Thank you for all your support of our work again this week. As we rattle towards the end of a long half term, with the variable weather, we can all now have the prospect of a break within our reach; just five more working days until we all get an Easter break.
They say a week is a long time in politics. It’s certainly been a long time when we consider the springtime weather in Britain. This time last week many of us were thinking about sunning ourselves over the weekend. No doubt there will have been lawns cut, flowerbeds turned over and planted, some of you may have even been sunbathing on Saturday and Sunday, and yet just three days later, we return to the icy grip of winter. Statistically there are more days of snow in March, on average, in Britain than in December, but somehow it just doesn’t feel right to have snow and an icy blast at the end of March.
On Wednesday and Thursday snow covered much of northern England, with the Met office warning of more snow, ice and cold temperatures are on their way for early April. We even had to suffer the yellow weather warning for snow and hail showers, icy surfaces and some travel disruption.
That sits in parallel with the significant raise in COVID infections in our community and across the region.
The depths of January brought us icy conditions and a significant COVID surge, following the arrival of the omicron variant. March has brought similar weather conditions and an even greater ‘hit’ of COVID infections.
It’s estimated that over 4 million people in Britain had COVID within the last 10 days. If you’re one of that number I hope that you didn’t suffer too much and you are now back on your feet, fighting fit again. It’s incredible what the vaccination programme has been able to offer us as a community. Without getting into the politics of whether the restrictions should have been lifted and a debate about the guidance, which has changed, it is fair to say that, as a nation, we are in a fundamentally different position now. This is simply as a consequence of the overwhelming majority of the population having taken up the vaccine, the booster and the third dose. Well done us – if you’re one of the majority who have done the right thing, endeavoured to support your community and have taken up the full vaccine offer.
Let’s hope next week is another ‘long week in politics’ and we can see, when we start the Easter break, much better weather on the horizon. Maybe some of that springtime sunshine again, a significant reduction in the COVID rates in the community and the prospect of a really decent Easter break.
There will be many colleagues, children and young people, and the wider community who will start fasting this weekend, as we enter the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Whether you have a religious conviction or not, it’s easy to admire our friends, family and colleagues who follow the tenants of Islam and choose to fast for Ramadan. The self-discipline and personal sacrifice are significant and well beyond what many of us could endure. If you are fasting, if you are participating in the Ramadan, you have my best wishes and my admiration.
‘A week is a long time in politics. Harold Wilson
‘There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full’. Henry Kissinger