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)


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?





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