My Virtual School – contrails

9 May 2020. The 75th anniversary of VE Day yesterday. Big rows today about street parties, socially distanced conga lines, breaking lock-down etc, etc. Various friends had afternoon tea-parties with the neighbourhood all sitting on their drives or in front gardens eating scones and jam, with bunting. One friend joined in with the nationwide bagpiping at 3pm, standing in his street in full highland kit. He appeared a few minutes later dressed in 18th century costume as the town crier – another nationwide initiative. Just around the corner from him, the standard bearer for the local British Legion, also properly attired for the occasion, performed the last post ceremony, lowering the banner to the ground in mourning during the two minutes silence, on his drive. Both of them filmed on phones and posted on  social media for the rest of us to share.

I like this kind of  sharing. Very comfortable. Apparently 52% of those recently polled have watched some form of religious service online – something for churches to think about seriously when this is all over.

At school, people stood where they were for the two minutes silence. One young family were at the War Memorial, reading the names for WW2. Odd not to do such a thing centrally.

School has now reached the exeat weekend. This usually coincides with the first May bank holiday but this year the bank holiday was moved nationally to Friday. So now for those of us who no longer know what day of the week it is we can take comfort that this week Friday was last Monday. So virtual school is on holiday for a few days – definitely taking a break from having no one there. After four weeks of online teaching, sport, music, drama, cocoa, cooking, reading challenges, concerts, quizzes, pastoral care, it’s going OK. Starting to utilise more advanced parts of Microsoft teams including break-out sessions for classes to work in small groups. And getting parents and Old Radleians to share in some of the challenges and activities.

The meadow grasses on the golf course are a purple haze, with bright spots of long-stemmed buttercups among them. Today I saw the first wild rose opening. And high above us an unfamiliar sight and sound – the contrail of a plane. Almost an assault upon the birdsong and the purity of the deep blue sky.

This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community,  to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

© Clare Sargent