Chairman's Column 9 February 2021
Published on Tuesday, 9th February 2021
All in the Same Boat
“Most Councillors will tell you that hardly any day goes by without receiving or making at least two telephone calls, and, after the business has been discussed, conversation inevitably turns to the virus predicament in which we all find ourselves. I’ve been reminded by my more senior friends that COVID-19 seems to have brought out the best of our British psyche which was prevalent during the last war. Of course, I’m too young (no comments please) to have witnessed first-hand the public’s reaction to the daily dangers people faced with air raids, doodle-bugs, bombing and rockets! Even so, I know many older friends and colleagues DID experience that, and they speak of the attitude and spirit of people that they pass by on their walks today as being similar to that which they experienced in those dangerous years. Apparent strangers or people with whom they have previously had no more than a nodding acquaintance, appear more friendly.
“We are a relatively small community in our Maldon District (around 60,000 people) so we tend to recognise people as we take our regular walking exercise even with some of us wearing masks. As someone approaches, we step aside to give enough room to pass. You can’t see the polite smile behind the mask so it’s common practice in streets and park areas to say, “thank you”. In other words, there’s an understanding that “I know how you are feeling; we are ALL in the same boat”. Sometimes, it takes a national emergency to bring out the best in all of us.
“With that in mind, can I ask you to spare a thought for the many people who do not (or cannot) walk outside and therefore spend day after day, hour after hour at home, particularly those on their own or with families who live away. It’s always good to have a chat with someone who you haven’t heard from for a while asking ‘How are you coping with everything? - What are you watching on TV? - Had your vaccination yet?’
“We all often tell and re-tell the same stories, so it’s a good mental and social outlet for us, and for the recipient, to chat. When they next make or receive a call they can then say, “Oh guess what, [so and so] called and they told me that ...” This is much better than them having no news and saying, “Well I haven’t got anything to talk about really”.
“So, think of someone and give them a call! It’s good to talk, and it’s good to listen to someone … and we really are all in the same boat!
“Take care, this won’t last forever.”
Councillor Mark S. Heard
Chairman of Maldon District Council