Great Britain

Joe McArdle column: We Lancastrians just aren't great at doing 'nowt'

I’ve had a lot of realisations during this pandemic.

Although, that’s not to say they’ve been particularly inspiring, radical or unheard of.

It’s the type of epiphany you have when you’ve been stirring your tea for the thirtieth time, which you only snap out of when you hear that deafening silence of the washing machine finally stopping.

Personally, my epiphany arrived when I was staring out of my window, looking at the perpetual drizzle coating everything in sight.

As I stared at the coat of miserable rain that Lancashire simply insists on wearing all year long, I suddenly forgot just how long I’d been staring out of said window.

Was it five minutes? An hour? It could’ve been three days for all I knew, but that’s when it hit me.

It didn’t really matter.

What matters is how this pandemic is enforcing on us an inability to do…anything.

Yes, some of us can fill our days with work, homebound hobbies and programmes to watch, but that just isn’t enough.

When I finally pulled myself away from the time portal that was my window, it suddenly struck me how this pandemic goes against the very grain of Lancashire folk.

It just isn’t in our bones, as Northerners, to sit around and do nowt.

There’s a reason we were the cradle of the industrial revolution. We pull our tripe out!

Growing up in rural Lancashire, a lot of my friends parents were farmers, hard-working folk who kept themselves busy with a long list of tasks.

Whether those tasks got finished was another question, but the intent on doing something was always at the forefront.

Now that we find ourselves in a situation where we’re quite literally ordered to stay home; to do, socialise and travel as little as possible goes against our very nature.

Sure, our DIY tasks are still an option, but what’s the use in putting up a new fence or pond feature if you can’t get your mate over to have a look and criticise the paintwork?

What’s the use in tidying the house so efficiently when there’s no one to have over and judge your cleanliness and domestic hygiene.

I found myself ironing some t-shirts the other day, before stopping, laughing and throwing the iron back in the cupboard (after it had cooled, of course).

What do I care if my t-shirts are creased?

Who’s going to judge the crinkles in my t-shirt? My reflection?

Saying that, it’s probably worth doing anyway, as I’ve learnt even t-shirt creases are visible on Zoom.

Well, so my mum says anyway.

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