Our Corona Virus Diaries

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Welcome to the Corona Virus Diaries – not a phrase I thought I’d ever be typing anytime soon at the fag end of February.


Or even in early March, if truth be told, when most of us were shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Just a bit of Flu innit.’

Well, we got that wrong didn’t we – and then some, as we made a makeshift mask, battened up the nation’s hatches, and went home instead of the usual large.

For nearly fourteen long, lingering, weeks, with all of my personal life’s pleasures closed down, I have passed the time with one of my only passions not fallen prey to the pandemic police.

Basically I have blogged – about drag of the lonely Lockdown, the disconnect of the queer quarantine, the bonkers behaviour of some of our isolation nation.

And how I have spent my days stuck to the screen instead of gigging with gusto, cwtching with company, living it large in London, taking flights of fancy to foreign cities, and just feeling the love of the free spirit that I am.

I’m not going to lie to you, work is now the worst. I’ve finished my stint on the rapid Welsh Government Covid 19 response, and am stuck in my study daily.

So, let’s be honest and call it what it is. It’s not working from home, it’s living at work.

Although it’s irritatingly ironic that I’m sat in said study in front of another screen on my day off, bashing out my latest blog.

Jesus wept, it all kicked off in Ogmore last night didn’t it, with Barry Island feeling the brunt too.

No respect for our ‘there for a reason’ rules, and no love for the Lockdown limits either, I’ve just got to put proverbial pen to paper on that one – watch this space.

Mind you, waxing lyrical has never been so simple and sweet during this vicious virus time, with so many great goings on for me to give my take on.

The behaviour of some of our Barrians alone could keep me digitally distracted for days – the good, bad, and the ugly.

Respect to those though who have stepped up to the Covid 19 mark to keep our community cohesive.

Who knew, that the pandemic would also prove a pivotal moment in our global history by fuelling the fight to finally tackle the racism that our society has shamefully swept under the carpet for decades.

And look at the lush LGBTQymru lot keeping our queer family fully connected in these divisive, and sometime dangerous times, with their passion to Pride Party on.

Who knew, I’d spend nearly four months banging out blogs, on all of the above – bringing them to you with, I hope, honesty, humour, and often humility.

Only seems like yesterday, I started writing about the toilet roll taking twits, and look at me now posting my points on the Barry beach battle that is being fought nightly.

And all for you lovely lot to be entertained, informed and educated, even if just a little bit.

Thank you for your solid support, kind, and, critical, comments, plus the many discussions and debates brought on by the Blogs.

Keeping being vocal Barry.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

#SuesView #BarrysBoldestBlogger

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The Corona Virus Diaries are Mrs SVJ’s take on this pandemic palaver . Click on Arts Isolation Call, Lockdown Love Lost, Let’s Stick Together, Virtual Culture Vulture, Lockdown Lingo Laugh, Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers, to read more about our town’s tales in these crazy Covid times.

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Let’s Stick Together was written exclusively for Barry Magazine. You can read the full fabulous edition here.

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Other Lockdown-related content includes; Mrs SVJ’s response to the George Floyd killing, and how our Barry Is Beautiful town stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement to Speak Up against racism.

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And how we, Proud in Barry, are keeping our queer community connected in these quarantine times. Mrs SVJ is part of LGBTQymru, the respected, passionate activists and allies bringing our country the first-ever Wales Wide Virtual Pride in July 2020.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2443.jpg

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9443_black-old-telephone-sweet-communications-technology.jpg

Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.

Barry Is Beautiful

Well Barry, what can I say, you did our Black Lives Matter protest beautifully – socially distanced, properly, and peacefully…respect.

Seeing the scores of rallying residents gather on King Square to show their solidarity with our brave Barrians who have fought, both slyly subtle, and boldly blatant, racism all their lives was instantly inspiring and undoubtedly uplifting.

For me, the most powerful moment came when our respected activist and Advocate Hilary Brown asked all who had experienced any form of racism in the Vale of Glamorgan to step to the front – and every single, black attendee did.

Read that again.

Solid proof that there is still a long way to go in the fight for ensuring Black Lives Matter – and as much as white lives too, before someone starts that abhorrent All Lives Matter mantra.

Shame that the keyboard warriors who furiously typed their nonsense at me all week, after I issued my rallying cry, weren’t there wasn’t it.

Well, they wouldn’t be would they, as they are adamant that their white, mostly middle-aged, mostly middle-class, lived-in experience shows them that there is zilch racism here – go figure.

And that, of course, they don’t personally know any racists. Good for them. Although the irony of them arguing with me on my Facebook feed demanding crossly to know who I was ‘banging my drum’ too was kind of telling too.

I make no apology for making my Black Lives Matter views known assertively. I have no regrets about shouting Speak Up Barry to those who stayed silent.

And if anyone wants to delete me, on the Socials, or the Streets, because of it, then I’m good with that too. It’s not politics, it’s human decency. For Christs Sake, when did ending Racism become a debate –

Truth be told, I’ve always been an activist – end of. For me, that means I just cannot help fight for something fundamentally flawed to change. I’ve never been motivated by a need for money, power, or fame, just driven slightly mad by some injustice, cruelty, or unfairness.

So much so that I swiftly shift into full-on mode, fuelled by hyper focus, and a furious drive to make a real difference.

To be fair, I’ve nearly always been helped by like-minded campaigners, and marvellous mentors, along the way. Thank you.

And, yes, on occasion, I have been richly recognised with awards and accolades for the blood, sweat and tears, I have so often shed in striving to see the change I want made.

So what, recognition is really rewarding and hugely humbling, but is more the icing on the cake than the mix that makes it happen, trust me.

It hasn’t always been easy either – phewww, I could tell you some truly treacherous tales. But it has always, always, always, been worth it.

Admittedly, most of my activism has been firmly focused in my LGBTQ+ life. I’ve always been happy to use my writing skills to help promote worthy local causes.

And I have also battled, behind the scenes, against injustice, cruelty, and unfairness.

Sometimes you just have to keep it on the low, stay on track, and crack on quietly, to get the right result.

Other times, you need to scream strongly from the rooftops to make your voice heard – and that is exactly what I am going to do now.

I am going to visibly stand up and say enough is enough as this pivotal moment in history tries to finally right some of those racist wrongs suffered so severely.

And make the future a fairer, more equitable, and kinder place, for our future generations.

I’ve always been non-racist of course, that is a given. But now I am actively anti-racist, and will be protesting peacefully, signing petitions, rocking up to many a meeting, taking the knee, firing off prose to politicians, sorting out my Socials, so I see a truer picture.

And speaking very vocally where I can – through my bold Blog, my other activism actions, or just whenever I see a wrong that needs to be righted.

Shout Out to all my black friends and family too. Please help me educate and inform myself – I’m here to learn as much as I can.

I’ve started with Black History Documentaries already but I know I need to find out so much more.

So please keep me in the loop as I strive to become a powerful and vocal Ally within Barry, and beyond.

I totally get that staying silent, standing by, or just sitting at home, is not the answer that’s needed now – real action, real activism, real visibility, and real change is.

Come join me.

Speak soon

Mrs SVJ

#SuesViews #MrsSVJ #BarrysBoldestBlogger

Barry Is Beautiful is the latest activism Blog written by Mrs SVJ, which includes her response to the George Floyd killing, how our town stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement to Speak Up against racism.

And how we, Still Proud in Barry and beyond, have kept our LGBTQ+ community connected in these isolated queer quarantine times. Mrs SVJ is part of LGBTQymru, a collective of respected, passionate activists and allies bringing the first-ever Wales Wide Virtual Pride in July 2020.

Other Lockdown related content includes Arts Isolation Call, the latest chapter in Mrs SVJ’s Corona Virus Diaries. Other Blogs about these crazy Covid times include: Lockdown Love Lost, Let’s Stick Together, Virtual Culture Vulture, Lockdown Lingo Laugh, Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers.

Let’s Stick Together was written exclusively for Barry Magazine, and published on June 7th 2020. You can read the full fabulous edition here.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

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One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9443_black-old-telephone-sweet-communications-technology.jpg

Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.

Speak Up Barry

Well, for me, this pivotal, and historical, moment, is totally turning into the perfect storm.

The Corona Virus chaos continues, and Black Lives still Matter – despite rife racism, supporters’ silence, and the ignorant bliss of those who don’t know…or don’t care.

All we need now is breaking news on one of the most notorious and controversial crime cases in recent high profile history, and the world will really go ballistic.

Oh, hang on a minute, did someone mention Madeleine McCann.

Truth be told, I haven’t got the time right now to write reams on the dodgy disappearance of that little girl from Portugal over 13 years ago.

But what I will say is, if she had been a black kid left alone by a working class Mum and Dad who hit the night clubs, instead of white child with middle class parents tripping off to Tapas, her family would have been metaphorically crucified.

No doubt, Social Services, amongst others, would have been officiously waiting on the tarmac, to whisk them and the twins away, the minute the plane hit home.

I have absolutely no proof of that of course – it’s an educated guess.

I also have zilch hard evidence that Derek Chauvin is a racist either but I’ll take a pop at that one too, and bet my bottom dollar he is.

Beggars belief that someone would even think he wasn’t, and that I actually found myself arguing this on the Socials this week. And don’t even start me on the All Lives Matter lot – that argument really is abhorrent to me.

I’ve made my position perfectly clear on why Black Lives Matter. And, of course, you don’t have to agree, but, for once, if you don’t, then you are no friend of mine – or our wider society, in my view.

I don’t usually believe in the ‘cancel culture.’ But for God’s Sake, this is about fundamental human rights, not a argument over whether the town’s crest should fall on the floor of ‘Spoons, or whether we need a Museum or not.

I’m not going to lie to you, some of our residents’ Social Media stance on the Black Lives Matter movement has shocked me to the very core – and I’ve been around the block…a few times too.

I’m not blotting my Blog with them. But phases like ‘political correctness gone mad,’ ‘there is no institutional racism,’ ‘the racism card is being waved,’ ‘your logic is flawed,’ and ‘you are making assumptions.’

I even got called ‘ridiculous’ – no biggie that one really, as I’ve been called worse – not often to my face though.

Double dilemma for me too – as the day I come out fighting furiously for the Black Lives Matters movement, was the day my perfect penned piece for Barry Magazine on how our cool, often crazy community, always stay cohesive in testing times, was published. Awkward.

Let’s Stick Together, was truly penned from the heart, in very good faith. For me, our community spirit is the glue that keeps this town intact – please let’s make this the lived-in experience of everyone.

But, where did it all go wrong my beautiful Barry?

Our town can be kind, compassionate, and caring, so why aren’t we all visibly and actively standing strong with our Black – and Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.

This weekend, (Saturday June 13), there is a #Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in our town where you can do just that.

Click here to find out more, and please email organisers, as requested, if you wish to attend.

And before, I have the torrent of Covid 19 criticism, it is socially-distanced, limited in number, you don’t have to travel more than five miles, and you can wear your mask.

For those who want to support the cause online, why not join the Wales Wide Virtual Pride Panel Discussion, A better community is within REACH on Sunday June 21st at 4pm.

The Panel, will discuss the need to provide spaces, platforms and opportunities for our LGBTQ+ siblings of different Races, Ethnicities, And Cultural Heritages (REACH).

We, LGBTQymru, are also working with Black Pride UK, so watch this space.

Please don’t just be a bystander Barry – get involved…somehow!

Christ, even the Vale of Glamorgan Council are finally showing up by lighting up the Western Shelter – and they’re always late to the party.

Thank you to those brave Barrians, who have already; stood up and spoke out publicly, actively stated support, took time to educate and inform themselves, and put their privilege aside to try to understand the lived-in experience of others.

As for those who have already peacefully protested, staying socially-distanced, of course – respect.

Funny how a few of those kicking off at the crowds didn’t say a word when the Met police bunched up at London Bridge, when Barry conga’d around on VE Day, or when Jackson’s Bay was jammed on many a sunny Lockdown afternoon.

Also, let’s not just focus on the actions of a minority of extremists and opportunists, and get distracted from the real, serious, issues being battled here.

Statues of racist slave traders are no longer needed or wanted. Take them down and place them in our Museums where they belong in the past.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s history, and I’m in no way trying to erase that – we must know what’s gone before, but do we really need them shoved in our face in every city.

Let’s be honest, you’d be hard pressed to find a statue of Hitler anywhere but we all know who he is don’t we – we know through education not a piece of stone.

I recently signed the petition to remove the Thomas Picton statue from City Hall. And I would urge you to do the same.

It has also been pointed out to me that those most adversely affected by Covid 19, are fighting the virus of racism too.

So, in my view, it was the time to seize this pivotal moment, and take to the Socials, and the streets to say enough is enough.

Now it’s our time to speak up please Barry.

Because, right now, I just can’t hear you.

Speak Soon.

Mrs SVJ

SuesViews #MrsSVJ #BarrysBoldestBlogger

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.

Black Lives Matter

Well, isn’t this a pivotal moment.

For me, the deeply distressing death of an African American George Floyd, colliding with a global pandemic crisis, is strangely significant.

Lockdown losing us our liberties, no clue what the new normal is, the global game up for grabs. And, maybe, more time to take in this totally tragic tale , could finally be a catalyst to change the national narrative.

Yeah, yeah, I know we’ve been here before. Rank racism, police brutality, high-profile cases, and public outrage is so sadly not new. But in my view, the mood has seen a severe shift – in Barry, Wales, and the wider World.

George Floyd, questioned over the purchase of a packet of fags with counterfeit cash, had his neck knelt on by a hands-in-pockets cocky cop, who nonchalantly ignored his cries of “I can’t breathe”- and later died.

Christ, I know – read that again, and just let it sink in that little bit deeper.

He did not deserve to die. Nor does absolutely any other person in that way, of course, but let’s be crystal here, we all know this was about the colour of his skin.

So shall we start to do something about it then.

Not enough to just post a black square on your Insta, complete with trendy, trending, hashtag is it.

We need to start listening much more closely to the lived-in experiences of our black friends, colleagues, neighbours, officials, and celebrities.

Truth be told, you could get back swiftly onto the Socials and follow some now – Maya Angelou is one of my personal faves.

Let’s try to educate ourselves everyday, on the past and present, through reading, learning, researching, or any other way that resonates.

And if you want to be even more active, there’s plenty of socially distanced peaceful protests, online, and offline too.

We all know there is more we can do, so why not start by supporting the brilliant Black, Asian, Ethnic Minorities (BAME) groups in Wales.

We can amplify their voices, donate to their funds and learn from the lived-in experiences of those they support.

Good old Google is always a goodie, but as a starter for ten, a fellow campaigning crusader friend perfectly posted a list, that I am sharing in solidarity.

Feel free to check these out:

Show Racism the Red Card: https://www.theredcard.org/wales

Race Equality First: http://raceequalityfirst.org

Women Connect First: http://www.womenconnectfirst.org.uk

Race Council Cymru: https://racecouncilcymru.org.uk

Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales: http://eyst.org.uk

Glitter Cymru: https://www.facebook.com/GlitterCymru/

Bawso: https://bawso.org.uk

The Centre for African Entrepreneurship: https://www.caentr.org

Ethnic Minority Welsh Women ent Association: https://www.emwwaa.org.uk

Oasis Cardiff: http://oasiscardiff.org

Putting pen to paper and signing the Justice for George Floyd petition is also a tangible way to stand up for all our our Black citizens.

For me, to show support as an Ally, it’s not enough to be non-racist. I need to be actively anti-racist – in my personal life, in my professional world, and on my social media platforms.

Black Lives Matter, and simply stating this, isn’t equivalent to saying other lives don’t, but rather that black lives should matter as much as white lives.

Please don’t miss the point, because it’s simple really – when black people get free, everybody gets free.

So come join me in raising your voice against racism, and shouting loudly and proudly everyday, everywhere, everytime.

Silence is never an option.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

#SuesViews #MrsSVJ #BarrysBoldestBlogger

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2443.jpg

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9443_black-old-telephone-sweet-communications-technology.jpg

Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.

Lockdown Love Lost

Well call me controversial, but I’m precariously placed on my very last nerve with this long, limp, lifeless Lockdown.

And I feel stuck in this semi-virtual world with just the loyal laptop and copious amounts of Quarantini Martini for company.

Ten trying, often tedious, weeks of living life very little instead of my usual large is certainly taking its toll, and, I’m not going to lie to you, is irking my sad, sweet soul.

My former Lockdown Blues are now turning the air the same colour as I look forward to more months of the same – and all whilst having a hair a nice shade of mud plus lashes looking limper than any of Dominic Cummings’ excuses.

Yeah, yeah, I totally get that, for now, we must #StayHome #SaveLives, and #ProtecttheNHS, and I applaud our Welsh Government for taking that clear, cautious, approach so we could all Stay Safe.

I am also making it completely crystal that my silly struggles are insignificant compared to those who have suffered so much more.

Yes, I do understand that there are those who have lost loved ones, are trapped in unhappy homes, are battling mental health, or who are struggling to make ends meet.

I’m just saying that we haven’t got to love the Lockdown Life have we, and, for me, the almost 70 days of social isolation is leaving me feeling lairy.

Truth be told, I’m also well overdue a rare but really raving rant about this strange new world we all find ourselves simply surviving in.

Despite me slaving over a hot computer working shifts, catching up Zoom stylee with my ever fabulous friends, cooking many a tasty tea from scratch, and giving SVJ’s Sanctuary both lots of love plus a well-needed lick of paint, it’s all way too leisurely for my liking.

And, for God’s Sake, just how many box sets can you watch before your goggle box brain spontaneously combusts into a thousand tiny Netflix shaped pieces.

What a crazy Coronacoaster it has been for our terrific, and often turbulent, town too.

One of my best sociological show-offs used to be my assertion that if you wanted to see the very brilliant best to the woeful worst of human emotion then just swiftly sell some stuff on Ebay.

Fast forward to these testing Covid-19 times and I’ll add the boorish behaviours of those who couldn’t Be Kind, clashing virtually, and sometimes volatilely, with those dedicated dwellers who stuck, and still Stick Together, to keep our community cohesive.

Who can forget how Barry Went Bonkers, as soon as the whisper of weeks indoors was mentioned. Remember those Covidiots who swiped our sanitisers, lifted our loo rolls, and purged all our pasta.

Even today, nearly three months stuck in the quarantine waiting room, a weekly scoot to the Supermarket is like a day out – and takes more time than my hollow leg teenager does to promptly scoff the said shop.

Surely there has to be some sort of social distancing shape taking place soon, that means we can move our mentality on, and see our slimmed down lifestyles lift a little bit…before we all go as mad as a box of frogs.

Please don’t ever say I didn’t try to isolate with aplomb as I shouted Stay Strong to all and sundry, whilst I wrestled the New Normal to the floor kicking and screaming.

I gave up the Gigs, trashed the travel, became a small screen Virtual Culture Vulture, and turned into a female Nick Knowles with my daring, and rather dazzling if I say so myself, DIY.

I went all ‘curly hair, don’t care, as my luscious locks grew as faster than my list of lovely Lockdown Lingo.

And Jesus Wept I totally lost it when I went FB fanatical even naming my Top Ten albums each day – although no one really cared…least of all me.

So, as I sit here, slurping a (Furlough) Merlot, I send a heart felt plea to our politicians. I know we won’t go back to the way we were anytime soon but can we just go forward to the way we can be.

A cluster bubble of brilliant buddies, a trip to see Darling Daughter, a titchy gathering in the garden. Or even just a cup of frothy coffee with a Fave.

Oh, and can you get Handsome Harry crashing into College pronto too please. He’s bouncing off the walls and I’m getting bored of dragging him down.

Believe me, sitting here all solo and stir crazy with hair like Iggy Pop, and an attitude to match is so not a good look.

Have a word will you.

Speak soon

Mrs SVJ

SuesViews #MrsSVJ #BarrysBoldestBlogger

Lockdown Love Lost is the latest chapter in Mrs SVJ’s Corona Virus Diaries. Other blogs about these crazy Covid times include: Let’s Stick Together Virtual Culture Vulture, Lockdown Lingo Laugh, Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers.

Let’s Stick Together was written exclusively for Barry Magazine, and published on June 7th 2020. You can read the full fabulous edition here.

Other Lockdown related content written by Mrs SVJ includes her response to the George Floyd killing and how our town stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement to Speak Up against racism.

And how we, Still Proud in Barry and beyond, have kept our LGBTQ+ community connected in these isolated queer quarantine times. Mrs SVJ is part of LGBTQymru, a collective of respected, passionate activists and allies bringing the first-ever Wales Wide Virtual Pride in July 2020.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Please contact Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, here.

Let’s Stick Together

Say what you like about beautiful Barry…and I know there’s many a tasty tale to tell about our often turbulent town.

But one thing that remains staunchly standard is our cracking community spirit.

Our superb sense of solidarity runs right through our residents like a stick of Barry Island rock.

And never has this been more totally tested as our town rides the Coronacoaster of lonely, no love lost Lockdown.

From almost the memorable minute we moved into this queer Quarantine, my Facebook feed has been full of top tales of, rallying residents pulling together to help our town’s most vulnerable, real random acts of community kindness, and solid support for those fighting on the Covid-19 frontline.

Facebook groups have an army of vigorous volunteers committed to looking after our own, our town’s traders have been constantly keeping our key workers fabulously fed.

And unselfish sellers have been supplying services free to those keeping Barry, and the bigger world moving.

Our more design-minded dwellers have also been busy cheerfully churning out everything from Thanks NHS T Shirts to Personal Protective Equipment – often armed only with scarce supplies and a mission to make a difference.

Let’s not forget those natives who have also pulled together to make their little corner of our town not only friendly but, quite frankly, fabulous. Neighbourly knocks to see if all is well, with the now new normal chance to take more time to chat.

Socially distanced celebrations to mark milestones like VE Day, a plethora of Rainbow posters in windows, and that standing together in solidarity every week as the deafening Clap for Carers boomed out all over the town.

Who knew that community cohesion could also be so crackingly captured online too. For this excitable extrovert who always liked in the flesh friendships and serious hard core socialising, Zoom has opened up a whole new way of keeping my gorgeous groups superbly sticking together.

Facetime is fine but there’s nothing like seeing the screen lit up with my, often eclectic mix, of marvellous mates, fellow friendly campaigners, and happy hobbyists as we keep our communities vibrant but virtual.

For me, living it large on the laptop is most definitely the way forward as we start a Summer of sitting at home staring at a screen that promises to still see us celebrating many of our town’s top events.

Barry may have been battered by Corona cancellations, that have ripped up our community calendar, but as always, our rallying residents are pulling together to try to keep  the vibe alive.

Solo singers, local live bands plus other energetic entertainers are tuning up for time on our tablets. Cadstock, the best free outdoor music festival in Barry, could still see it’s big heart beating with provisional plans to put the wonderful weekender online.

And, the brilliant Barry Pride, which daringly debuted last year to stunning success, is part of an ambitious Wales Wide Virtual Pride clearly circled in the calendar for the weekend of July 24th and 25th.

For me community is not just anyone living in the same place, it means a group of like-minded people who share the same interests, who stick together through a strong sense of unity, and often, the deep desire to make a difference.

Barry, I’ve just summed you up beautifully.

Thank you to everyone who has tackled the frenzied fall out from this crazy Covid-19 head on to help our householders, rally our residents, and make our corner of wonderful Wales a better and brighter place.

Keep on keeping on, behind the scenes or on the streets, to get us through this paralysing pandemic together, and to fight for all that our terrific town needs, and deeply deserves.

That’s the, Community, Spirit.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

#SuesViews #MrsSVJ #BarrysBoldestBlogger

Let’s Stick Together is the latest chapter in Mrs SVJ’s Corona Virus Diaries. Just click on the titles; Lockdown Love Lost, Wales Wide Virtual Pride, Virtual Culture Vulture, Lockdown Lingo Laugh, Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers, to read more about about these crazy Covid times.

Let’s Stick Together was written exclusively for Barry Magazine, and published on June 7th 2020, you can read that full fabulous edition here.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Please contact Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, here.

Virtual Culture Vulture

Well, for someone who never used to watch the totally tragic telly, I’m now squiffily square-eyed from the screen with my much-neglected glasses delighted that they are getting taken out so often.

Totally true story that. Apart from the nightly news running constantly in the background as I potter like a pensioner in my kitchen, I avoid all the middle of the road murder mysteries, silly soaps, dull documentaries.

And that cringeworthy car crash that is Reality TV – always said I’d rather be having a life than watching some stranger live theirs…badly!

Truth be told though, I am partial to a bit of Nordic Noir, so the news that the fast-paced political drama Borgen is back with a Netflix bang next year certainly made my day – especially if we are still in some sort of queer quasi quarantine.

But Scandinavian sagas, and the odd terrestrial TV drama aside – usually the ones featuring sexy Suranne Jones to be honest, I love TV as much as I love early morning starts – not a lot but I’ll do them if I have too.

So to see me now, tucked up toasty, low lighting on, with a Quarantini in hand, watching an absolute plethora of plays, mountain of movies, ton of telly, and even dabbling into the world of the Weller family on Instagram, is a revelation.

In fact my four days ‘Off Shift’ have to be planned with all the precision of the Military moving millions of PPE equipment. So much screen time to sort out, so many platforms to pay for, and so many streaming services to set up.

My first night sees me cracking on with Killing Eve. My absolute screen dream that trashes the typical spy-action thriller – and whose joyous journey was started by one of my all time writing heroes Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Thank you Villanelle – I’m still having flashbacks of that cracking kiss – phew, talk about slow burn.

My next night sees me sort my Mubi moments – the stunning movie mix I’ve found free thanks to my membership of my second home, Chapter Arts Centre.

I’ve already devoured the ‘Daughters of Fire,’ taken the super second chance to see ‘Portrait Of A Lady on Fire.

And the latest Mubi movie of the moment, ‘Water Lilies’ traces the breathtaking cinematic maturity of the latter film’s Director Céline Sciamma.

The third, usually Thursday nights, takes me lovingly to the live theatre vibe, with the National Theatre Live (NTL) solidly showing some of their best stage stunners on You Tube. I love Live Theatre, I Love NTL Live as an alternative, and I am loving this latest twist too.

Found myself in front of Frankenstein the other day. Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Johnny Lee Miller, with direction by Danny Boyle, it was time very well spent.

And for seconds, they swap parts too, so I’ll definitely be placing myself firmly in front of the screen to savour that.

Finally the fourth night, finds me firmly back in front of the Old Skool Goggle Box catching up on those odd small screen special treats that flash up flittingly. Currently it’s the gritty and edgy drama, ‘Save Me Too’ featuring, yes, Suranne Jones – told you so didnt I!

Bizarrely for a Gig Gig like me, apart from a scoot onto Spotify whilst languishing in the my nightly lagoon – that’s the bath by the way but I have a vivid imagination, I haven’t watched any live music at all – must try harder.

Mind you, I have nosed nightly into the Instagram Weller World of domestic bliss on many an occasion. A peek into their private world kindly curated by his marvellous Missus Hannah, and summed up so eloquently by one of my Guest Blogger’s with her Lessons in Lockdown.

And, let’s be honest, as one of Paul’s most prolific fans, Mr Weller and me go back a long way, so it would be rude not too.

So whilst Lockdown Life can linger, this arty-farty Barry Bird is grateful for the time it has given me, and my loved ones to catch up – with each other, and with all that wonderful and wild entertainment out there.

Of course, I’m like a coiled spring waiting to camp out at Chapter, tramp around the Tate, take in the Theatre, and groove at a Gig, but until then my sanity remains saved by the small screen.

See you in the Stalls again some day soon.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

SuesViews #BarrysBoldestBlogger

Support the Save Chapter Campaign here – to help our arts centre survive.

Virtual Culture Vulture is the latest chapter in Mrs SVJ’s Corona Virus Diaries. Other blogs about these crazy Covid times include: Lockdown Lingo Laugh, Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Please contact Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, here.

Lockdown Lingo Laugh

Well, what else is there to do on a dreary, drab fourth day ‘off Shift’ in this queer quarantine but scroll through the old Facebook feed…for the fortieth time.

Truth be told, I love my new Welsh Government groove, with those brilliant bonds that only come when working under pressure on something worthwhile.

I quite enjoy the challenge of my weekly Supermarket shop, spending hours searching for all Mum’s items on shelves I’ve never seen before in my life, it’s fab to finally find time to give old SVJ’s Sanctuary some well-overdue tender loving care,

And, despite me looking like Iggy Pop, and Handsome Harry sporting a Bale-like bun, the weekly clap for carers with the Barry massive is the highlight of our week.

Mind you, that’s turning into a bit of a ‘willy waving’ contest now isn’t it with speakers, karaoke, fireworks, and other assorted show-off shenanigans. We’ve even got blue flares in our neighbourhood – the smoke thingies, not the jeans, of course.

All that aside though, I’m just about on my last nerve living in our isolation nation. The stopping of other social connection, the grim reality of no Gigs, the loss of lounging languidly over a lazy Dinner, and the demise of my many travel trips, is doing my head in.

But, as always, I’ll dig deep, scream silently – well silently for me because I can’t even whisper quietly, and crack on in Covid jail for the greater good.

Truth be told, with the current death rate, trouble over testing, muddle over masks, and no vaccination in sight, I’d be seriously scared to just bounce back into my pre-Pandemic world anyway.

So unlike some confused by the contrary Covid-19 rules, I’ll just stay home, stay safe, stay in my lane. And have a right laugh at some of my funny finds on Facebook.

Have you seen the latest Lockdown Lingo, very well-written by some bright anonymous spark, that’s currently doing the rounds.

The terminology is top banana, and for me, so sums up the state of the nation’s isolation. Go on, have a little look, and see if they make you smile too.

Coronacoaster
The ups and downs of your mood during the pandemic. You’re loving lockdown one minute but suddenly weepy with anxiety the next. It truly is “an emotional coronacoaster”.

Quarantinis
Experimental cocktails mixed from whatever random ingredients you have left in the house. The boozy equivalent of a store cupboard supper. Southern Comfort and Ribena quarantini with a glacé cherry garnish, anyone? These are sipped at “locktail hour”, ie. wine o’clock during lockdown, which seems to be creeping earlier with each passing week.

Blue Skype thinking
A work brainstorming session which takes place over a videoconferencing app. Such meetings might also be termed a “Zoomposium”. Naturally, they are to be avoided if at all possible.

Le Creuset wrist
It’s the new “avocado hand” – an aching arm after taking one’s best saucepan outside to bang during the weekly ‘Clap For Carers.’ It might be heavy but you’re keen to impress the neighbours with your high-quality kitchenware.

Coronials
As opposed to millennials, this refers to the future generation of babies conceived or born during coronavirus quarantine. They might also become known as “Generation C” or, more spookily, “Children of the Quarn”.

Furlough Merlot
Wine consumed in an attempt to relieve the frustration of not working. Also known as “bored-eaux” or “cabernet tedium”.

Coronadose
An overdose of bad news from consuming too much media during a time of crisis. Can result in a “panicdemic.

The elephant in the Zoom
The glaring issue during a videoconferencing call that nobody feels able to mention. E.g. one participant has dramatically put on weight, suddenly sprouted terrible facial hair or has a worryingly messy house visible in the background.

Quentin Quarantino
An attention-seeker using their time in lockdown to make amateur films which they’re convinced are funnier and cleverer than they actually are.

Covidiot
One who ignores public health advice or behaves with reckless disregard for the safety of others can be said to display “covidiocy” or be “covidiotic”. Also called a “lockclown” or even a “Wuhan-ker”.

Goutbreak
The sudden fear that you’ve consumed so much wine, cheese, home-made cake and Easter chocolate in lockdown that your ankles are swelling up like a medieval king’s.

Antisocial distancing
Using health precautions as an excuse for snubbing neighbours and generally ignoring people you find irritating.

Coughin’ dodger
Someone so alarmed by an innocuous splutter or throat-clear that they back away in terror.

Mask-ara
Extra make-up applied to “make one’s eyes pop” before venturing out in public wearing a face mask.

Covid-10
The 10lbs in weight that we’re all gaining from comfort-eating and comfort-drinking. Also known as “fattening the curve”.

I’m not going to lie to you, I found these funny as, offering some much needed light relief as I stoically stay home, stay safe, save lives, and protect the NHS.

So don’t be a Covidot, or even a Quentin Quarantino, crack open the Furlough Merlot, rest that Le Creuset wrist, ignore the Coronadose.

And have a very large Quarantini on me.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

SuesViews #BarrysBoldestBlogger

Lockdown Lingo Laugh is the latest chapter in Mrs SVJ’s Corona Virus Diaries. Other blogs about these crazy Covid times include Stay Strong Barry, Be Kind Barry, Barry Lockdown Blues, The New Normal, Stay Safe Barry, and Barry Goes Bonkers.

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Please contact Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, here.

Stay Strong Barry

Well, another three weeks of lonely Lockdown, and my happiness hobbies still so strongly remain, crammed concert halls, ritzy restaurants, and non-essential businesses – drat!

I’m still madly missing my music, my mates, and my meals. My eerie eyelashes are now hidden behind my stylish Specs as I can’t get to the Opticians for my contact lens. My pearly whites are missing my three-month dental detox. And I’m going to be a rather brazen Brunette by the time we are all allowed out to play again.

Truth be told, I reckon whoever decided Beauticians and Hairdressers were non-essential businesses was definitely a butch bloke.

But, seriously though, it’s not all about me is it? It’s all about we, and sacrificing our own, usual, sometimes selfish, desires for the greater good to help flatten this crap Corona Virus peak to save our own, and others lives. Stay Safe is always the main message.

Call me old-fashioned, but I am happy looking like a hippy after adopting the ‘au naturel’ aura if it keeps us safe. I can cope with all cancelled concerts if it saves lives, and I can really go without that cliched ‘cheeky’ Nandos, if it protects the NHS.

So we must stay strong Barry, and keep on keeping on with the social distancing – that the majority of us have been happy to stick with while our community, our nation, and the wider world, tries to pack a punch to this Pandemic.

Believe me, I don’t say that lightly, I do feel your pain. For me, this new normal is a bit of a strangely surreal nightmare, the Lockdown Blues can make us feel lost and lonely. I get mildly melancholic for the lush, little life I used to live without a care in the world. And if I wasn’t working through this, I would be literally bouncing of the walls.

I’m not going to lie to you, this is not living is it. It’s solely surviving on auto pilot shuffling to the shops once a week, trotting around the block once a day, and driving regularly to work through a gaunt ghost town.

And, one thing I know for sure is that this is not the life I want to lead ad finitum. Masses of clichéd memes might tell you to think about the ‘New Normal’ and what you want to return to afterwards. Thanks for that, but I want to return to a life full of love, laughter, and living.

My lesson learnt is the things I will never again take for granted.  Friday nights at Chapter, big Fam Birthday bashes, the roar of Cardiff City Football Stadium, throwing silly shapes on the dancefloor, Academy coffee dates, mooching around museums, Gigs with the Girls.

The freedom to crack on with City Breaks, pootle up the motorway to Maida Vale to live the London life, plus the beauty of a beach holiday in the scorching summer sun.

And of course, a return to the glamour and glitz of freshly painted nails, long flowing ‘Blondes Have More Fun’ locks, and eyebrows that would rival Madge.

To be fair though, I might drag some of my new found habits kicking and screaming into the brave new Post Covid 19 world.

This includes, a daily walk around the block with my Boy, my newly realised luck at having a glorious garden, a more absolute appreciation of all our carers – not sure I’ll still bang a saucepan into oblivion every Thursday night though.

And, ever since I panic bought a Hairy Bikers Casserole Pot in the early Barry Goes Bonkers days, a love of cooking up a treat every Tea Time– and from scratch…get me.

Be Kind I’ve also learnt should never be just a hashtag to make you look lovely on social media. We should all take a step back too, and practice what we preach.

Mind you, before I get myself, and my fabulous Blog Fans all excited, I don’t think we are going to snap out of this anytime soon.

Forget that timely Traffic Light Lockdown release system seen in The Sun this week. For me, we have a very long and winding road to walk down before the New Normal becomes the Old Normal Mark II.

In my view, we do need to start sorting out our exit strategy, and politicians are planning as I type. But this assumption, I have seen by some, that we are going to leave the Lockdown on a Sunday and a snap back to completely normal on Monday morning is just not going to happen. Trust me.

I reckon, to kickstart economic activity, we are realistically looking at a relaxation of rules bit by bit. To quote the title episode of my much-loved Killing Eve that came back on telly this week, it’s the old ‘Softly, Softly, Catchee Monkey,’ approach.

Sure we’ll see some businesses back open, schools may sometime have staggered starts, and public transport may play a part but only with strict social distancing measures.

And, heartbreakingly for me, those hobbies of mine will be at the back of the queue. I have realistically resigned myself to not making moves in any mosh pit, or losing myself live in Weller world, until at least next year.

Of course, its always fingers crossed for a cure, and that glimmer of hope that a vaccine will be found soon. I will be one of first in the queue for that if I can for sure.

But until then, in my view, seeing a second Corona Virus outbreak, finding friends lose loved ones so harshly, and crashing our care system, is so not worth it.

So thank you my top little town for playing the social distance game, for selflessly seeing how we can help the greater good, and for solidly remaining stoical in adversity.

Storms always pass….eventually!

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

#SuesView #BarrysBoldestBlogger

#CoronaVirus #StaySafe #TheNewNormal #Lockdown #BeKind

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

Please contact Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, here.

Be Kind Barry

Well, that ended badly didn’t it?

I’m not going to lie to you, I was suitably shocked by a recent post in a big Barry Covid 19 Community Group that was basically just a raving rant against everything the Admin didn’t personally and politically believe in, quickly followed by, in my view, an equally ungracious outpouring.

I’m also sure that most of the over 8, 000 members, who joined the Group looking for support, solace, and someone to do the shopping, in these totally testing times, were equally taken aback.

Surely, we all just help someone based on the size of our hearts, the values we hold dear, and our desire to make a difference – not on the person in need’s voting intention.

And such a shame, as it all started so well, helped hundreds, and I whole heartedly supported it.

But why can’t we all learn from the not so distant General Election that insulting and mocking those who may be thinking of voting different from you is a real recipe for disaster.

And it is not the way to win friends and influence people – especially in, what we all thought was, an open to all community engagement Group, not a ‘big P’ political Forum.

Being Kind always matters of course but it has never been so powerful and appropriate as we all try to help some of our most mentally and physically vulnerable residents get through this Pandemic.

Now, before I get verbally hung out to dry, let’s be crystal clear here. No one more than than me knows politics affects every area of our lives – from education to economy, health to wealth, plus so much more. And if you don’t do politics what do you do?

I also have absolutely no beef with anyone aligning themselves to any political party with a pure unadulterated passion. Standard. But there’s a time and a place.

Scrolling swiftly down my social media feeds as I do, I often see polemic views, hard-hitting memes, and ‘likes’ of newspaper links on personal feeds – from all political colours. And I know some of my circle are members of the ‘I Love Labour,’ ‘Plaid are Perfect’ or ‘Boris is Brilliant’ Groups.

I choose to be friends with these Political people, and if I join partisan Groups that rightly resonate with me – it’s my Facebook, and my call.

But I don’t expect to see, in my view, inflammatory and unfair Political Posts on a platform that promotes helping all of us through these tough Corona Virus times. And then being told that, if I don’t like it then to basically ‘suck it up Buttercup’ and leave.

Thanks for that, and it’s a total Toodles to you – this is so not what I signed up for.

Deeply disappointed too that a small minority of the other members ‘liked’ and ‘loved’ the diatribe – many of whom I know were flaunting the #BeKind message just a few weeks ago. Does being kind only apply to kindred spirits who agree with your view, and vote the same way as you do then.

I thought this Group were showing personal responsibility, community cohesion, and national solidarity by posting, and responding to offers of help, putting up facts and figures, showing advice and ideas. I was wrong…epic fail from me.

I am no longer a member, I have either been blocked, it’s been disbanded, or is now a private place only – who knows, who cares. I have joined the new Covid 19 Community Group, and intend to post there.

As for the ‘big P,’ my own personal take on the ramifications for society from the Corona Virus, was brilliantly summed up on Newsnight by one of my favourite all time journalists, Emily Maitlis.

I’m with Emily who stated, much more articulately and eloquently, that:

“Corona Virus is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare. And it’s welfare issue with huge ramifications for Public Health.”

Feel free to watch the words, I wholeheartedly agree with, here.

My Politics. My View, my Blog.

But in the wider world, I shall try to help all of our community whenever I can, wherever they are, whichever way they vote. Why wouldn’t you?

Please Be Kind Barry.

Speak soon.

Mrs SVJ

#SuesView #BarrysBoldestBlogger

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#CoronaVirus #StaySafeBarry #TheNewNormal #Lockdown

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

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One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”

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Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.