It’s strange, looking back, that the posts I’ve written don’t necessarily reflect the week as I remember it. You could be forgiven, after reading the posts, for thinking that I’ve had a week of isolation, food shortages and queues. I suppose I have, but it hasn’t seemed like that.
Despite everything, it’s not been a bad week. Having stocked up on Sunday, I have not had to worry about running short of food.
Whilst waiting for the pharmacy queue to go down we had a ride round and checked out some other queues for reference. I don’t actually remember the queues that well, what I remember is the flowers.
We have a dazzling display of dandelions in the local verges and a few wood celandines, clinging on under trees by the roadside. They seem to be Lesser Celandines when I check them up on the internet, a flower mentioned in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have read the book many times but I’d never noticed that before. It is, I’m told, also known as pilewort as it can be used medically to treat haemorrhoids. The leaves are edible in spring and poisonous later in the year. This does not motivate me to sample its culinary uses.
The blossom is coming out too, and spring is well advanced. This is a double-edged sword – I like spring, but it seems to pass so quickly.
We now have a plan for work. I had a letter through the post this morning (I’d had it by email yesterday) detailing the way forward. I am now on official leave of absence and will be fully paid until further notice. At some point I may have to drop to 80% but even so, it’s a lot better than being jobless.
As a result I am still able to treat the lockdown as a bonus holiday, though I do feel a bit guilty about not going in to work.
The new edition of Medal News came out this week, with my article in it. As usual, I read it and thought “could do better”. I often do that with the blog when I look back on past posts, particularly when I see the typos I allow to slip through. Now that I have a few weeks of free time I must get down to planning some more articles. I’d like to think that it entertains and adds to the sum of human knowledge but really it’s just an ego trip.
It won’t make me rich or famous, but it’s nice to be able to tell people about it.
This is in contrast to the results of the National Poetry Competition. I don’t mind not winning, because it’s an unrealistic hope, but I do mind that the winning entry and several others are dreary, unpleasant things. They even have a content warning about them on the Poetry Society website.
To me, that’s wrong. If you honestly believe a poem is good and powerful, and worth the prize, you just print it. No apologies, no link to Samaritans, just print it.
If, on the other hand it’s simply miserable and fashionable, don’t print it. I suppose that makes me sound like a bit of a dinosaur, even a bit of a bitter dinosaur, and totally out of touch with modern poetry. Well, if that’s the case I won’t deny it.
And that is the real story of the week. Even a natural disaster can have a silver lining.