Sunday, 29 March 2020

Summertime? Coping (or not) with the crisis!

It may well be officially British Summertime but nobody has told the weather about this and it feels rather more like the deep midwinter. Out and about earlier this morning I was almost blown away by the strong wind, which is bringing the temperature down even further. According to the weather app on my phone it is currently 5 degrees but the wind chill factor makes it feel like 1 degree. That sounds about right. The spits and spots of rain that were around yesterday seem to have changed into flakes and flurries of snow but mostly the wind is keeping the clouds moving so that we have intermittent sunshine.

Yesterday we had a group video chat again: us, our daughter and household and our oldest granddaughter and household. As often happens on such occasions, the three year old decided it was all about her. Taking control of her mother’s iPhone she invited us to look at her bedroom, her toys, her dolls’ house and then parked us in an empty room in the dolls’ house so that all we saw was a corner between tiny ceiling and walls. She then proceeded to play with the house and ignore us, protesting however when her mother took back control of the phone and we resumed a normal conversation. Wonderful!

Fortunately, everyone seems to be staying safe and well.

I quoted this from the Ocado man yesterday:- “There is no shortage of food. Nobody will starve. There is a £1bn more food in people’s larders than there was a couple of weeks ago. What are they doing with it? How much do you need to eat? How much do you need to store away?” I have also seen pictures of food thrown away, presumably bought fresh and then going past its use-by date. I predicted that there would be some of that going on.

Incidentally, we had turkey and vegetable soup yesterday evening, soup made as per the Ocado man’s advice but back in December and stored in the freezer. This was followed by a mushroom tart and salad. On the menu today is a leftover bit of mushroom tart, and bean and vegetable stew with baked potatoes. No take-aways or wasted food here!

I have just heard on the radio how they plan to keep the BBC Radio soap “The Archers” going through this time of social distancing. Fewer episodes and recordings done from actors’ homes are planned but there is no explanation of why Ambridge is about the only place in the world that has not heard of Coronavirus!

And here’s another time-of-crisis feel-good story:-

“A man in south-east London ran a marathon in his garden to raise money for a cancer charity after the government said people should stay local for exercise.
James Page, 36, from Sidcup, had been in training for an ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert, along with the London Marathon, but both were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than letting his months of training go to waste, the pipe fitter did 873 laps of about 50 metres in his garden – clocking up more than 26 miles – in a gargantuan effort on Friday which has helped him beat his fundraising target for Children With Cancer UK.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” he told the Guardian. “In a weird way it was quite enjoyable. It was nice weather and the kids were out there watching me with my wife.”
The government has advised people to stay local for exercise and not to travel unnecessarily, and Page took this guidance literally. During the 4 hour and 57 minute marathon, he regularly refuelled with water, electrolytes, nuts, gels and sweets, while switching direction every 20 minutes to protect his knees. “I wanted to go a bit quicker and get a personal best, but it’s hard to pick up speed as you’re running in such a small circle,” he said. “I’m not the fastest runner, but I had to keep it at a nice comfortable speed otherwise it would be tricky at the corners.”
Page’s son created a toilet-roll finish line for his father, which has been the source of some jovial criticism online due to shortages, while his wife is not pleased about the damage to the lawn.”

Not all the time-of-crisis stories are so heartwarming. South African police enforcing a coronavirus lockdown fired rubber bullets towards hundreds of shoppers queueing outside a supermarket in Johannesburg. We should be grateful that such things don’t happen here. And according to this article there is an ongoing rise in domestic violence everywhere. Being “trapped” at home with a ciolent partner must be horrific.  

Then there are always those who benefit from almost any situation. Jeff Bezos, apparently the world’s wealthiest person, sold a load of bis shares in Amazon just before everywhere began to close down and consequently is $5.5bn (£4.3bn) richer today than he was at the start of the year. There’s always one!

The independent newspaper informs us that the world faces a shortage of condoms. A factory in Malaysia which produces one-fifth of condoms globally had to close its three factories because of a government enforced lockdown. During the time their factories were closed they would normally have made 100 million condoms. The factories are now open again but only producing at half capacity. Another factor in the predicted rise in the birthrate and the jokes about a host little girls called Quarantina!

More seriously, Malaysia, with 2,320 infections and 27 deaths, is southeast Asia’s worst-affected country. The country’s lockdown, which is scheduled to last until 14 April, has also affected the makers of critical items such as medical gloves. Hmmm!

 And we might be living with this for a while yet!

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