Lockdown: Week 3

As it’s (nominally) the Easter break I wouldn’t usually be sharing a Headteacher’s message / blog – you all have a whole lot of other things to be doing  rather than reading this nonsense. That said; now I’ve got on something of a roll with the messages and themes are developing it may well be one or two are desperate to catch the next link in the Comedy Connections.

We have not been sharing additional work with pupils this week. They and we needed something of a break. I hope that you’ve all had the chance to catch breath a little and reflect a little more on the times in which we are living. We all need to take that moment and spare a thought for those less fortunate, those who are suffering loss and those who find it hard to cope in times of real change. The impact of the virus isn’t equal. There are those who suffer more by the impact of lockdown; be that with their health, their job security and pay, their finances, their ability to access open space and fresh air. We will have some of those people in our community and we will continue to do our little bit. This week at Oakwood we have:

·         Delivered 100s of FSM vouchers.

·         We have delivered 30 sets of goggles and aprons to Newman Special School. This will act as PPE for staff working with some very vulnerable children and young adults, who continue to access 5 days a week care and education.

·         The Create team (on behalf of the school) have delivered 200 goggles to Rotherham General Hospital. In addition, they have made and delivered 100 specialists visors too.

·         Tutors and members of the ARC team have stayed connected with all of our learners and, in some cases have made phone calls and home visits to ensure children are safe and well.

·         We have remained open in support of a number of vulnerable learners and the children of keys workers.

There will be things I have missed. There will be significant support that you have offered of which I haven’t been told.

Again in the words of Jesse: This week I have been mostly…

I moved on to baking a carrot cake. We are now out of all flour at home, and unless the flour crisis can be averted that’s the end of the home baking.

My Linguistica Spanish continues. It’s so hard doing it in the abstract. I’d never pass GCSE Spanish. 

Stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected and stay sane. And remember that this will pass.

We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when’ Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. Sung by Vera Lynn (amongst others) 

Don’t feel the need to read on but if you want to …

Ongoing Comedy Connections. And please stay with this one. Don’t jump into this with preconceptions. Please listen to the script and understand what it was saying, at that time about how the ‘small man’ perceived his world and the wider world, how the others, particularly the more worldly wise and confident, were able to prick his pomposity.

Last week we had Steptoe and Son. A comedy with significant pathos. In many ways it was dark, very dark. The relationship between the men. The desperate desire to break out. The shackles which bind and ’hold back’. The sadness.

The link this week is Leonard Rossiter; which brings us to Rising Damp. Those of you of a younger vintage won’t understand why a house like this might exist. But exist they did in a desperate post-war Britain. For me Rising Damp is probably the only decent ITV sitcom of my age – go on name another and please don’t shout Robin’s Nest or George and Mildred (although those two are connected).

Rigsby is a desperate, small, unworldly and trapped man. Rossiter plays the character brilliantly; through every twitch. Rigsby is of a different generation yet he wants to be in some way like Alan and Philip; Philip in particular. He knows so little of the world. He’s like a child trapped by poverty (poverty in terms of wealth and poverty in terms of experience and aspirations). Rigsby is a highly uncomfortable character but, despite his frailties, his rudeness, his misogyny and his poor grasp of racial and cultural differences he is a character we can and should feel sorry for. He’s a sorry man, living a sorry life and he and all of his tenants know that. They mock the man, they tease the man but they (to some degree) all love the man. Again, it’s all in script. The poetry of the language. But this sitcom, despite the enclosed, tight and ugly sets, breaks out a little more than Steptoe and Son. We see lead characters who are women, who are black, who are misfits. 

Enjoy Charisma from 1974. And what another great theme tune!