We must stay positive and stick to the coronavirus restrictions for everyone’s sake - Christa Ackroyd

First the bad news... As if things couldn’t get any worse. Forget about toilet rolls, rice and washing up liquid as panic buying begins all over again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the latest situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: PA/House of Commons

Today I have some serious news to impart. Supplies of British gin could be threatened by a fungus which is attacking juniper trees. Nooooo! That’s all we need.

I can cope with being back in Calderdale special restrictions, just. Although for some reason the six weeks of them being temporarily lifted makes the reintroduction of no household ‘mingling’ on Tuesday seem all the more difficult. I can even cope with the threat of more stringent measures if the latest stringent measures (like the last stringent measures) are ignored by too many as the ‘experts’ warn of lockdown number two.

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But I can only cope if I know that when all gets too much I can plonk myself in front of the TV with a large gin and tonic and, as it says in the song you are probably too young to remember, “Make the World Go Away”.

I jest, of course. I am not suggesting for one moment we all turn to drink. And I am certainly not making light of the current situation. But I have promised myself that I will not subject you to another rant this week.

It is so tempting to say ‘I told you so’. How many times have I written about a total disregard by some for mask wearing? How many times have I bemoaned shops, businesses and customers for turning a blind eye to the rules on social distancing, especially when it comes to late night drinking?

I have bemoaned the supermarkets and other stores for deciding wiping trolleys for shoppers didn’t matter any more, and this week refused to get excited by one saying it was going to employ 1,000 store marshals to start what should never have been stopped in the first place.

I have even called for the army to be brought in. Apparently they will be, though to do what I have no idea. But above all I asked for more personal communication from our Prime Minister and this week we got it, at long last. And it wasn’t good news.

Here is the thing. It didn’t take a Sage committee scientist to predict what would happen as apathy swept among us, like the virus is in danger of doing all over again. The issue is who is listening to chop and change policies that should have been enforced from day one? Certainly not those who haven’t given a damn so far.

As for Sir Keir Starmer chipping in to tell us it’s all the Government’s fault because we have all been behaving like angels. Lots of people haven’t. We know they haven’t. And that is why we are where we are.

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I also expressed my fears that snitching on your neighbours would lead to petty fallouts and unfounded accusations being checked out by police officers who now have better things to do and, at last, the powers to do them.

This week I heard of an unfounded claim made against a lovely couple I know for having a house party with 30 guests. Only they didn’t. I tell you what they’ve been doing these past six months. They have made 8,000 meals for the homeless and for vulnerable families who are struggling.

So here is my suggestion. Anyone making false allegations should also be fined for wasting valuable police time.

So no more ranting. This week I have been planting spring bulbs. Two hundred of them outside. Beneath the cupboard under the stairs is every container I own stuffed full of hyacinths, just like my mother used to do.

I will hand them out at Christmas to those who have been so kind, and to family and friends that I might not be able to see until they bloom. It has kept me calm knowing by the time they flower we just might be somewhere out the other side.

By then we might have a vaccine, though the number of people now saying they won’t agree to having one is somewhat alarming. But that is up to them. I will be first in the queue, just as I was this week for my flu vaccine, only to be told by my GP they were still waiting for supplies for anyone under 65 – despite being sent a text saying I needed one. I tried to stay reasoned, but I have to admit the warning bells rang especially when the Government that very day confirmed there was enough for everyone over the age of 50.

But calmness is my new mantra. It wasn’t good for my health this week when I exploded at what was supposed to be a joke from a teenager, I won’t call him a man, who said he was now being grounded by Boris at 10pm in what were in his words “supposed to be among the best years of my life”.

Well, here is the thing, poor lamb. Every year is the best year of your life. Every day, every week, every month is the best whether you are nine or 90. Because we are still here clinging on. And every day needs celebrating.

Only 40,000 aren’t here to celebrate. Try telling their loved ones they didn’t have their best days ahead of them, or saying that to an older generation whose parents went to war for five years, when hundreds of thousands didn’t come back at the very same age as the boy who thought he was making a joke.

But do you know something, exploding with anger or ranting does not do one bit of good. It gave me a headache. And so I turned my attention to more important things. Was Matt Lucas any good in Bake Off? He was, actually.

And seven million of us tuned in for the escapism we all need right now. I bet the figures for Strictly this year will go through the roof, too. Just think by the time that glitter ball is raised we might be nearer the end of all this.

That’s all we can do. Stay positive. Accept our own social responsibility. And pour ourselves a large gin.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson