Pandemic diary 42: Mayday May Day, where are you?

Quite liked this down-the-tunnel shot of Clem – quite James Bond meets Doctor Who meets lionhead bunny. Also spot the snail!

The May Bank Holiday Monday was today! Only it wasn't. Not only are the days merging so no one what day it is but someone somewhere has switched the day off to Friday 8 May instead – in order to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. (Apparently this was done once before in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary.)

I must have missed that memo amid my avoiding the news denial tactics I mentioned the other day. Not that I remembered that it was Bank Holiday Monday either since I worked most of it before I realised. Essentially I worked on a holiday that turned out not to be a holiday after all, but we're in lockdown anyway, so it's all fine. As you were. Non story.

Except – what is the VE Day celebration street party thing about? As a nation we're being encouraged to have 'stay at home' street parties, at a social distance, in our front garden. To put out the flags and bunting and cakes. To listen to Winston Churchill's speech. To sing We'll Meet Again after the Queen's address.

A neighbour asked me if we were going to do it. I said no. Not because defeating the Nazis in Europe wasn't something to celebrate 75 years ago. But now? During a global pandemic? I don't know. It doesn't feel right to be having a big street party right now. It feels like a distraction. Respectful to those who fought and died but also disrespectful to those dying now, nationalistic when we should be pulling together as humankind. It's not for me.

Distractions can be good, essential even. And maybe if I had kids in the house going crazy with the lockdown, I'd be more up for it.

But this week the Birmingham Food Bank has run empty and is desperate for donations. Almost a fifth of UK homes with children are going hungry right now because parents have lost income, the meal voucher scheme doesn't work well and food banks can’t cope [Guardian, 3/5/20]. And although we've apparently passed the peak of Covid-19, the UK still recorded 315 new deaths (hospital cases only) yesterday, and has the third-highest number of deaths behind the US and Italy. And this is probably just the first wave. We still don't have enough PPE for key workers or meaningful tests to help us come out of lockdown.

The government is encouraging us to wave a flag but it'll be interesting to see the uptake on Friday.

If I remember it's Friday. I might end up working by accident.


I'm thankful for today's food on the table – a lovely Monday veggie roast dinner.

And for (yet another) gift from my sister. A bottle of pinot noir for helping tidy up her garden last week. It does look lovely I have to say.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

4 thoughts on “Pandemic diary 42: Mayday May Day, where are you?”

  1. I am into minds about the VE day, too.

    I think it’s important, no, crucial, that we remember VE day in someway, for a myriad of reasons.

    However, there is only so much room in the human brain for such a conflict of emotions, i.e. the celebration of freedom and release we as a nation experienced on VE day, fighting against the entirely sobering thought of all those who have died from Covid-19, or yet to die.

    Still thinking about this.

  2. @chris I agree. At any other time I wouldn't be so divided (although post-Brexit nationalism could probably also give a different taint to it for me as a citizen of Europe who sees the European project as primarily a peace project).

    It >is< important to remember, of course. But it's also a bit strange to celebrate freedom right now as we don't have our freedom. And I really really wish the thing we would remember about the war is how not to get into it in the first place. There have been so many parallels re Brexit, Trump, isolationism, rise of the alt-right, etc, with the 1930s and the build up to war. But the focus is never on that. It's bunting and flag waving and nostalgia.

  3. How many of your snails have names? Not sure about VE celebration, it sort of reminds me of the battle of the Boyne celebration. When do we let things go?

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