Keeping Friends connected: join us for a cuppa!

Join us for a cuppa

On Thursday 8 April 2020 a group of Friends of the Alliance gathered for the first virtual Friends Cuppa get-together. The event was hosted by Friends of the Alliance to provide half an hour for members to have some time out and enjoy the company of like-minded people around the nation.

Chair of Friends of the Alliance, Rachel Yates, opened the meeting with a poem:

Digital Apocalypse in the time of Covid

(Rachel Yates - adapted from a poem by Swetank Modi) 


Working from home is not such a chore,

But today my efficiency has gone through the floor! 

All hopes to work have been sorely dashed,

Simply because the internet has crashed!

Can’t read my emails, can’t get on Zoom

I’m stuck without internet in my home-office room.

I lost it when the storm came through.

Wi-Fi, laptop, iPad too.


Checked my new phone - but no bars found.

Darn oh darn, the internet is down!


I’ve tried and tried to make it work,

Rebooted, sworn, given it a jerk,

None of it worked – it’s still kaput,

(Should I have kicked it so hard with my foot?)

I look for other activities instead -

Cleaning, laundry, making my bed.

No good, still bored – I’ll wander into town,

Just because the internet is down.

But the library’s closed. The cinema too.

The shop’s open but - still no roll for the loo.

Wireless, cooped up, socially undone,

COVID without internet just isn’t fun!

Can’t check Tinder to find a nice bloke,

Can’t  even tweet out a single joke.

My iTunes too offers not one sound,

Now that the internet is down.

So I go back home and find a quiet nook,

A place I can sit to take an inside look,

My thoughts become clear, my mind unbound,

And suddenly I’m grateful the internet is down.

I’ll read more, I muse. Take up guitar!

I’ll search for wisdom, near and far.

To internet’s death, I raise my cup,

But wait. Never mind. It just came back up :)

There was a heart-felt group clap to thank all our health professionals working to keep us safe during this pandemic.  We are particularly conscious of the wonderful service being provided by health workers, local Councils, police and emergency staff in rural and remote areas.

There was discussion about the importance of the government providing clear health messaging.  See Croakey’s media release of 7 April - An urgent call for governments to improve pandemic communications, and address health literacy concerns:

Participants enjoyed Margi Johnson’s tour of her lush green property in Orange NSW, and meeting her beautiful grand-children and litter of maremma pups.   Margi is a psychologist and represents the Australian Psychological Society (Rural and Remote Psychology Interest Group) on Council of the Alliance.

Other participants included the inaugural Executive Director of the Alliance, Gordon Gregory; Friends Advisory Committee member from NSW Linda Beaver; former staff member of the Alliance Fiona Brooke; Dental Hygienist and SARRAH member Cathryn Carboon from Wangaratta, VIC; Sarah Hanieh from RANZCOG; Irene Mills from Dalwallinu, WA; former Chair of Friends, Chris Moorhouse from Chudleigh, TAS; Ans Van Erp from Queensland Country Practice, Toowoomba, QLD; and our newest member of Friends, Glen Poole, from the Australian Men’s Health Forum (

Alliance staff at the get-together included Sue Pagura, Stephen Kingston, Tim Hurd, Peter Brown, Easter Bunny Leanne Coleman, Gabrielle O’Kane with her freshly baked scones and Temora Centenary Cookbook, and Janine Snowie who had just come in from an early morning cattle muster!

Leanne gave a plug to the musical collaboration between Friends of the Alliance and Josh Arnold’s Small Town Culture and encouraged people to get on board.

For information go to:

It was a small group - but big on warmth and friendship!

If you would like some company at 10.30am next Friday (17 April 2020)
email [email protected] and we will send you the link to log in. We will continue to hold these sessions for as long as they are useful. And if you have other ideas about things Friends can be doing, please let us know.

Stay safe and stay connected!


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