Tag Archives: relaxation of lockdown

Pepys, Posterity and Parmesan

Here’s another of those posts I sometimes write so that history will be able to compare my blog with the Diary of Samuel Pepys. It would probably help if I was a senior civil servant but at least I have now lived through some interesting times. He had the Great Fire of London, where he distinguished himself with the efforts he made on behalf of his Parmesan. I have lived through lockdown and I ordered processed cheese slices by accident when shopping online. The horror of processed cheese slices will stay with me for years to come. Whenever I think of the global pandemic I will think of rubbery orange cheese.

In years to come, I wonder if scholars will discuss me alongside Pepys when talk turns to amusing cheese anecdotes in times of National Emergency.

This is assuming that blog posts will still be available in a hundred years from now. The survival of a paper diary for several hundred years is remarkable, but will a random series of pixels, or whatever they are, survive any better? It all seems so fragile when you stop and think about it. While I dream of immortality for my anecdotes of 21st century life, should I actually be printing my blog posts for preservation. Probably, bearing in mind the poor quality of paper, I should be sharpening a quill and writing the whole thing on vellum.

If I did write it on vellum will vegan academics of the 22nd century refuse to acknowledge me, and pull down any statues of me that may have been erected in the meantime? Aiming for posthumous fame has many pitfalls and although you can try to imagine the future, who can really tell.

open pages on brown wooden table

Photo by Roman Koval on Pexels.com

I really don’t know whether the UK of 2120 will even have vegans. As we move the limits of our diet, will we all have become vegans by default? Or even, as we live on a diet of bugs and Soylent Green will vegans have become irrelevant and be in the waste bin of history alongside farm animals.

Another parallel between our stories is our bladders. Pepys, at the age of 25 had a bladder stone the size of a tennis ball removed without the aid of anaesthetic or antiseptic (which is the reason that if I ever do perfect my Time Machine, I won’t be travelling further back than the late 19th Century. I’d rather not travel back to a time before antibiotics, but that’s within living memory and seems a bit unambitious as time travel goes.

My own bladder stones were discovered during one of the several camera insertions performed a few years ago. As a twentieth century man I actually had anaesthetic just for that, without any cutting. They were going to remove the bladder stones as part of the second part of the procedure but in the months between the two procedures (supposedly seven weeks but after two cancellations it took eleven weeks) I self-medicated with lots of drinking and a large amount of lemon juice. There were no stones by the time they went back to look for them.

My current challenge is pollen. Levels are high and my eyes have been watery and itching for two weeks now, accompanied by random attacks of runny nose. Fortunately I haven’t been sneezing much as this is currently frowned on, being a well-publicised way of spreading disease. It does mean that I am rubbing my eyes more than I should be, as that is also a way of spreading the virus. However, it’s only  away of spreading it to me, rather than other people so that isn’t so bad.

We went for a drive in the country yesterday as our personal way of marking the start of a less rigorous phase of lockdown. It looks like everyone else had decided the same thing as it seemed to be as busy as it was before lockdown. How soon we forget…

That will be the subject of the next post.

close up of open book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Burbling Boris the Blonde Buffoon

I was thinking of other alliterative terms too, but good taste prevents me from using them.

The long-awaited speech from the Prime Minister on TV tonight turned out, after two days of leaked snippets, to be pretty much useless. It wasn’t so much a speech as a succession of vague mumblings, and very short on detail. It did verge on the Shakespearean in being told by an idiot and signifying nothing, but there was a sad lack of sound and fury.

William Shakespeare - The British Library

Shakespeare – British Library

As a result, I am none the wiser about the way forward, but I do have a feeling of deep gloom. I didn’t have much confidence in the Government before lockdown, and I have less now. The only time I’ve been reasonably happy with the conduct of the Government coincided with the period the Prime Minister spent in hospital.

We don’t have a plan, it seems, just ‘the shape of a plan’.

It reminds me of Churchill – ‘ this is not the end.  It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’

It is not a plan. It is not even the beginning of a plan. It is the shape of a plan.

Sadly, Boris Johnson, in addition to being no Shakespeare, is no Churchill.

History of Sir Winston Churchill - GOV.UK

Churchill

Forgive my underwhelming response, but I now have to plan for going back to work.

This starts tomorrow, or Wednesday, or the first week in June. It’s even more non-specific if you work in a pub or restaurant.

They would like me to walk, cycle or use my car because public transport is going to be limited due to the need for social distancing. That should quickly undo all the gains we made by staying at home for six weeks.

And there was no mention of masks.

Although we are allowed to do a bit more mixing they are going to beef up the police powers by doubling the fines for breaches of the regulations. If severe punishments worked I’m sure we’d still be hanging people for stealing handkerchiefs, but try telling a politician that.

That never looks correct in writing, but I checked it up and dictionaries seem happy with either handkerchiefs or handkerchieves. The spellchecker isn’t, but that’s life. The strange thing is that I pronounce it handkerchieves, but spell it handkerchiefs.

I’m just watching a programme about Ladybird books, which is why I’ve missed my deadline. It seems that a child only needs a vocabulary of 12 words to start reading. One of them appears to be ‘dog’ but ‘cat’, it seems, is not necessary. Adults, they claim, have a vocabulary of 20,000 words. I am dubious about that. I honestly doubt that I use 1,000, but I really can’t be bothered to count them. I do know it’s possible to get by with eight words on my drive to work. These eight don’t feature either ‘cat’ or ‘dog’.

I just went looking for a vocabulary test to see how large my vocabulary is. Instead, I started to do a quiz about how long I’m going to live. Based on diet, lifestyle and various other quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo I have 6 years 293 days and 32 minutes. That’s a bit less than I calculated in a previous post. (2,483 compared to the previous calculation of 2,920). That’s a nuisance as I was planning on using those 500 days to write my memoirs.

 

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A Man with No Plan