When I was sixty eight it was a very good year

It was a very good year to stay at home

With no need to roam

While visitors wait

At your garden gate

When I was sixty eight.


I remember reading in one of Spike Milligan’s “Adolph Hitler: My part in his Downfall’s Part” or somesuch that the war years were, for him, the best of his life.  He recognised that was very much a minority view; that for millions it brought death and grief and heartache.  Nevertheless he was honest enough to confess that, on a personal level, it was the most enjoyable of times.

Fast forward 70 years and on to an equally gifted literatist, my good self, and I share the same feelings about the pandemic.  To quote Frank Sinatra, “It was a very good year”.

It was a very good year for socialising, which I hate.  No more invitations to parties and get-togethers and feigning bonhomie for hours on end; no more swinging with the neighbours; no more reciprocal invitations because “we must have you round to ours”.  Just, in fact, peaceful isolation, with meeting people restricted to “Zoom” which, as far as I am concerned, ought to be the norm in non-Covid times too.

My pleasure was doubled that year because a number of anniversaries fell in it.  It was my daughter’s 30th birthday, my wife’s 60th birthday and our 40th ruby wedding anniversary, celebrations of which were all mercifully cancelled.  What an expense saved!  But more that that, no parties to endure.

Now, worldwide fans of mine will be aware that I have no time for Boris Johnson but when he broadcast that wonderful instruction “YOU MUST STAY AT HOME” I could have sucked him off.

On top of this the main A19 trunk road we live close to was closed because of flood damage. (It stayed closed for 18 months.  Yip-ti-doodle!).  We could enjoy the garden which looked a picture during lockdown in an eerie quietude, free as it was from the thunder of passing wagons.

Better still, it meant that traffic into Selby was vastly reduced which gave me my own personal cycle track.  Oh, happy days!


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