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

This Week In The Coronapocalypse | Bertie Goes Home

So. Bertie went home this morning and I’m back to solitary confinement. I’m sad about this. These are the photos from our last couple of days together.

All photos Fujifilm X100F


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:

  • Italy begins to ease lockdown after eight weeks, with parks reopening and relatives reunited
  • Contact-tracing smartphone app piloted on Isle of Wight
  • Five Eyes Alliance contradicts theory Covid-19 leaked from lab
  • Virgin Atlantic to axe 3000 jobs and shut Gatwick operations
  • More than half of UK adults receiving some form of state financial help
  • Air France, KLM and Lufthansa make face masks compulsory for all passengers
  • Key Government Covid-19 advisor resigns after breaching social distancing rules with visit from ‘mistress’ (note to tabloid editors: nobody has had a ‘mistress’ since about 1890)
  • Bank of England predicts economy 2020 will be biggest economic slump in 300 years
  • 400,000 emergency PPE gowns flown in from Turkey fail quality control checks
  • Britons commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and remember those who died in WWII, whilst many of the survivors die in care homes
  • Britons celebrate VE Day with socially-distant street parties
  • President Trump says coronavirus will “go away without a vaccine” but offers no scientific evidence
  • 14-day quarantine proposed for air passengers
  • Government announces £2bn plan to encourage more cycling and walking


Worldwide cases: 4,152,885 (previous week 3,484,558)
Worldwide deaths: 282,733 (previous week 244,786 )
UK cases: 219,183 (previous week 182,260 )
UK deaths: 31,855 (previous week 28,131)

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This Week In The Coronapocalypse | Bromance

The bromance (as Jane calls it) between me and Bertie happily continues. We’ve had a great week together. Romantic walks, intimate meals, evenings spent curled up on the sofa, and…erm…drinking puddle water and chasing birds1.

Mind you, it’s not easy living with someone who likes to chill by lying on his back, legs apart and testicles on display for all to see. But hey, I think he’s getting used to me.

1. Note to Jane: my days of chasing birds are over

All photos Fujifilm X100F


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:

  • PM Boris Johnson back to work after recovering from Coronavirus
  • UK records its lowest daily death toll for a month
  • New Zealanders queue for burgers, fries and takeaway coffee after being freed from month-long lockdown
  • Nation holds minute’s silence for key workers who have died
  • Scotland recommends use of non-surgical face masks when in a confined space. England does not.
  • 30 million have sought US unemployment aid since virus hit
  • Huge jump in official death numbers as government includes coronavirus deaths in care homes and the community
  • Number of recorded cases in US exceeds one million
  • 3-10% of UK population may have been infected
  • Flag carrier British Airways announces 12,000 redundancies
  • Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds celebrate birth of baby boy
  • Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £29m for NHS by walking laps of his garden, celebrates 100th birthday.
  • Sales of condoms down, as social distancing rules limit ‘number of intimate occasions’
  • Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth
  • Record falls in CO2 emissions
  • Legendary American investor Warren Buffett dumps entire holdings in four major US airlines, warning that “world has changed” for aviation industry
  • US intelligence agencies conclude that the virus was “not manmade or genetically modified”
  • President Trump claims to have evidence coronavirus started in Chinese lab but offers no details
  • Spain’s lockdown, one of the toughest in Europe, slowly eased as adults allowed outside again


Worldwide cases: 3,484,558 (previous week 2,921,556)
Worldwide deaths: 244,786 (previous week 203,299 )
UK cases: 182,260 (previous week 148,377 )
UK deaths: 28,131 (previous week 20,319)

source

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)

source

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….