02/04/20 Living in lock-down hasn’t (so far) been too dissimilar to what Sue and I would normally do whilst being at home. Retirement, may give you the opportunity and time to travel, but it also prepares you for extended periods of being together. Yes, the clubs and all of the social activities that were part of our lives have now been put on hold, as has the frequency and freedom to move beyond the confines of the house and garden, but like the majority of the population, we have adapted. There is a routine to our day, and it presently seems comfortable. I think that is important, because out there, are monsters, the Virus and those that carry the Virus. We have our sanctuary, but we are always wary of the monsters. Are they lurking on the handles of the wheelie bins? Are they secreted on the post through the letterbox? Do we answer the knock on the door?
We are living in risky times, we roll the dice each time we venture out; daily exercise, fetching the newspaper, shopping, talking to the neighbours (social distancing) we take precautions and and we hope.
It has always seemed common sense to me that you should take sensible precautions when something unpleasant might happen. During our teaching careers, if one of us got ill, the other one would move into one of the spare bedrooms, sensible that one of us has a chance of not catching the same. We have done the same for CORVID-19. After returning from the Amazon, within two days I had purchased a pack of face-masks and divided them among those in the family at most risk, you never know it may turn into a pandemic. Past travels to the Far East had taught me that their populations consider them as useful protection from airborne infection. I could never understand why WHO (World Health Organisation) advice is that only those infected and those who care for them should wear masks. That may now change: WHO official advice on whether people should wear masks in public could be changed after new evidence emerged suggesting they could protect people from coronavirus. About bloody time!!! The reason against was they doubted people would wear them properly or dispose of them appropriately. Have they never thought of educating people?
Another rail: I couldn’t understand how a population as large as China’s could, even with an authoritarian regime and largely obedient citizens keep the death rate down to a level that most of the rest of the world cannot seem to better (2.3%). (Bloomberg) — China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials. There you have it, if it is to be believed (and that’s not a given with Trump in office) I am sure it doesn’t surprise anybody.
Yesterday, having received some awful news concerning Phil in Italy, today there is much more scope for optimism. His temperature has receded and he is diagnosed with pneumonia, rather than the more concerning Corvid-19! Still in a lot of pain from gout, he is well enough to complain about not going home. Sounds like he is getting back to something like his normal self. Fingers still crossed.
St. Lukes hospital in Harborough was closed to today as it had its first case of Coronavirus.
On a lighter note, another three rows in the vegetable patch were dug and two varieties of lettuce were sown in the greenhouse, Thimble and Iceberg.
Amusingly this afternoon I took a video call from Mia. She didn’t say much, but was obviously pleased to see me. I do miss our walks for lunch. Harry however, seems to be finding all this isolation too much for him. Jamie, Ruth, Joey, Rocky and Maddie had their first BBQ of the year. Charlotte was given some science books for Ellis to read by one of her clients, when she returned from work today she discovered him busy experimenting.
03/04/20 A year ago today we were visiting Joan and Phil in Italy, how the world has changed since then!
Another row of soil has been turned over in readiness for potato planting next week. I look forward to this rather strenuous and repetitive exercise, mostly because it is repetitive. I don’t have to concentrate, it’s done automatically, freeing my mind to ponder on more interesting matters. I have the radio on (always a mistake), endless programmes on Corona virus whining away, mostly idiots phoning into talk shows demonstrating their lack of understanding/intelligence/morality/sense, and on the hour, the news, which, if they ever bothered to listen, may lead to enlightenment (but I doubt it). Sad to say, I seem to enjoy hurling abuse at the devil’s instrument, it’s somehow satisfyingly disengaging. I really do hope these people are phoning in for their 15 minutes of fame, because if they are not, heaven help the rest of us if they ever get into a position of influence.
Friday is the day the family meet up and I feed them a couple of curries of varying quality, but this has not happened for quite a few weeks. Sue and I still continue the tradition, this afternoon I made a curry. Usually, I have to omit mushrooms as an ingredient in any of my ‘piece de resistance’ as several family members distrust this nutritious fungi and refuse to eat it. Today, I was looking forward to including this flavoursome element into the curry, but on checking our stores we had none! Queuing outside a supermarket during lock-down for a small tin of mushrooms would be very irresponsible, so again we had a fungiless curry! Damn you Corona-virus!
I received an email from Ken in Spain. He and Chris are well, though the virus appears to be creeping ever closer. The mother of Chris’s hairdresser, who lives in the village has succumbed. Though the constraints on their freedom are getting tighter, they continue to carry on with as much normality as possible. Chris has completed the quilt that she started on the Magellan and Ken continues to write. I have included his short amusing epistle describing his mood whilst living in isolation. It can be accessed by clicking on this link and downloading: Lock down.
This evening we watched a performance of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on the cinema system. Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing some of his musicals to be shown on YouTube each Friday at 7pm. A spectacular, glossy musical that is high on glitz, costume and catchy tunes, but thin on story line. Sue thought it was fabulous and would easily watch it again, I was disappointed that it was too disjointed. If you knew the story then you could fill in the gaps, if you didn’t, you would to be satisfied by excellent performances, an amazing spectacle and hummable tunes. I can understand why it was so popular, in its day. I won’t be watching it again. Roll on the next one.