The Year

Saturday 2nd January 2021


I should mention that 1921, one hundred years ago, was a good year, being when the Gay Father, Debo Devonshire and the Duke of Edinburgh were born.

Most people’s idea, including mine, is that 2020 is to be jettisoned as fast as possible and never mentioned again.

I will look back though. When the shutters first clattered down, in March, with terrible Wrong, my first Essential order from Amazon was two out-of-print novels by Ivy. And I managed to read them, with pleasure. Before I could never read an Ivy.

Thinking it was 1940, I revived Bird’s Custard. Val was going to revive Woolton Pie but never did.

2020 was the year of isolation. But I was never less alone. The Archer/Neviles were in residence in my Official Residence, for five weeks, Robert Nevil and the Nizam came for Christmas, I was nearly 3 weeks in Madeira with Anthony Mottram and Vadim, another week in Prague in August, twice to Normandy with Laura Malcolm and Matt Driver, every month from July to the Gay Mother’s, usually for a week. Other visits have taken place and darling Poor Little Rich Gays have flocked round. I was at Walmer and Lewes for a two-night away with Royston King.

I’ve been twice to Glyndebourniana, as usual, and once to the Ragged School for mu. The Great Dixter Plant Fair in October took place as always.

As I predicted at the start, we’ve got used to the muck as we go along. But they can’t crush us either, they can’t keep us apart. The whole thing’s a painful dragging back to Prep and Public days (although with food and heating) but having been at Prep and Public assists. Endurance of deprivation was the warping quality produced. I remember starting at Barrowborough in the summer of 1970 and working out that I’d only have to be there for 4 years and looking at boys who were almost at the end of the 4 years and thinking that somehow one could begin to hack away at that time. Later on, resistance of course.

These are wild savage times. Maybe later we will be fascinated to have lived though them. Who knew how easily society could be destroyed? Not just the economy, as we thought in March, but society itself. Sebastian Archer said to me while staying how shocking he found it. Why aren’t there riots on the streets? Why isn’t everybody tautened into a tight bow of skepticism? Fear, stoked up by the authorities, works wonders. Just look how malleable the population becomes in an instant, how easily divided against itself. Suddenly, as Professor Balloux said, we’re back to the Middle Ages: ¬†dogma, superstition and ostracism.

I wouldn’t want to be ruled by scientists, or doctors for that matter. Who’d have thought there were so many professors, and so many graphs, all veering in different directions? What are we to make of these people? As Sebastian Archer said, science is not always consonant with human life. Just imagine if the Government were entirely made up of Public Health Officials. Somehow data, technology, a preliminary, speculative kind of ‘science’ has got the upper hand. Politicians are helpless before it. Is this their fault or the way things are going? Young people ought to be fiercest in revolt. But bed illness was not commonplace for them in childhood. Their cocoon was the fat time, especially, as we look back, the boom years from the early 90s to 2008. The Young dictate their existence from their phones. In their world all the Apps work. No wonder they are among the most ardent Covidians, insisting that vaccination is the only possible exit.

The story told from the start has come true – up to a point. Vaccine will surely be the most popular child’s name for years to come. There’s nothing to be done about it. Imprisonment until then. Meantime, though, couldn’t those with responsibility recall a few of the old-fashioned virtues? If you’re in charge, in however small a way, you’re supposed to radiate encouragement, boost morale and, if necessary, suppress bad news.

If leaders need to issue threats, they must be threatened themselves.

We really need to see an improvement.




Posted Saturday, January 2, 2021 under Adrian Edge day by day.

Leave a Reply