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   Home      Jo's Covid-19 Newsletters

This is a record of Jo's bi-weekly newsletters to members through the Covid-19 lockdown.

It's a tribute to Jo and an archive of 14,063 words as of 31 May 2020.

12 March

Good afternoon everyone,


Having considered the Official Advice of Coin Council, and of the District Committee of The Royal British Legion I would like to advise everyone that as from tomorrow Friday 13th March 2020  I am suspending all activities of the Branch until further notice. This includes the next Social Meeting which was to have been a Wine and Cheese Tasting, and also all the Interest Groups - particularly the Dining Outing to Chateaubriand on 20th March.

I will keep you informed as often as is necessary.  We fall, unfortunately, into the group who are thought to be most at risk.  I believe it is wise to take precautions but not panic.  I am sure we will all come though this without a scratch.  Please feel free to ring me at the number below if you need more information or wish to tell me anything.  Please spread the word with members who may not check their emails.

So relax, read some books, watch some movies on television and keep washing your hands!

Kindest regards,



16 March

Good morning everyone,

I haven't heard any bad news about any members so I am happy that we are all enjoying the lockdown, and occupying ourselves in all sorts of ways.

It occurred to me that we should keep in touch and rather than share more Corona-type news, we could share some things to occupy our time.

To this end I am going to start a few little competitions.  There will be two every week, and the prizes will be given out the next time we actually are able to have a proper meeting.  (The prizes will be the usual scintilla-tingly fabulous certificates designed by me. ) There will be five judges (Me, myself, I, Jo and Mrs Taylor)

The first competition is to write a limerick. e.g.

There was an old lady in Spain

At home she was forced to remain

As quiet as a mouse

She stayed in her house,

And was never heard to complain.

All entries should be sent back to me at this email address by 10 a.m. on Thursday morning when they will be judged and the next competition set.


You may opt out of these emails if you prefer by letting me know.

I am happy to share any news you may have or ideas for passing the time.

I have attached news from the Foreign Office about travel to and from Spain which might impact on you or your family, kindly provided by Charles.

Keep well and stay safe.

Oh! And wash your hands.

Jo x.


19 March

Good morning,

Many of you have been in touch with ways to pass the time.  Val and others are cleaning out cupboards, and Jennie and Peter are gardening.  Tom Sawyer is playing quizzes on-line with a few of us and happy to be learning things in the category of Fashion.  I won't mention who is making things out of toilet paper!!!

Monique is travelling the world - as usual.

Poor Jean has not had a good time as Ray is now not at all well.  She has had help from the Dementia Group, but sustained a fall and now sports a very sore-looking black eye. Our thoughts and prayers are with her.

Chris Smith is recovering from having a cancerous growth removed from his head.  We will welcome him back when next we meet.


Thank you to all the people who have joined in the limerick competition.  I have chosen this as the winning entry as it measures up in terms of meter and quality:

I have attached all the other limericks to this message for your entertainment.


There was a young man from Coin

Whose pool was a sad shade of green

But forced not to go out

He scrubbed at the grout

And now it’s incredibly clean.


Caroline  Macfarlane


The next competition involves thought, humour and creativity....

Please suggest some courses which should be added to the curriculum at Secondary School to prepare students for adulthood.


For example:

Toilet paper. Does it grow on the holders?


The difference between the laundry basket and the floor.


For those of a more creative bent, design and make a face mask.  Monique has provided an example.


And finally, a late note from Tim Williams who didn't get round to a limerick


Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I'll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B?


Entries to the Curriculum and Face-mask competitions need to be with me by 10.30 on Monday morning.

Enjoy the lockdown.

Jo xx





23 March

Good morning everyone,


I am happy that very few of you got in touch this time, showing me that you are all occupying yourselves happily in the lockdown.

So far we all seem to be coping and I haven't had any stories of members succumbing to the virus, stealing toilet paper from their neighbours in the depth of night, murdering their partners or starving to death.  That just goes to show how resilient we all are.


There were two outstanding winners of the last competition.


Firstly Rosie Brown designed and made reversible face masks, in beautiful fabric suitable for the most discerning wearer.

Please have a look at them in the attachment.  

Congratulations Rosie, as the only entry you are the certain winner of the coveted certificate.


Thanks to Perle Dilworth we are able to improve the High School curriculum with her humorous suggestions:.


     Biology - Intelligence transference - explain how your parents who were genii when you were 6 now have the brainpower of a 6 year old and you are now the genius.

     Economics and maths - how many Starbucks coffees do you have to buy before the value equates to the cost of your first car and how long will it take?

     Social studies- can you really survive in this world without upgrading your mobile telephone as soon as a new one is launched? Explain the social interaction inferences of not doing so.

     Botany - explain how the hedgerows recycle your burger cartons and make them disappear.

     History - look at all the devices you claim as your generation's invention and name the older person who actually invented and developed it and in which decade.


 Perle, your certificate awaits your return.


The next competition is simple.  Entries need to be with me by 10.30 next Thursday 26th March.


Every cloud has a silver lining. What are the upsides of being confined to the house?  Truth and humour are both welcome.


For me...I am saving the batteries for my hearing aide, as there is no-one I need to listen to!

There will be no prize as there will be the devious amongst us who will look up the answers they don't know.


Until Thursday - keep well and safe.



26 March

Good morning everyone,


Thank you to all those people who have been in touch.  So far we all seem to be keeping well, even if some of us are bored.  As you will see from the few people who responded to the last competition, most of us are getting richer and a little dirtier!

We are now getting to the most dangerous part of the whole lockdown process as the virus reaches its peak.  I have attached a timely warning about what to do if you go out, for those who don't already know all this.

Thank you Charles and Dr Nigel Lewis.

Please just stay home unless you need to go out for a very important reason.

I have had an email from London to say that all The Royal British Legion meetings and activities world-wide were to be cancelled until June.  This is a serious state of affairs and we will all be gasping to catch up with one another.  However, there is little we can do except keep in touch, support each other and stay home!

As soon as I set last week's competition, Sue Barton bounced back with her silver linings, so she wins the coveted certificate for this competition.

Saving on water - not going out,   no need to change clothes, no washing, no need to shower not dirty, no need to wash up - can use same plate for my pasta xx

Sometimes someone says something to you that sticks with you forever.  It can be serious, sad, sensible, wise or just plain unexpectedly useful.

I was watching late-night television once with my mother, who was actually a very straight laced person and rarely given to passing judgment on others. A rather awful announcer came on. My mother said "Ugh! I would hate to be stuck in a lift with him!"  It has become my by-word for describing someone whose attentions I wouldn't welcome!

The next competition is to tell us something someone has said to you that has stuck with you through life.

The prize as usual will be a certificate to be presented at the next possible meeting.

Please keep in touch with news and views.  I miss you all, but please stay home and keep well.


30 March

Good morning everyone,


Welcome to the last day of March, and here we are right at the peak of this lockdown.  So far we all are doing really well.  Many members have set up group chats on WhatsApp and Skype.  Lots of us have daily chats with family all over the world.  One thing is for sure - this awful virus has some upsides.  Communication between friends and families seems to be one, and as we learned last week - we are saving money by not going out as much


The UK seems to be coming to realise the importance of staying at home.  Perle and Terry and their neighbours have done a huge bulk buy to stock their freezers in one go, having had a delivery to a central point and all shared the cost.  In keeping with this desire to help others I have had a lot of phone calls from young people wanting to help other people.  As we said last week - every cloud has a silver lining.


This week's competition was to let us have a wise saying which has helped you in the past.  The contributions are attached below.   I have chosen the rather poignant contribution sent by Wendy Edwards, as it does remind us that to pass on some happiness is probably the wisest thing of all.


I was 19 and my dad had been killed in a plane crash two weeks before. I couldn't cope at home so decided to return to work in London. I was waiting on the train station platform, desperately unhappy, when a man walked past and whispered 'you are beautiful' in my ear. Three little words (spoken by an angel) gave me the strength to face the day. I have never forgotten that and it made me realise that even a small gesture can change someone's life.


Frances feels I should remind you that if someone comes to your door saying they are testing for the virus that it is a hoax, and you should not let them in. It would be wise to call the police on either 091 or 112 if they are aggressive in any way.

I have received a long letter from the British Consul in Madrid about travel for those who are caught either in Spain or the UK and need to travel to get home.  It is long and contains a great deal we already know.  If you would like me to send it to you privately, please let me know by replying to this email.


Perle has supplied the quiz for this mail-out.  It will be easy for those who know the slang terms for pre-decimal currency.  I have attached it below in Word and PDF format.  Answers will be given on Thursday - but sorry - no prizes.


Please keep safe and well.  We are getting though this awful thing and keeping in in touch with one another helps to make it all less of an unpleasant time.


Kindest regards

Jo xx



2 April

Good morning everyone,


Thank you to everyone who has been in touch, or sent me things to share with you, or sent me news.  We all seem to be passing the time productively and I think all the charity shops will be bursting at the seams with all the donations from our cleared out cupboards!  In this technological age many of us are having group chats with friends and families, perhaps even speaking to them more often than normal.  Isn't that wonderful?


Thank you to those people who sent their answers to Perle's quiz - as I said there is no prize except the knowledge that you are very smart!  Thank you too, to Sue Barton who reminded me that it was not the last day of the month when I sent it all out.  There are times when I worry about my intelligence.


On a sadder note we heard yesterday that Eve Simpson has been admitted to hospital in the UK with Corona virus,  We wish her a speedy recovery and I have sent our best wished to her and to Dave.


Here are some mildly funny jokes submitted by Tim Williams.  Thank you Tim!  (Perhaps he wrote them himself?)


My wife blocked me on Facebook because I post too many bird puns.

Well, toucan play at that game.


I'm so bored sitting at home that I decided to memorize six pages of the dictionary.

I learned next to nothing.


My wife said to me: "If you won the lottery, would you still love me?"

I said: “Of course I would. I’d miss you, but I’d still love you.”


They said gloves and a mask would be enough to go to Mercadona.

They lied; everyone else had their clothes on.


Self-isolation is getting so bad I’m starting to have a crush on my roommate.

And we’ve been married for more than 20 years.


I will have a certificate for whoever finds the most figures of speech.  I will be trying too, but I can't find all of them - so your input will be great.


Please let me know if you would like to be omitted from this mailing list.  I don't want to be an annoyance to anyone.


Until Monday - stay safe and stay at home.


Jo xx


6 April

Good morning everyone,


Thank you to everyone who has been in touch.  I am glad that most of you are enjoying this little mail-out and I am particularly grateful to Perle, Jim, Monique and Tim for their contributions, which make my life a lot easier.


We were all sorry to hear about Eve Simpson succumbing to the virus, but David is keeping us up to date with her progress and although she is still in hospital she seems to be holding her own, and will soon be back at home.  How frustrating and awful it must be for Dave not to be able to be with her.  It brings home the need for us all to stay in isolation, hard as it sometimes is.


Jean has let me know that Ray is a lot better and walking again after a while of not feeling good at all.  Jean is concerned that he will be 80 on 27th April, and there will not be a celebration of such a milestone.  I have assured her that we will all be thinking of Ray on that day, and at our next meeting we will make a big fuss of him - and collect his birthday fine!


Speaking of birthdays George Chaney, Peter Shephard, Dennis Butler, Harry Newell, Wendy Edwards. Frances. Barbara Doblas and I all had a quiet birthday at home  - locked-down and quietly getting older!  It was just as well in my case - as my hair resembles Rapunzel!


Tim has sent us some jokes to relieve the tedium:

In an unsettling reversal of my teenage years, I am now yelling at my parents for going out.

The mother in law gave me a list of 'essentials' she needed from the shop. The list was for a Daily Mail, 18 packs of pasta, various tinned goods & 200 toilet rolls. I was so embarrassed!
Just praying nobody saw me buying the daily mail.

I've eaten nothing but junk, shunned all physical activity & drank at least triple the recommended daily alcohol allowance today, but it's ok because I'm about to slap on a 99p face mask I’ve found at the back of the bathroom cabinet that promises to reverse the signs of ageing.

Monique's competition about the figures of speech was hard.  However, almost immediately Frances sent back her answers and she will win my coveted certificate this time.  She had 12 correct answers, and Perle has 11.

 When you are bored just think about a few things that don't make sense


1. If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?


2. Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?


3. Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?


4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?


5. Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.


6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.


7. The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims"


8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.


9. If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them


Four great confusions still unresolved:


1. At a movie theatre, which arm rest is yours?


2. If people evolved from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?


3. Why is there a 'D' in fridge, but not in refrigerator?


4.  Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?


We can never find the answers, can we?


Until next time - stay safe and keep well.



9 April

Good morning everyone,


I haven't heard from many of you this week, so I think we must have settled into the routine of quarantine. It is a shame the weather is so dull because there is something particularly cheering about sunshine.  Still... we are safe and that is the main thing.


Safe and quiet but having birthdays with very little celebration is one of the downsides of this time of isolation.  However, we wish Rayah, Ian Matthews and Barry Knight a happy birthday over the next few days.   I hope you get lots of phone calls, emails and Facebook posts.  This is the 21st Century and I guess this is how things are going to be  - greetings by technology.


The competition for a certificate this time is to tell of the most unlikely person who has contacted you out of the blue because of the Corona Virus.


In my case I had a message from a woman I sat next to once in a restaurant in Australia.  She had tracked me down because she had heard that Spain was having a dreadful time and we were all quarantined.  She wanted to wish me well and was hoping I hadn't caught the virus.  How nice was that?


I am sure many of you have similar stories to tell.

Cheers everyone 

Stay safe and well.



13 April 

Good morning and Happy Easter,


I didn't say that on Maundy Thursday because I always find Good Friday a bit of a sad day, but after Easter Sunday - it is a time for happiness.  My Malteser Easter egg was delicious although I have to admit it was an ordinary Easter egg with a small bag of Maltesers in it.  I ate it and enjoyed it, and I hope you all had a visit from the Easter bunny.


A lot of you have been in touch to say they are really enjoying keeping in touch with people by email phone and WhatsApp.  It would be hard if we didn't have all this technology.  to allay any signs of loneliness.  Please remember you can email me at any time with news, views or just to keep in touch.  I don't have any birthdays on my list for this coming week, so just enjoy yourselves anyway.  Think how lucky you are to be home, and not in Belgium with Monique who was travelling with hardly any clothes and has been stuck in the same outfits for over a month!

We are especially glad to hear that Eve is getting better every day and should be home soon.


Peter Brown has sent Gardening Group people a message to keep their spirits up for the time being when we can't get out to visit each other's gardens:

Whilst we cannot visit our various gardens we can share them in photos. Tim has suggested that we all take a few photos, send them to me and I will release them in occasional emails. He has provided the first two of the work he and Pam have done in their garden.  The aloes that he has taken out are available if anyone would like one or more. Just let Tim

I sent a couple of photos and I hope you all will too now and he will keep them until after the lock down.

I will start off with some jokes from Tim Williams:-


The amount of bad corona virus jokes is starting to reach worrying numbers.

Some scientists claim it might be a pundemic


My friend is in hospital today after seriously burning himself due to his obsession with taking selfies by a boiling kettle!

The doctors believe he has serious selfie steam issues!


Just came home and told my wife about a funny encounter I had this morning helping a man in a black robe with a scythe clearing the ice off his car.

She seems to think I was de-icing with death.


My flirting ability is so bad that I just asked a woman in Tesco’s for a date and she took me to the packaged fruit aisle.


My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.

Now he's 97 years old and we have no idea where he is.


Women are funny creatures, they hate it when you ask their age.......but will kill you if you forget their birthday!


Nail salons closed, Lash salons closed, Hair salons closed, Tanning salons closed, waxing salons closed...

It’s about to get ugly out there.


The year is 2021.

A liver failure pandemic is announced because of excess drinking while people were held in lock down during the Covid-19 outbreak.


When my father dies he wants his ashes pressed into a record.

It was his vinyl request


I have attached the answers to Jim's last quiz as well a new quiz from him. There was no certificate for the most unlikely person who contacted you out of the blue.  I might have to give myself the certificate!  I have only sent it as a PDF file.  If you cannot read it please let me know.   One or two people are finding their "Keeping in Touch" email in their Spam folder and I think it is to do with how much I send out.


If you need me to send it as a Word document, please reply immediately.


I have also attached a very hard quiz from Charles about songs form the 80s  I will award a certificate to whoever gets the most answers right.  There are apparently 30.


As always stay safe and well.



16 April

Good morning everyone,

I am sure you are like me and looking forward to some sunshine and warmth.  It would be so nice to get to sit outside for a while, and to get washing dry. I am determined, as I am sure you are, not to complain too much.  I like to be reminded that we are not trapped in our homes BUT safe in our homes.

The good news is that Eve Simpson is now home from hospital and quite recovered  Thank you to all those people who joined in our little toast to Eve at 7 p,m, yesterday. I was glad I didn't have to send a photo of me - just my wine glass.  My hair now resembles Rapunzel.  My first two moves on the lifting of lockdown will be a haircut and to replace the keyboard of my computer.  The space bar and the full stop have given up the ghost.

Thank you for your messages.  My apologies to Arthur and to Ann Ellis - I didn't mention their birthdays .  I am so sorry and I hope they both managed to celebrate quietly at home.  In the next wee while before my next mail-out, Lynne Bowers will be having her birthday.  Happy birthday to you all.

There has been a lot of creativity going on around Coin.  I am impressed with Rosie's recycling and wonderful masks.  A lot of you are involved in crafts of some kind.  Please send me some photos so we can share these wonderful endeavours. 

There will be a certificate for every entry to this mask competition.

I have attached the answers for Jim's last quiz, and also the answers to the Songs of the 80s picture quiz submitted by Charles.

For our quiz this time I have attached an excellent picture quiz of emojis that suggest the names of London Tube Stations submitted by Mike and Wendy Edwards.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send me things like this. How wonderful you are!

It is with great sadness that I have to mention the loss of a few further local businesses around town.

The bra manufacturer has gone bust.

The specialist in submersibles has gone under.

The manufacturer of food blenders has gone into liquidation.

A dog kennel has had to call in the retrievers.

The Heinz factory has been canned as they couldn't ketchup with orders.

The suppliers of paper for origami enthusiasts has folded.

The tarmac laying company has reached the end of the road.

The bread Company has run out of dough.

The clock manufacturer has had to wind down and gone cuckoo.

The Chinese restaurant has been taken away.

The shoe shop has had to put their foot down and given their staff the boot.

The launderette has been taken to the cleaners!

The pet shop has gone to the dogs.

The butcher's had the chop.

The greengrocer is in a vegetative state.

The Venetian blind shop has closed, so it's curtains for us all

The wall paper shop's taken a pasting.

The florists are now pushing up the daisies.

The fish n chip shop has been battered.

The milkman's lost his bottle and finally, the bread man's toast.


In all seriousness, however, in the coming months when things get back to as near normal as possible, perhaps we should think of supporting smaller local businesses and charities because they will be really feeling the stress of these times.  As Arthur reminded me, many large enterprises award their CEO's great salaries and a lo tof the hard work is done further down the chain.  In local charities too, volunteers make the difference and we should bear this in mind.

Until Monday - stay safe and keep well.



20 April

Good morning everyone,

Thank you to all the people who have been in touch, especially those who say nice things about our efforts to keep in touch, and also those who are contributing to these mail-outs.  It is great to see a little sun at last.  The cloudy weather didn't add much joy to the days - but we all seem to be keeping well , occupying ourselves creatively and gently, and avoiding  contact with others.

Sadly, Pam Williams' mother died this week, at the grand old age of 96.  We extend our deepest sympathies to Pam and to Tim, who says that his mother-in-law was the best mother-in-law any one could wish for.  That is a lovely tribute to her.

There are one or two birthdays this week - Lynne Bower has her birthday today;Dave Simpson's is tomorrow; Lyubov Carter's is on Wednesday and Sam Gardner 's is on Thursday  We all wish you a happy, quiet and safe birthday with lots of contact with your friends and family by TECHNOLOGY!!!!!


Mercifully, Tim's jokes are getting funnier:  I am so grateful for the light relief he offers.

Germany is now advising people to stock up on cheese and sausages. This is called the Wurst Käse scenario.


Got home and had a complete meltdown over the government’s latest announcement. Thankfully I had misheard. They're banning people from hitting the Gym NOT Gin.


My mum always insisted she doesn’t have a ‘favourite child’. Which is pretty upsetting as I don’t have any brothers or sisters.


I’m not saying life is boring at the moment but we’ve got a shopping delivery coming today and I’m thinking of dressing up for it.


Silent prayer for all the kids out there who haven’t told their parents that they smoke and must be gasping.


I’ve also adopted the supermarket policy of one out, one in at home.  One bottle out of the fridge, replaced with one bottle in the fridge.


With all this talk of social distancing give some thought to poor drivers of BMWs & Audis. They are unable to keep 2 metres from the car in front.


An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman walk into the bar..............ahhh those were the days.


My old dad used to say..When one door closes,  another door opens...A lovely guy; but a terrible kitchen fitter!


At Sam Gardener's suggestion we sent a birthday card from Coin RBL Branch to Captain Tom Moore, the wonderful gentleman who has raised so much money for the NHS.

Interestingly, I receives this note below from Head Office inviting ex-service people to contribute to a birthday video.  You may like to do so.


Birthday Video for Captain Tom


Video to wish Captain Tom Moore Happy Birthday


This may not be possible for all with current lockdowns and if the technology is not available but just letting you all know