Day 33

April 29, 2020

On April 8th 'The Guardian' online had the attention grabbing headline 'UK daily coronavirus death toll surpasses 900 for the first time', taking our total to 7,097 deaths.  As I read these daily fateful figures all I can think about is the individuality of loss and grief - that these numbers represent the hopes, dreams and loves of people's lives, and the lives themselves.  How will we grieve this?  How will we recognise our individual and national loss?  How will we mark it - how will we remember?

 

And what will we remember?  I see each member of the government make their speeches from a lectern emblazoned with the message  'Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives'. Will we remember that it was these same politicians that were sniffing around 'our' NHS to make the swingeing cuts to budgets that was less about supporting it, let alone saving it, and more about bringing it to its knees?  Will we remember that without this heroic service and its heroic band of dedicated heroes, we would be much poorer in health and humanity in this country?  Will we remember to tell the politicians to never again poop on their own doorstep?  Will we remember to tell them that WE will ALWAYS protect our NHS....?

 

I am feeling frustrated that those in charge of our country think it is their divine right to lie and to get things done in an underhand and sneaky way.  I feel disappointed that they fail to have a sense of duty towards the electorate that they represent and the nation that we all belong to.  Why do I feel like this? Well I am glad you ask...

 

-  The politicians award themselves a £10,000 bonus to work from home - April 10th.  'Well, we aren't really...' say the politicians, '... it is to buy extra equipment for staff being asked to work from home.'  Just to remind ourselves, during this crisis when businesses are failing and people are losing their jobs and incomes, an MP's salary is £81,932 and the agreed limit for expenses is already £26,000....

 

-  Robert Jenrick, Local Government Secretary, I believe has a main house close by us in Herefordshire, a second one that is...  Some people are misrepresenting their needs to get around the lockdown and guidance on second homes and to only travel if necessary...  Scotland's chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood  has had to resign, eventually, after she made 2 trips to her second home during lockdown.  Embarrassing when she had fronted tv and radio adverts urging the public to stay home...

 

-  That PPE is not ordered as promised, and that it has not been a priority for the government in the lead up to the crisis.  This leaves our front-line heroes vulnerable and under-resourced as usual - but still they are expected to work miracles...it is costing them their lives...

 

-  That HS2 continues regardless of social isolation and so groups of workers gather to cut through swathes of historic nature, ancient woodlands and beautiful nature reserves.  Hedges with nesting birds in are decimated and local wildlife left scattered and scared.  For further assaults on our landscape and those who call it home, the badger cull continues despite nature having a healing part to play in most peoples lives now as we stay in to save lives, the irony.

 

-  That politics pre this crisis reflected a doctrine of undermining 'society' rather than supporting it. Underfunding lead to stretched school budgets, libraries closing, local hospitals under threat, and a reduced police force and crime fighting capabilities.  DO NOT let this happen again.  We do not want a return to this, we want better...to be better...to do better.  Let us hold our politicians accountable...because they are.

Let's ask ourselves what we want to reinvest in, where will we put our focus, who and what will we value...?

 

-  That our recovering Prime Minister, who nearly lost his life to the Coronavirus, now realises the true 'worth' of our NHS...after it saved his life.

 

-  That our response to this crisis was so 'sniffy' - that our politicians didn't deem it important enough, that their focus was not on protecting this country and our people.  It is reported that our Prime Minister skipped 5 COBRA meetings on the virus and ignored advice to order PPE - what are the costs now, of these failures in February to launch a concerted effort to prepare for this oncoming disaster?  We could see what Italy was going through, why did we not think we needed to act?  On January 24th despite the spread of the virus - China, Thailand, Japan, south Korea, United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, France and Nepal, a COBRA meeting of less than one hour was held after which Hancock said any risk we were facing was 'low'...  In the UK we reported our first confirmed case on January 31st, as did Spain - Germany had already done so on the 27th, and Italy on the 30th.

 

Note to selves - On April 18th, when we lose 888 people that day and have a death toll standing at over 15,000, at 15,464, and Spain has reached 20,000 deaths, Italy 23,227, France 19,323, Germany 4,110 and US over 31,000, 'The Times' will run an article about these days, the days 'when Britain sleepwalked into disaster...'

 

-  That people can be so selfish and hurtful to each other.  Easter Saturday April 11th and we are told domestic abuse cases are rising. While others fight for their lives and those close to them face losing the love of theirs, others are busy battering the life out of their families - physically and/or psychologically.  The virus takes 917 more lives including an 11 year old child, 9,875 deaths, and our figures are expected to rise for at least 2 more weeks.

 

-  That people are so self-serving, while Facebook has a post of Jesus with the caption, 'No, we all have to stay in...', someone needs to tell the idiots on the way to Cornwall and Wales that this applies to them as well, it seems that would indeed take a comparable Easter miracle...  The fear that people don't 'get it' and will not stay in grows as, on April 16th, the lockdown restrictions are extended for a further 3 weeks as 861 people die and the total is 13,729, and a debate rages about the usefulness of wearing masks...  Hang on, I remember this from February, you know, when everyone was laughing at the thought, or rather the government was encouraging us to laugh at anyone who took the pandemic threat seriously...you know, when Boris was shaking hands with everyone...

 

 

 

 

So in amongst all my feelings of frustration I feel it was a strange, subdued Easter.  Good Friday was not a 'good' day, April 10th, saw the worst daily fatality rate yet with 980 deaths, higher in a single day than Italy or Spain, and the total stood at 8,958.  However we hoped that Europe's worst hit countries were now past the peak of the outbreak. And then our death toll hit 10,000, over that at 10,612 on April 12th, and Hancock calls it a 'sombre day', and the UK realises it is itself amongst the worst affected European countries...  Not such a low risk then after all...  Easter Monday, April 13th, and 717 people sadly lose their lives and the total rises to 11,329.  And I tell our son off for leaving tin foil all over the table from his Easter Eggs.

 

'I haven't left it..', he denies vehemently.

 

Immediately I think 'he doth protest too much' and take it off the table and head for the bin in a long suffering way that only mothers can do.  Then I squeeze the foil (don't know why...) and there seems to be something hard inside it...

 

'What have you got in this altogether?,' I ask him, prepared for weird and wonderful answers as I now think this is a collection of 'stuff' out of his pockets.  It's amazing what he keeps in there and how much fluff it all gathers...  (He follows his father for this...).

 

'Nothing - IT IS NOT MINE', he determinedly emphasises the last bit, clearly losing patience and feeling unfairly accused.

 

We look in the foil together, gradually taking it apart, unwrapping it, I catch a glimpse of something sparkly, a ring!  Our son snatches it back and starts to cover it all up again, squeezing it together again.  He looks really upset and I think he has bought it to give to a girl at school and I immediately feel abashed at my actions, when his dad pipes up.

 

'It's o.k., mum can see it now...'

 

'What?', I query, doing a mental double take, my husband is hiding a ring to give to somebody else?

 

'Remember I told you on Mother's Day one present hadn't arrived...?', my husband queries.  'It has now, and I thought it would be funny to wrap it in the foil from an Easter Egg...' he explains.  'And I thought I would just leave it like that on the table...', he finished gamely, realising I think, that the odds on it not having gone in the bin were slight, based on my 'tidying up' dial being set to 'constant' at the moment...

 

'Oh, I've ruined it then, the surprise', wails our son looking crestfallen.

 

'No way, you saved the day.  It would have gone in the bin if I hadn't been moaning at you...', I pause, there is a compliment in there somewhere.  Plus, I say under my breath, I was starting to think your father was buying jewellery for his floosy so it was a good job it all came about as it did and he was there to explain...things may have become quite tense else...

 

I get to look at my late Mother's Day present and there are two beautiful silver stacking rings with sparkling blue and white stones.  I love them! 

 

'Thank you both so much...they are perfect', I say hugging my (slightly bemused) husband and (still tearful) son tightly,  '...and what a story I shall have to tell about finding them!', I reassure our son.  And I will always remember, through any amount of frustrations, I will remember I am surrounded by love and how important love is...  

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