At 8pm on 26 March people around the country went to their windows, doorsteps and balconies to applaud the National Health Service (NHS). The initiative was hashtagged #ClapForOurCarers and #ThankYouNHS. Landmark buildings were lit up in blue, the colour of the NHS logo. (I’m not sure whose benefit that was for, since the city centre is all but deserted at the moment, but the pictures in the news later were very nice).
Here are my neighbours #ClappingForOurCarers:
Our building’s Whatsapp group was very lively for the half-hour following that. Mainly the discussion was about alcohol. Someone posted a picture of her glass of wine, saying “Cheers, everyone! Here’s to better days!” and next thing everyone was posting pictures of their drinks and recommending beverages for trying times. (One woman even said she was still working “but with a little help” – and posted a picture of a can of lager next to a laptop.)
That very morning – not a moment too soon, evidently – it had been announced that the list of “essential businesses” – those that could stay open during the lockdown – had been extended to include off-licences, because supermarkets had run out of alcohol and the population was in a sobriety-induced meltdown.
#ClapForOurCarers/#ThankYouNHS was such a success that it was repeated at the same time the following week, and now it has become a weekly thing, every Thursday at 8pm.
At some point it occurred to someone that healthcare workers are not the only ones risking their health to keep society functioning at the moment, and the initiative was extended to cover “healthcare workers, emergency services, armed services, delivery drivers, shop workers, teachers, waste collectors, manufacturers, postal workers, cleaners, vets, engineers and all those who are out there making an unbelievable difference to our lives in these challenging times” (clapforourcarers.co.uk).