Last clap finale?

Tonight’s Clap for Carers will probably be the last time we stand outside our houses on a Thursday night to give our key workers a round of applause for their work in the battle against coronavirus.

Annemarie Plas, the woman who came up with the idea, says it’s the right time for her to stop, although she’s not telling other people to do so.

Some maintain that the eight o’clock ritual has become ‘politicised’ while others, including NHS staff, point to those taking part in the clap who then ignore pleas to stay at home and avoid gatherings, putting more strain on the healthcare system.

There’s been a lot of ‘clap shaming’ talk on the internet, some of it quite bullying, questioning whether saying a massive thank you across the nation is appropriate, particularly when politicians have been underfunding and disrespecting health and social care in this country for years.

‘You can keep your rainbows and applause. We’d rather have a pay rise and respect,’ was the gist of several articles I’ve read by some health workers. On the other hand, there are other carers who say it’s really helped them get through this crisis.

I don’t think it’s fair to make people feel guilty about thanking key workers. And we shouldn’t underestimate the weekly ‘feel-good’ boost for some communities which would otherwise have been cooped-up indoors.

But I do think it’s good that people are questioning the ritual and thinking more deeply about it. As I’ve said before, I hope the energy of the common people can be harnessed to fight against creeping privatisation of the NHS by the powers-that-be.

There has to be some positive action to come out of this pandemic. Maybe I am being naive but I am hoping we as a nation will be far more switched-on when it comes to what is happening around us and to never take things like our health service for granted.

Today’s Sound of Music Through The Square Window will feature a tune for staff and residents at our local care home. I’ll also be playing a song especially for Dominic Cummings, who I figure needs that little uplift only music can give.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

International Nurses Day

It was meant to be a really big celebration this year.

International Nurses Day is held to mark mark the contributions nurses make to society. And in 2020 it coincides with the the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the 200th year of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Picture: Wikipedia

Nightingale came to prominence after arriving at the Crimean War in 1854 to manage and train nurses in caring for wounded soldiers. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society.

My second sister was a nurse and midwife. She was the kindest, the most caring and the best of her four siblings, a statement with which they would all readily agree. She worked as a carer all her life, at home and abroad, before she died suddenly four years ago at the age of 67.

She would help anyone, was always for the underdog and thought the best of everyone, sometimes infuriatingly so. Her kindness was a shining beacon to me growing up.

Nurses are special people.

This year, International Nurses Day falls on a moment in history when we are in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. Our nurses and carers are at the forefront of a global pandemic. They are risking their lives as the nation’s foot soldiers, fighting an invisible enemy with a woeful lack of personal protection equipment.

Nursing staff don’t want to be thought of as heroes in this crisis. They say they are just doing their jobs. But they have true dedication and commitment many of us lack. We continue to say thank you – but the Thursday Clap for Carers won’t mean a thing if we don’t carry it forward into something positive for the NHS.

Today at one o’clock, I played three songs for The Sound of Music Through The Square Window to mark International Nurses Day. We had Bobby Darin’s version of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure and The Rembrandt’s I’ll Be There For You, which will be forever known as the theme tune to the television programme Friends.

So on this day in 2020, and on the Thursday Clap for Carers, we salute our nurses, without whom many of us would not exist. And in future, we need to ensure that these vital front line workers are given the support, pay and respect they deserve from our politicians, along with the NHS, which was one of the major social reforms following the Second World War.

When all this is over, it would be fitting if, as a lasting legacy of the coronavirus catastrophe, we could recommit that support to our NHS and all who work within it.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x