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WARD'S WORLD: Essential whatever

I think I must be a bit slow in coming to terms with the meaning or the definition of the word ‘essential’ it seems

My dictionary must be way out of date as it defines the word as being ‘fundamental – absolutely necessary - extremely important’ etc, etc.

I mention this in passing as I would like to get my hair cut as I know it’s getting quite long as I have worn out two combs, one each side, trying to keep it in fine fettle.

John Ward's violin lunchbox. (44333196)
John Ward's violin lunchbox. (44333196)

Years ago you knew if it was getting too long as people would wander up and try to use it to dry their hands on in public toilets after washing their hands.

Although in most cases they apologised for their mistake. You then aimed them in the direction of the roller towel machine on the adjacent wall or recommended an optician.

During this ongoing current dollop of lockdown there are assorted shops and outlets deemed to be selling or providing essential products and services but hairdressers are excluded, among others, from this classification.

If my own predicament is anything to go by, the country will soon be inhabited by some mutant strain of post hippie era looking people as they take on the appearance of a shag pile carpet or a hearth rug wandering around.

Oddly this does not seem to affect some folk I note so I assume they must use some form of hair growth retardant serum or elixir.

Sadly my request for such a product in assorted chemists, who are still able to ply their trade, has met with negative response so far.

In my short but essential trips into the great outdoors, I do keep a violin case with me in the car that I can carry about my person as needed.

It’s basically to carry on with the stereotype image of a musician carrying their instrument as it seems to be the traditional look of long hair that goes with such a representation.

There are two reasons for this: there is no way I am dragging the double bass around, plus this violin case has a natty little handle to carry it with unlike the double bass. The last time it was used was when I used to carry my packed lunch plus flask of drink as it all fitted in quite nicely.

Another aspect of the lockdown/essential malarkey I had not thought about was shoe shops until I overheard two ladies discussing this point recently.

While queuing in a store, the discussion was about shoes or to be precise children’s shoes as shoe shops in general are classed in the ‘non-essential’ category as one mum was pointing out her ‘little wotshername’ wanted a new pair of shoes as she had outgrown them.

Her friend suggested buying ‘online’ but the cons were explained: assorted makers had differing shoe sizes, then being a child there were ‘certain’ styles that they would no way ‘be seen dead in’.

However, going into a real shoe shop, you can try them on to see if they fit there and then, not waiting for the postman to arrive to find out the hard way, plus all this takes time.

So buying online would mean ordering half a dozen pairs in order to get the ‘right’ pair, so consider the returns afterwards if they are not compatible.

The supermarket alternative being that some of the bigger branches have clothing and shoe sections but that was a on-no as it would mean travelling out of their designated area plus risk being possibly arrested or fined.

I must admit the assorted threats of what might or could happen are seemingly endless and that’s for just disobeying the ‘rules’ although as is pointed out very frequently in the media, these rules don’t apply to everybody – none of the ‘we are all in this together’ silliness.

There are assorted categories where you are exempt which includes supposed ‘important people’, assorted ‘pop/media stars’, supposed ‘celebs’ enjoying their allocation of five minutes of fame, then that’s okay They then pay a fine which probably works out cheaper than employing a publicist to do basically the same job with the same desired result – to get publicity.

I grew up in an era where on a Friday or Saturday evening we would wander off to the local cinema to possibly see one of the latest horror films. These usually had Christopher Lee with clip-in fangs doing his Dracula routine or Peter Cushing doing his Frankenstein set to half frighten us to death.

However, things have moved on nowadays as we get the same effect every day, not just weekends, by looking at the news programmes on television to frighten us to death. Chris Lee and Pete Cushing have now been replaced with ‘experts’ in about the same roles but all this does save on scenery as no high rise castles or dank, dark crypts are required, just a pedestal or two does the trick with assorted mottos or slogans tacked on. So not much change there then.

Welcome to television news reporting or if the ’bogeyman’ doesn’t frighten you to death or carry you off, what passes for ‘news’ might well do the job instead.

Can anybody remember when the telly evening news started off with the presenter smiling – now come on, can you? The news now goes from the current death rates to interviews with those who have lost their nearest and dearest.

Local telly news is not left out as we hear: “Coming up – we will be hearing from somebody who has a cousin, who has a friend and who thinks he may have tested positive – so join us later...”

Balance this against the old Pathe cinema newsreels of WW2 where everything was mostly upbeat in order to help boost the public’s morale.

The wide speculation veers from the worst case to another as people’s interpretations go from doom to gloom back to doom again. Every time I see or hear the latest batch of can do’s or can’t do’s, my mind wanders to the late Windsor Davies who played the role of Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the TV sit-com ‘It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum’ and his possible response in his own formidable way of speaking.

“Right then, lovely boys and girls – we is not having speculation during this pandemic!”

Although in perspective, all things considered it could well be a case of ‘It Ain’t Half Rot, Chum’ in our case.

Carry on, don’t be happy.

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