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WARD'S WORLD: A year that's turned our lives upside down

As this year slowly draws to a close, for many it will be a blessing in many respects or to others a case of did that really happen as they look back on it.

It was a year of havoc in many respects with most people’s lives turned upside down due to the totally unexpected pandemic and the glaring fact, however you view it, we were totally unprepared for it.

My theory on the subject, for what it’s worth, is we have gone through what possibly our parents went through during WW2 by way of the uncertainty of what was going on but now shared out on a national, if not a global, level.

Dominic Cummings went a long way for an eye test! (43585761)
Dominic Cummings went a long way for an eye test! (43585761)

The one redeeming thing about WW2 was at least you – or they – knew who the actual enemy was, although we on this occasion were – or are – knee deep in assorted ‘experts’ of differing mindsets if nothing else to contend with.

One aspect that I gather some were grateful for was due to the pandemic there was no Eurovision Song Contest this year to work one’s self up into a tizzy over as to be honest when was the last time you heard folk say: “Get a move on! – It’s the Euro Wot Not contest on the telly so let’s get home quick to see it!”

However, it could be me not moving in the ‘right’ intellectual circles but it does show that nowadays we can come last or near the end when it’s down to a ‘voting’ process as we are now skilled at such things – in possibly Tier 3 at a guess

This pandemic also showed imaginative thinking and initiative with one enterprising soul when he found out he could not get an appointment for an eye test locally to him during the phase called: ‘Lockdown: One’ that he did take it upon himself to drive north of the country – this one – to test his eyes.

This is quite a normal reaction I understand now but as I outlined earlier, not moving in the ‘right’ circles, one does tend to lose out.

So based on this when you go for your eye test don’t be surprised to find in place of the usual eye test chart on the wall, with letters and numbers, it’s now been replaced with the Ordnance Survey map of the north of England.

Although it’s marked with outstanding points of interest – assuming you can see them as you might need glasses.

On the bright side there will be many bus companies organising coach trips in the New Year taking people on pilgrimages ‘tup north’ in order to have mass eye tests done in bulk, plus a cream tea after the toilet stop just outside Huddersfield.

Next in the frame will be that this year 2020 (not as in twenty-twenty vision as we have just covered that) will go down in history as the year of the great bog roll (toilet roll) shortage due to supposed rumours that led to panic buying.

So in our noble history it will show: 1066 – the Battle of Hastings with at the other end of the spectrum: 2020 – The Great (rumoured) Bog Roll Shortage.

This is subject to change depending on alterations being suggested by certain sectors who feel our history is suddenly not good enough for them, so it may be airbrushed out as deemed not fit to their mindset until the next craze kicks in.

This ‘Pick n Mix’ idea might be alright when buying sweets etc but its not the same when trying it with history as that is what it is – history, like it or not.

We are not science fiction ‘time travellers’ so we can’t go back to change it regardless of public displays of symbolic hand wringing.

2020 was also the year that my relative Cyril Desmond Ward celebrated his 123rd birthday that would have made him this country’s oldest male but sadly he snuffed it three weeks after his 80th birthday.

If he had lived to now, what a cake it would have been – the sheer amount of candles on it would have been amazing once the risk assessment forms had been filled in plus possibly seen from outer space.

Due to the pandemic, a ritual of standing outside on a chosen weekly night, at a chosen time to clap to show one’s appreciation of those working on the front line of the NHS was unique in it bringing many people together to perform this act.

However, this was perhaps bound to be slightly fraught as many posed the question of how do you define a ‘front line’ working person as there are quite a lot of such people who fit this description but who are not NHS staff.

As without their input, who have not been clapped for, we as a country may well have ground to a halt although at times if felt as if we had.

Then came ‘Lockdown: Two’ after ‘Lockdown: One’ did not quite work as expected, presumably, although it’s a job to say for sure as assorted statements seem to change almost hourly and so seem or appear to be contradictory at best.

True, it’s done wonders for the mask making and hand sanitizer industry although so far in ‘Lockdown: Two’ there seems to be less emphasis on the rubber glove wearing as its rare to see anybody out and about (where it’s deemed legal to do so) when before ‘Mr and Mrs Public’ were wearing them like a second skin almost.

Then there was the ‘card only’ malarkey that crept in when buying – or trying to – as cash become ‘public enemy number one’ as retail outlets used this bizarre standard.

Crossed the border into Hunstanton in October to find many shops with ‘cash only’ sign in their windows – was the tide changing or just out?

Chatting to somebody recently who works for a national retail company, who adopted the ‘card only’ payment strategy, it seems ‘those above’ had realised that by doing this had cost them thousands/millions in lost sales as not everyone has a card or wants one anyway.

I must admit I have been in shops where a booming voice has bellowed: “It’s card only payment!” as people then put items back on the shelf and left.

Somebody I know has the following outlook: “Every day I hear or I am told things that I accept – up to a point as common sense seems to be the casualty mostly – but then a short while later I learn its quite different to what I have been told.”

I feel sure he will be booking a seat on a coach going ‘tup north’ once details are announced, with or without the cream tea bunged in, although the toilet stops are a definite must.

More basic things are still evident: recycling is still going on in assorted forms though it’s not just confined to plastic and other material things.

Even the likes of the almighty BBC and ITV with their assorted channels are at it judging by the Christmas telly guides I have seen so far as it looks like stuff, sorry programmes, being recycled from past years – or weeks in some cases – to pad it all out.

So if nothing else, stay safe and await instructions until further notice.

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