+There must be an awful lot of anxiety doing the rounds, as our invisible enemy stalks the land. If you so much as cough once, you wonder if it could be the herald of the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse. Sneezing however does not seem to be listed as one of the symptoms of having Coronavirus. So, in moderation and away from others, enjoy a good sneeze! I am! (Oh dear. What have I got?)
+Nature notes: Despite widespread travel bans, Kittiwakes are now returning to Scarborough’s castle cliffs in numbers. I like Kittiwakes, they come with Spring and are an early harbinger of Autumn, a reminder that we should still have seasons regardless of climate change. And they don’t swoop down and eat lard-loaded chips out of your hands as Herring Gulls do. Poor gulls, they’re going to be starved this year with the shutdown. I wonder how that will affect their mating season. With lighter mornings they’re usually warming up at 4am for a mating cacophony of screaming ‘I want chips and I want them now!’ On a more pleasant note, a variety of birds notable by their absence in recent months have returned to the garden—Blackbirds (nesting), Sparrows, three varieties of tits, Goldfinches, Ring Necked Doves, Woodpigeons and rats in the sky (pigeons). Lucky things, birds, not having to be locked down playing Patience (or whatever it is everybody else is pissing away their time with at the moment).
+There was a bit on the wireless (Home Service) yesterday evening asking whether people were likely to be drinking alcohol a bit more as they realised that future recordings of Eastenders have been suspended due to Coronavirus (I exaggerate slightly). It seems that at times of tension drinking more is a possibility (that’s a real surprise). As far as I am concerned this is a perfect excuse—it’s called self-medication. It’s fairly obvious that people will be drinking more at home since all the pubs, etc., have been shut down. What else can you do in a self-isolating community? Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. I have decided I am going to drink my little collection of international beers (collected on trips and holidays, the cheapest souvenirs you could wish for) - it will be interesting to see after so many years how these bottles may now contain a rather dull, flat liquid of zilch appeal. Anyway, drinking the stuff could be seen as an act of international solidarity, and I’m prepared to make the sacrifice. I will report here on each bottle as it goes down. Something to look forward to I’m sure. Hopefully, it will beat playing Patience (or its online equivalent).
+I’ve been reading (or been alerted to) a slew of articles these last few days about how the Coronavirus phenomenon will either alert us all to the pre-eminent threat of climate change, or will teach us nothing. There are some writers and climate change activists who hope that that this global pandemic will wake people up to some kind of collective epiphany, and so after the current infection is sorted we’ll all have a different, more enlightened attitude to climate change. Well, I bloody well hope so, but never underestimate the forces against such an outcome. I harbour a certain pessimism (as always on the climate change front) simply on the grounds that as we attack Coronavirus with everything we’ve got, we will actually defeat it. And since the same is not so easily true of climate change, we won’t defeat that. Because we will defeat Coronavirus, some if not all of our leaders will quickly settle back into their old ways, with a happy self-congratulatory slap on the back of satisfaction. In this sense, counter to all those hoping for a boost to climate change policies, we’re more likely to see a reversion to any old economic tool that halts the inevitable post-Coronavirus depression, a result of a mixture of political hubris and sheer desperation. Willed on by a populace that’s had enough of ’abnormality.’
+Cheer up! You don’t have to read this!
+The news bulletins have shown scenes in Madrid and elsewhere of people on their balconies banging, clapping and shouting in support of their local health workers. Quite a moving spectacle. Down my street there were a few last night doing the same. What will stop a lot of people joining in is the stupid design of their windows, those double glazed hermetically sealed behemoths which are not designed to open in anything like a sensible fashion. How nice it would be if I could lean out of my window and see what was going on. But British windows are British windows. What is it about our windows that tells us who we are as opposed to most of our European neighbours? (I could easily bang on about this subject for hours.) (I suppose I could have opened the front door, though.)