This Week In The Coronapocalypse | In An Instant: Charles James Fox

This is Charles James Fox ( 1749 to 1806), former resident of Chertsey and the first ever British Foreign Secretary. Just like our current Prime Minister who also once held that office, he was an Old Etonian with a reputation for laziness, womanising, and ridiculous hair. Fox, however, was a passionate campaigner for abolishing the slave trade, whereas Boris Johnson’s time in the role is infamous for his incompetent scuppering of plans to get British Citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from an Iranian jail.

Charles James Fox sculpture, Chertsey / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Charles James Fox


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:

  • Restaurants and churches reopen in Italy
  • Loss of taste / smell added to official list of Covid-19 symptoms
  • Donald Trump wins this week’s WTF Award (again) by saying he’s taking Hydroxychloroquine (‘at best ineffective, at worst deadly’) to own the Libs
  • Number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the UK surged in April by about 856,000
  • Huge row ensues over Government plan to reopen schools on 01 June for some pupils
  • Rolls-Royce to cut 9,000 jobs
  • Global death toll accelerating
  • NHS chiefs warn ‘time is running out’ to launch track-and-trace system to avoid a second deadly wave
  • Major study shows less than half of 19 to 30 year-olds ‘strictly’ abiding by Britain’s lockdown rules
  • 25% of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll, with 36% less willing to take vaccine if Donald Trump said it was safe
  • All people arriving in UK from 8 June must quarantine for 14 days
  • Tests now available to anyone with symptoms
  • South Korean football team fined for placing sex dolls in its stands to add atmosphere during closed match.
  • Chief Government advisor and architect of UK lockdown policy Dominic Cummings under fire for breaking lockdown policy whilst having Covid-19 symptoms *sigh*
  • Poll shows more Brits would prefer pubs to reopen rather than schools


Worldwide cases: 5,407,378 (previous week 4,722,233)
Worldwide deaths: 344,019(previous week 313,266 )
UK cases: 257,154 (previous week 240,161)
UK deaths: 36,675 (previous week 34,466)

source

This Week In The Coronapocalypse | In An Instant: Botleys Mansion

This week the Government urged those unable to work from home to go back to work. Meanwhile, the rest of us can continue to ping off a few emails in the morning, have the occasional video call in our underpants, and spend the afternoon watching Netflix. Or is that just me? Anyway, during this difficult period our Prime minister has certainly lived up to his reputation. Unfortunately, that reputation is for laziness, incompetence, and pathological dishonesty. Yes, as Britain stands on the edge of a precipice, nobody is better equipped than Boris Johnson to take us forward.

From this week, we’re also no longer officially restricted to exercising once a day. To be honest, I’ve been doing more than that anyway. The streets have been practically empty, and when I do come across someone we smile and politely do the now-familiar social distance dance. Exercise is one of the things keeping me sane, although part of me thinks that the only rational thing to do in these circumstances is to go mad.

Some non-essential shops are now allowed to open, provided they take the proper precautions. The Subway near me has a sign saying four people only, but every time I walk by they seem unable to even muster that many victims customers. It almost as if people think a chipotle ‘chicken’ foot-long sub is not worth risking death for. Who’d have thought?

When Bertie was here we took our walks down by the Thames, and through the meadows and woods. Now he’s gone I’m back to walking along the pavement and through the parks. My morning walk now takes me through Homewood Park and past Botelys Mansion. Botleys is a Palladian house built in the 1760s. It’s changed hands many times during its lifetime, but for much of the 20th Century it was variously a war hospital, a psychiatric hospital, and a nurses’ home. These days it’s owned by a private company that hires it out for weddings.

Botleys Mansion, Chertsey / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Botleys Mansion


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:

  • In a devastating blow to the virus, the Government changes its slogan from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’
  • PM announces three-step approach to ease country back to normality, but forgets to include his resignation
  • Some non-essential shops allowed to re-open, provided they take necessary precautions
  • Avianca, the world’s second-oldest airline, folds
  • Furlough scheme to continue until October
  • Football restarts behind closed doors in the German Bundesliga
  • Goverment recommends homemade face coverings in enclosed places
  • People who can’t work from home should go back to work, provided they can social distance
  • Trump declares victory over “invisible enemy” as US deaths surpass 80,000
  • Covid-19 breaches supposedly one of the most secure facilities in the world: The White House
  • Public Health England approves use of ‘100% accurate’ antibody test
  • Large areas of London are to be closed to vans and cars, allowing people to walk and cycle safely and thus avoid public transport
  • UK trial begins to see if dogs can ‘sniff out’ virus
  • Anti-lockdown protests take place in Hyde Park and Britain takes back the Covidiot Crown. Donald Trump demands a recount


Worldwide cases: 4,722,233 (previous week 3,484,558)
Worldwide deaths: 313,266 (previous week 244,786)
UK cases: 240,161 (previous week 182,260)
UK deaths: 34,466 (previous week 28,131)

source

In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Welcome To….

Welcome to….

….the local hand car wash, as it happens.

When these guys started up about six or seven years ago, they started sending out flyers proclaiming to be ‘The Best Hand Job In Town’. They soon stopped that once they realised they were attracting the wrong kind of customers.

The Best Hand Job In Town / Chertsey Car Wash / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Chertsey Car Wash

I took this photo on my exercise stroll this morning. The car wash is just by my apartment, and in the old days at weekends when I’d wake up a bit later and the traffic was light, I could hear the gentle sloshing of the water from their hoses. It’s a surprisingly comforting sound. Of course, now it’s silent, abandoned, and its absence just adds to that dislocating sense of 28 Days Later desolation. The streets are empty, with just an occasional car, and if you do pass a pedestrian coming the other way, both of you give each other a wide berth. This is the new normal. I can’t help wondering if future generations will wonder how it become traditional to sing Happy Birthday whilst washing your hands.

See all of my Polaroid SX-70 photography here

In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Mysterious Watson

Watson doesn’t seem to be letting the Coronapocalypse cut into his preening time….

Watson The Cat / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

The year is 1974. The world’s tallest building is on fire, and a bunch of ageing character actors and Hollywood royalty are trapped on the top floor. That nice young man who played Dr Kildaire turns out to be a bit of a dick. Fred Astaire falls in love with a woman with a pussy. Paul Newman plays the devilishly handsome architect and Steve McQueen plays the devilishly handsome fire chief. O.J. Simpson plays O.J. Simpson.

Time is running out and there’s just one last shot: blow the tanks on the roof and let the million tonnes of water they contain douse the fire. People are frantically trying to find some way to secure themselves against the deluge. Everything goes quiet whilst the clock ticks down. People anxiously wait. Close-ups of sweaty, nervous faces. Who will be swept away and who will survive?

Three….

Two…

One….

Boom!

Spoiler: the cat lives.

Yes, I know that’s the plot of The Towering Inferno {trailer}.

No, I know it’s not exactly a contemporary reference.

But that’s just kind of how it feels.

Covid-19 deaths in the UK are around 450 as I write. Current modelling shows that we’re two weeks behind but on exactly the same trajectory as the disaster that’s happening in Italy.

The whole of the UK is on lockdown. Whilst it’s not as extensive as some other Europen countries (unfortunately), Government orders are to stay home apart from essential shopping, exercising alone, and going to work for key workers. This will be reviewed in three weeks, but I think anyone who’s been paying attention knows that it’ll be months rather than weeks before we escape house arrest.

I’ve already been working from home for the last two weeks. I’m trying to get into a daily routine of work and exercise. I live alone, and even as an introvert, I suspect that months on end with no face to face social interaction will send me totally tonto. Jane, her girls, and the dogs are hunkered down in their place 30 miles away. I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

On the plus side, there’s no one around to see me turning in to Tom Hanks from Castaway. Every cloud….

In An Instant: Bertie On Patrol

Sunny days are rare around here this time of year. But on clear winter mornings when the sun is low in the sky, light pours into the living room for a couple of hours. Bertie’s lit up here by a slice of sunlight. He likes to sit on the back of the sofa, keeping lookout through the window. It’s not that he’s some fierce guard dog; he is, after all, a spaniel. It’s more that he’s watching for the next person to come and give him the love and attention he knows he deserves.

Bertie at 8 months / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Read here my first attempt at using the reformulated Polaroid Originals instant film in my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar