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

I beg your pardon

I made the mistake of waiting for Dominic Cummings to arrive in the Number 10 rose garden yesterday afternoon.

He was thirty minutes late and he gave that rapid ‘sorry I’m late’ statement people say when they’re not sorry at all.

I was glued to the screen when he read page after page of convoluted explanation and justification and was about to turn off when he revealed why he had gone out on a sixty-mile excursion with his family to a local beauty spot, Barnard Castle, (apparently on Easter Sunday and also his wife’s birthday but that’s irrelevant, according to Michael Gove) when he should have been at home, which, incidentally, is in London and not Durham but then, his pals say, that was okay because childcare was involved.

Cummings has made a reasonable case, the closed-ranks cabinet members say today, urging us to now move on, as if this row were of our making.

For a media blamed by some as being at the root of all this, the press questioning in the rose garden of the power behind the throne was pretty poor. But Twitter was on fire.

What the public latched on to, apart from the fact that it’s one rule for the elite and another rule for the plebs and oh, how the powers-that-be are laughing at us, is the astonishing admission by Cummings that he and his wife and child went to Barnard Castle to make sure he was fit to drive home to London, as his eyesight had been playing him up.

Cummings’ dodgy eyesight is up there with Prince Andrew’s inability to sweat. A likely story. You couldn’t make it up. Although, clearly, they both did.

Three images have jumped out at me since that extraordinary sideshow at the back of Number Ten:

1) The idea of Johnson serenading his Svengali with I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden and then immediately backtracking because that’s exactly what he did.

2) The Mr Magoo Driving Award should be presented to Cummings who drove to a beauty spot during lockdown to test his eyesight.

3) An astonishing story that Barnard Castle means ‘pathetic excuse’ in the local dialect. Check it out here. It sounds too good to be true.

The whole Trumpian shebang in the rose garden left me fuming more than ever. Luckily, the Dorset countryside did its best to calm and soothe me later, which will be the subject of a post for another day.

In the meantime, though, take a look at this glorious sunset from Eggardon, an ancient hill fort where the countryside lies out at its feet like Narnia. I even managed to get a Star Wars-style binary sunset.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

Another brick in the wall

I’m seething this morning at the news that Dominic Cummings, the PM’s trusted adviser, revered and despised by politicians in equal measure, is arrogantly unrepentant at breaking the lockdown rules. His acolytes in the cabinet continue to defend him.

Each time one of them opens their mouths they seem to dig a deeper and deeper hole, as if preparing for a post to support the metaphorical fence going up between them and the rest of us.

It’s a disgrace and it all stinks.

That’s all I’m going to say . There’s no point getting angry when it’s something I can’t do anything about. People like that always come up smelling of roses. Although I might write to my MP to complain, not that it’ll make much difference.

Stop it, I need to be positive and not sink into a negative swirl of cynicism. Illegitimati non carborundum and all that. Beat to your own drum and do the best you can. And most of all, be kind.

I’d made a pact with myself not to listen to the news and government briefings or get drawn into Facebook rants and conspiracy theories during lockdown. Life is too short to knowingly subject yourself to anything that triggers poor mental health.

Enjoy nature, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy video chats with your family or socially distant conversations with friends over the garden fence or through the window.

Mind you, even my granddaughters have gone feral, refusing to pose for a picture unless wearing a mask.

In other news, it’s bank holiday weekend and the sun is smiling down on us. This means that thousands of people have been heading for the Dorset coast to get up close and personal and then complain that nothing is open. Or whinge on social media that they’re never coming back because the locals are so rude to them on Facebook when they are the goose that lays the golden eggs.

For goodness sake, go home. We don’t want you or your eggs here yet.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x