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Pestilence in St Albans

Pestilence in St Albans

Saturday 30th October 2021

Last week I drove a bride to her wedding in St Albans. It was a bright autumnal day and the car was drawing a good deal of attention from the shoppers as they walked past the Churchyard where I was waiting. I am always happy to chat about old cars and show off my lovely Austin Twelve so it was an enjoyable afternoon.

There were a good number of guests at this particular wedding, which is in stark contrast to the meagre congregations earlier in the year. As they spilled out of the Church for photographs, an old woman sidled up to me and said "It's so nice to see a proper wedding with so many guests." I politely agreed, thinking she was just just exchanging pleasantries. But then she embarked on a diatribe against the Covid restrictions and how unfair and unnecessary they had been. I disagreed with most of her contentions but kept my views to myself. It would have been awful if my customers' happy day was to be spoilt by witnessing a heated argument between their chauffeur and a passer-by! But I had to figuratively bite my tongue when she came up with her final point. "They never shut the Churches during the Plague so there was no need to do it last year."

What can you say to that? I was dumbfounded! I could have asked her whether she thought the epidemiologists of 1665 were better informed than their modern-day counterparts. Or I could have queried whether it made complete sense to repeat a huge mistake, just because some people had survived the experience 350 years ago. Or I perhaps could have asked whether we should abolish the current-day Fire Brigade on the grounds that they didn't have one during the Great Fire of London and the City is still there.

Of course, I said nothing and she went merrily on her way. Life would be dull if we all held the same opinions but sometimes, other people's views can be exasperating.