A little levity is what we all need

Team Evans with our homemade espresso martinis ready for Nev’s virtual quiz night

WHEN all this is over – and it will be over – I wonder what we will remember most about these distressing days?

Will it be the kindness of a neighbour?

Will it be the bravery of frontline NHS services risking their lives on a daily basis?

Will it be that sickening feeling in your stomach when you hear of yobs coughing in a policeman’s face?

Will it be the tearful plea of a health worker asking for more and better personal protection equipment?

Will it be the politicians struggling to explain why testing for coronavirus was so far behind the rest of the world?

Will it be the fear of visitors bringing their infections into this beautiful part of the world?

Everyone will have their own memories of how they coped and survived the most deadly disease to hit this generation.

For me, I will remember all of the above – but one seemingly trite event, compared to those listed, will also stay long in my memory for a very important factor which will become clear as you read on.

Last evening, along with dozens of others from all over the country, my wife Jackie, daughter Francesca and I took part in a virtual quiz. Now, I’m not much of a quiz fiend. I’m okay on Manchester United circa 1965-1974 questions and current affairs, but music, films etc, forget it! On the other hand, Jackie is brilliant at them. Francesca sits somewhere in between.

The quiz was devised and presented live on Facebook by Neville Causley, well-known local taxi driver but formerly landlord at the Hunters Lodge pub and restaurant where his weekly quizzes were hugely popular. It was a classic example of how social media can be a force for good, bringing people together in times of adversity.

It was huge fun and got progressively more enjoyable as the evening went on, with the Gordon’s Gin bottle taking a beating in Chez Causley and Neville’s wife Sarah adding greatly to the fun with her off-screen comments.

Lyme Bay Radio ought to snap them up for a regular show, they would make compulsive listening!

We started the evening with a masterclass in making espresso martini cocktails conducted via Facetime by our son-in-law Barry, in Galway, making two each just to get us in the mood. Barry and my daughter Zoe then joined the Facebook quizzers while we stayed in touch with them throughout the evening on a laptop.

When the quiz was over we stayed online chatting about all and sundry – how the lockdown was working in Ireland, the state of politics in the Emerald Isle and other family chit-chat, lubricated I might say by those moreish espresso martinis.

We said we would do the same every week, even if Neville’s quiz was a one-off. Later we learned that it would become a weekly event during lockdown so we look forward to the next one when we will be trying out a new cocktail.

Now all this might seem trivial at a time of such monumental upheaval in our lives. We all appreciate that in adversity the British indefatigability and sense of humour comes to the fore. This was a good example of this.

For a couple of hours the dreaded coronavirus was not mentioned and it brought friends and family together, so I make no apologies for this diary entry. (Note to editor, it’s bloody difficult coming up with something serious to say every day when you are locked indoors!)

The lasting lesson for me is a determination to spend more time with my family, no matter how many miles we may be apart. Using technology like this, we don’t have to be apart at all.

And to the Causley family, who over the years have supported so many good causes in our town, I would like to say a heartfelt thanks. You managed to lift our spirits in a most unexpected manner.

A glimmer of hope

Now back to the reality of isolation.  My early morning walk, my 15th in succession, was probably the most invigorating so far in glorious sunshine but with a biting wind. And there is no doubt the people of Lyme are sticking to Boris’ instructions to stay indoors.

Prince Charles is out of isolation and Boris will soon be following suit and returning to the No 10 lectern to present the daily bulletin and press conference on how the fight to quell the epidemic is going. 

I did not think Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab looked entirely comfortable yesterday, and looked a little irked by the rather predictable questions from the cream of the Fourth Estate.

There would seem to be a glimmer of hope that the restrictions imposed by the government might be having some effect, but we are warned that there is far worse to come, demonstrated by the mind-boggling efforts in the building of these huge Nightingale Hospitals at the major conurbations across the country.

The Army is playing a big role in this and, you know what they say, if you want a job done properly, call on a soldier.

The most ridiculous statement I’ve heard this week came from journalist Kevin Maguire, well respected in socialist circles, saying that when coronavirus is done and dusted another General Election should be held. That’s just what the Labour party needs – another whopping defeat.

Sir Keir Starmer is expected to be elected leader of the Labour Party at the weekend. He needs to ditch the Corbynistas and rebuild the party to provide a vibrant opposition before thinking about going to the polls again.

Well, I must go now. It’s the wife’s birthday and I have got to make her a card and prepare for cooking her favourite dish for a very muted celebration tonight.

Stay safe – and don’t forget LymeOnline’s emergency digital edition on this website on Friday.

Woodmead Halls
About Philip Evans 713 Articles
Veteran journalist and newspaper manager Philip Evans has worked in the publishing industry for more than half a century. He started out as a reporter for Pulman’s Weekly News as a young man and went on to work for an international publishing company in the UK, South Africa and Australia before returning to Lyme Regis where he is still reporting on local events as he has done for more than 53 years.

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