The Never Ending Story

  “There upon a rainbow is an answer to a never ending story.”  Well, I wish someone could find that rainbow!   I’ve always wondered how so many people in 1914 could have been so naive as to think that what became the First World War would be over by Christmas.  Well, now I know, and I feel like I owe them an apology.   You know how the pandemic was going to peak over Easter weekend and then we were going to be pretty much back to normal by now, not just here but all over the world?  Yes, about that.  It now looks very unlikely that we’ll be going to Christmas markets and pantomimes this year.  I’ve just been told that my gym won’t be reopening until January.  The local council have said that they’re planning for restrictions to last until next summer.  People are busily cancelling things they’d rebooked for later in the year.  Will the US Open go ahead and, if so, how many players from outside the US will actually play? And as for the holiday chaos …

On a happier note, this may have been the longest league football season in history (I’m saying “league” because we’ve still got the Cup Final, the Europa League and Champions League matches to come), but at least it ended on a happy note – well, insofar as finishing third is a happy note.  The Ingalls family had Christmas in May, in The Long Winter, and United have qualified for the Champions League in July … just as we should have been recovering from Wimbledon and Euro 2020 and settling into the Olympics.  Talk about down the rabbit hole.

I was trying to find out who first said “Hope for the best, plan for the worst,” but it’s one of those quotes which seems to be attributed to a zillion different people.  It seems to be the only way to go at the moment, whomever said it.  Meanwhile, bring on those Europa League matches …

I like Whig history.  I like the idea that things move onwards and upwards.  I’m not very good with this two steps forward, one step back thing that’s going on at the moment.  Or should I be quoting Paula Abdul and saying “one step forward, two steps back,” given the worrying news about the increase in the number of cases in so many countries.  And I’m the world’s greatest overplanner: it’s part of having anxiety.  I plan everything months ahead.  I should have returned yesterday from a holiday which I booked last September.  I chose that week because I didn’t want to go away until after Wimbledon and Euro 2020 but I wanted to be back before the Olympics.  It was going to be the most wonderful summer.  Who the hell saw this coming?  OK, most people in 1914 didn’t see the First World War coming, but, if you look at things carefully, you can see how things were building up to war from well beforehand.  You can’t do that with a pandemic.

There’ve been so many pandemics before.  It’s barely a century since the Spanish flu pandemic.  Look at all the outbreaks of plague over the centuries.  But we didn’t think it could happen.  Even when coronavirus first appeared, who would ever have thought that it would go like this?  SARS, bird flu, Zika virus … they all hit the headlines for a few weeks, if that, then vanished.   I keep thinking about what Ashley Wilkes says in Gone With The Wind, about the Gotterdammerung.  Previous generations faced world wars, the Cold War, the fear of the bomb, but nothing could stop us.  Then this did.



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