The last day in self-imposed quarantine and today’s blog entry takes its title from Evita. I’ve had a number of people ask whether all the daily updates in this series have been taken from song titles or musical numbers. Jules Phillips and Karen Young were the first to notice the linkage which was always an extra mental diversion on my part. It’s been quite fun finding a musical descriptor for the daily update. I hope you’ll excuse me sending multiple replies by answering here. They have all been songs, many but not all from musicals. The full list being:
- Turn a different corner – George Michael
- Tell me more tell me more – Grease
- Stuck in the middle with you – Stealers Wheel
- The Scientist – Coldplay
- A little bit of history repeating – Shirley Bassey
- How do you solve a problem ask Korea – Sound of music
- I am reviewing the situation – Oliver
- Hey, hey, I saved the world today – Eurythmics
- Empty chairs at empty tables – Les Miserables
- Let’s do the timewarp again – Rocky Horror picture show
- If I only had a brain – Wizard of Oz
- There’s got to be something better than this – Sweet charity
- One day more – Les Miserables
- And the money – And the money keeps rolling in (and out) – Evita
Looking at the list, I suspect I’ve over compensated by omitting my favourite musicals. Nothing from West Side Story or Phantom and two from Les Miserables (The Glums) which I can appreciate without really enjoying. I have seen Phantom over 50 times and could happily go back again whereas I’ve seen Les Miserables twice. The first time was harmless though I was largely underwhelmed. The second time was difficult although there was a lovely period in the middle when it stopped and I had an ice cream. If you’re off to see Les Mis, ice cream is the answer.
Today’s blog title chose itself. Well it chose itself in the sense that Vaughan only stopped singing it when I agreed to use it. But actually, it fitted well with the prevailing discussions. They seemed to be about whether the UK was doing enough for particular sections of the population.
I’ve been reasonably happy with the response of the UK government although I don’t claim to be an expert. I’ve also revised my view of Boris Johnson since seeing his handling of the crisis. What’s not in doubt is the extent to which the money is flowing out of Government coffers. Ultimately it’s largely borrowed and at some point we’ll have to pay most or much of it back, but that’s not the priority at this time. But it is worth remembering, if only because it will come as less of a surprise when governments of whatever hue seek to recover it from us over the next five to ten years.
Without seeking to make a party political or EU point of any kind, it’s worth comparing our response compared to other countries.
Before being too critical and even allowing for the fact that some of the promised funding is in the form of loans rather than grants, the UK £330 billion is significanly more than the £41 billion of France or the £36 billion of Germany. All are dwarfed by the US who have a bill going through Capitol Hill requesting just short of $1.6 trillion, or £1.3 trillion pounds.
Looking at the current statistics on reported cases, perhaps it’s no surprise that the US is spending so much. It looks very much like the US is going to become the world epicenter of the pandemic within a couple of days as they look set to overtake Italy in terms of reported cases. Rather than paste a blurry graph here, I’ll leave those who are interested to open the graph showing the current situation across a number of countries. This will update a few times a day depending on what else we’re doing and how much cider has flowed.
Some of the spend in R&D is already starting to show promising results. Of course, we’re probably six to nine months at least from an effective vaccine in humans. However, some very intersting technological solutions from across the scientific communities. Rather than repeat them in text, if you have 20 minutes to spare and want a little encouraging news showing some hope for a way through the crisis, you could do worse than watch the most recent episode of the BBC technology programme Click.
I admit to having shamelessly copied it but hope that the potential benefit in terms of a positive message and boosting mental health may cause the BBC to overlook this matter. If not, I will of course take it down, but until I’m asked to click away. – If all else fails look forward to later updates from Brixton jail.
While on the subject of good news and wishing to reassure, I think it’s worth including one of the staff videos for a London hospital trust. It’s audience is intended to be hospital staff, but it shows the amount of work and effort being put into keeping existing, new and potential patients safe.
Although I’m going to continue the blog for at least the next couple of weeks, I do need need to conclude the 14 day strand. So a few loose ends to tie off and a few words of encouragment for those who are just entering or in the early stages of self isolation.
It’s true that it’s tricky at times. Whether it’s keeping up your step count, wanting to visit friends, relatives, family or just go to the shops it does place a significant break on your personal liberty. However, the two important messages I feel I would make to anyone are these. Firstly, these difficulties aren’t major, they are merely temporary irritants and nothing compared to the traumatic times our grandparents and great grandparents lived through. It’s only 14 days for most people and it’s achievable without too much trauma.
The second and much more important is that it’s vitally important we do isolate or at least significantly reduce unnecessary contacts. I could rattle on about why, but I think most of us know why if we’re honest. In any case, I couldn’t beat this rather simple but highly effective graphic. Latest research shows the virus is more transmissable (easier to pick up) than at first thought. Instead of each person passing on to two or three people it’s now thought to be more like four or five. It’s too late to avoid the spread, but we can minimise and reduce the speed of it. Please think about each contact – they can and do make a difference.
Since yesterday’s installment, I have been mildly chastised for letting standards slip. Apparently ‘Billy the bog-roll’ jars and might even be described as course (heaven forfend). So with that in mind, may I update you with the final measurements of William the lavatory consumable. At the start of Vaughan’s experiment, we had a partial roll with a depth of 1cm remaining. William then entered the scene and will leave it with 1.5 cm remaining.
As a full roll has 3cm depth of tread the results of the Norweigan jury show that one roll of paper consumable product was used during the 14 days in question. – Now we need a comparison, over to you Jules and Leon.
Yesterday, I mentioned serendipity, defined as ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’. Having been chastised for the Billy incident you can’t imagine how pleased I was to see Sheila Harrod a very musical lady of my acquaintance post this little ditty.
One thing I’ve found over the last 14 days is that you pick up old hobbies and get around to projects or interests you’ve had on hold for some time.
In my case, returning to the blog is a case in point. Although I have yet to open any of the three books I’m hoping to read during this period of purdah, I have selected them and put them in order so it’s just a case of sitting still long enough to do the reading bit. As for Vaughan, he’s rekindled his interest in cooking where that’s more than merely a practical need. One side effect of this period in isolation may well be that my clothes shrink. They’ve done it before.
Had we been at the Acreage, I would probably have looked to work on my piano. I should have taken up the offer of a travel keyboard when it was offered for just such circumstances, but that’s something for me to look forward to and the neighbours to dread when we get back to the Shire.
Another example, a man who decided to pick up a guitar. His subject of choice was panic buying. It’s quite an interesting insight into what people do in quarantine but if you’re also a fan of the guitar (Leon) than you may also appreciated it for his ability to play the instrument.
I’m afraid I’m not responsible for the vertical video syndrome – it’s how it was recorded but I know it bugs some people disproportionately. So what of the serendipity? Well, that comes in the title of his ditty. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Mr Bob Bowles and his bog-roll blues.
I have further developments to report in the tour of Somerset cider producers. Today we sampled the wares of Hecks cider.
Before too much concern is expressed about our livers, we are splitting the bottles between us so it’s merely a sample and we do toast Sir Osis of the Liver the patron saint of cider drinkers before partaking.
This was a winner in my view though a tad dry for the Mem’Sahib. For those who were disturbed by Billy the bog-roll, look away now. Today’s selection is catchily and probably descriptively named Slack-ma-girdle I’ve yet to explain the local dialect, probably best left unsaid.
Finally something that made me smile a little this evening. Vaughan made a very good meal for Sunday dinner. Roast leg of lamb. Though it wasn’t the subject of Grub with V-Dub yesterday, it most certainly could have been.
The issue was what to have with it. Looking through the cupboard we hit on an unexpected find. A show reserve Margaret River (Australia) Shiraz from 2005. I looked at it doubtfully – I think it’s too good for a Sunday dinner I suggested.
Vaughan looked at the label noted it was 15 years old.. “Oh well” he says “We could all be dead in four weeks – where’s the cork screw?”