This Week In The Coronapocalypse | Bertie Comes To Stay

I met Jane in the plaza beneath my flat. We sat at opposite ends of a bench like two spies about to hand over state secrets. What we did actually hand over – or more accurately, what ran across the social distance between us – was Bertie.

We had a health scare with Coco at the beginning of the week, resulting in a couple of sleepless nights for us and an operation for her. She’s fine, and is recuperating at home. But what she doesn’t need is Bertie wrestling with her all hours of the day. So now I’m on Puppy Patrol.

This has had an enormously positive impact on my life. The cumulative weeks of insolation were having an effect on me that I wasn’t even admitting to myself. Now I have some company. He’s my Wilson to Tom Hanks’s Castaway. He’s one of the funniest, and certainly the most affectionate dog I’ve ever known, and barely leaves my side for a second.

Being a Working Cocker Spaniel his energy levels are off the scale. This has added some welcome enforced structure and exercise to my current life:

06:00 – 90 minute walk

08:00 – Breakfast for two

08:30 – Work

12:00 – Lunch for two

12:30 – 90 minute walk

14:00 – Work

18:00 – Dinner for two

19:00 – 60 minute walk

20:30 – Fall asleep in front of the telly whilst attempting to watch first episode of box set for the 10th time

I’m just very grateful that social distancing doesn’t extend to dogs.

All photos Fujifilm X100F, Acros Film Simulation


Prior to this pandemic, thanks to Brexit and the ensuing culture war, Britain has been engulfed in political turmoil for three years. Each day seemed to bring a new political calamity, which was then promptly forgotten when the next one happened 24 hours later. Weeks felt like months, months felt like years. I really regret not keeping a simple note of events as they happened, just so I could look back and try and make some sense of it all.

So during this period I’ve decided to sum up the weekly events that have struck me the most, from the deadly serious to the absurdly ridiculous. If my tone seems flippant at times…well, we all have our own way of getting through this horror.

See all previous updates here

This week in The Coronapocalypse:

  • US oil prices go below zero for first time on record
  • Oktoberfest cancelled
  • Denmark bans gatherings of 500+ until September
  • France bans all flights outside the Schengen zone
  • Parliament re-convenes using video conferencing technology
  • President Trump announces plan to suspend immigration to US
  • Government’s chief medical officer says return to normal in short term is ‘wholly unrealistic’
  • UK will need social distancing until at least end of year
  • Oxford University starts first human trials of Covid-19 vaccine
  • In this week’s edition of Don’t Try This At Home, President Trump floats the idea of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for Covid-19
  • Disinfectant & bleach manufacturers issue statements advsing people not to drink their products
  • Government to setup website to roll out mass testing to UK keyworkers
  • Government website runs out of tests within 120 seconds
  • Road traffic levels on the rise again
  • Home Secretry Priti Patel mocked for boasting shoplifting has declined. (clue: shops are closed)
  • 99 Year old veteran Captain Tom Moore becomes oldest person ever to have UK No. 1 hit


Worldwide cases: 2,921,556 (previous week 2,332,471)
Worldwide deaths: 203,299 (previous week 160,784 )
UK cases: 148,377 (previous week 114,217 )
UK deaths: 20,319 (previous week 15,464)

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This Week In The Coronapocalypse | In An Instant: Yashica Electro 35 CC

You know you’re at the chewing your own arm off stage of the Apocalypse when you have to resort to taking pictures of your own cameras.

This is the Yashica Electro 35CC, smaller sibling (and all the better for it) of Yaschica’s Electro series of 60/70’s rangefinders. Aperture priority auto-exposure, 35mm focal length, f/2.8 lens. Nice.

Yashica Electro 35 CC / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Black & White Film

Yashica 35 CC polaroid


Prior to this pandemic, thanks to Brexit and the ensuing culture war, Britain has been engulfed in political turmoil for three years. Each day seemed to bring a new political calamity, which was then promptly forgotten when the next one happened 24 hours later. Weeks felt like months, months felt like years. I really regret not keeping a simple note of events as they happened, just so I could look back and try and make some sense of it all.

So during this period I’ve decided to sum up the weekly events that have struck me the most, from the deadly serious to the absurdly ridiculous. If my tone seems flippant at times…well, we all have our own way of getting through this horror.

See all previous updates here

This week in The Coronapocalypse:

  • ‘UK likely to be the worst affected country in Europe’ – Government advisor
  • PM Boris Johnson leaves hospital & releases video praising immigrant NHS nurses who saved his life. The same ones who now wouldn’t meet the criteria under the Government’s new immigration policy
  • Queen gives Easter message of hope
  • Malaysian scientists create robot on wheels to make hospital rounds to check on coronavirus patients
  • Italy records lowest number of new infections for a month
  • Trump suspends WHO funding
  • UK economy could shrink by 35% with 2m job losses, warns OBR
  • EU’s medicine regulator estimates it could take one year before coronavirus vaccine available for widespread use
  • 107th Tour de France postponed until August
  • 99-year-old war veteran, Captain Tom Moore, raises £1000, £1M, £10M, £15M, £21M £25M for NHS staff after reaching goal of walking 100 laps of his garden
  • Romanians fly in to help pick British fruit
  • UK Lockdown extended by a least another three weeks
  • Some European countries begin to ease lockdown restrictions
  • Iran announces invention of device that can detect coronavirus at a distance of 100 metres, using a magnetic field and “bipolar virus”.
  • Egged on by Tweeting Trump, 1000’s of protesters armed with MAGA flags and …er… actual arms, defy social distancing and swarm the steps of Michigan’s state capitol to demand end to stay at home orders


Worldwide cases: 2,332,471 (previous week 1,784,331)
Worldwide deaths: 160,784 (previous week 108,962 )
UK cases: 114,217 (previous week 78,991)
UK deaths: 15,464 (previous week 9,875)

source

This Week In The Coronapocalypse | In An Instant: Why The Long Face?

I came across this beautiful and friendly chap on one of my recent expeditions to that dark and mysterious territory known as The Outside.

Chertsey / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Black & White Film

polaroid horse


Prior to this pandemic, thanks to Brexit and the ensuing culture war, Britain has been engulfed in political turmoil for three years. Each day seemed to bring a new political calamity, which was then promptly forgotten when the next one happened 24 hours later. Weeks felt like months, months felt like years. I really regret not keeping a simple note of events as they happened, just so I could look back and try and make some sense of it all.

So during this period I’ve decided to sum up the weekly events that have struck me the most, from the deadly serious to the absurdly ridiculous. If my tone seems flippant at times…well, we all have our own way of getting through this horror.

See all previous updates here

This week in The Coronapocalypse:

  • Scottish Chief Medical Officer resigns for breaching her own social distancing rules after holiday home visits
  • PM Boris Johnson admitted to hospital ‘as a precaution’, having suffered prolonged Covid-19 symptoms
  • Queen gives rousing special address to the nation for only the fifth time in her 68 year reign. Nation heartened
  • Boris Johnson admitted to intensive care as health worsens. Nation deflated
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab apparently now running Government
  • Nobody is really sure who is running Government
  • NHS Nightingale recieves first patients
  • Daily deaths in Italy gradually decreasing
  • Daily deaths in UK significantly increasing
  • No new deaths recorded in China
  • NHS workers put at risk due to lack of PPE. Some use plastic bags
  • Airbnb halts bookings in UK following complaints that hosts have been advertising properties as Covid-19 retreats
  • Chocolate giant Mondelēz (Cadbury and Oreo) repurposes 3D printing technology used for chocolate sculptures to make medical visiors for NHS staff
  • Some NHS workers send children to live with relatives in bid to protect them from Covid-19. It’s the Blitz all over again
  • PM transferred from intensive care to low dependency ward as health improves
  • Massive advertising campaign launched to discourage Brits from going out during the long and sunny Easter weekend
  • US becomes first country to record more than 2000 deaths in one day
  • Images emerge of coffins being buried in mass grave in New York City
  • Daily deaths in Spain gradually decreasing
  • EU agrees €500bn rescue package
  • PM improving and sitting up in bed


Worldwide cases: 1,784,331 (previous week 1,203,109)
Worldwide deaths: 108,962 (previous week 64,743)
UK cases: 78,991 (previous week 41,903)
UK deaths: 9,875 (previous week 4,313 )

source

Where Is Everybody?

The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.

A man in an Air Force flight suit is alone on a dirt track, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He stumbles into a nearby diner, and although the jukebox is playing, there are no customers. In the kitchen, he finds a pot of hot coffee and freshly made pies, but there are no other people besides himself.

He wanders into a nearby town. Like the diner, it is also deserted, yet he has the feeling that someone’s around and he’s being watched. A telephone rings in a phonebox, but when he rushes to answer no one is there. In the police station, a lit cigar is in the ashtray. In the cells, a recently used shaving brush and razor. Across the street in the ice cream parlour, he finds a rack of identical books, each one titled The Last Man on Earth. As he wanders around he becomes increasingly distressed and anxious to find someone to talk to. He thinks he’s dreaming and wants to wake up.

I’d like to wake up now. If I can’t wake up, at least I’d like to find somebody to talk to.

As nightfall approaches, he becomes progressively paranoid and anxious, eventually running and stumbling through the town in a blind panic. Finally, he comes upon a pedestrian crossing and desperately pushes the call button again and again, begging for help.

The call button is revealed to be a panic button and the man is actually in an isolation booth being observed by a group of senior servicemen. He has been undergoing tests to determine his fitness as an astronaut and whether he can handle a prolonged trip to the Moon alone; the town was a hallucination caused by sensory deprivation.


Where Is Everybody {watch} is the first-ever episode of The Twilight Zone. It was first broadcast way back in 1959, but I probably saw it in the late ’70s when the BBC ran the series late at night. It was one of a handful of episodes that really stuck in my head. Little did I know that 40 years later I’d be living it.

Things in my little town are desolate. As I go for my Government-mandated daily exercise each morning, the streets are pretty much devoid of people and cars. There are more joggers around than usual, though. Nevertheless, the number of people jogging is expected to reach a peak in the next two weeks, after which the curve will flatten and eventually 80% of the population will develop lifelong immunity.

For most of my daily walks and runs I’ve been taking my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar. But I wanted to capture the emptiness of the streets, and so for the last couple of days I’ve taken my beloved Pentax KM with the ultra-wide Miranda 24mm F/2.8 lens. I bought the lens from Dan James for a snip. Whilst not a great performer, stop down to f/8 and beyond, slip on a lens hood, and you’ll get some decent results. That’s the lens, not Dan.

I’m a bit of an introvert and I’m used to living alone, so I thought I’d get through this fairly easily. But it’s week three of not physically interacting with another single person, and I’m finding it a bit harder than I thought.

The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.

Chertsey in lockdown / Pentax KM / Kodak Tmax 100 / Developed in Kodak D76 1+1

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

This Week In The Coronapocalypse | In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Mini Me

And on my latest day release exercise, I swung by……. the cemetery. Again.

I’ve no idea what sort of meter the SX-70 has. But with this very white monument and the bushes behind, I was kind of hoping the meter would tone down the whites and render the background completely black. And it so very nearly did.

Chertsey Cemetery / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Black & White Film

Chertsey Cemetery


Prior to this pandemic, thanks to Brexit and the ensuing culture war, Britain has been engulfed in political turmoil for three years. Each day seemed to bring a new political calamity, which was then promptly forgotten when the next one happened 24 hours later. Weeks felt like months, months felt like years. I really regret not keeping a simple note of events as they happened, just so I could look back and try and make some sense of it all.

So during this period I’ve decided to sum up the weekly events that have struck me the most, from the deadly serious to the absurdly ridiculous. If my tone seems flippant at times…well, we all have our own way of getting through this horror.

See all previous updates here

This week in The Coronapocalypse:

  • UK testing policy under severe critiscism
  • Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose whilst inventing coronavirus device to warn when touching face
  • Video conferencing app Zoom valued at 50% greater than total of all US airlines combined
  • Google reports ‘How to cut men’s hair at home’ is last week’s top ‘how to’ search
  • Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since WWII
  • Endinburgh Festival cancelled
  • Basically, every cultural event for this year cancelled
  • Covid-19 claims its first democracy, as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán suspends Parliament and elections indefinitely
  • Contactless payment limit raised from £30 to £45
  • Number of confirmed worldwide cases passes one million
  • British Airways suspends 30,000 staff until the end of May under the government furlough scheme
  • British Airways staff serve breakfast for NHS employees at Whittington hospital
  • Britons once again take to their windows and balconies to clap, cheer and bang cooking pots for the NHS workers
  • Prime Minister still in self-isolation
  • PM’s pregnant partner also confirms she is recovering from Covid-19
  • London’s ExCel Exhibition Centre converted into 4000 bed temporary hospital in nine days
  • Health Secretary sets aim of 100,000 tests a day by end of April
  • Mobile phone masts torched and engineers abused over baseless theories linking coronavirus to 5G
  • President Trump announces latest infection figures top 8.5 million. Oh, sorry, that was actually his press briefing viewing ratings


Worldwide cases: 1,203,109 (previous week 664,891)
Worldwide deaths: 64,743 (previous week 30,893)
UK cases: 41,903 (previous week 17,089)
UK deaths: 4,313 (previous week 1,019)

source