Saturday 25 April 2020

Pandemic Prepping Guide Now Available

Pandemic Prepping is now available to download to your Kindle, and if you found yourself without food during the height of the panic buying then it is a short, 4000-word e-pamphlet that you cannot be without. I was stunned when people could not buy the basic foodstuffs to cook a meal for that evening as supplies were always available, just not in the places where they were looking.

So grab yourself a copy of Pandemic Prepping and then kick yourself if you were one of the people who had to go to bed hungry because you did not know where to go for your supplies.

At least you won't be hungry the next time that the supplies dry up, which they will.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Oxford's Coronavirus Vaccine

It seems that Oxford has come up with a Coronavirus vaccine that will be trialled starting this week. It probably may not be as efficient as one developed at Cambridge, but it will be far wittier. Of course, the data is not going to end up in Moscow, either.

Monday 20 April 2020

The Lockdown Breaks in Edinburgh

This is what Edinburgh should look like under its lockdown, but doesn't as increasingly people are just ignoring the rules and going out and about. 

I noticed when I went shopping on Friday that the numbers of cars on the roads seemed to be far higher than it had the week before. There was also a lot of people walking, many with shopping bags in their hands who did not seem to be heading towards the shops. I guessed that this was a foil the filth tactic just on the off-chance that a bored copper decided to turn them over.

Arriving at the supermarket I turned the car around and left without stopping as over 100 people were queueing up to enter the building. I drove to a Lidl that was half empty even during the height of the panic buying and found a security man on the door filtering people into the shop. He let me through without any bother as I am both elderly and semi-crippled, but the fellow behind me was asked to wait until someone left. The same was going on at the B&M which never before has been so full that people have to wait to go in.

Last night my son took delivery of some supplies from Tesco and I took the opportunity to chat to the deliveryman who confirmed that traffic is now much heavier than it was and the streets much busier.

My theory is that Scotland does not have the same number of curtain twitchers that England has, probably because people do not want to get on the wrong side of the retired murderers and superannuated gangsters who are their neighbours. South Edinburgh may be terribly swish, but the council schemes that form a big chunk of the rest of the city are traditionally plebian in their mores.

So, if the lockdown is starting to collapse, anyway, that is probably why the Scottish government announced the other day that they are looking at ending some of the restrictions next month. 

All good fun.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Boris May Be Very Sick, but That Is No Reason for Us to Panic

Boris Johnson being forced into hospital with the Chinese Pox the day after the Queen made that magnificent speech has really put a damper on things. The media are in full panic mode, but this is not the first time that a Prime Minister has been laid low, quite the opposite, in fact.

In 1890, Lord Salisbury the then Prime Minister and William Gladstone, the Leader of the Opposition, were both stricken with what was variously described as either the Asiatic Flu or the Russian Flu. However, life for the rest of the people went on.

Fast forward to August 1918 and David Lloyd-George was knocked on his back by the Spanish Flu. So ill did he become on a trip to Manchester that a sickroom had to be put together in the town hall so he could recover, something which took almost two weeks. Given that the Great War was still raging, this may have created rather more problems for the government of the day that Boris' peacetime battle with the Coronavirus, but the country still came through it.

Finally, in 1953, Winston Churchill suffered a stroke, and to make matters worse, his obvious successor, Anthony Eden was in a hospital abroad. The government managed to cover up Churchill's three-month absence, but the machinery of government carried on regardless.

The point that needs to be remembered is that the United Kingdom is a state governed by institutions and not by individual men. I hope that Boris makes a full and speedy recovery, but if the worse comes to the worse, then the Queen will have to send for someone else who can command a majority in the House of Commons.

It is the way that things are done in mature, developed countries, so let's all relax and try and get through this crisis together without turning it into a drama.

Monday 6 April 2020

The Queen's Speech Captured the National Mood Perfectly

The Queen spoke to the nation and Commonwealth last night, something which she rarely does, apart from the traditional Christmas Address which we all watch as we are munching our turkey.

I think that the speech captured what needed to be said in just four short minutes. She drew on her experiences of the Second World War, which today has become our country's post-imperial national foundation myth, and urged us to be remembered as that generation is remembered. In other words, do we want to be memorialised like them, or are we happy to be remembered as a bunch of whinging losers?

She captured perfectly the image that the British have of themselves. We are not pathetic, inadequate creatures and we will not be remembered that way.

Saturday 4 April 2020

Fighting the Coronavirus Down Mexico Way

As the rest of the world dedicates time, money and resources to finding a cure for the Coronavirus, Mexico has put its faith in the supernatural, by producing these candles that come with their very own spell to ward off the Chinese Pox.

These veladoras, as they are called down Mexico way, retail for between £2.50 and £5.00 in sterling for the Coronavirus version, but you can get them with the promise that they will deal with all sorts of infirmities and problems. You light the candle, recite the conjuration as instructed on the product, and then pass the veladora over the bodies of everyone in the house so that its mystic fumes will protect them as they go about their daily business. The candle is then placed on the family altar and left to burn out of its own accord, something which will take up to a week or so. During that time, the Coronavirus is kept at bay.

El Universal has the story in Spanish and also in an English translation, which is not quite the same as the Spanish original. In the original version, the woman stallholder interviewed claimed that she had bought 40 of these veladoras and had sold 38 of them, leading her to buy another 60. The English version gives different quantities, for some reason. Both versions say that a made at home hand sanitiser which is 90% alcohol is also on offer, but only the English story has it that the sale of the veladoras comes with advice on western-style "hygienic measures" such as showering, albeit with a magic lotion.

My guess is that whoever created the English version of the story added those extras because they were embarrassed that people put their faith on the supernatural. The English readers are led to believe that actually, the venders are trying to help their peasant clientele by jollying them along into adopting modern cleanliness responses to this virus and that the magic element is just to get them interested.

However, before anyone starts to feel too superior, we should remember that here in the UK there are any number of utter fuckwits who blame the Coronavirus on the new 5G telephone masts that are being installed, and some of them are reported to have been burned down.

Frankly, I prefer Mexican mysticism to British bollocks.

People Ignore the Lockdown

I am less than convinced of the utility of this lockdown thingie. Shopping with one of my sons last Sunday we both noticed that the amount of traffic on the roads looked pretty much like the amount of traffic that you get on any given Sunday. The local community green which consists of a children's play area that is surrounded by benches for the adults to sit on was full of people taking the air and enjoying the bright spring day. It was true that fewer people were walking around along the main roads, but the side streets that cover my estate had the usual numbers of footsloggers on them.

That son of mine works as a security man and he was hired to do a shift at the Chinese consulate. Give the diplomats credit, as they fitted him out with a mask, goggles and latex gloves, which is a good thing as his job was to check the temperature of anyone who wanted to access the building and he was given strict instructions that anyone who was running a temperature was to be knocked back.

One fellow arrived and registered a temperature of over 100F degrees, which is pretty eye-watering. He claimed that he had felt a bit chilly that morning so had used the heater in his car, but the lad knocked him back and he went off, muttering in Chinese, about the unfairness of it all.

Last weekend the supermarkets introduced a policy of restricting the number of people who they let in at any one time, with the result that massive queues formed outside. At that time, getting a slot for a click and collect purchase was fairly easy, but then people began to order their groceries online and by midweek you couldn't get a slot to pick them up to save your life. At the time of writing, Tesco in this area has no slots available until next month. Looking on the bright side, last night I breezed into Tesco, bought what I needed and then paid at an otherwise empty checkout with no trouble. The checkout girl was so bored that we ended up chewing the fat for five minutes or so.

We will have to see what happens if the death rate does climb to around a thousand a day, as it is expected to do this coming week. However, as things stand, the people seem to have decided that the cure is worse than the complaint.
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