18th January 2021

One of the group who went to Lourdes hated hugging people. He was great with the kids but never one for mass hugs. Was very cautious if the sign of peace at Mass was more than a handshake, which it often was at Masses there. This of course egged the less merciful on to create such occasions and watch him take evasive action. He has mellowed. In his new book ‘Let us Dream’ the Pope points out how much we need human contact and how the virus has affected us so much in this. It has a real psychological effect. Visiting my mother back in autumn just before London went into Tier 4, it was very strange trying to speak to her through a glass partition and, though the best it could be, lacking so much. You realise how important kissing people is and holding them. I found it worse than her I think and probably stayed too long as I just wanted more time. There have been lots of complaints about the way in which footballers celebrate after scoring a goal. But we are trying to rein in a very human emotion, the desire to celebrate with each other, and touch is important. In the old pictures of London on VE Day in 1945 there are scenes of people going wild hugging and kissing each other (and I guess rather more then that), perhaps there will be a VC Day when we have pretty much controlled the virus when we can rush out and celebrate together, in an appropriate way of course.

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