Are we headed for trouble or can our heads be held high when we are told there is no need for hunkerin’ doon and we can head back out into the world? So much to think about! Enough to make a head spin, even before mentioning the risk of overthinking the risks in what lies ahead. It has ended up over the last few days with me having no head space left. So much so, I am a day early with my weekly tu’pence worth.
There have been so many demands, announcements, contradictions and speculations around lifting the current restrictions. I think it has all come to a head now because some factions are pushing for easing of lockdown and this is understandable on several counts. You will sense a but …. We need a clear exit strategy. We need the when and how, to ensure what has been achieved thus far by hunkerin’ doon does not become undone by bending to the pressures of concern about different but related issues. There is a big risk if it really is too early, the R value is still too high, there’s a second wave, and it will all happen again. What a risk to us all it will be if people around us are less prepared to follow the rules set out for us, preferring to go with rules set by others who are more gung ho? Of great concern is the risk to the benefits gained by all our efforts because people are finding the pressures of it all just too much and taking to the parks and beaches. I never imagined I would say it, but fewer “taps aff days” and more rain might …… now that is a tad too risk averse. I have just heard “Bring me Sunshine” on a Desert Island Disks replay and been singing along.
About singing along, I hear the Sunday Service because my radio is usually on and usually tuned to Radio 4. I don’t pay much attention to the content but join in with the hymns because I know the tunes and words. A throwback to the Kirk, Sunday School and the “My Cup’s Full and Running Over” days. I have fond memories of various Seaside Missions coming to the town in the summer, and favouring The Baptists because they gave us sweeties.
What I did hear today was that it is the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Apparently she wrote about Plague, Pestilence and Famine urging that “we must not fight it, but we must work hard to beat it”. Good thinking! How much better to drop the tendency by some to compare and use the terminology of war, battles, fights and victory when talking about Covid 19. There has been a none too subtle adoption of the stance and style of delivery of the orator whose recorded speeches we have heard this weekend. I didn’t pay attention to the name of today’s preacher but his words echoed what was going on in my head. “It is impossible to go back to square one, but the first step has to be gratitude” then a lengthy list of those deserving of it and of practical meaningful change to those we have come to value as essential. What practical steps will be taken to demonstrate the gratitude we have clapped to display? Clapping doesn’t raise the minimum wage.
I had intended to expand on the war analogy given the V.E. 75th Anniversary, but enough to agree we should honour the survivors , remember the fallen and not forget that our lives would be different if the outcome had been different. I may risk disagreement, but want to say I have been a bit uncomfortable with the jingoistic talk and attempts to stir up flag waving and celebration. I wonder if it has suited the politicians to have our attention diverted from what else may be going on round the virtual Cabinet table. I hope for consensus that war in any context is a tragedy, victory and celebration for one subsumes defeat and despair for another, and because it still happens, we must work to learn from the history.
I have gone far enough down the gloomy track, so keeping no social distance on my train of thought, allowed in a #vulnerable age brain which finds focus on one thing a bit of a challenge, I am turning to hats.
My friend’s report of a requirement for sun hats down in Dorset, brought the image of the train, yes, train in the olden days, arriving in the town on the first weekend of the Glasgow Fair. Both beaches would be mobbed for a fortnight’s beautiful weather. Always sunny in my memories! Several resorted to hankies knotted in four corners but there were a few Panamas, and always appropriate headgear on the Golf Course. There was no such thing as risk assessment in those days. We should have been issued with crash helmets for the chances we took searching for lost golf balls, paying little attention to cries of “Fore” because no one bothered to tell us what it meant. Some of us did have those less than flattering rubber bathing hats when we went, not accompanied by an adult, but the oldest cousin in charge, to swim and mess around in the Moray Firth. My Granny used to take in lodgers for The Fair. For many years the same couple from wherever Glasgow was had “the Room”. It just meant we got the warning to “behave yersel’s”, had fun mimicking their funny way of speaking, and putting on our very best manners when thanking them for the ubiquitous pink lettered rock they gave us on the day they left.
Chatting with my friend about my Granny’s sayings having stirred up precious memories for her, I was privileged to get a wee insight into the love for a different but very similar Granny. If former scanning of Lonely Hearts columns or current use of online dating apps are disappointing, Anne’s Granny would have said “She’s let the Caps go by while waiting for a Top Hat. “. If that resonates, or if the cap fits ….
There’s plenty that could be said about a head in the clouds but while that is undoubtedly more comfortable, it may not be the most useful at present. My reckoning is that most of us can hold our head up now and when this is over, knowing that we do and did do what was asked of us, to reduce risk to ourselves and to others. The majority will get their head round the need for it, but there are always eejits who think rules never have or do apply to them. My Granny would have said “They’ve got heids full o’ mince”.
Right now ms heid’s dirlin’ as I speculate what the next announcements will bring. From what I hear already, we will be urged to be alert. Many of you may remember Noel Edmonds’ Morning Radio programme, in the early 80’s I’d guess, where he ran a competition to find the best T-shirt slogan. The winner, I have never forgotten, read BE ALERT – BRITAIN NEEDS LERTS!
That’s a Heads Up!