Wednesday, 29 April 2020

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary Day 3


DAY 3.


You could say that logic has been my profession. An old fashioned university degree in Digital Electronic Technology, Computer Science and Software has trained me to be hyper sensitive to lies, the Daily Wail, the Daily Distress, fuckery and bullshit generally and anything illogical. I am profoundly troubled at the moment about things that seem illogical. There is so much that is not being explained well if at all. Government is saying the opposite of their own experts. They are, so they say, acting to protect the NHS and vulnerable people but have spent 11 years neglecting and underfunding it. They are conniving towards a no-deal Brexit in which the vulnerable will greatly suffer and are refusing all co-operation with the Europeans when cooperation could have seriously beneficial consequences for all of us (ventilators, vaccine technology, travel restrictions not to mention the fact that more than half of our daily needs are supplied through Dover!). There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy. Political face-saving it seems is more important to the government than life saving.

We have four days of glorious sunshine ahead some of which radiated so well from my palette that I took a photograph of it for you. Signed, limited edition prints are available for December deliveries.
My plan for Day 4 is to check out if my Online Tesco account still works on the basis that if Tesco can deliver stuff I put my family to less risk by not needing to ask anyone to shop for us. Preparatory work for my Lovers comes next and then I mow my tiny little patch of grass (I have reduced the lawn to a path) and I mix up a batch of concrete and finish building my garden steps.

My gilding has been completed and my “lovers” are ready to be painted. We are nearing the final stages. Here is a little preview.

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary Day 2

Lockdown Diary
DAY 2.

I am now social network distancing. Twitter is off for the foreseeable future. We have been out for a walk. There are very few potentially virus carrying employees at large on our local industrial estate and I think it was pretty safe. We met our steps target of 10000 and met our embracing-with -strangers target of zero, so all is well. It was also quite a productive day part of which I spent in the latibule gilding my latest painting after applying the bollo yesterday. Here I am looking as though I know what I'm about which could not be farther from the truth. But the concentration and the mindful release was just what I needed. Sharon drew the short straw and got to do the vacuuming. At least she is very good at that.

For the purposes of this diarytribe the lockdown day starts at 14:00 hrs. It is now 13:47 hrs so therefore still day 2 when our vacuum cleaner packed up. Investigations are in progress. The weather is improving and with a dry day today and 4 days of glorious sunshine ahead of that thoughts turn to concreting the steps that have remained half complete all winter waiting for a few days like these.

My old school acquaintance Robert who is a professional musician has bemoaned the suspension of his life’s work which he does not plan to retire from unless forced. He has no conducting or performance gigs lined up for at least three months. Making music is a highly sociable business for musicians in both practise and performance and their audiences and (speaking as as serious listener only of course) I can understand the frustrations and strain involved in isolation from all that concerts involve. I imagine it to be the same for professionals in team sports too. For myself then, yet another reason to be cheerful. I am a contented introvert. Happy with my own company, for pretty long stretches, I have never retired from work and now operate from a cosy workshop/studio otherwise known as the shedio roughly 9 metres from where I write and I am off there now to start day 3. Tara!

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary Day 1


DAY 1.


Lock down commenced at 14:00 hrs 18th March. It feels so strange not to be expecting to go anywhere or see anyone for months but I have to say that it feels good to be at a distance from danger especially after visiting Tesco today. The tension and fear in the atmosphere was palpable. However it is not at all comfortable being isolated from our family when they are in danger themselves and under duress and being worried for them all the time but we cannot ignore our age at this time or my own dodgy immunity system. What a bonus social networking is and let us hope that the sun comes out. We are very fortunate in many ways, having such a loving, close by and supportive family but some are not so lucky in their circumstances and I feel for them.

We have spent more than three times our normal bills for the whole month stockpiling in our local Tesco in the last 5 days. It is of course entirely illogical to ask 70 year olds to isolate themselves but not stockpile. We saw through government and Johnson’s incompetence and like most people are looking after ourselves as best we can. The fearful, stricken and tense ambiance amongst the empty racks that stared vacuously back at us was sadly underlined by the knowledge that the fear felt behind so many doors by those not so free and mobile must have been much greater.

Our newly self-inflicted isolation from European co-operation, economic strength, comradeship and joint endeavour could not have been brought home more profoundly than this. It is interesting that the demographic that voted some 70% to leave the EU will also be the demographic providing the majority of the victims of Covid-19.

Schools have at last been shut. Another victory for sensible action and the democratisation of mitigation.

So here we go, newly outcast from our European friends and allies by our own government having alienated and sent back to their European homes a large part of the staff in our NHS and with an already dilapidated, run down NHS deliberately weakened for political ends and people dying as a result. Potentially MANY THOUSANDS of people dying.

Government policy is to reduce and manage an inevitable NHS overload rather than prevent loss of life. I cannot suppress my complete disdain for this immoral, dishonest, mendacious and incompetent government especially when they have the public support of an established church and when so many of them are professed Christians. They are abhorrent to a man.

Our last outing before this lockdown was to a performance of the Wicker Husband. A line spoken by the Old Basketmaker struck me and was used a few times during the musical, he said “Ugliness is not something you can see”. We cannot see it but there is something profoundly ugly about Government and their management of this crisis both here in the UK and in America. We cannot see it but we know its there, we know its ugly and we sense evil.

BACK IN THE COVID - The Lockdown Diary



The Lockdown Diary

We have just enjoyed a brilliantly staged and executed performance of "The Wicker Husband" at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury.  Entertaining but surreal. Surreal because it was touch and go if we went at all, we did not socialise with our usual friends while there and we made our visit almost without touching a door or a handrail by keeping our hands up our sleeves. It might be the last time we can go out for a while apart from a final top-up, shopping expedition in the morning tomorrow to bring home supplies as well as we can given that panic buying is already well underway and shortages are evident.
My prompt to write this was in fact a joke gif sent to me by Stewart Benford this evening, a picture of granddad in Only Fools and Horses with a voice bubble saying “Back then in the Covid”. I realised that that is exactly what will be said, not by my generation but by our children’s children’s generation. The coronavirus, SARS-Cov 2, or Covid-19 as it is commonly called is their war, the defining event of their generation. As control of the spread of this thing begins to affect global travel, banking, employment and work methods, shopping habits and social behaviour it is clear that it will change the landscape of their worlds, their economics, their politics and their futures. Many of these changes will be permanent. Politically there are worries that populist upheaval might lead to dictatorship in the USA in all but name and that possibility genuinely exists in the UK too. It has already happened in Hungary, Brazil and Turkey. Household names will disappear and there is the potential for international relations to change in radical ways that no-one can anticipate. Brexit is underway whilst this crisis plays out and an economy already ravaged might be further blighted by a poor, or even a no, deal with the EU. Internecine warfare has destroyed the Labour party and in my view a similar process is underway in the Tory party where behind the scenes press moguls are fighting like giants and gods in a cosmic battle for power through wealth played out like some Wagnerian epic by their chosen actors on a political stage.

I decided to record my personal experiences of these disturbing and rapidly changing times in a day to day personal diary starting tomorrow of our little lives and our extended family. At least our children or perhaps their children can read this in their unpredictable future at some time and know how it was for us “Back in the Covid”.

17th March 2020


Please note that by its very nature I will not routinely return to this diary to correct any grammar, English or spelling and in particular to change any content. These thoughts will be transient and day to day and will therefore have a certain ephemeral quality to them which I want to keep. I must try to preserve their nature as diary entries.. I hope to prepare an edited .pdf version eventually but even then only the English and grammar is up for correction. But first I am going to have to survive this thing!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The launch is here. Right now. Today. Late by 32 days but better late than never. Shortly after the WHO declared a global health emergency which was 31st of January I realised that horrors were on their way and seeing the lockdown being imposed in Wuhan anticipated the same for us here in the UK. I decided that a day by day diary would be an interesting way to kick off this blog.

My wife and I are both in our 72nd year, both required to isolate ourselves for however long we are instructed and, as it turned out, have effectively been under house arrest as dictated by our caring family since 14:00 hrs on March 18th.

I have been diarising (not sure that was already a word but it is now) every day in lockdown since then but have failed to get it all into this blog where it belongs. Please bear with me while I catch up. The first entry, day 1, will be followed by several a day until I am all caught up in real time. Here goes.