What did you do in the lockdown, Grandad?

Norman Monahan’s work on the Ticknall water supply articles was going fine until it emerged that there were some important facts that needed investigating on the ground. Our star contributor Norman was not sufficiently mobile to carry out the necessary work, so progress was stalled. Then came Sars-Cov-2 and that was that.

However, resourceful character that he is, Norman found plenty to engage his agile mind, and this week wrote to keep me updated:

Dear Bryan,

My dear old Flo died last February and had to be replaced by a Honda Jazz which I drove about five times and then came lockdown. Since then I have been out of the house three times (my covid jab is going to be done at home) and, as walking becomes more difficult, I have, reluctantly, decided that my driving days are over. Still, at 97, I suppose that I shouldn’t complain – but I will!

I have been whiling away the time with research, Facebook chats and Zoom meetings etc. – and writing verse when the ‘mood comes upon me’. Like these:-

I went out for a virtual walk,
(It’s better than by bike)
For you can have a virtual talk
With anyone you like.

It, also, means it never rains,
Nor snows, and there’s no sleet.
You sit in virtual sunshine
With everyone you meet.

You can do almost anything _
And really have a fling
The is no social distancing
So leap, or dance and sing

You never get virtually tired,
The virtual scenery’s the best, –
The views are those you’ve long admired –
You feel that you’ve been blessed;

But then you stop the virtual show,
Real life comes back again
The world around has lost its glow,
And fantasy its reign.

You realise that it’s in the mind,
There‘s no virtue in ‘virtual’
Although they’re intertwined.
You are not waxing lyrical,

You ask for nothing grand
It’s surely not a miracle
To wish to hold the hand
Of those you love and hold so dear;
Those nearest to your heart
When those you love are very near
And yet so far apart.

Let’s clap hands for the NHS’
Admonishes the daily press.

And, so we do at garden gate –
I’ve no need to elaborate.

But is this the best – and please don’t laugh
That we can do on their behalf?

Yes, Social distancing’s a bore.
Keeping space – six feet or more,

Especially when we want to, say,
Whisper the ‘chat’ we heard to-day.

We really have to come to terms
With all the risks of spreading germs –

The virus is an air-borne pest
And very easy to ingest.

The same applies to ‘stay at home’
So, curb that inbuilt urge to roam.

Don’t moan when asked to wear a mask -;
Is washing hands too much to ask?

Covid is not self-propelled,
So, if you want the virus quelled

And wish to help the NHS
These things, though simple, are the best.

It’s not in my remit to scold
But, PLEASE, for all of us, be told!

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Norman Monahan

Harpur-Crewe guru and one-time publisher, jazz fan Norman is, at 98, our oldest contributor.