Well I’d like to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year.
I imagine, like me, the current covid lockdown has you all feeling rather fed up, but hopefully the news on the continued vaccine rollout is allowing you to feel able to ‘hang on in there’ while we battle through what we hope will be the home stretch.More
‘In person’ classes:
Stoke Lodge will be open on Monday 2 November for ‘in person’ classes.
If you are attending a class at Stoke Lodge on Monday you can continue to do so.
The only exception to this is the Upholstery class (due to start on Monday) which we have unfortunately cancelled.
In light of the latest government guidance and the planned lockdown we will be looking to move all classes that can to an online format for when the lockdown starts on Thursday.
We will be contacting learners very soon to advise on changed formats and online teaching arrangements.
A few classes require specialist materials or equipment and cannot move online. These will unfortunately be cancelled for this half term. We will be contacting learners enrolled in the next couple of days.
Classes currently running online will continue as normal.
We are obviously extremely disappointed to have to make these changes. We have so enjoyed having some of you back with us in person.
Your safety and that of our tutors and staff is of course paramount and we will do everything required to keep us all as safe as possible.
New courses starting soon
We are approaching the half term break and we have lots of new courses starting at the end of October and after ½ term including
…Watercolour…Drawing…Printmaking…Bridge…Getting to Know Zoom… Stained Glass… Papercraft…Creative Writing…Floristry…German ays…Mindful Living…Social History Lectures…Italian Days…Singing…Music Appreciation…Portuguese Day…Pottery…Spanish Day…Upholstery…Dressmaking…Getting to Know your Sewing Machine and Willow Craft!
You can find a PDF list of all the upcoming courses here.
And they are all available to book on our online booking site here.
Black History Month continues
Our Family and Social History tutor Rosemary has written an interesting piece on the difficulties of tracing black genealogy. Looking at record keeping, names and the impact of the slave trade. You can read the full piece here.
Bristol Museums are also showcasing black stories on their website.
Poet Benjamin Zephaniah has written a great piece (well he is a poet!) for the Guardian – ‘Black people will not be respected until our history is respected’. Which you can read here.
I want to remind you that you can still access our online exhibition showcasing the amazing work of our art learners. You can see a wide range of work including sketches, watercolours, acrylics and oil paintings. I highly recommend a virtual wander through the exhibition. You won’t be disappointed! You can find it on the www.bristolcourses.com website or go to the Online Gallery.
Halloween at Spooky Lodge
Trick or Treat and the usual Halloween fun is probably not so easy for families this year. So for a bit of fun we will be decorating and illuminating some of our windows at Stoke Lodge. We’ll be lit up from Wednesday of half term and over the Halloween weekend. There will be lots to spot so if you are walking in the grounds do have a look at some of the spooky displays. You might even spot a grey lady! (although if the grey lady is me busy pinning up decorations please don’t shriek and point – I won’t appreciate it – lockdown hair has been hard for us all!)
A few of you told me you liked the addition of a little poetry in the last in the loop, so this time I thought I’d leave you with a quote from John Lennon who would have celebrated his 80th birthday on the 9 October.
“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” ― John Lennon
Take care and stay safe
Autumn courses and workshops
Many of you have signed up for Autumn courses and I just wanted to highlight a few of the short courses, workshops and Saturday courses we still have coming up in the Autumn term. I know this year without our usual course guide finding courses is a bit different and you may not have spotted these online.
We now have online Bridge courses starting soon, Pastels at Stoke Lodge, online History lectures Music Appreciation, Embroidery and Willowcraft and a whole range of Language ‘add on’ courses such as book clubs, film clubs and language days.
You can find more details on these short courses by clicking here.
Last month we received the sad news that our dear friend and colleague Pavla passed away unexpectedly. Pavla was a wonderful French tutor and a much loved part of the Adult Learning family.
Due to current restrictions we were not able to gather to remember and celebrate Pavla’s life as we would have liked. For now we hold her in our thoughts and when time allows we will arrange to plant a tree at Stoke Lodge in her memory.
Her family have received many lovely memories and messages from her friends and learners and I am sure this has given them some comfort at this very difficult time.
Black History Month
October is Black History Month. We all know History is a vast subject and so many of us only study or understand about small pockets of history. I know for me school history was the Romans, Victorians, Tudors, the Second World War and not much else. I think Black History Month is a great opportunity to fill some of the gaps in my knowledge of the world and also think about some of the bits I do know from a different perspective. You might like to look at some of the links below.
Everyones favourite Playschool presenter – Baroness Floella Benjamin – A Windrush Story
Celebrate black composers with Lenny Henry and Suzy Klein on BB iPlayer
NASA mathematician – Katherine Johnson – A Lifetime of STEM
or why not listen to Oti Mabuse pick out her top 5 moments of Black history from the Horrible Histories programme. Not just for kids!
Bristol Life Awards
Some of you may know we were one of the finalists in the Education category of the 2020 Bristol Life Magazine awards.
The celebration was held virtually and though we weren’t the final winner we are delighted to be recognised as one of the finalists.
I hadn’t prepared a speech but if we had won I would have wanted to thank the always amazing staff team of Marlis, Veronique, Maria, Sam and (most recent addition) Kieran who have worked so hard during these unprecedented times.
I would have thanked all our wonderful tutors who have ‘turned on a sixpence’ to change the way they offer courses and meet some major challenges.
I would also have thanked you, our learners. You continue to be an amazing army of support for Adult Learning and we are so pleased that so many of you have been able to continue learning with us this term.
And I still want to thank all those people so HUGE thanks all round – it really is an honour to be a finalist!
Continuing to stay safe
Obviously the increase in covid cases and the changing restrictions is very unsettling and worrying. Although Bristol has seen a rise in cases since last week our infection rate remains lower than the England average. You can see the latest information from Bristol City Council here.
At Stoke Lodge we are following all the guidance from the council and for Education settings. The centre feels very quiet with some courses continuing online and those courses taking place on site are in well spaced out classrooms with plenty of sanitising materials on hand.
As well as looking out for the covid symptoms of temperature, cough and loss of taste or smell it is also important to look out for how we are feeling, we maybe having a moment of worry, of loneliness or not sleeping. Its ok to be not ok. Reach out to your support networks, talk to people, take a walk outside if you can and try to take a break from watching news (its often the same message repeated throughout the day or even week).
May you fall in love with October and all the beauty it brings,
May your life be as colourful as the turning of the leaves,
On each blessed autumn day. ― Charmaine J Forde