The country is remembering VE Day tomorrow. As a nation we all owe so much to the people who saved us from the tyranny which would have befallen Great Britain. Captain Tom Moore is an example of the very best that we can be. He epitomises everything that we should strive for. His fundraising at the age of 99 is truly mind-blowing. However, I think we all need to learn that it’s not just about the money. It’s too easy for us to reach into our wallet and tap in ‘the long number’ when we all should aspire to the spirit of the man.
As we are all in the clutch of COVID-19 it’s impossible to imagine how we as a nation would be able to commemorate in the same way as people did back in 1945. The media have given us the impression that the celebrations were carried out with only 1 week’s notice, whilst here we are all anticipating Boris Johnson’s announcement for the relaxing of our Lockdown. The resilience of people, in particular, women, seems to me to be amazing. With rationing and no men, raising children and being able to provide street parties with limited resources must have been difficult, to say the least. As soon as this country heard about Lockdown we went into stockpiling and panic buying, causing shortages of toilet rolls, pasta, hand sanitiser and plain flour. How would we have coped with rationing, limited sugar and powdered egg? I don’t think this nation would have managed. We’re too soft and cosseted.
The strength of character shown in wartime Britain seems to have disappeared. With fruit picking season approaching I am reading of a shortage of workers within this country. However, I am also reading of rising unemployment in this country. Am I the only one to see the misnomer here? I know that farmers want skilled labour and cheap, but what’s wrong with teaching students to pick in the correct way and provide them with decent accommodations whilst they’re doing it. Once upon a time, labour would descend on Kent and Sussex in order to get a paid holiday picking fruit and hops.
I feel quite strongly that we all need to be more resourceful and borrow a bit of wartime pluck.
I asked my Mum what she remembers from VE Day 1945. She was almost 7 and her memory of the day is sitting on a garden wall waving a flag. Mum grew up in a fairly rural setting and I wanted to pick her brains as to the sorts of things that were on offer on the 8th May. She told me that everyone kept chickens and that they had a pig in the back garden. When it was time and the pig was plump he was sent for slaughter. These days, we would give the pig a name and send it to a farm in the country for retirement! It seems cruel, but at that time they did what was needed to survive. I asked Mum how they kept a whole pig fresh and she told me the tale of sharing out with neighbours until it had all gone and then they killed the neighbours pig. Now, when we shop at Waitrose, if they haven’t got our favourite product on the shelf all a consumer does is complain on social media. Perhaps that’s where we’ve gone wrong. I feel that we have become too complacent in our expectations.
Maybe we need to find some resilience in order to get us through COVID-19 and then re-examine the way we live our lives.