, you do not have to look at the camera and you can just wander off and get a drink at any point. You do not even have to point the camera at your face so it doesn't matter what you look like. You do have to carefully take turns to speak though as the software will only let one at a time talk. People with sewing machines definitely have to mute or all we hear is the machine. Different skills make different amounts of noise. I keep my mute on quite a lot and so do most people, but the fewer people that are on the less you have to do that. It turns out we all like playing with the backgrounds and Nicola has introduced us to a website of TV sets so we can choose whether to be making in Delboy's living room or a prison cell from Porridge. I myself went through a Blake's 7 phase.
I would have thought that I would be making loads seeing as I have been going out so little over the summer but that hasn't been the case. I have gone through phases. I get a spurt and get all keen and then either other things get in the way or I lose my motivation. I think a lot of people have found it up and down at different points.
So now it is going to be many more months of uncertain plans, cancelled walks because of rain, not having brunch with a gang of mates, not being able to pop over the channel for a break, not even hanging out with work colleagues for a chat over lunch, it is good to know that I can easily connect through a bit of wifi and a good sized screen.
Screen size makes an enormous difference. Chatting on a little phone screen really only works 1 on 1, but if you can hook your tablet or device up to a big TV it is like everyone is in the room with you and much more realistic. If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend it. If you can't do that, definitely put the settings to "Speaker view" rather than "Gallery view".
It is great seeing what others are making. Now people are doing it at home I have seen some more ambitious crafts and makes. The biggest being a metalworker who joins us from his shed. That would never have happened in real life. The sewing people are grateful to not have to lug their machine in to the meet.
The best thing is that although it is open all evening you can dip in and out. I can't do that on a phonecall with a mate, so I really like that side of it. I go on at 7.30 but I just hang out all evening, like a normal Friday night with mates. So thanks those of you who come along, I have really enjoyed your company these last few months. As we head into a rough winter it is nice to know that I can chill out with you guys once a month whatever the weather or restrictions.