It doesn’t need me to state the obvious and tell you what strange times these are!
But I will say it… they certainly are.
When I was at school the summer break afforded me and my pals 6 whole weeks of getting up when we were ready , and doing more or less within reason, just what we wanted… and my cousins who all went away to boarding schools, got 8 weeks!
I remember long sunny days playing Monopoly, Cluedo, Escape From Colditz or going fishing or practicing martial arts and making nunchakus out of a broom handle, that my mother might not discover until she needed it… ouch!
Somewhere in the middle of all this freedom was a two weeks family holiday to an English seaside resort, such as Whitby, Cornwall or even sunny Spain one year.
As long as the sun was shining , once I’d got up, I was generally out with pals engrossed in whatever took our fancy that day… it’s something I’ve missed since starting work at 16 years of age.
I remember my parents and uncles and aunts telling me “ you should enjoy these days whilst you can”…. They were of course right and I have told my own three boys the same.
I was only thinking the other week, how lovely it would be to be able to take six weeks off, guilt free and get up when I wanted, rather than when I need to.
Well here we are …. nearly all of us at least.
I greatly appreciate all the people working in essential services who are risking their lives daily going to work and encountering albeit hopefully at a safe distance, the public at large.
I remember reading a book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne… she explains how we should practice gratitude every day. It’s something I try to do.
However well we might think we are doing, there is someone doing better and someone… not as well.
The fundamental thing is we all need each other whatever role we play in life.
Imagine a world without postmen and delivery drivers, bank clerks and refuse collectors , teachers and restaurant staff, police officers, checkout staff in supermarkets , heart surgeons, consultants and captains of industry, employing many people so they can carve out a living.
The book teaches us to appreciate everyone of them, they are vital to the whole smorgasbord of this thing called life.
Of course in case you thought I’d overlooked it.. THE NHS workers, now perhaps more than ever, I’m sure we all practice gratitude! Yes I stood outside the front door and clapped along with neighbours, some of whom I’ve met and some I’ve yet to. It was good to see some faces.
I miss my boys and our Wednesday night trips to favourite restaurants and I hope that restaurants and my boys will all be here, when this thing comes to an end. I think maybe we will all look at our lives and our behaviour, having had time to reflect these last few weeks and weeks to come.
I normally shop everyday, I love shopping for food, cooking and consuming it
I tried the weekly shop thing and never got on with it, preferring to shop daily for the evening meal. When I had tried, I would end up throwing food away, just because I hadn’t fancied it and it had gone out of date….. I know!….that doesn’t bode well, for a Yorkshireman.
Well that all changed, and only when we absolutely have to go shopping after 7-10 days, armed with a shopping list, do I or Jools venture out.
We have used everything and have got creative… with more time and planning we have made some triumphs and some not so.
I heard news that an old pal had passed away last Friday, I went to his wedding and read a piece at their wedding ceremony, although we had lost touch, (they had taken my ex wife’s stance in divorce proceedings), I’ve got to say it did hurt when I heard such tragic news, and sleep… well there wasn’t any for a while.
It did bring home the absolute severity and closeness of it all, he had caught the virus whilst skiing in Austria.
Another pal whom I’ve shot with countless times was also in an ICU in Harrogate, but is finally out and hopefully on the road to recovery.
Of course our own Prime Minister, has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that illness is not impartial.
My partner Jools has checked on elderly neighbours and we’ve both on our limited trips to the supermarket obtained essentials for them, we’ve also enjoyed playing a game of scrabble that they left on the doorstep for us.
On the rainy days of the six week school holidays, particularly at weekends when my parents were at home, I would be bored if I couldn’t get outdoors with my pals.
Perhaps it would be at about the seventeenth time that I would walk into the sitting room to announce how bored I was to my dad, that he would tell me, having exhausted all possible solutions , that I should be enjoying these days as I would never get them back!…. until now that is.
Here we are on week four, saying hello to passers by on the other side of the road whilst we take the sausages (as in dogs) for daily exercise…..Dads words ring In my ears, and I haven’t been bored once!
In Africa there is tribe who practice Ubuntu, it’s a state of mind , of gratitude and thankfulness. I read that one sector will sit in a circle and chant and clap together and only when everyone is happy, will or can they be happy. It’s idealistic but it’s something that’s stuck with me .
I’m not a jealous person ( maybe of love rivals when younger) but not of success or material matters. It’s the person that matters and humbleness is something I’ve always admired, especially in a super successful person.
I’m lucky enough to know people to sit around a table and have a beer with, and lucky enough to sit on their plane, on a trip, happy that they are happy to share and happy if I’ve made them happy.
So in this time of national crisis, we’ve had a lot of time to reflect and evaluate and I hope that ‘sunny days ‘ will once more be for all of us.
Hope you’re all safe and keep well