December Update from The Priory

Brrrr – that was a cold few days and snow for some of us. Lovely to see, but we do not handle it very well! Cold and bright is lovely, but damp and cloudy I can do without. A white Christmas perhaps?

I was hoping to be looking at how we could relax our visiting constraints a little over Christmas, but with this new Omicron B variant arriving on our shores, sadly that looks very unlikely. Someone told me that Omicron B is an anagram for No Crimbo! Lets hope that is NOT the case.

However, we are very aware that everyone will want to see as many people as possible, especially over the festive period, but to do it safely. What we are proposing is that over the Christmas week and leading up to New Year – Monday 20th December to Sunday 2nd January – that we change our visiting slots to 30 minutes on the hour. I know these are shorter than current visits, but at least everyone will be able to catch up with their family 4/5 times over this period. To make this work for us all, we do ask that you are on time, that you bring proof of Lateral Flow tests taken that day and that you do not overstay. I know this may not be perfect for everyone, but we think it is the best way to be fair to all. There will be 7 hourly slots per day – starting at 10am, finishing at 4pm. Please share this with your family so that they can join in. In doing this, please also respect our wonderful staff if they have to remind you to leave or reduce your visit if you are late.

Rachael has started putting up the Christmas decorations already! Some of the higher ones are in place and this week, the trees will go up so that residents can start decorating them – perhaps a competition for the best decorated tree? The Priory becomes a real feast for the eyes at this time of year. The old house, with high ceilings and panelled walls – perfect.

Talking of decorations, Rachael is hoping to create some personalised decorations with the residents. She has found some wooden tree decorations that are flat sided but look like baubles. We are hoping that families can bring in some family pictures so that residents can make some very special and memorable decorations. Pictures will be about 3inches across. If you can bring them in over the next few weeks, we will get the creative juices flowing.

This year, sadly we will not be able to hold our Christmas Carol Service and party. This is the second year that we have not been able to run what is my favourite event of the year. Hopefully 2022 we will be back! In the meantime, we will be having a Christmas Carol Tea Party on the 22nd December for residents – homemade cake and carols – what can be better.  I am afraid we will not be able to invite families to join us at The Priory for Christmas Lunch either – another impact of Covid. We will however be running the usual full Christmas Day at The Priory for all the residents and staff – it is always a lovely meal. If residents are visiting families over Christmas, please do let us know and discuss it with Lynne so that we can make it as safe a Christmas as possible.

As we were unable to run the usual fireworks party, we held a Winter BBQ in the middle of the month. Mark was set up in the garden, surrounded by flares, and he rustled up some really juicy sausages and burgers. We say Winter BBQ, but the weather was so mild, Mark was cooking in just a shirt. (when proof-read by Lynne, she suggested that I was wearing trousers as well…..). The meat feast was enjoyed by all and then a few of our hardier souls came and joined us in the garden for sparklers. We took some pictures which Lynne will share with families, but here is a great one of Frank. It took us all back to our childhood – wonderful! INSERT PHOTO

As well as getting ready for Christmas, December is going to be a busy month in welcoming new residents to The Priory. Firstly, we provide a delayed welcome to Elaine Pay who is with us for 4 weeks whilst she recovers before she goes home for Christmas. Then for the next 3 weeks, we have Joyce Haylock joining us this week, Marigold Pearce next week and Betty Thompson, the week after that. A very warm and festive welcome to you all. We know you will have a lovely time with us and Christmas will be a wonderful time to get to know everyone. And of course, a warm welcome to your families as well – we look forward to getting to know you all.

Have a wonderful December. I am sure we will see many of you over the coming weeks, but anyway, now it is the 1st, we can say………Happy Christmas!!

One very sad footnote is that last night we said farewell to Edna Rouse who passed away. Edna has only been with us since the early summer and it was an honour to care for her. Our thoughts go to her family.