A big day today – it’s World Book Day, St George’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday and Ramadan starts. I wonder how much these days mean to people. Obviously, none of these celebrations can take place in the usual way. For World Book Day, the custom of giving out free books will happen later and readers are recommended to read for an hour today before the 8 pm clapping. The good news is that people are reading more during lockdown, great for language and vocabulary development and also affording some escape. I’m always interested to hear what people are reading.
St George’s Day won’t see Morris dancers or big pub gatherings and flag waving. The Hits Locker on Twitter recommended listening to Dylan’s Desolation Row on Shakespeare’s birthday – have to confess I hadn’t heard of it (1965) but enjoyed it.
As for Ramadan, there are concerns about older Muslims still trying to get out to the mosque and about their fasting all day when this could endanger their health at a time treatment is harder to get.
More sobering news is that the virus death count is now 18,738, although it’s said the ‘curve is flattening’. Now it’s clearer, despite ongoing talk of ‘going back to normal’, that the virus and measures to counteract it will continue for quite some time yet. And we won’t be returning to how things were: instead society will evolve to take account of losses, necessary changes. These changes will be far-reaching, eg societal, financial, global, environmental and so on. Physical distancing will have to continue so this threatens to severely undermine if not kill off the no-frills airlines, restaurants, bars, cinemas, sports and arts venues which we used so heavily before.
What are you doing/achieving/learning during lockdown? A question which seems to be gaining attention and this tweet attracted opprobrium earlier:
‘If you don’t come out of this quarantine with 1) a new skill, 2) your side hustle started 3) more knowledge — you never lacked time. You lacked discipline.’
It evidences the superiority and judgementalism in some quarters but raises interesting questions because lockdown does afford an opportunity to do things differently and many do have additional time (not all, obviously). But apart from an antipathy to the ‘side hustle’ phrase, which smacks of criminality to me, some are up to their ears with work, trying to keep households together, childcare and perhaps care for someone with dementia or learning difficulty. So some respondents said if they came through lockdown in one piece they’d done well enough and how their lives already demonstrated a great deal of discipline. Some have quite inspiring stories to tell, exercising for the first time, re-learning a language, getting into handicrafts and so on but there are different routes to personal growth.