It’s been a week of winning and losing. After nearly two months of ‘being looked after’ and no exercise due to injury, I attempt my first run. Truth be told it’s more of a jog-walk and every time I see a tree root, my heart is in my mouth and my feet are by my ears to avoid stumbling. Still for me it’s a success – a boost in confidence and a return to normal activity.
The Nearly-Beloved has also benefited from the re-emergence of the ‘home help’. Unfortunately, he now feels qualified to comment on her skill sets which, it has to be said, are sadly lacking. ‘When I was doing the housework,’ he tells me, pointing to a cobweb in the corner, ‘at least I did a thorough job.’ I bite my tongue, resisting the urge to ‘do a thorough job’ on him! Instead, I invite him sweetly to take over the cleaning on a permanent basis. He quickly backtracks, complimenting me on my cooking – a change from the interminable weeks of his ‘signature dish’. Even he got ‘pied’ out in the end…
‘Come and wash up then,’ he tells the adolescent who’s just finishing off his third dessert. ‘You’ve got to be joking!’ replies Grunting Teen who’s now found summer employment as a kitchen porter in a local restaurant. Their gain is our loss. After his first eight-hour shift he collapses on the floor, groaning, ‘It’s so awful. I’m exhausted,’ and now refuses to go anywhere near the sink. But on receiving his first pay check, his spirits miraculously lift and his social life takes off.
So, what if his last two school years have been a Covid wash-out? If nothing else he’s learnt to grab opportunity and freedom when it comes his way. Who could believe that not long ago his leisure pursuits were limited to online gaming and hanging out with his geriatric parents? Now he’s not only allowed in parks and gardens but in people’s houses too.
However, this has the downside of it being a reciprocal arrangement. Now my home has been taken over by lumbering Neanderthals with giant footwear and matching appetites. And whilst it’s great to be driving again, I didn’t expect to become a full-time taxi service.
The Nearly-Beloved of course, if not down the pub, cannot be moved from the sofa since competitive sport has returned with a vengeance. As long as Wales trump England in the Euros then it’s a victory for him. As for me, I’m holding out for the Olympics, even though more than 80% of Japanese currently oppose hosting it.
Unlike the UK, their vaccine roll out has been slow. Not for them a ten-minute ‘Bob’s your uncle’ job, courtesy of Tracey at Sheffield Arena. It’s a smooth, well-oiled operation that has me feeling proud of my NHS. And when I’m presented with the sticker for my second jab, I honestly feel like I’ve won a gold medal. Yet many other countries are still lagging behind with immunising their populations and until they are helped to catch up, we can’t claim victory over the virus. And whilst we’ll never beat it into total submission, if each country joins together in a relay race of cooperation, then at least we can keep passing on the baton of collaboration and partnership – one of the real triumphs of the whole pandemic.
For now, we’ll have to be content with our hard-won concessions and a semblance of near normality. We can be in and out of each other’s houses again as long as our feet remain firmly in Blighty. Even the weather has cooperated this month to give us that continental feeling. But it’s poor consolation for those in the outdoor events and hospitality industry.
As always there are winners and losers in every situation. Our welcome heat wave is the next generation’s less welcome forewarning of the climate disasters to come. If nothing else, these Corona times have shown us how interconnected we all are, how individual actions can have far-reaching consequences, and how important it is to realise we are a global family. So, let’s hope that in our post-pandemic awakening, true winning will mean no one has to lose out.