I’m starting to get anxiety now about people hugging me in the street. I might just say that I’ve got eggs in my pockets.
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, I’ve been in school.”
“Have you done a test?”
“Then it can’t be you then, can it?”
“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.
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!
When I was trying to watch the Cup Final and shouted to the players “Get in the box!”
An Inuit man warms up his wife’s feet in Greenland, 1890s. Or me to my wife when she’s forgot to put the electric blanket on, Manchester, 2020s.
Have a great weekend, everybody. Maybe invest in some warm socks.
See you on the flip side.
A London to Manchester train was delayed because a cat was a hitching a ride on the roof and refused to come down.
For two and a half hours. Welcome to lockdown.
It was one of those historic moments.
I sat watching it live-the landing of the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. Any of a number of things could have gone wrong, you couldn’t take anything for granted.
And I didn’t. As I waited I thought of our evolutionary journey and how we were landing upon an island we should never have been able to reach, navigating a vast ocean which we should never have been able to cross.
And I witnessed it all on my iPad with a brew:
We’re going in.
After a few moments of palpable tension, confirmation was given that the mission had been a success and Perseverance was on the red planet. In the control room there were cheers and fist pumps and congratulatory relief.
Then the first eagerly awaited images reached us, after travelling 205.62 million km, due solely to decades of man’s ingenuity.
Jen: “It looks like my cheesecake.”
It’s New Year’s Day today on Mars. I bet their pubs weren’t closed last night.
Russian villagers in 1928, listening to the radio for the very first time.
And not one of them is dancing.