I find the start of the Summer Recess a bit like New Year’s Day. Lots of plans and resolutions. I hope this year at least some will be achieved! Restart surgeries (in September), ramp up constituency visits (after the Summer); tidy constituency office; write some articles (a few on the stocks already); catch up on reading (especially on the Arctic and Antarctica- more on that next week); chill out a bit and see more of the family- especially my new grandson Freddy.
We’re mainly at home in Wiltshire over the Summer, and by the end of term I was noticing that one or two of my suits were getting a bit ‘snugger’ than they used to. (Shrunk in the wardrobe or lockdown lardy cakes?) So I’ve started off with a bit of a detox regime. Less carbs, no alcohol (well almost none), healthy eating, 10,000 steps a day. So far so good – up to a point. But it does take an enormous amount of self-control (not my strongest suit) and determination. A local friend’s daughter is in training- and has been for a large part of her adult life- for international level rowing (quite possibly to Olympic standard). Her guts and determination, year in year out, are a wonder to watch.
I was especially impressed by the superb athleticism of the synchronised high divers in Tokyo. Perfect young human bodies in minutely accurate athletic swoops and bends in mid-air followed by a splash-less entry to the water. It’s like watching the swifts and swallows swooping and circling outside my study window as they teach their young to fly. But its only achieved through a determination and a discipline beyond imagination.
Is it too early to hope that the week-long downturn in infection figures for Covid may be an early swallow in the Summer which will see the end of it? Too early to say if the vaccine may at last be winning through. But the sheer guts and resolve shown throughout by all of those involved is positively Olympian. The doctors and nurses and healthcare workers; the military and NHS and St John Ambulance volunteers who have done such wonders over jabbing; those who have struggled through and kept businesses going ready for reopening; those who have kept families together through tough times; and so many others. True grit. We have seen an Olympian effort over the last couple of years, and we may soon be nearing the (George Cross) medal awards.
The same - if I may move to the more controversial - applies to our politicians. I hugely admire the PM in particular, who in a couple of years has been through more than most of us would face in a lifetime. The Leadership battle, Brexit negotiations and eventual success; the best General Election for a generation; what looks like being a successful battle with Covid, albeit with a few bumps along the road; an economy which looks like bouncing robustly back; and all of that alongside divorce and remarriage; a new baby; full blown and life threatening Covid himself; not to mention Dominic Cummings and host of similar troubles. So I salute Boris Johnson. He has led the country triumphantly through some very troubled times, and we are just beginning to see the start of the sunny uplands that lie beyond it.
It may not be fashionable to say it, but I personally think that Boris is a bit of an Olympian hero.