Monday, 30 March 2020

Starting week two of shutdown!

Another day, another runaround for exercise. Yesterday’s wind has dropped and the icy cold has disappeared - not exactly warm but less cold!

We muddle along, we being the country, not just Phil and me, and yet it seems that Mr Johnson’s ratings have been improving. According to Andrew Rawnsley in this article it is a natural phenomenon for leaders’ ratings to go up in times of crisis. It makes people feel better about things generally! Does this explain why a cousin of mine, a recently acquired “friend” on Facebook, has posted that BJ is doing a really good job in difficult circumstances: first he had to deal with Brexit and now he has coronavirus to cope with, both personally and professionally? Or is it just that my cousin is a deluded Daily Mail-reading tory?

And now it seems we are due to receive a letter from our prime minister and I am not sure why? Yes, we all need to be reminded about what to do in this time of crisis but really, is a letter to every household needed? That’s 30,000 households, with each letter costing at least £1 and probably more, which seems like an awful lot of money which could be used for something more useful.

Recycling has gone by the board for the time being; our local council will now only empty general rubbish bins into which everything must go! I suppose that is a logical state of affairs at the moment. I have duly put everything in the big grey bin.

Some odd things result from the current crisis.

In Derbyshire there is a disused quarry near Buxton where the water is of such a beautiful colour (due perhaps to it’s rather toxic high pH level of 11.3, rather like bleach) that it is known as the “Blue Lagoon”. Derbyshire Police decided to dye the water black to dissuade people from visiting. They do this occasionally to dissuade people from wild swimming there!

I read that the participants of Big Brother Germany, isolated from the world, for a while had no idea of what was going on in the outside world. The footage of them finding out about coronavirus apparently went viral. Rather like an episode of Black Mirror!

Toads and turtles are benefitting from humans not being around. Lots of toads are crushed on the Yorkshire fells every year by fell racers but this year they are free to roam without peril as the races are cancelled. And an endangered species of sea turtles have been able to hatch almost unobserved on a Brazil beach. Only government observers were there as the local people have been told to stay home and self-isolate.

Despite the Pope delivering a blessing to an empty St Peter’s Square and despite many religious leaders advising their people to stay and pray at home or to tune in to online church services, some people have kept their trust that their god will protect them. Dozens of parishioners, many of them elderly, crowded into Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg to receive communion. And in virus-hit Louisiana, hundreds of worshippers attended services on Sunday, flouting a ban on large gatherings. An estimated 500 people of all ages filed inside the Life Tabernacle church in Central, a city of nearly 29,000 outside Baton Rouge. Mind you, that last one does not surprise me given the mixed messages they must be receiving from POTUS.

Others are adapting to isolation in better ways.

Last night we saw Richard Thompson streaming live on Facebook. Quite a lot of artists are doing this kind of thing, Richard Thompson appealed to us to contribute to any younger artists who, unlike him, cannot afford to simply stop for a year.

Sometimes people ask why ageing artists him continue performing when they can clearly afford to stop and just take life easy. Richard Thompson said though how strange it felt not to be doing gigs. After all he has been doing gigs for more than fifty years. It felt equally strange, he told us, to be performing in his living room to his computer and not having audience feedback. The thing is performing is not really a job, it’s more of an addiction and it’s probably hard to give up that buzz.

It was a good performance. I missed James Taylor doing the same thing last week. We look forward to more of the same.

On the menu here today is a chicken dish, chicken in a Moroccan sauce. This is another variation on what-to-do-with-your-left-over-roast-chicken: chop up an onion and a bit of garlic and stir fry in the wok, strip the roast chicken of remaining meat and add to the pan, throw in any leftover cooked veg, and finally pour over it all the tagine apricot sauce you bought from the fancy deli!

There will be one of our remaining oranges for dessert.

Tomorrow I may need to think of replenishing supplies!

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