Friday 15th May The Coronet Diaries.

BELL HAS A CO-WORKER: (Tuesday 14th April’s entry was devoted to Zen)

Thankfully, Bell’s school have made their independent decision not to return until the Autumn. I am certain that had her parents received the letter below, which one of my ‘patient’s forwarded to me yesterday, from a local primary school head she would not be going back to school, regardless of the Government’s science.

Such a moral dilemma for everyone. Our household comprises a catalogue ranging from 82 years to one year. Three of the four adults are carrying on with their professions without any domestic assistance. We are all frustrated but grateful for our health and relative space, whereas, it is Bell with all her golden exuberance, sociability and physical energy whose life has been most discombobulated. School has become a dream. A gold-leafed dream. She listens anxiously to ‘grown-up-speak’ about quarantine and social isolating.

Fortunately, she is a reader. Bell reads for pleasure and confides that often she will read until midnight: “My parents always used to check my light was out but just sometimes they are too exhausted and now I can read until midnight or for as long as I want.” Possibly, midnight is an exaggeration. I don’t wound up about home-schooling, although her mother is deeply concerned. Any primary school child who reads as eagerly as they consume chocolate, who knows their tables and will even play a bit of Bridge, is doing OK, at least by my measure.

I cannot imagine the anxiety, within the collective pandemic of anxiety, that the head teacher of this school along with many others must be feeling:

Right now I am not sure what the aim of our organisation is. I am not sure if we are meant to be educators, guinea pigs or the nation’s child minders for a bit. 

I guess I am writing to tell you that we will be following Government advice, we will be actioning ‘school’ in some form or another, we will be allowing your children into school. But I can not be confident that we will stop or protect your child from getting Covid-19, we will do our best. I can not be confident that we will always have the staff to cover classes due to further illness from Covid-19. 

We will be taking decisions on the basis of safety and safeguarding first and foremost and after that we will work out how school looks and feels for your children. But it will not be the same, and I am certain that it might be just as inconvenient as lockdown. 

Something lovely happened today. At least the outcome was enchanting. I brought my plants home with me from my consulting room, including a mature peace lily, which despite my relative neglect keeps spawning lilies. It turns out they are poisonous to cats, which may explain Zen’s recurring biliousness. Dido’s nanny, (Dido is the only one to have a ‘helper’) told me it must go. This morning, at dawn I put out a notice and photograph on our street What’s Ap. Within minutes ‘Sam of number 24’ had claimed it. Hitherto, strangers … the hand over took place on our doorstep. Sam told me he’s not usually active on What’s Ap but that his girlfriend, Millie had seen the notice and immediately asked him to ‘bag’ it. It happens that Millie is an anaesthetist working in ICU. How lovely to have made her day happier. We are all going to meet on our front steps on Sunday. I feel happy.

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