A very big thank you to all of you who tolled, chimed or rung for the sad occasion of the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and also for any tolling, chiming or ringing you might have done during the eight days of mourning following his death. The fact that, in many churches, only one bell could be used, is a sad reflection of the times. But, as always with us ringers, we made the best of what there was. The huge outpouring of affection for the Duke is obvious, looking on Bellboard etc.
Many of us of “riper years” will have had our second covid-19 vaccination., and, as the nurse at the Medical Centre said to my father-in-law and I, who had ours done at the same time, “after 3-4 weeks, you guys can go partying again”. Yeah, right. But at least things seem to be moving toward s gradual easing of the restrictions such that we can all ring normally again. This will, of course, bring some difficulties which we will need to face as and when this happens. At least, though, there’s a light at the end of the long, dark, unhappy tunnel we’ve all been travelling through for over a year.
So, hopefully, not long now. To perhaps put it poetically, the song “Keep right on to the end of the road” made famous many years ago by the late Harry Lauder (yes, that dates me all right!) goes like this:
“Keep right on to the end of the road, keep right on to the end,
Though the way be long, let your heart be strong,
Keep right on round the bend……..
Though you’re tired and weary, still journey on,
Till you come to your happy abode;
Where all you love, you’ll be dreaming of,
Will be there at the end of the road.”
Take care, and stay safe, folks.
Many of you, like myself, were involved on March 23 with the National Day of Reflection. It seems difficult to believe that it was a year ago that we had the very first lockdown.
Many of us will have had friends, relations, loved ones, who have suffered covid, and some that have, sadly, died from it. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this sad time. We must remember too, and give grateful thanks, to the NHS “front-liners” who risked their lives (and some indeed gave their lives) to help and comfort those in ICU across the country. We owe them such a debt. They truly are heroes!
Shortly we shall all hear whether the first stage of the Road to Return will actually occur, and it seems very likely. They are well on track with giving the 50+ age groups their first vaccination, and this is very encouraging. With the days getting longer, and hopefully some warmer and sunnier weather to come, things are indeed looking much more hopeful than this time last year…that’s for sure!
In the meantime, let’s keep our spirits up, stay positive, stay safe and if we can, keep ringing even if it’s “only” on-line in Ringing Room, and above all, enjoy it as much as possible. Think about what has gone really well for you in your on-line practices and be pleased with yourself……and if you haven’t tried Ringing Room, well, join a practice and try it. You’d be given a warm welcome!
Much has been spoken and written about Captain Sir Tom Moore, affectionately known to us all as “Captain Tom”, the old soldier that everyone wanted to be their grandfather. His compassion and thought for others were exceptional and an example to us all. Even when 100 years young, he raised millions of pounds for our beleaguered NHS, working so conscientiously and beyond the call of duty, to care for those seriously ill with covid-19. Captain Tom died, as he had lived, like the old soldier he was, fighting an enemy, this time a deadly but invisible enemy. It’s pleasing to think, that however “old” we think we are, we can still make a difference and achieve something special, if not spectacular. Had things been different, no doubt many of us would have been ringing something special, in our local towers, to his memory. However, many on-line performances have been done for this purpose; I myself was very honoured to take part in several of these.
Captain Tom’s footsteps will continue with us, in spirit if not in body, through the dark days to come, keeping us steadily moving to the light at the end of the tunnel, because it’s there and we’ll get to it. It is comforting to be aware. And, indeed, it is a source of comfort to some of us, that other footsteps are also beside us through the coming days. They’re there and they don’t leave us, ever. They will be with us until the bad times go and indeed afterwards, too. In the words of that beautiful song by Daniel O’Donnell:
Footsteps walking with me,
Footsteps I cannot see.
But every move I make,
And every step I take,
I know they're there with me.
They walk with me all the way,
Beside me day by day;
Through good and bad,
Through happy and sad,
Those footsteps won't go away.
Through good and bad
Through happy and sad
By my side they will stay.
So, let’s soldier on to the very end, like Captain Tom, and remembering in the song he made famous, the final line:
“You’ll never walk alone”.