Don’t Panic! Jog Quickly!

I really thought we’d made it, managed to make it through to the other side, unaffected. On May 17th restrictions are lifting, in ten days we can attend matches again. The wife and I have had our two jabs. Summer’s coming.

And then this morning, having already dropped my son off at school, I got a message from said school: There’s been a positive Covid test in Year 6 and so they’d have to close their bubble.

Year 6 is my son’s class and ‘closing the bubble’ meant that they would be sending him home to self-isolate. I’d only been home fifteen minutes after dropping him. The parent of whichever child had tested positive must have only got the test results when school was due to open.

So off I went again to pick him up. I crossed the deserted playground to the office, gave James’ name and one of the receptionists went to get him while the other explained that, though James would have to isolate for ten days, my wife and I didn’t as we were classed as contact of a contact. I really thought we’d seen the last of all this.

James came out and when he saw me he greeted me with a shrug of resignation. “So,” I began as we headed for the gates, “someone tested positive in your class?”

“Yes, someone who’s been in school.”

“Any idea who it is?” I asked.

“Well it could either be me, or . . . “

“You? How can it be you?”

Well, Ive been in school.”

“Have you done a test?”

“No.”

“Then it can’t be you then, can it?”

“It can’t?”

To test positive, you have to do a test to begin with.

He seemed to think this over. “No . . .”

“How did you find out about it?” I asked.

“We were sitting where the computers are, then all of a sudden the teachers all started panicking and running around.”

“They were running?!”

“Mrs * has a son in our school, and she was shouting to him ‘Run son!”

“She was shouting run?” I asked with some scepticism.

“Well, it might have been ‘jog quickly.’”

I’m sure that you’ve all seen those disaster movies, too, you know the ones where everyone is told to jog quickly for your lives!

Save yourselves! Jog quickly!

You could forgive me for thinking that he was being a bit dramatic, but later one of the mothers said that she’d asked her daughter who confirmed that teachers were indeed shouting “Quick! Run! Run!”

Maybe they were trying to head off all points of entry to the building, maybe they thought that the predatory virus was now chasing them down the school corridors?

Anyway, ten days start now, ten long days. Keep washing those hands. And if anyone around you appears a little off-colour then remember: jog quickly and don’t look back. They always get you when you look back.

Meanwhile, In Prestwich . . .

I managed to get this photograph yesterday while we were driving through Prestwich. It’s a mural, created in 2019, of Victoria Wood, who was born in that town.

Heading North is of course a compulsion with me, too, though her full joke includes the punchline: “Even in Tesco, I head straight for the freezer cabinets on the back wall.”

Seeing it took me right back to the 80’s, laughing at this northern ballad of frisky Freda and the poor, beaten Barry. Give it a watch, those of you not from the north of England may have to give it a couple of goes to catch the lyrics. Google may help, too!

A Three-Photo Recap

I thought I’d give you all a three-photo recap of the week so far. It began with me discovering the Winter-Spring dividing line. It seems that some of the snow has spilled over from one season to the other. It’s time to build that wall.

Tuesday I decided to go for a peaceful walk , just me, the dog and two Apache helicopters.

My daughter Millie has just turned fourteen and had a few friends around in the back garden for a Covid-friendly gathering. In the evening this was the aftermath, glittering tinsel like confetti from a full-sized champagne bottle party popper. In a few more birthdays I dread to think what this aftermath will look like. I don’t think there will be confetti in the bottles.

brigant

April not a fool, just a joker … This is hame clawed in icicles since April’s first weekend. April feels a brigant, with its hoards of dark clouds …

brigant

A great review of my second collection In Brigantia, (link above), written by Shetland-based poet Nat Hall. Please check out her work too.

Ages And Eras, The Death Of A Duke

I heard the news early on that Prince Philip had died.

I’m not particularly a Royalist, but I’m not anti-Monarchist either, and I do appreciate the history of the many Kings and Queens we’ve had on these shores.

An American woman once told me, when I was in London, that she envied us of our royals. And of our history-she said, myopically, that hers was a modern country compared to Britain, which isn’t strictly true, but I knew what she meant.

Philip died in the castle that his mother was born in, and regular Jackdaw readers will know that I’m a sucker for connections like that. He was 99 when he passed, which means that he was almost eligible for a telegram from his own wife.

Incidentally, during my time as a postman, I delivered one of those telegrams from the Queen to a delightful woman who’d just turned a hundred years old. Her family, proud, were awaiting my arrival, and she, of a deferential generation, held a certain understated satisfaction. It truly was the Royal Mail that I worked for that spring morning.

The Duke’s death is a reminder that our Monarch herself is 94, and whether she steps down or not there really is the sense of an ending now-a closing of this second Elizabethan age. For most of us, Elizabeth is the only ruler we’ve known, with her husband the mainstay beside her. For the first time in our lives a Coronation is coming. That will be something to behold. The American woman would love that.