Last evening at 8pm prompt, Shirley and I were in front of our house. I had a saucepan and a wooden spoon. We were out there to applaud key workers during this lockdown - especially National Health Service workers on the front line. Not just doctors and nurses but porters, technicians, cleaners, nursing auxiliaries, maintenance teams and admin staff too.
Nearly all of our neighbours were out in the street with us, clapping and showing solidarity. It was the same last week and the previous Thursday too. The whole country is doing it - showing our gratitude to The National Health Service and to other key workers like refuse collectors and supermarket staff. All of our neighbours know that Shirley is a nurse nearing retirement after 44 years so on our street she kind of represents all other nurses in this besieged kingdom.
After I had made what I thought was my final beat with the spoon, I went through our house to the back garden where I had been working much of the day. And as I stood there, I realised that the evening air was still filled with the sounds of applause and drums and saucepans being beaten with wooden spoons. The sound was coming up from the valley and over Dobbin Hill - layers of applause and some cheering voices and a trumpet too. It was very moving. We are all together in the face of a cruel, indiscriminate enemy.
Some of us won't make it. 7,798 dead in Britain now or 118 in a million. It is The National Lottery in reverse. Until it is over, 8pm every Thursday is spoken for.