Dear BIC community,

I do hope you managed to find some calm, and some rest, in this most unusual weekend. I hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter and seeing all the excellent learning and teaching that went on last week. As the situation develops in Spain, as well as in other countries which many of us call home, I do not underestimate the pressure falling upon us in our various isolations, and I hope together this week in our e-school we can continue to feel united and stay strong.

I am sure you spent much time this weekend reading the endless jokes and funny emails that are doing the global circuits. There are hundreds of them and no doubt there will be hundreds more to come. I sent one to a friend with the message that "this one is in my top five”. I actually have a top five! But some of the jokes can seem quite close to the bone, or inappropriate. It opens a debate about whether some subjects for humour should be off limits, and if there are certain things that should never be made the butt of a joke.

Personally, I think that humour is about context. The British comedian Ricky Gervais said in one of his stand-up shows that humour can be "a sword, a shield and a medicine". I love that and I agree. Now, more than ever, I think humour is and should be a medicine. I think now, more than ever, we need to be able to smile, to laugh, to share humour and feel connected with our friends and loved ones. As anyone who read the UK Sunday Times yesterday will know, there was a hilarious column about how, with the increase in adults working from home and using video conferencing, people are spending more time studying the homes of their colleagues and bosses than focusing on the discussion. These video calls have let people into each others’ homes, into their studies, their kitchens, their gardens. People are fixating on the details these glimpses reveal. Their book shelves, their wine racks, their decor. One vexed home worker said that, whilst he will get over the virus, he will never get over his colleague's poor taste in books!

The world is in a new place now. Laughter can be a healer. We must try to laugh and see the funny side of things as much as we possibly can. Similarly, we should be actively encouraging our children to try to stay positive, and certainly to laugh and, wherever it is humanly possible, to have fun. Staying in touch with their friends is absolutely vital, watching funny children's films, reading amusing stories to our youngest. There is another challenging week ahead, and certainly a mountain for us all to climb in the next month or so. Let’s try to laugh when we can.

And if you are interested, it was the option B one.

Stay safe and stay strong.

Kind regards

Alison Colwell