Off to London later. It will be my first in-person board meeting for 26 months to the date. It’s difficult to understand where those 26 months have gone, because it seems like yesterday that we sat around a table and talked about how we thought covid-19 was going to affect the world and the people we work with through my day job. Now we know. It’s been a massacre, and the Third Sector has been left to mop up a lot of the mess made by government. During Lockdown 1, I described how it felt like being on the front line, but in a hermetically sealed plate glass box, through which I was watching people die, people put their lives at risk, and people going beyond what they would, in normal times, be reasonably expected to do. And yet the well of kindness has not run dry, despite the exhaustion, despite the fears and the tragedies, despite everything. I think today will add another perspective to that, and we’ll reflect on how there is yet a long long way to go before the world is healed.
M came on my walk with me yesterday. We even held hands for part of it, and talked, and I spent some time venting about this and that, wondering why it felt like there was a heaviness inside me that was stopping me from being exuberantly happy, that was stopping me from running around there like some mad thing, which I might have done in my younger days. Covid-19 has a lot to do with that, having stopped normal social interaction, put a halt to impulsive things, seriously adversely affected all our children, and hindered their rites of passage. We have lived in almost total isolation for the last 26 months, and when we’ve not isolated we’ve been exceedingly careful. We still are, and I’ll not be treating my trip today as if it were a normal trip. I’ll be wearing a mask, keeping my distance as well as I can, not mingling, not pushing my way through crowds in the way I would have done 26 months ago, taking pleasure in side-stepping people who even then didn’t understand the meaning of personal space. The fact remains that, right now, I am seeing more staff shortages in the charities I work with than even during Lockdown 1, with covid-19 rampant in reality but not in the figures published by government, because hardly anyone is testing anymore, because LFTs are no longer free.
And on the periphery, England steeps itself in anachronism upon anachronism. An elderly man in a dress uniform who has never seen combat sits on a small golden throne next to a larger golden throne in a sumptuous chamber full of people dressed in fur and suits, deputising for an even older woman who might have worn a crown in days gone by, a crown, which sits on a velvet cushion next to him, and reads out words written for him by a government so bereft of ideas for legislation it tells him to read out lies upon lies and brings forth proposals for the removal of asylum seekers which are already being attacked in court. And the air is rank with hypocrisy as millions outside that golden chamber starve and can’t heat their homes or have nowhere to live. This. Is. England.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 87