In which hope arrives, and is then exercised

Hope is a contagious emotion, and in a time of contagion I’ll take all the hope I can grasp. Like the hope and faith in the future I’ve been grasping all year from being so much in nature, the hope and belief in democracy I’ve nurtured and practised all my life, and a strange new hope I’ve experienced today, but more on that later on this day of several kinds of hope.

First there was the walking and the hope in nature, because there’s always walking with me. Back to the Far End where I walked the other week, to see how the autumn trees are doing. The answer being that they’re becoming the winter trees now, with more leaves on the ground than are left on most of their branches. Into the park too, then more photography along Ibbotson’s Lane. Before some time doing university writing on the allotment, where the second hope turned up, the hope of democracy.

Now I’m a big fan of democracy, even if I don’t always like the results it brings. That’s the way democracy is. But the hope in it is that if enough other people don’t like the results it brings then we can all vote out of power whoever got into power last time round. That’s also the way democracy is. And it’s been a big worry this week, this voting out of power. So much so that while I was writing my sociology stuff at the allotment today I had other windows open on my laptop. The one that’s been saying what you can see on the photograph in the collection below for days now. And a Twitter window, where my daughter Clare appeared and wondered about a celebratory Philadelphia bagel for lunch. Which was when the democratic worry turned to hope (and by the next day to realisation), as the votes to outvote the current incumbent, from Philadelphia the place not the cream cheese, started to look like enough. And also, it was when I thought up that sentence about hope being a contagious emotion and began walking home feeling hopeful about the third thing I said I’d mention. Which is the army arriving on the streets of Liverpool.

And though I’d never before in my life have described the army turning up on the streets of my beloved place as ‘the arrival of hope’, well today that’s how it feels, on the whole. As I walked to and from the places I’ve described there were car queues in unexpected places and occasional roadblocks. But all for the good purposes, I’ll assume here, of setting up enough Covid testing centres for the whole city of us to come and get tested.

And I know there are mixed emotions among many of us about this. The whether to or not to, the effectiveness of the tests, the rise in figures, the possible quarantines afterwards and an abiding and understandable distrust in anything involving the government, albeit the democratically elected government, of the country. But all of that and none of it is going to extinguish my hope that this mass testing and quarantining of Liverpool might be the best hope we’ve had all year of sorting this contagion. So as surely as I’ve never missed the opportunity to vote in democratic elections I’ll be getting tested as often as I need to. And for reasons so well summed up in a thread of tweets that I also saw sat there on the allotment that I’m going to include them here. Thank you Laura for your hopeful and persuasive words

Covid test booked. I’d urge people in Liverpool to do this and here’s why. You might not have anyone vulnerable in your life, which is fair enough. And you might think those vulnerable people aren’t as important, but they’re brothers, sisters, mums and all of that.

The more that get tested, the more the city is able to track where this virus us. Yes, numbers will rise, but that doesn’t mean the tests are causing the infections, they’re already there. The more we track the more we control. And our vulnerable don’t have to be stuck inside.

Don’t do it for you, do it for your mate’s ma who hasn’t been able to go to town since March cos she’s been shielding and can’t get the bus, or your mate who you haven’t seen cos his sister has severe asthma. This isn’t going to disappear if we do nothing.

Laura Brown @MsLaura_Brown

I couldn’t say it better than that. So let’s all get tested, for your mate’s ma.

And here are the photographs of this hopeful day. Taken by me as usual, and also my daughter Clare. Thank you Clare, for the photographs, and also the Philadelphia bagel x

Through the streets of Liverpool, walking in hope


The next day

So, hope, it’s a contagious emotion. But the other thing about hope is you then need to do something about it, with it, exercise it. Or it might stay as only hope.

By late evening on Friday, then, I’d followed Laura’s advice and booked my test : Book your test here

And by ten to nine the next morning I’m walking across The Mystery to the test centre
Cleo’s Coffee all set up, expecting a busy day here
But it’s not busy yet, a very short queue of other people with no symptoms
Soon registered and instructed for my 9:00 appointment by friendly soldiers
Then you do your own test in one of the cubicles, it’s much like voting

And pass your swab and barcode out through a hole in the back of the cubicle to a separate bunch of soldiers who are processing everyone’s throat and nasal samples.

By half nine I’m walking back home, across The Mystery again

Then at 9:52 this text arrives on my phone, together with another one about further testing and tracing:

And I’m hugely relieved, because a test’s a test isn’t it? It makes you nervous. But I’m also hugely impressed. And for now I’ve done what I can, and so can you: Book your test here

Because hope’s only hope until you do something about it.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. A concept I’ll hold on to: hope needs to be exercised! I always get nervous when I get hopeful, and I think it’s down to the fear that hope is a fragile bubble – so much as reach out to touch it, or look directly at it, and it might burst! Exercising hope is an antidote to that thought, and that fear.

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