It’s not quite as bitingly cold this morning as it has been, hardly what you would call springlike but at least it no longer feels like the bleak midwinter. Maybe something is going right.
As for the rest of current events, the madness seems to be continuing.
Northern Ireland is having major problems. Six nights of rioting now and nowhere near as much reporting of it in the media as you might expect. Why is this?
Because it’s Northern Ireland and not Bristol or Cardiff?
Because some people agree with Dominic Cummings, who is said to have commented back when he was an advisor to the PM, “I don’t care if Northern Ireland falls into the f*****g sea”?
Because there is an unspoken agreement not to draw attention to the fact that Johnson promised there would never be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland?
Because he has broken that promise?
Because it’s the fault of Brexit?
Whatever the reason, it must be very frightening to be living through it. They’ve had twenty quiet years but in history twenty years is nothing.
Meanwhile, there’s still a lot of hoo-ha going on about the vaccine as well. Should we or should we not be worried about it? Should we or should we not continue to use it? Who should we use which vaccine on? And then, still, how are people going to prove they have been vaccinated?
The education debate has taken a new twist. Not only do we have the problem of catching up, and teachers’ unions declaring themselves against a longer school day and shorter holidays, but now Gavin Williamson has weighed in about children’s behaviour:-
“The top Tory claimed that learning from home during the pandemic had “inevitably” affected the behaviour of many children in a negative way.
The Department for Education today announced details of its £10 million “behaviour hub” programme which it says will be up and running in time for the summer term.
But a leading children’s charity suggested there was no evidence that pupils’ behaviour had declined – and urged the Government to prioritise their wellbeing instead.”
Our daughter, a primary school teacher, tells us that her class has needed reminders about how to present work neatly and in some cases how to hold a pen or pencil correctly to achieve that neatness, but behaviour hasn’t been a problem. Most of her little charges are so pleased to be back with their friends that they are just getting on with school without problems. Of course, it might just be that she is a super-teacher and simply has them under control.
I was about to say that I suppose Gavin Williamson is influenced by his own experience of sitting in rigid rows in classrooms, but in fact he’s only a couple of years older than our son. So his experience is more likely to have been working in groups round tables. Perhaps he didn’t enjoy that. Discipline is all!
That’s enough solemnity for one day. I came across an entertaining article about Britain’s “eccentric villages”. Here’s a sample:-
“Bisley is a picturesque village in Gloucestershire. Legend goes that in 1542, Elizabeth I died there while visiting as a child. Her guardians, fearing for their lives, replaced her with a local boy – the Bisley Boy. This is thought to explain why the queen never married. It is said that an unmarked grave of a child was discovered years later in the grounds of the house where Elizabeth stayed. Rumours still abound that her ghost stalks the village. Bisley also has a peculiar pagan celebration for Ascension Day, which usually falls in May. To this day, children in 18th-century school uniforms march through the village to the sound of a brass band and decorate the wells with flowers.”
That’s an odd little tale about Elizabeth I. Brass bands are not considered an eccentricity in our bit of Britain but 18th century school uniforms are a little over the top. As regards decorating wells with flowers, well-dressing is a custom that has been revived around here in recent years. It even took place last year despite the pandemic. The brass bands, however, have had to remain quiet but I am sure someone will find a way that they can play again... with a bit of social distancing.
Here’s a link to the eccentric villages article for anyone who wants more.
Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!