This Week In The Coronapocalypse | Donnington Castle

Donnington Castle was a comfortable fortified and decorated manor built in 1386 and owned by, amongst others, Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet. All until war broke out in 1642 between Charles I and Parliament. The Royalists seized and held the castle and built the fortifications that you now see as grass slopes, with cannon all around. Much was destroyed in the ensuing siege. This hardly counted because the real action took place in the neighbouring fields and villages where the Royalists lost in two Battles of Newbury. After their victory, Parliament voted to demolish what remained of the castle, leaving only the gatehouse, so you have to mentally reconstruct the body of the castle from the walls and small rooms that peep up from the grassy platform.

Donnington Castle / Mamiya 645 Pro TL / Ilford Pan F / Semi-Stand Developed in Rodinal 1+99 60 mins

Donnington Castle

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:

  • Senior Special Advisor Dominic Cummings admits breaking lockdown and driving 30 miles to a local beauty spot with his wife and child, explaining he was testing his eyesight to see if he was fit enough to further break lockdown by driving 260 miles to London. British public hears: ‘The dog ate my homework’
  • Cummings behaved ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’ says Boris Johnson, refusing to sack him. British public hears: ‘Do as I do, not as I say’
  • Cummings press conference: “Don’t believe everything you hear on TV”, says man on TV
  • Cummings press conference: “It’s all the fault of Islington Media Types and the Metropolitan Elite’, says man who lives in Islington with wife who works in media, was educated at private school and then Oxford University, whose parent’s estate includes its own woods, and whose father-in-law is called Sir Humphry Wakefield and lives in an actual castle
  • #Cumgate does not got viral due to Twitter’s anti-porn filters
  • 1 12 18 40 47 60+ Tory MPs call for him to be sacked
  • Junior Minister resigns over PM’s refusal to sack Cummings
  • Meaning of Government Stay Alert slogan becomes clear: watch out for visually impaired drivers on Motorway
  • Cops: Don’t drive if you’re blind
  • Some non-essential shops to re-open 15 June, if they can comply with ‘covid security’ regulations
  • Ebola drug Remdesivir sanctioned for use on most severe pateints
  • UK supercar maker and Formula 1 team McLaren to cut 1200 jobs
  • UK starts Test & Trace phase. Those identified as being in contact with confirmed cases will be told to self-isolate for 14 days. Website crashes within minutes.
  • Accusations that Government brought forward Test & Trace phase too early in order to knock Cummings story from headlines
  • US passes grim milestone of 100,000 deaths
  • EasyJet to cut up to 4,500 jobs
  • UK now has highest coronavirus death rate as a proportion of population of any country in the world.
  • Police conclude Cummings broke the lockdown and potentially the law. Goverment spokesman: ‘Yeah, whatever, losers’
  • Government: From next week up to 6 people can meet in parks if they socially distance

Worldwide cases: 6,162,516 (previous week 5,407,378)
Worldwide deaths: 371,037(previous week 344,019 )
UK cases: 272,826 (previous week 257,154)
UK deaths: 38,376 (previous week 36,675)


Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

When we’re out for our daily walks, Bertie and I see little evidence that Chertsey was almost destroyed by Martians in 1897. The town has put things back together pretty well (although Simpson’s Fried Chicken is still looking a bit worse for wear). Fortunately, local writer Herbert George Wells was on hand back then to document everything:

“Here they are!” shouted a man in a blue jersey. “Yonder! D’yer see them? Yonder!”

Quickly, one after the other, one, two, three, four of the armoured Martians appeared, far away over the little trees, across the flat meadows that stretched towards Chertsey, and striding hurriedly towards the river. Little cowled figures they seemed at first, going with a rolling motion and as fast as flying birds.

Then, advancing obliquely towards us, came a fifth. Their armoured bodies glittered in the sun as they swept swiftly forward upon the guns, growing rapidly larger as they drew nearer. One on the extreme left, the remotest that is, flourished a huge case high in the air, and the ghostly, terrible Heat-Ray I had already seen on Friday night smote towards Chertsey, and struck the town.

These are strange and unprecedented times. As I walk across those same flat meadows, my overactive imagination finds it easy to picture those vast Martian fighting machines stomping across the river, trampling everything in their path.

…higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder.

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds / Chertsey Meads Meadows / All photos Nikon F100 / Ilford Pan F Plus / Developed in Bellini Foto Eco Film Developer

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds


Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds

Chertsey & The War Of The Worlds