There is a scene in the film White Mischief where a permanently-sozzled character Alice de Janze played by Sarah Miles, makes her way to the window on a grand morning and looks out across the African plains, takes in the endless heat and staring at what lies before her, groans and says something along the lines of “Oh God, not another bloody beautiful day.”
And that’s a lot of how we all feel now. Surrounded by weather we would have died for in winter and spring; now having weather what we could potentially die in if we venture out.
I watched a cloud the other evening. Spotted it as it crept over the blue sky and hovered menacingly on the horizon, just out of eyeshot, as if it was one of those aircraft circling an airport awaiting permission to land. It grew darker and darker, one of those clouds you knew just contained buckets of rain. To bring solace to the dry ground, to add moisture to those crisping leaves. And I willed it to do its worst, to hang overhead and lash down, to soak me witih its shower, to do anything to add to the monotony of the endless dry days.
Days which when they happen are normally accompanied by the noise of activity, of sport, of life, of community, of unrestrained engagement with one another.
Now every day reminds me of those endless summer sundays of childhood, when once a round of long Mass, roast meat with marrowfat peas, and a dessert of ice cream and jelly would act as precursor to the summer sounds of Micheal O’Hehir and the drama from some football ground around the country. Now, with the vast amount of choice we have, those summer Sundays of yore seem like borefests from some sort of teenage purgatory, but there was a pureness about them that we thought would never be replicated.
But now they have. Back then when there were few cafes and pubs open on Sundays, there was little to do but see it through until Glenroe ended and the delights of Monday morning came around. Nobody could ever have predicted that life could be brought to such a standstill again. But it has. And we have no choice but to see it through. To fill our days with tasks and regularity that get us through each one; and to fill our mind with short term goals to bring us from week to week.
It certainly would help if the weather was not as enticing outside, as the temperatures test the endurance of even the strongest spirits, but then the fine conditions bring their own health and activity benefits.
Never has a bank holiday been greeted with such an absence of anticipation. As if the weekends weren’t long and uneventful enough, they have to go and add a bit to it. And there is another in a few weeks. All calendar reminders akin to a trip to the shop without the ability to buy anything.
Nobody knows exactly what will be announced tomorrow afternoon, but it seems that any change will be minimal. Rather than having a new deadline set every few weeks, why not show us a roadway back to semi-normality. To set certain targets and to see if these relaxations will result in a sufficient amount of responsible behaviour to allow other restrictions to be lifted.
We have all been fantastic in the way that we have approached this. Let your mind’s unrest be tempered somewhat by the knowledge that it is a common feeling and that staying in right now is perhaps the greatest civic gift we will give our community in our lifetime.
Life as we know it now will end in a short while, and we will once again soak ourselves in the juice of the long-missed fruit. Let us now put the good work we have done to waste by risking it all now. Be sensible and responsible everyone. And I’ll see you next week, seven days nearer the end of this all.