What a year it’s been so far! After a series of recent grim old days, weather-wise that is, suddenly the sun shone and our spirits lifted. No more rain on the horizon and we were allowed out for exercise.
I’ve tried to avoid too much mention of COVID-19 to avoid you overdosing on the subject; but how much our lives are changing. This year has been somewhat like a pantomime of two acts with an interval in between.
Of course with a pantomime we have to have a mixture of tragedy and comedy, silliness and common sense. We’ve had all of these in abundance.
The first act began rather suddenly. One moment we were hearing about a strange illness that was occurring in a land far, far away and then before we knew where we were, it was right in amongst us and our whole world was forced to change.
New rules and regulations were introduced by the occupants of an opulent citadel ruled over by a tousle haired inexperienced but energetic individual with a degree of boyishness. By and large the population conformed to these rules and the land became a place of peace and calm where birdsong was pre-eminent. Of course every pantomime needs to have an element of wickedness and so the rules were seen to be abused by a cruel minority who one day, hopefully, would receive their comeuppance.
Sadly there were many casualties and much tragedy, but the vast majority came through physically unscathed. The financial situation was of course a different matter and the coffers of both the country and the population were sorely depleted. Entertainment in its many forms was badly affected and many were even denied their daily ration of soap operas. The closest they got was when they washed their hands!
A chancellor emerged from the citadel who went by the name of Sunak - although this was later changed to Baron Hardup – and with a click of the fingers he opened his coffers to help us to survive Lockdown One.
And then, as the statistics moved in our favour, there followed an interval whereby the population was gradually released into a world of partial normality. Indeed it began to appear to many of us that the bad old days had passed. Pubs and restaurants opened again, but masks and plastic visors where the order of the day. In fact our local pub looked like it had been taken over by a team of welders!
Holidays abroad were allowed - then they weren’t - then they were – then … oh damn it! Let’s go to Cleethorpes for a week.
Time passed rather quickly. Were we really getting back to normal?
No! Before we knew where we were the magic statistics started to worsen and suddenly we were hastening rapidly towards the second act. But only after an interim dose of tiers - for crying out loud!
Suddenly there we were in Lockdown Two. Pubs were closed again and, paradoxically, to ensure our continued good health, gyms were also ordered to close.
In many ways this resembled Lockdown One, but without the sense of drama which is normally associated with pantomimes. Whereas in the first act the roads were almost empty, now the roads were very busy – where were they all going?
The tousle haired individual appeared to have acquired a new degree of vibrancy. Statistics somehow became less relevant and the difference between act one and act two was palpable. Somehow we were getting on with things; although the prolonged lack of physical contact was arduous. Were we getting out of touch?
The tranquillity of Lockdown One had disappeared but there was less apprehension throughout the land, either we were shell shocked or just simply inured to the situation.
Of course, as happens in all good pantomimes, one of the wicked barons was summarily ejected from the citadel (carrying his belongings in a cardboard box). What was needed for a suitable ending was a Fairy Godmother … who duly arrived in the nick of time in the form of what appeared to be suitable vaccines.
Under these circumstances it should be fair to assume that they all lived happily ever after.
I hope that you enjoyed this little dose of nonsense. Let’s face it, 2020 has been a horrid year. But I trust that, like our predecessors under different and similarly trying circumstances, ultimately we’ll only be able to remember the good times.
So, finally, may I take this opportunity of wishing you and yours - however it materialises - a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with your family and friends. We’ll put the prosperous bit on hold just for now!