There is an inherent mixture of potential joy and foreboding when lifting the lid off something when there is uncertainty about what we might be uncovering. Consider the alternatives: A) close it again quickly without investigation or B) embrace the excitement of discovery.
I uncovered a dusty cardboard box long hidden at the back of a cupboard and knew the likelihood that the outer markings of its origins as a carton of crisps bore no relation to its current contents. It was very likely that whatever was in it had either been stowed away for safe keeping or shoved out of site due to lack of idea or motivation to do anything else at the time.
Empathise or even sympathise with my conflicting emotions when a stash of wool, knitting pins and patterns were exposed. The fleeting delight of reunion with bits thought lost had to share head space with the self-judgement directed at another abandoned project. Stitches of an unfinished hat slipped off the needle in a tangle of yarn chosen as a colour to go with everything. I was never going to knit more than one!
The Paton’s patterns for matinee jackets, schoolboy balaclavas, tank tops and men’s jumpers in wool as thick as rope crafted on pins like drumsticks, would serve any teacher as material for lessons in social history. My Granny knitted our school cardigans. Wearing ‘hame knittet’ was the norm, and being taught the skill was almost a right of passage. Plain, purl and moss stitch. The vocabulary wasn’t learned like a foreign language, but absorbed into the psyche through example and the occasional hard way, like when you dropped your stitches because your wool was slack.
The lid burst open last week to let us express our highest regard for everyone working in our NHS. When have we ever witnessed such unity as we did on the night the country applauded? The heightened emotional energy was palpable. I couldn’t work out if my wee tear and lump in my throat was for heartfelt gratitude, or seeing the power of everyone joined in one common purpose. For now let’s all acknowledge it is very precious when there is a heightened risk we might need it, and remember the best support we can give is to keep hunkered doon.
There’s seems to have been a lid lifted at Holyrood too. We have had a look to see that it is possible for our politicians of all colours to work together to tackle this huge challenge. Nae argy bargy! Isn’t it reassuring to see what can be achieved when this virus couldn’t care less where allegiance lies?
There will be time enough for many questions which have to be asked, answered and debated. But my curiosity demands that I pose this question now. Whose decision was it that the Prime Minister should send a letter to everybody, reiterating what is said in hourly news bulletins and between each television programme, when we would all agree that the cost of the exercise would have been better spent on those who won’t receive it anyway because they are homeless and have no fixed address?
We all know that the facts of what has happened will depend on the perspective of the individual whose story is being told. But surely we can have hope that we will all learn lessons from this. I will silence my Granny’s voice as she says “will ye niver learn? Ye’ve been telt umpteen times a’ready”. and know that at least we are now recognising what is really important, what are the essentials, and the value we place of those providing them. It’s up to us to do what we consider best with the information.
Let history describe something more meaningful than data on the puzzling fixation on toilet rolls. The records must reflect the way in which the lid has lifted to release a level of kindness, generosity, caring and support, especially to those of us considered #vulnerableage , which is truly overwhelming.
It is clear that this lock down seems to have taken on a seriousness that we might not have expected, because it applies to everyone now. But still, we have had some good laughs at the humour being generated. Bring it on, you clever people.
The observant will notice the wool in my hunkerin’ doon kit. No apologies for the revelation that it has gone back in the box until there really is nothing else to do. There are advantages to a focus on clearing out cupboards. I found a forgotten Christmas present. A box of very special chocolates.