I REMEMBER well my eldest’s daughter’s first day at school. It had been something that she had been looking forward to and worrying about in equal measure.

It was with some trepidation that I watched her head into class and with some relief that she came out with smiles on her face. The following morning, however, her mood was somewhat different. Questioning why she was being prodded awake, I told her because she needed to get ready for school. My daughter’s face was a picture. “Again?” she asked.

Fast forward to January 2021, and my daughter’s dream of a single-day education would have been granted. This time it was my younger daughter who was packed off for school on the Monday, only to be told that evening that she wasn’t going back on the Tuesday. On Sunday, Boris Johnson had gone on television to insist that schools were safe and would stay open.

As I’ve said in previous columns, the best form guide in the pandemic is to listen to what the Prime Minister is saying and assume the opposite will happen. By Monday evening, with the usual alas, alack, and a heavy heart, that’s exactly what came to pass.

Back in November, I suggested that in cinematic terms, Lockdown II was the equivalent of the second Back to the Future film: darker, and not quite as good. Which film will Lockdown III: The New Variant replicate? Time will tell, but my money is on The Lord of The Rings closer, The Return of the King: a film that dragged on longer than anyone wanted. Just when as you thought it was finally over, you realised there was yet another reel still to sit through.

Ours is an administration that talk a good talk about plans to level-up the nation. At this point, a simple bit of levelling with people would be preferable. Given previous suggestions that, like the First World War, this would all be over by Christmas, promising this is the final push feels dangerous. Yes, we’d all like to believe that, but given the track record of the previous nine months, striking a more realistic note might be preferable. Similarly, Boris’ boast of vaccinating 13.2 million people by 15 February feels bold. Let’s hope so. But let’s hope, too, that those involved in the Test and Trace scheme aren’t involved in the logistics. Maybe some of the extra £350 million a week the NHS is now receiving could be directed to help?

Last night, I told my daughter that we were back to the joys of home-schooling. “Again?” she asked, with the same expression as on that second school morning. This time, I know how she feels.