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  • Writer's pictureSimon Howard


It’s three minutes away. Get ready.

Put the wine glass down, or you won’t be able to clap. Time to show appreciation – the nurses, the doctors, the anaesthetists, the cleaners, the orthopaedists, the paediatricians, oncologists, cardiologists, dieticians, obstetricians, neurologists, our saviours in waiting, protecting us from Covid. Bless them. Time to go outside to praise them, thank them, adore them for their care. Out I go…

Clap clap clap. Clapping all round. The street’s full of it…

There’s that bloody Karen. Pissed again. How did she find the time to put her glass down? And Fatty. He’s got fatter, surprise surprise. How did he fit through his front door? Oh, God, look at Walter Greasepaint – how did he find the time to get away from his computer screen and all the filth he gets up to there? Ah – the newlyweds. How did they find the time to do up their zips and buttons? And the teenagers – ditto! Will they ever believe that lovemaking can involve another human being? How much hoovering has gone on? How much polishing? How much analysis? How much thought about the future and the past? What is the future? What’s the past? Where are we going? A shouting in my ear…

‘Wasn’t that wonderful? What would we do without them? Aren’t they saints?’ asks Marjorie, my neighbour with terrible clothes.

‘What? Who?’ What’s she talking about? Make conversation. ‘Have you planted your geraniums yet?’

‘I beg your pardon!’ she roars as the clapping fades.

I’ve done it again. Clapping on Thursday, and the street has completely taken over all thoughts of the NHS.


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