Tag Archives: coronavirus

A Confederacy of Dunces

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”  – Jonathan Swift

The second shoe fell today – I am laid off until further notice. It wasn’t unexpected, and in some ways it’s a bit of a relief as I now know what is going to happen regarding work. I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I didn’t want to bring any germs home to Julia either.

This isn’t as selfless as it seems. Without Julia I couldn’t cope in a world of technology, political correctness and compassion. It isn’t in my nature and I need someone to guide me through it. I would be lost without her and would just have to fade away, which I don’t want to do that just yet. They call it the widowhood effect.

Having done badly in a round of Pointless which demanded knowledge of US State capitals I will be starting a course of increasing my general knowledge from tomorrow.

I’m also planning on measuring and cataloguing my collection of Peace Medallions.

After that I may rearrange my sock drawer. The question is whether to sort them by colour, length or type.

After that I may run down the street screaming and waving an axe.

I’ve been amusing myself with watching news reports of the coronavirus, or even news reports not about the coronavirus. Listen to the advice then watch what happens.

There were pictures on TV of Italian policemen stopping people for breaking curfew. Some police were wearing masks pulled away from their mouths and noses and others were wearing them over moustaches.

Our government advice is that healthy people should not wear masks, and that masks without eye protection are not useful. Advice for many years has been that masks don’t seal properly if you have facial hair. I have been told that many times by Health & Safety men, but I was working with chemicals, not pathogens. And finally, they only work when you wear them – seems obvious but several of the Italian Police hadn’t thought of that.

Then there were pictures of Alex Salmond. I’ll leave it to you if you read the article but look at how close they all are. That’s not two yards apart. To be honest, even if there was no coronavirus I’d be wary of standing too close to Alex Salmond after some of the things that were said at the trial.

How about the daily press conferences? They seem to have changed now but until yesterday the journalists all seemed rather tightly packed. Have a look at this picture– how far apart are they?

Do as I say and not as I do seems to be the watchword.

Tonight a news crew stopped a man in London and asked what he was doing. He was filming for his YouTube channel.

“Should you really be doing that?” they asked.

Am I the only one detecting the irony of the question? I’ve been saying for days that we’d be better off without all these news reporters roaming the streets to complain about people roaming the streets.

So there you are – the inside of my head during a day in the life of a crisis.

I will look for a picture, but I’m not sure I have any that are appropriate. Instead, here are some ducks on the duckpond at the Mencap garden. Julia took them on Friday when we popped by to water and check seedlings.

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Ducks on a Pond

If you want a good book to read whilst self-isolating try this.

A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again (Part 1)

Sorry, I know everyone has problems, and some of them are worse than mine, but how’s this for a week?

Last Tuesday I had a phone call as I was packing parcels in the shop. Julia had collapsed at work and they had called an ambulance. They were using words like “fit” and “seizure”, which didn’t seem hopeful. (Despite this, you do not need to worry – she is fine).

Eventually the ambulance arrived, checked her out and took her off to Queen’s Medical Centre. Having established where she was going, I took a taxi to the hospital. Parking provision is poor at the hospital and, if anything, has become worse over the last few years. It is quicker to take a taxi than find parking. Of course, that would be the morning when they had an idiot on the switchboard and a glitch with the system.

It took twenty minutes for the taxi to arrive, but seemed longer.

At A&E I queued to find out where she was.

As I did so, I heard her say, “Hello.”

Looking round, I saw Julia standing next to me as if it was completely normal to take an ambulance to hospital and scare me to death.

“You’re supposed to be ill,” I said. “I thought you’d be lying on a trolley looking poorly.”

“They needed the trolley for somebody else.”

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Forsythia and Photinia “Red Robin” – can’t remember the exact names

I took this to be a good sign. I was to be the only good thing to happen in the next four hours. They took her blood pressure, which was high. I am not surprised, mine was probably high too. Hospitals, worries and the cost of taxis will do that.

Then they took a blood sample.

In front of us a man moaned in pain as he sat in a wheelchair. Behind us a woman moaned about her Sky TV contract. Her son-in-law tried to explain it to her and her daughter added a few random complaints of her own.

The TV on the wall droned on about corona virus, the information screen kept increasing the waiting time estimate and the Sky TV contract continued causing concern.

Eventually she saw a doctor. While I sat and waited I tried to read, but the complaints about Sky TV cut my concentration to ribbons. The man in the wheelchair got up and went to the toilet. At that time, of course, he was called through to see a doctor. It never fails.

There were two manacled criminals in the waiting area. They both had two police officers with them. I checked with one of our customers when I saw him later in the week – they have to have two police with them for health and safety reasons in case friends of the prisoner launch a rescue attempt. No wonder we’re short of police on the street.

The doctor told Julia she would have to consult with the rest of her team as she couldn’t find anything wrong. So we waited and the man with the mother-in-law was called through. I’d assumed they had come with the older lady, but no, the womenfolk were simply treating it as an outing.

He was soon out, having been told that his chest pain was probably due to a bout of coughing he’d had in the morning. At the word “cough” we all moved away from him.

He said the doctor had advised him not to lift anything heavy, so he was clearly going to be OK if he had to carry his IQ.

Daffodils at Mencap garden

Daffodils at Mencap garden

Shortly after that Julia was called through to the doctor again and told they definitely couldn’t find anything wrong apart from dehydration (because she doesn’t look after herself). We went for a coffee and had a lemon tart whilst the hospital pharmacy sorted out some aspirin before taking a taxi home.

All in all it was a worrying day and one I wouldn’t want to repeat. It was, though, just the beginning…

The photos are random yellow flowers from the last week. I haven’t taken many photos.

Disclaimer – no wives were hurt in the writing of this blog.

 

A Sea of Troubles

Forest lost 3-0 last night, as several of our customers lamented today. I follow football on a casual basis and one more loss for Forest doesn’t really affect me one way or another. The big football news of the day as far as I’m concerned, is that they are discussing banning people over 70 from going to football matches. As the demographic most at risk from coronavirus it is seen as a good thing to ban the over 70s from large gatherings where they may catch the virus.

As panic and over-reaction gradually become the norm this prize piece of buffoonery comes as no surprise. I was mainly surprised that people over 70 could afford the ticket prices for football matches.

This evening we went shopping and found that the shelves were nearly empty of toilet rolls. As far as I can see coronavirus has no gastric symptoms so extra toilet rolls aren’t necessary. It just seems to be a growing 21st century reaction to any crisis (including Brexit). There seems to be no problem in the world that doesn’t trigger panic-buying toilet rolls. Julia was talking to a shop assistant in Boots (that’s a pharmacy chain, not a sort of footwear, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the world of British retailing) this morning. It seems that people are panic-buying cold cures, hand-washing gels and baby products. I can’t see that any of that is really going to help.

If I was going to panic-buy I’d buy toilet rolls (because they always come in useful and have no sell-by date), sausages (because a good breakfast always improves things) and chocolate (because there is nothing that can’t be improved by chocolate). For the purposes of this blog I’m ignoring diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, which are, I admit, all things that can’t be improved by chocolate. However, there is enough reality in the world without me adding to it. If I’m going to die from an exotic virus I don’t see any point in having a trim waistline and a gleaming smile.

And that, for the sake of posterity, is my diary relating to a world in the grip of coronavirus panic.

Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the WP spellchecker does not like coronavirus? It prefers corona virus. But when I put corona virus into Google it asks Did you mean: coronavirus?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a trifle concerned that we’ll never be able to cure something we can’t spell.

I don’t have a picture of coronavirus or chocolate so you’ll have to make do with a picture of a Cook Islands $5 gold coin depicting Captain James Cook. It’s 11 mm in diameter and weighs 0.5 g. That’s 11/25 of an inch and 1/56 of an ounce for those of you who don’t do metric. It is very small, not particularly attractive and part of a fashion for small gold coins. No, I don’t know why, but people seem to like them.

 

Chaos, Confusion and Corona Virus

Well, I’m healthy again today. I’m not sure what I had, but an early night and a mug of hot Lemsip seems to have sorted it all out.

In the middle of the corona virus, schools are closing, we have our first confirmed case in the East Midlands and my surgery has texted to tell me that if I’ve been to an area of concern, or in touch with anyone who has been there, and if I have any symptoms, I should stay away from the surgery and ring the NHS Helpline.

Stock markets are falling, gold is rising and the world economy is in disarray.

And I’m confused what all the fuss is about. It’s not exactly deadly, as most people seem to recover. It’s not necessarily going to be the biggest killer of the year either. So far there have been 2,800 deaths. Set this against an estimated 290,000 who die of flu in an average year, or the 140,000 who died from measles in 2018, and I’m not entirely sure I need to worry.

The problem is that bad news sells papers, and people love to worry.

I’m far more worried by an article on the news regarding robots making sandwiches. They are taking over…

We also have maintenance work starting on Trent Bridge, just to add to the congestion caused by the work on Clifton Bridge. (You don’t need to know much about Nottingham, just think of any town with two main bridges – both with roadworks on them. It’s not good news.)

Those bridge works are in addition to the local road closure while they renew gas mains.

That wasn’t what I meant to write about, but when I started off this morning I didn’t know I was going to get a text from the doctor telling me to stay away.

It’s not as if we need the extra difficulties that the weekend is forecast to bring – more rain to areas that are already flooded and a selection of high winds. I’m starting to think of the opening scenes of Flash Gordon, where the Emperor Ming pelts Earth with hail and boiling rain.

Picture of the day is a shot of ducks in Derbyshire from a few weeks ago.