Mon. Nov 30th, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Let’s pray this isn’t a hopeless cause

3 min read

Someone pinch me, this can’t be real can it? I guess a majority of us stopped believing God is responsible for everything, so now when anything bad happens, it has to be man’s fault, with Mother Nature playing her part too.

Islanders were divided on the issue of lock-down, now Boris has acted decisively, to save the lives of those we love, and we’re all grounded. I’ve found Boris’s briefings reassuring, and we’re all impressed with Rishi Sunak, aren’t we? He’ll be the next Prime Minister, assuming he’s mad enough to ever want the job.

Less impressive are the number of people who persist in clearing our supermarket shelves. We’ve bought a billion pounds worth of excess food, it’s all in our homes, and sooner or later, everyone will have more of everything than they could possibly use this side of Christmas. Two of my sons work in London, and shopping after work is their only choice. Last week, they found it impossible to feed themselves. It’s incredible, we have an abundance of everything, but still the public act like a plague of locusts. Images of people fighting in the aisles are upsetting, so I prefer to think of our local heroes, those helping the less fortunate, picking up a few bits for their family and neighbours.

The Island has many such stars, and they include Freshwater Bay’s own Mark Orchard, whose family business has served the island since Victorian times – Alfred, Lord Tennyson was a customer. Orchard Brothers are a beacon in all the madness, they’re quietly looking after their customers without fuss. It’s a very long day working in a corner shop, but Mark Orchard personally delivers orders to his regulars, and in the case of one disabled lady, even puts it away in her fridge and cupboards.

Because he’s so busy and also deals with the store’s paperwork, he’s recruited a few volunteers to help out. Mark is an example to us all, Bay residents should nominate him for an MBE for his outstanding public service.

In normal times, most of us love to criticise, when it comes to the Council, we focus on their crackpot priorities, the potholes, restricted refuse services and savage cuts to loo and library opening hours. The sums of money we pay them each month seem astronomic and make us grumpy, but it really isn’t their fault. Central Government realised long ago that if it cut their grant, the Council not Westminster would get the blame. Unfortunately for the Council, most of us do fall for this year after year. We believe those new (larger) tax bills falling through our letterboxes are the council’s fault, not Westminster’s In recent weeks, the demands on our council’s staff have been exceptional, so I want to thank them too.

Quite rightly nurses, doctors, paramedics and care assistants are the people that pop into our minds for praise at a time like this. But police officers, council staff and teachers deserve our thanks too. I’d also like to thank pharmacists and GP receptionists, and yes, funeral directors and their customer facing staff – all of whom are in the frontline. Their own personal health risk is considerable, and in some cases, there just isn’t enough PPE to protect them from the people they serve who won’t even know they’re infected.

When it comes to God, I’m a doubtful agnostic, but that won’t stop me praying to St Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes that Boris and his advisors’ draconian distancing plan works.