June 2020

VE

A sad month. We lost the matriarch of the family this month. Eighty seven years old and the virus finished her off. MumA big shock to everyone and a massive hole left in the family.
It turns out she was dealing with quite a few other potentially life-threatening conditions with major organ problems and quite serious infections. She was also very frail and was approaching a time when help would be required for even simple household chores. In addition, one of the infections she had might have required surgery and I suspect she simply wouldn’t have been strong enough to deal with that. It’s depressing for the family but, looking on the bright side, if there is such a thing, maybe the virus did her a favour by making all those interventions unnecessary. We all miss her terribly though and it feels much too soon for her to have gone. But then the time is never right.

This is all against a background of general misery in the population. There should be no politics in this post but, as a country, something has gone seriously wrong with how this pandemic has been managed. Mum(Ps)It’s looking like somewhere in the region of seventy thousand people have lost their lives who would ordinarily have survived.
On a per capita level, we are miles in front of the rest of Europe, so questions will be asked and they will have to be answered. Meanwhile, the current behaviour of a large section of the population has to be questioned. At first, most people were very sensible about the lockdown and, in fact, took it far more seriously than anyone really expected. As restrictions began to lift, the behaviour of the people generally didn’t change much. I know from experience in my own family and close friends that easing our own behaviour has been something that has been done very slowly and almost reluctantly. I see and hear others that have been equally cautious in the way they change the habits of lockdown.

But recently there have been the Black Lives Matter protests and the Right Wing anti-BLM protests and evidence from video and photographs all suggest that caution has very much been thrown to the wind. I’m not applying blanket blame across all protestors, I know many that attended and were careful and well behaved. But some clearly weren’t And with such warm weather lately we have seen utterly staggering pictures of beaches, Bournemouth in particular, where social distancing has clearly been completely abandoned. I am slightly suspicious of the cause of this behaviour. Or, more sinister, the intentions of certain individuals whose behaviour has lead to this more cavalier approach.

It started with the original announcement that maybe we could just, ‘let this virus move through the population…’ and thereby creating a herd immunity. The first thing that is said is usually a clear indication of the mindset of the people saying it. It was then pointed out that herd immunity is normally achieved through vaccines and that trying to do that by allowing everyone to contract the disease was likely to result in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Mum's First PermSo minds had to be changed. It was clearly uncomfortable for a Tory government to behave like this. And that’s where my sinister thoughts come from. Starting with Cummings; that was an insanely stupid thing for him to do and clearly indefensible but from that moment people started saying things like, ‘If he can do it then so can I.’ And we’ve seen behaviour matching those statements every day since. Was it done on purpose? We’ll never know. But apart from some pathetic attempts at denial, it was left there as a fact and then justified by many ministers as simply compassionate behaviour, even if it was illegal. But it was then followed with the encouragement for everyone to go back to work; the far too early reintroduction of children in school and now the reopening of pubs and bars and restaurants. The reinfection rate is barely below one and actually above in some areas. None of this makes sense to me unless there is a dastardly plan behind it all.

I, personally, can’t cope with conspiracy theories but it does all seem to fit. It is leading to behaviour that the first words spoken were encouraging.

But we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe there won’t be a problem. Maybe there won’t be a second wave. Maybe I’m completely wrong. I hope I am because otherwise a very terrible thing has been done. Lying about Brexit just hacked off half the country (although it seems that is now sixty five percent of the country) but if this is a lie then it is literally killing us.

All that aside, as a family, we’re trying to come to terms with the personal effect of the virus and, like thousands more, it suddenly got very, very real. Two of us are now self-isolating for fourteen days (we were allowed onto the ward wearing PPE) and, although the doctors and nurses, who were in exactly the same situation, are not self-isolating, we were advised to and it simply doesn’t warrant the risk, small as that may be. We’ve now seen what this disease does at first hand and it is not pretty.

So, the first picture at the top is of my mum on VE day, 8th May 1945. She is somewhere at the back of the cart looking after the babies. She would have been thirteen. Shortly after the photo was taken the horse bolted and ran down the cobbles and tried to make the right angled turn at the bottom which resulted in all the kids being thrown out. They were all taken to the local cottage hospital but subsequently sent home safe and well.

This picture at the bottom is my mum on VE day 2020. So very strange. No-one knew how unwell she was becoming and she thoroughly enjoyed the day despite being exhausted afterwards. We have a new matriarch now and, as soon as she comes out of self-isolation with me, the whole family can get together and celebrate The Life of Bernie!

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Not a very happy blog this month and one I would have preferred not to have written but it had to be done. The usual moaning and bitterness of current politics just didn’t seem appropriate (although, if you look carefully, I’ve squeezed a bit in). So here’s to a bright future for us all. Let’s hope we can soon put all this behind us and let’s also hope that we can begin to build a better world in the aftermath. All it takes is the will.

So check out my Web site and, if you feel like being cheered up, why not follow the links on there and download yourself a romantic thriller or even order a paperback.

See you in July.