Day 30 – In Defense of Stillness and Not Clapping

One of the myriad reasons I had a down day on Wednesday, was because I missed my yoga session. I was tired after a late night. And my laptop had zero battery when I turned it on. So I returned to bed for another hour. The weekly write-club I’ve done for two weeks was ace – but I was too timid and overwhelmed with ‘imposter syndrome’ rearing it’s ugly head to read my piece out. I was quite cross with myself! Those two events struck the tone for my day. Feeling weary and downhearted just continued unabated.

The piece I wanted to read out but couldn’t didn’t, was in relation to a poem about a pigeon (I Find Myself Defending Pigeons), along the vein of “What do you find yourself defending?” It could be a thing. An animal. A system. Whatever you find yourself defending. Mine was stillness. Here it is. I think it’s worth sharing, if only to possibly spark something inside you:

I find myself defending stillness. Especially now. when so many people around the globe have been forced to stay still. To stop rushing. To spend time at home. In their location. No longer rushing here and there as if they’re heading to a life-saving emergency.

I defend the right to want to be with myself. To watch nature. To listen to the birds calling to each other. To see the leaves sprouting on the hedgerows. To feel a sense of peace as the moon changes her shape and size and brightness.

To not have to go on buses and trains and planes. But walk again, mindfully. To notice the colours and smells and sounds. Not of traffic or people. But of Mother Nature breathing again.

Have they learnt anything? Maybe, just maybe, if the time when the world changed continues long enough, others will see the need to defend stillness too. And we won’t ever return to the times past when the skies were covered in vapour trails. When people had no time to stop and stare as long as sheep or cows beneath the boughs.Stillness. Listen. Feel. Love. Watch. Just BE. A human being. Not a human doing. How many will heed the call for stillness? Or is it just me? Am I alone in wanting, yearning, pleading the world to defend stillness? I hope not. Time, as they say, will tell

Be still. Let go. Just BE …

Talking of stillness, Barry took some photos cruising near to Tattenhall in early January, of a sky-full of plane trails. This area is one of the main flight paths from Europe and the UK to the USA, as well as flights from Ireland. It’s been amazing to watch as the sky becomes the sky, rather than a plane motorway causing a never-ending-lace-pattern of cloud trails.

However there are still a surprising number of aircraft flying above us. Barry checks on his flight tracking App, and most of them are freight planes. A number though are ‘private’ ones …

It’s definitely lessened significantly. The shots above were taken this week (though not from the same location as Barry’s). My view is that’s not a bad thing at all. Time will tell what the sky will look like in these parts in a few months, or maybe years. I shall continue to defend stillness whatever happens.

Defending the NHS by NOT Clapping

Controversial I admit. But today I also find myself writing about defending the NHS, and the people who work there. From the diabolically paid to the outrageously paid. For continuing to give of themselves despite the years of neglect that have led to the dire situation the UK is now in. It doesn’t ‘find itself in …” this precarious predicament. It’s been intentionally neglected for many years.

Have you been clapping for the NHS on a Thursday evening at 8pm?

The more observant of you reading in the UK, may have noticed a distinct lack of mention of this on any Thursday since I began the weekly coronavirus lockdown blog. I haven’t wanted to go there, to be honest. I’ve been appalled. Literally. At how easily (I feel) the British public have been conned into doing this. By the biggest conners of all. That’s how I see it anyway, having previously worked in the NHS for over 20 years. I applaud all the keyworkers and would love to see them suitably rewarded. Just not in this way.

Today I read a blog by a frontline worker. Called ‘Thanks but I don’t want your clapping.

Where and how did this phenomenon begin? Don’t get me wrong. I can understand how it could bring comfort to people who are feeling helpless. As if they’re supporting the keyworkers to survive through this devastating time. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like. Please, read Jennifer’s post. She’s not alone. There are posts all over social media from health professionals.

I see in my mind’s eye, a few weeks ago, a room of COBRA cons; all jabbering away frantically, wondering wtf they’re going to do. Suddenly they can see how much everyone, including themselves, will need the NHS. Their families may need it. Their friends. Those ‘foreigners’ they said didn’t earn enough to be of any value that had returned to their countries of origin as they weren’t wanted here thank-you-very-much. I imagine these cons had so many scary thoughts about the appalling policies they’ve enacted. Then some bright spark speaks up and suggests a way of smoke-screening their incompetence (they seem to be remarkably good at smoke-screens IMHO). “How about we suggest to the public, vie dubious and devious means, to ‘clap for the NHS? It’ll make them feel brighter, and deflect the criticism from us.” A tiny voice says. “They’d never go for that.” Would they?

It’s not that I doubt people’s good intentions. I sincerely believe that those who were clapping genuinely wanted to show their gratitude. It’s just that for me, it’s tainted.  What we need, and have needed for years now in the NHS, is more resources. We have been feeling the blunt edge of staff shortages long before there was a global pandemic. We have seen patients stuck in hospitals for weeks on end as there is not enough social care provision for their discharge. Nurses and allied health professionals work long unsociable hours on very poor wages. We have constant gaps on medical rotas. On our wards, we don’t even have tea bags for staff to use. Treatments are delayed, chemotherapy is postponed, operations are cancelled—all due to a chronic lack of funding, support, staff, and government dedication.”

Jennifer Darlow: Thanks for the support, but I don’t want your clapping: British Medical Journal 16th April 2020

Values That Put People First

As Jennifer goes on to outline, in 2017, a Conservative government also cheered, but this time when parliament managed to block a vote to give nurses a pay rise. Interesting aye? Especially when MPs here have awarded themselves a 10% pay RISE recently. On the other side of the world, MPs have taken pay CUTS. Because there the government and Prime Minister talk to their residents like adults, and they’ve dealt with this crisis like adults – intelligently, compassionately, and boldly. Oh! And they already had values that put people and the health service above making money way before the big ‘C’, and a pandemic plan with PPE ready.

Consider how dreadful our statistics are – compare them to Germany, the country of origin of Barry’s paternal line. Have a read of this Financial Times article “Germany’s virus response shines unforgiving light on Britain” They state Germany’s death rate is 1.3%. Britain’s 8.7%. Hmmm …

So no. I won’t be clapping on a Thursday night at 8pm, and I wouldn’t be even if I lived in a cul-de-sac full of folks banging and clapping their hearts out.

On a brighter note …

I did a spot of baking this morning and had a long walk to Morrison’s in Nantwich this afternoon (oh my goodness, I’m not sure my legs will work tomorrow!). My French Bread wasn’t too tardy I thought for a first attempt. I just forgot to score the top before baking!

The tulips in Nantwich are spectacular, and the vibrant spring green stunning.

New Life and No Symptoms

It’s so heartening to see ducklings appearing – though we suspect this is the family of a dozen a few days ago, and now there’s only ten. No cygnet sightings yet …

Thankfully once more, no symptoms reported on board NB Areandare to the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker. 2,465,190 today. I reckon it’ll be over 2.5 million tomorrow …

What do you find yourself defending?

12 thoughts on “Day 30 – In Defense of Stillness and Not Clapping

  1. It was Annemarie Plas, from Brixton who first posted on Facebook the idea of a round of applause, having seen what was being done in The Netherlands.
    I have no faith in the Tories to do anything good and shouldn’t really have given that impression with my comment.
    I’m also not sure how dancing or singing would help show my support for nurses and doctors any more than clapping, so I’ll carry on doing that. And I have tried to download the system checker app but because I’ve never updated the operating system of my phone or iPad it won’t work!

    • Hi Jim. It does look like a worldwide movement. My comment was about finding other ways to meet up with neighbours not to show support for anyone other than your community for half an hour a week or whatever. As you suggested it was a way of seeing them?
      Oh no! Is it not possible to update your IOS now? Alternatively do you have a relative or friend who you’re regularly in touch with who could report on your behalf? This really will be what will help the NHS more than anything else. I’m crossing my fingers …

  2. Pingback: Day 31 - Time For The UK To Be United ~ Barry & Sandra's Adventures On and Off NBAreandAre

  3. When we were in Nantwich on the boat, the spring tubs and flower displays in around the town were always amazing. Jo ex n/b Sarah Kate

    • They’re such a delight, the hyacinths when I returned from Barbados smelled divine. I love that they take such a pride in their town. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment 🙂

  4. Well done, our thoughts too, it needs saying.
    I just hope that when all this is over those out clapping will remember the NHS/care home/essential workers when they ask for better & wages conditions etc.
    Or will it be a case of ‘selfish, greedy trade unions holding the country to ransom?’
    We demonstrated our support for the NHS by the way we voted last year.

    • Hi red dwarf (must look you up and see if you have a name/names!). Thank you. I’ve been resisting tbh. I know it’s controversial and folks are finding it fulfilling. But goodness. Wake up and smell the roses! We can hope aye? Think we’ve gone past the point of no return though personally. After reading how members of his own party sabotaged him in 2017 I’ve left Labour. It sickens me. JC was like Jacinda. We finally had a chance here. But the misinformation and lies they spread left him with little chance.
      I think I’d have to go green next time, I’m no ‘centric’.
      Ah well. We’ll just keep living happily in our bubble.
      Take care and stay in touch 😉

  5. My right to be grumpy … when I get email newsletters about ‘how to make the most of this time by’ … fill in the blanks, but they’re mostly exhortations to fill the stillness and silence with noise, any noise.
    I know that most of ’em have good intentions (and interestingly there’s less of them as time goes by) so I do restrain myself from responding with what I really want to say. 🙂

  6. Sandra, You write as if the Thursday night clapping was a deliberate ruse by government to deflect us from its short and long term failure to support the NHS. It was actually a spontaneous movement started by one individual.
    To me, as a participant, it means two things: an opportunity to say thank you to individual staff members in the NHS most of whom do appreciate it and also a means to join in a communal activity with neighbours who we used to bump into all the time, but now see only on a Thursday night.
    I know that clapping is no substitute for political action, but there is no opportunity for that at the moment and won’t be for some time. Clapping us at least something we can do now and it might just make the Tories realise how much the NHS is valued by the people if not by them.

    • Hi Jim. That’s just the way it looks from my perspective; do you know the ‘individual’ who started it? Maybe your community could organise something else to get together – if you can come out to ‘clap’ maybe you could have a communal tea party each Saturday and dance in your gardens to celebrate life and love? I’d love to share your hope that the cons will actually do something to show value to the NHS in future. Their past performance hasn’t given me any hope whatsoever.

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