Three weeks into lockdown and an Easter weekend like no other any of us have experienced. Thank goodness for chocolate – for those of us fortunate enough to have some. I guess for most of us the initial shock is over and we are hunkering down for the long haul, without having a clue as to what lies ahead.
I assume by now that resourceful damesnet readers will have worked out new ways to keep themselves occupied – be these activities serious, frivolous, useful or downright stupid. I confess to having tried out stuff in all these categories, but am also fortunate to have got involved in what is now a country-wide sewing bee.
It all started with my neighbour ‘J’, who is a senior nurse with more MScs than I can shake a stick at, who knows a consultant at St. George’s Hospital in south London. A couple of weeks ago he commented on how uncomfortable he was in his PPE gear and how it was rubbing his head, and how great it would be if he had a soft cloth tie cap underneath.
Dames – this is how great initiatives are born. ‘J’ started putting the word out that there was a need for scrub caps. A WhatsApp group was created which now seems to have members from across the UK. Within a couple of days there were 3 variations of a pattern in circulation, and the sewing began. People are cutting up old shirts, duvet covers, pillowcases, unworn frocks – you name it, it is being pressed into service.
I am also making some, but my other task is taking delivery from packages sent from all over the country, including Scotland. And this is for all the medical staff in one hospital, each of whom is given a pack of three scrub caps; one to wear and two to wash. I unpack them, sort them into sets of three if not done so already, update the tally and report back to the WhatsApp group on what packages I have received packages from whom. When ‘J’ comes back from work I hand the sanitised packs over to her, and she and her partner take them into the hospital the following day.
To give you an idea of numbers, ‘J’ reckons that around 1000 caps will be needed for St. George’s. At the time of writing I have taken delivery of nearly half that amount. No doubt, once we have fulfilled our quota for St. George’s, we will target another hospital. At which point someone else will be taking delivery.
Needless to say, it doesn’t end with scrub caps. There is another army of seamsters (there are men and women sewing so ‘seamstress’ doesn’t cut the mustard) out there making drawstring bags for nurses to take potentially contaminated clothes home to wash. The bags get washed as well.
The media have picked up on this, and there have been various news items in various parts of the country, although to date not in our local south London media organs. Note to self: draft a press release and get it out there.
One last point; many of the seamsters are adding little notes of thanks into their packs of caps. ‘J’ informs me that these notes have prompted more than a few tears.