On 31st August I took a step closer to normality — I carried out my first book signing in over five months at my local beach cafe — naturally following all guidelines in respect of Coronavirus. It was a beautiful sunny day and the beach with its surrounding walk ways were filled with folk of all ages enjoying themselves. An overriding sense of joy was mirrored by all I encountered — a collective consciousness delighting in the freedom to enjoy the great outdoors without the encumbrance of masks.
During the winter of 1957/58, a serious strain of Asian Flu swept through the United Kingdom. By early 1958 it was estimated that ‘not less than 9 million people in UK had Asian Flu during the 1957 epidemic'. Of these, more than 5.5million were attended by their doctors. About 14,000 people died of the immediate affects of their attack. I was ten years old at the time but I distinctly remember there was no such thing as ‘Lockdown’. Grownups carried on working, kids went to school and hospitals coped — although it has to be said, matrons were in charge back then and in spite of everything having to be written down (no computers in those days) the wards were kept scrupulously clean and orderly functioning was maintained.
There is a saying, 'The greatest thing to fear, is fear itself and I suspect many people in authoritative positions have used this pandemic for their own ends. And many people that I engage with tend to agree. In just five short months the economy has been wrecked, thousands of businesses have folded, teachers are wary of going back to their classrooms, the media are over- obsessed in the daily reporting of deaths and testing and the very old and vulnerable are afraid to step out into the revitalising air. Where and when will it all end? Hopefully by next month in my neck of the woods, I'm booked to give a talk on, The Joy Of Writing, at a local W.I. meeting, and it will be absolutely wonderful to speak to an audience of unmasked, smiling faces.
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