Brother Sue reflects on life during the coronavirus

During the Coronavirus I have been at the Charterhouse which is like a little piece of paradise. I have been so fortunate to have been protected from the struggles that many have faced and I honestly do not feel as though I have suffered.

The Master and the staff have catered for the Brothers needs and taken away the worries that other people will have endured, I do not know how the Master and staff have all coped and done so well! We have been protected from the illness, had our shopping done for us and the kitchen have cooked us wonderful meals which I am so thankful for. We have fabulous gardens at the Charterhouse which, with the wonderful weather, has made it feel like a holiday.

The nation has gone through so many changes and the Charterhouse has adapted brilliantly. Although we have suffered the losses of 2 Brothers and an infirmary resident to COVID-19, it amazes me that it was not more, and I put this down to being protected so well and the decisions made by the Master. One of the most poignant memories from the lockdown will stay with me, is that the cortège of Brother Andrew Rivera drove around Preacher’s Court and the Brothers were lined up to pay their respects as we could not physically attend the funeral. The procession drove around the gardens and stopped to lay a rose on the bench under the Millennium clock before continuing to the crematorium. It was a very fitting way to say goodbye.

I feel I am lucky to be retired, but I can appreciate how hard it is for people who have lost their jobs or have been on furlough during this time. I have had to stop volunteering at Chelsea and Westminster hospital but I have been keeping in contact with a nurse there and hope to return to my duties when I can be certain it is safe to do so.

Although our needs have been catered for, I, like many, have missed seeing my friends and going out for the day and having long weekends with friends. I am so grateful to be able to go out cycling again as I missed this and I am looking forward to being able to go swimming again!

We have made the best of the lockdown and I really enjoyed the VE day celebrations where we decorated the gardens and had a BBQ, and of course wine! It gave a sense of normality in such extraordinary circumstances. Another Brother, Walter, has been playing the piano whilst Brothers collect their meals and it is like being transported back into the wartime and the feeling of togetherness.

I am always very thankful for what I have and I am looking forward to the museum reopening so we can share it with other people. I must say, the shop has some lovely gifts, which are very reasonable!

NB if you would like to support our charity at this difficult time, there are many ways you can!  Become a Friend of the Charterhouse, sign up for an online lecture, or our set of six Master Tours, or buy a ‘Support Us’ ticket….

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