Thursday, 31 December 2020

Goodbye, 2020!

We'll not be sorry to see the back of it, even though (at one dark time) there was a moment when I thought I might not live to see the end of it, a time when I would lie awake in the small hours imagining a lonely death isolated from everyone in a sealed ward somewhere, a time when I started to write farewell letters to my wife and children, when I was terrified that the return to school in September would be a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode in a catastrophic and devastating infection. 

I'm in slightly better place now, partly having survived (thus far) and partly having realised, as more became known about the virus and its devastating effects, that the very anti-inflammatory substance I self-inject fortnightly and which suppresses my immune system (part of the reason I was sent a shielding letter last April) and which I stopped taking for a while with the crazy notion that a fully-functioning immune system might be more protection, might actually help in the event of contracting Covid. It emerged that the very drug I had temporarily stopped using was actually being given to some Covid patients in the hope it might help reduce the catastrophic inflammation that they were suffering. So much for shielding!

My (slightly) more upbeat mood is partly kismet, partly hope based on the vaccine and part admiration at serious measures schools (woefully under-supported) have been taking to reduce the spread of infection, in spite of being such "safe" places, according to a Prime Minister who went to a boarding school where the risk of inter-mingling households (let alone bus loads) was a termly, rather than a daily phenomenon. Of course schools are safe, when there's no-one in them. Of course it's the inevitable mixing of households when kids come together on the journey to school, in the classrooms, on the way home and then all over again the next day after rubbing shoulders and sharing towels with parents and siblings who have themselves been in contact with, well... suffice to say that the tendrils spreading the virus are as extensive as the underground mycelium of mushrooms, and as busy as a motorway.

Still, it's nice to know we're all in the safe hands of a serial adulterer and liar, a man whose father and brother clearly diverge considerably from his own views of Britain's place in Europe. Or do they? I wouldn't be surprised if, one day, a repentant Johnson admits what's been pretty obvious all along, and that the whole thing was just a crazy stunt to further his own interests and career. At the stroke of eleven tonight, when the rest of us are finally cut adrift from forty-plus years of economic and political security, Johnson senior's application for French citizenship will be well underway and of course Boris's green card-earning US birth will no doubt be an asset when the rats finally leave the ship as it sinks, slowly, into the inevitability of second-rate status.

Meanwhile, schools have now to add covid-testing (and, probably, vaccination) to an ever-growing list of responsibilities that includes childcare, social work, intervention in political and religious extremism, quasi-parenting, potty-training, social integration, ensuring adequate nutrition, even accommodation in some extreme cases, as well as, of course... teaching. But that's ok, because as we all know, teachers get long holidays. Which is why there's such a shortage of them. And why they're lumbered with such a lumbering lump as Gavin Williamson as their politico-in-chief.

So, as the clock ticks down the hours and minutes to the end of a year few people will want to remember, we can at least console ourselves with the thought that things can only get better. 

Can't we?

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