A Message of Hope

If you wish you can scroll down to the end of this page to understand what this is all about.

In common with another 1.5m people I have been instructed to stay at home for 12 weeks as I have an underlying health problem.

Like other people I have resorted to hobbies to pass the time. One has been to re-write my web pages. This page like all of my website is coded on WordPress with the new Gutenberg block editor. This has been a steep learning curve so apologies if some pages still look odd.

One project has been to place my 13 scrapbooks of newspaper clippings on line. This is in itself a challenge as after 40+ years the type is fading fast and difficult to read. Even the best OCR programmes translate the words into a language last seen on the walls of the pyramids.

I keep in touch with family and friends by phone. The last conversation I had with a friend of over 60 years ended with a resolution to mark the end of the lock down with a drink.

My wife is mildly active on social media and messages always conclude with the same wish: ‘when this is all over, we’ll meet for a coffee again’. Words repeated every time I manage to speak to a near neighbour over the width of several low brick walls.

How strange that this reminds me of a letter written by folk singer Tom Paxton on the rear of the album cover to ‘Ain’t That News’ in 1965.

It was a message to his own friend of long standing – John Cherry, a coloured American, although not actually stated. It was about another deadly virus then sweeping America – namely racism and the efforts of the civil rights movement to overturn it. The freedom he mentions is not the lifting of the lock down but something more basic.

His words need no more explanation from me to see how they resonate in today’s difficult times.

They’ve been fighting for years and they’ve won some very important battles. We owe them a great deal, more than we can repay …. it looks like now we are going to be free. And even though there’s much more to freedom than a cup of coffee; still, that’s one cup of coffee that is going to taste just fine.

All my previous posts archived here:

By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.