Woe betide if prior to the weekend you were feeling chipper at the prospect of schools reopening some time soon. Scotland’s lockdown news went from somewhat disharmonious to End is Nigh abysmal in one fart of a government minister.
Whether it be our nation’s tiddlers expecting to see their beloved educators, answer: no chance; summer holidays: cancelled; new virus variants outrunning the vaccine: likely; seeing the visiting overseas relatives, answer: only through barbed wire, one would be forgiven for taking a noose and chucking it over a nearby beam.
At Micawber Towers we felt as I assume Icarus did when things got toasty in the atmosphere. Freefalling to a certain splatter. In some ways it would be a great relief.
It is perhaps remiss not to state that the weekend had its lighter moments. More than anything we’ve had a great walloping of snow, and with the addition of sub-zero temperatures this made for spectacular sledging. So fast are the snowbound fields by our village that on several occasions I’ve feared the worst. Whilst Medusa has harboured a desire to remain in the ferocious Underworld (indoors) no such inhibitions have stayed Cerberus.
On one occasion he went splintering so fast over and beyond a nearby hill it became clear he would not return. I had a sinking feeling as I trudged over the promontory, a sense heightened when I reached the precipice and saw him lying prostrate by a fence, motionless. My worst fears raced across the grey matter. One; through my neglect Cerberus has broken his neck. Two; Mrs M is going to break mine when she finds out.
Approaching the crumpled boy, mentally constructing a speech for others to deliver at our joint funeral, I paused. At that precise moment I noticed he was sticking out his tongue and licking the fleece from his face. For townies, fleece is something which covers firstly sheep, then barbed wire fences, across the Brexit voting outposts.
On this occasion it signified to me that he’d broken his back only, not the neck. Thank God. That would save the cost of one coffin.
For the next downward cannonball, Cerberus directed our sledge towards an impressive jump, built by local gangs for light-headed spatulas like me, and as we cartwheeled through the air I endeavoured to catch the boy before his skull split as an egg might. Heroic though my efforts were (I caught him), I did a reverse bellyflop and thought I’d broken my own back.
Worse, a crowd of chirrupy villagers awaited us both at the top of the hill. “Did that hurt?” asked a neighbouring satan worshipper, aged eight. “Fuck yes”, I replied.
For some reason which I cannot fathom, our positive engagement strategy with the locals has failed. I therefore returned my blurry focus back to our liquor cabinet and the desperate urge not to strangle the next human child who selects The Lion King for tonight’s viewing pleasure.
I enjoyed the spectacle at the cinema in the early 90s; I commit I shed a tear. This past week we have watched it on 24 occasions. For the days ahead I will inform those living under my roof that this moving picture was a rehearsal for Hamlet, which we will be rehearsing forthwith.
On mail order are rapiers and poison. If the world can’t liven up lockdown for us, we shall have to do it ourselves.