On the passing of time

A few weeks back, one of the gizmos in my home’s heating system started to play up. It seemed like only recently that we’d replaced this particular widget, but a quick look at my ‘gas, water and electricity’ file (don’t judge me) confirmed that we’d in fact fitted a new one over six years ago. And we’d installed the previous one roughly six years before that. While the problem with the heating was, thankfully, easily fixed, it did get me thinking about the way we observe the passing of time.

Continue reading

Adapting to change

We’re in a weird time at the moment, where COVID cases are rising fast but, here in England, we’ve not (yet) introduced any of the additional control measures seen in other countries. The latter half of this sentence is music to the ears of some, who claim that we should learn to live with the virus and just get on with our lives. But this is to miss a crucial point. When change comes along, we need to adapt to survive.

Continue reading

What we’ve learned from 2020

Even without the global pandemic, 2020 has been a tumultuous year. In the UK, we’ve stumbled our way out of the European Union. The worldwide Black Lives Matter movement has challenged the way we think about race and about our own colonial history. And we’ve become ever more aware of (although, sadly, not necessarily more inclined to do anything about) the damage that we’re inflicting on the world around us.

So as the year comes to a close, it seems timely to reflect on what we’ve learned from the last twelve months. It’s tempting, of course, to simply put our heads down and get the hell out of 2020 as quickly as possible. But it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to draw back the curtains tomorrow on a new world of pandemic-free sunlit uplands. And so we need to learn what we can, in the hope that it will help us better to deal with the year ahead.

Continue reading

My golden rule

This is my first global pandemic, so I’ll have to confess that I’m not entirely au fait with the etiquette for dealing with everything that’s going on.

What the Government says we can and cannot do seems to change pretty much every day. And it would be very easy to get oneself quite worked up about whether what people are buying in the supermarket is truly essential. Or whether those people sitting together in the park are really from one, two or however many households it’s supposed to be.

And so I’ve developed my golden rule for pandemic living: Don’t judge.

Continue reading

It’s a school, Jim, but not as we know it

We’ve learned over the past few months that schools are about much more than learning. The social interactions that they provide and the relationships that they nurture are essential to our children’s social development and to their mental health and wellbeing. And yes, they teach stuff, too. They also allow many parents to go to work. Or to get work done from home.

Consequently, it’s hugely important that we try to find a way to re-open our schools in September to all young people. Especially given that we seem to have found ways to open pubs. But only if – and, to be honest, it’s a massive if – we can do so safely.

Continue reading