There’s something about Christmas that always makes me feel more emotional.
Sad things that happen this time of year have extra poignancy. I’ll never forget how I felt about the Lockerbie disaster in 1988. The plane carrying, amongst its 259 passengers, a local couple on what seemed then a very exotic weekend in New York, came down on December 21st.
I can still bring the image, from more than half a lifetime ago, of the stricken plane’s cockpit to mind right now. Bizarrely Lockerbie ia back in the news again as they’ve brought new charges against another of the alleged bombers.
Part Christmas, part Covid, yesterday’s trawl through the papers brought me to the edge of tears on more than one occasion.
First I read of the lorry drivers stuck at Dover living without basics such as toilet facilities. How callous and over-the-top of the French to close the border without notice. Some say it’s partly to do with Brexit. How pathetic. No driving home for Christmas for them
There were many similar stories of people not seeing loved ones at Christmas including examples in Allison Pearson’s column in today’s Daily Telegraph:
“A Telegraph reader who was supposed to be driving yesterday to pick up the 83-year-old father she hadn’t seen since March (and had cancelled his carers so he was utterly alone) cried. A friend whose mother has just weeks left to live (seven miles apart, but one now in Tier 2, the other in Tier 4), whose girls would have had one last Christmas with their beloved nana, cried. Parents who had been self-isolating so they could hug their disabled son in a residential home cried. People who have lived alone these many months cried. Those of us who suspect we’ve gone a bit mad cried “
So many tears in the tiers.
Then you start to wonder whether it’s all necessary after all. It is singularly depressing to think that after everything we have been through, all the lockdowns, the tiers, the wrecked careers, the missed cancer diagnoses and the separation from our families, we are in a worse position than before. Millions of people are now subject to restrictions on their movements that look set to last for months.
There’s a sense that a group of medical advisers and statistical modellers were determined to force the Government to call off Christmas and over-interpreted this mutant virus in order to push the Prime Minister into a corner is hard to shake off.
Two health journals even issued a joint editorial last week denouncing the Government’s approach as “reckless”. Eventually, they got their way. The big question is why?
The answer, as it has been from the outset, is concern over the capacity of the NHS to cope. The first lockdown was instigated to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed and it succeeded in doing so.
Even though there were many more cases and admissions in the spring, and more deaths, the line held. Nightingale hospitals, erected almost overnight amid great fanfare, lay empty. Private hospital wards commandeered by the NHS for use were only half full.
Yet here we are, once again trashing large swathes of the economy because ministers fear their worst nightmare – patients being treated in corridors or left to die in car parks because there are no beds.
Talking of the NHS, I tried to book my annual blood test yesterday – there was no availability. I rang up to find out if there was anything I could do only to be told that the team who could sort it were about to go home at 4pm. It used to be open until 8pm pre-pandemic.
On a more positive note my day started happily enough for me with some not quite so random acts of kindness leaving gifts for the key workers who had really kept going all year round – the binmen, postman and paper girl. That made me feel good.
Soon be time for present wrapping, then last minute deliveries to elderly relatives and before you know it Santa will be on his way. That’s unless the scientists have cancelled him!