Barnard Castle Eye Test

The advice was made clear to the country:
stay at home for the virus can kill.
Only leave if your journey’s essential,
and definitely not if you’re ill.

His first offence happened in London
when he went home to see his sick wife,
then later returned to the office,
against his own boss’s advice.

He feared that his wife may have COVID,
and be too ill to care for their son,
so the family travelled to Durham
to stay on the farm with his mum.

Morag and Robert, his parents,
own an expansive estate,
so Dominic stayed in a cottage,
where his sis could leave food at the gate.

The next day he woke with a headache,
and went on to feel pretty ill.
His symptoms all fitted with COVID,
including a ‘serious’ chill.

His son’s symptoms started to worsen,
so they took some professional advice.
An ambulance came to collect him,
and he travelled with Dominic’s wife.

The hospital quickly discharged him
– they left there the following day.
Dominic came to collect them,
but fever should’ve kept him away.

The three of them soon felt much better,
and they went for a walk in the woods,
though guidance had changed to prevent this,
as I’m sure that he well understood.

They had a day out at a castle,
to check that his eyesight was fine.
It just happened to be his wife’s birthday,
and they happened to have a good time.

During their time at the castle,
No distancing rules had been breached,
but the fact that he shouldn’t have been there
was confirmed by the Durham police.

The reason he gave for his journey
(that the virus affected his eyes)
means that he broke traffic guidance,
if he feared he was unfit to drive.

So the breaches appear to be varied,
though he insists he has broken no laws.
Boris seemed keen to forgive him,
and his past sheds some light on the cause.

Mr Cummings’ connection to Boris
goes back a pretty long way.
The Spectator employed them together,
before he became Johnson’s aide.

His wife’s father owns Chillingham Castle
– such connections can’t do any harm.
His uncle owned Europe’s worst nightclub.
And he owns shares in his father’s huge farm.

Britain’s departure from Europe
was helped by campaign group Vote Leave.
Of course it was Cummings who led it,
with some dubious tricks up his sleeve.

His farm receives funding from Europe,
a figure so huge it won’t scan,
but the details aren’t core to this poem,
it just gives you a sense of the man.

So what’s the result of this saga,
in which Cummings avoided the sack?
Have voters gone on to forgive him,
or will trust prove hard to win back?