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Edition 7 - Wednesday 20th May 2020

Welcome to the seventh edition of the
Rainbow Times 


Welcome to all our readers.

Thank you for all your photographs and feedback, telling us how much you're enjoying our weekly bulletins - please keep it coming!

This edition features:
  • Finding the positives
  • Kindness
  • Bees
Your Parish Council team
rainbow@wokinghamwithout-pc.gov.uk

Link to previous editions:
Edition 6 (13th May)
Edition 5 (6th May)
Edition 4 (29 April)
Edition 3 (22 April)
Edition 2 (15 April)
Edition 1 (8 April)
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This issue of the Rainbow Times features the colour Purple and the letter B
Can you identify all the items in this picture?
For next week's edition, please send us pictures you take at home or whilst out on your daily exercise, of orange things or things that begin with the letter O.
Pictures from the local area are particularly welcome!
Email them to rainbow@wokinghamwithout-pc.gov.uk

Finding the positives

Dear Reader,
 
Greetings from Crowthorne, where it is now 21:07, the garden is tidied up, it is getting dark outside and another day is almost over. However now is the time to work on this week’s issue of Rainbow Times.
 
It seems a long time ago that we proposed the Rainbow Times at our April Council meeting and a small group of us have managed to produce this newsletter for you on a weekly basis ever since.

We hope it has had some value, providing easy access to useful information as well as bringing some light-hearted stories to the fore and provided ideas for you and your families to find something interesting to do.
 
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and whilst I am not claiming any expertise on the subject I thought I would share some current and recent personal experiences with the hope that they might help you and your family and friends in these very tough times.
So, let us get the worrying stuff out the way since there is little we can do about the fact that this is a scary virus and new facts are emerging the whole time. The advice of trying to minimise risk is a good one and self-distancing sensible. Medical knowledge is increasing the whole time and it is not unreasonable to think that we are more experienced as a society in dealing with this than we were back in mid-March. Be restrictive in what media coverage you watch and how often. Social media also must be used carefully, as gossip and 'fake news' can be most unhelpful.  

Ok, so now as a grandparent, parent and husband, with a family living all over the UK and oversees, this has had consequences and planned family gatherings not happened. I also have very elderly family in their mid 90’s who rely on daily home care. At a time when it can feel frustrating to be at home and not be able to see family, here are some things that I would list as having helped:
 
Keeping Busy
For me it has been gardening, DIY jobs, Council work (where we still have numerous active projects), writing quizzes for the family and friends and getting exercise. My days are full and very productive.

Getting some physical exercise and setting myself a challenge.
As a normally highly active sportsman this has been very tough with the lack of fun activities and lack of contact with friends. But I have a bike and have the ‘Strava’ application on my phone so I can check where I have been and how far I have gone. We are so lucky in being surrounded by wonderful countryside where you can exercise safely either walking or on a bike. Last night for example, I did 25 miles, most of which were on tracks and not much on the road, and saw wonderful birds and animals. In Wokingham Without we have Pinewood, Heathlake, Gorrick woodland as well as the United Charities land and it is fun planning your route incorporating these and then linking them in to my favourite run along the Blackwater Valley from Finchampstead to Horseshoe Lake and back via Ambarrow and the path alongside Wellington College. I am now hoping to break 30 miles soon, assuming my dodgy knees hold out!
 
Looking up old friends and contacts
I retired from work 5 years ago but had very many friends as clients and colleagues when working. So I looked them up and now have a regular Zoom meeting on a Friday evening with attendees from all over the World. I am also now Zooming with one of my best friends from University as well as old schoolmates. You will not be surprised to know that we have a lot of fun reflecting on the past with some funny stories. I have also observed that several people are now by themselves and by getting engaged with a group again are finding comfort in the human interaction and hearing from old friends. You might well have your family around you, but take a moment to think about someone who might be less fortunate, alone, probably lonely, and worried and for whom a phone call and a friendly voice will bring comfort.

Helping others
What can I do to help other people? It might be shopping, it might be a phone call or even an email. I can honestly say I am spending more time with communications now than probably when I was working!

Hobbies
One of my hobbies is photography. I wish I were an artist or a musician as well. I like taking photographs and this evening attempted to capture a ‘red kite’ flying over my garden. Last night I recorded a ‘cuckoo’ singing in the Blackwater Valley. If you have a camera or even your phone, then go for a walk and see what you can capture? Send them in to us. Over the last few weeks, I have taken numerous pictures for the newsletter and our new website and Facebook pages. For those of you who like flowers then download the ‘Picture This’ application on your phone to help you identify flowers and trees. Head out in the meadows and woodland and try taking pictures of the insects, wildflowers, and birds.
Music
Well, as I finish up on this, I am listening to some great songs on Spotify. Also a great source of inspiration for Quiz questions!

The Glass is Half Full
One of the pieces of advice I gave to my team when working - take a sheet of paper and start writing all the positive things about your life. Yes, just focus on the positives: some may be luckier than others, but write them down. Now put this list up somewhere visible and keep reading it. I have also put up photographs of all my Grandchildren and family who are on the other side of the World. Keep reminding yourself of the positives and how full the glass is!
 
In summary - focus on the good things and keep busy. We would also like to hear from you and welcome your letters and e: mails - remember, all the Parish Councillors are volunteers who are committed to trying to contribute to a better community.
 
We hope it will not be too long before we can have better engagement with everyone but in the meantime hope you continue to enjoy reading the Rainbow Times.
 
Councillor Paul Stephens
19/5/20

Mental Health Awareness Week

There’s never been a more important time to talk about our mental health, and this year’s mental health awareness week is falling at a time when we all need to look after ourselves and reach out to others. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18 to 24th May) is kindness. Research shows that kindness and mental health are deeply connected.

Kindness reinforces our bonds with others, strengthens our community and increases our sense of belonging. Over the past few weeks there have been many local stories of kindness: simple acts of helping our neighbours, sharing resources and supporting one another.

The coming together of local community support groups such as the ‘Crowthorne Covid Support’ Facebook group, offering mutual aid to neighbours and those more vulnerable in our community, has been both heart-warming and reaffirms our faith in humanity. A real positive in what has been, and still is, a really difficult time for so many of us.  

So we’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge
Thank You to everyone who has been there to support those who need it most – from shopping for essentials, collecting prescriptions, offering a listening ear or just a friendly smile and a ‘hello’ to those you pass when out exercising – let’s celebrate and nurture kindness in our community.

Kindness

Others

(Author unknown)

It doesn't matter who you are,
Or what you have, or do
If you give of your very best
The best returns to you.
A law of compensation works,
We get just what we earn.
If we love others with our hearts,
We get love in return.
The little things we sometimes do
For others day by day
Return quite unexpectedly
In some peculiar way.

 

The Little Things
By Margaret Lindsey


The little things are most worthwhile
A quiet word, a look, a smile,
A listening ear that's quick to share
Another's thoughts, another's care...
Though sometimes they may seem quite small,
These little things mean most of all.

Bees

Of the 250 types of bee in the UK only the honeybee swarms. A swarm of honeybees contains many thousands of bees and are normally seen in a clump hanging from a tree or gatepost. Individual honeybees are about the same size as a housefly, they have golden brown or dark brown bands and are slightly furry.

If you spot a bee swarm, contact Wokingham District Beekeepers Association who have a list of collectors. 

Eye Spy

Where might you find this sign in the parish?
This sign can be found on Honey Hill!

Our challenge for you this week!

Our challenge for you this week involves a pleasant walk through Pinewood. Can you spot:
a badger, a squirrel, a rabbit, a giant butterfly, a sunflower, and a very well hidden penguin (hint: look up high!) in a rather unusual place?

 
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