People say to me, “We’re living in strange times”. True, but on the whole, I expect times to be strange. I’ve got a History degree. I read Science Fiction. In both, strange things happen. I’ve also got a lively interest in both emergency planning, and how people react in a crisis. The assumption that if something has never happened in your experience, it won’t happen, is horribly common and leads to a lot of bad decisions.

I’m not sure if that’s why I’ve been a bit scared, and bothered by things I want to do but can’t, but not disturbed or disoriented by the crisis. Of course, it makes a big difference that no-one I know has been hospitalised. But if they were, disoriented would be the last thing I’d be.

I get on with political planning tasks, with writing, with local birdwatching while maintaining social distance. I’m phoning people and getting phone calls. The cats are happy with things. I’m reading more – “New Scientist” and some books. I’m learning Italian – something I’d started as a project before lockdown, but I have more time for now.

Our government’s response is all over the place, but then I’d expect that. “New Scientist” mentions Chinese research that places of work were 100 times more dangerous than public transport; so the government makes face coverings on public transport compulsory and not at work. I did my big food shopping two days ago (now at 9 to 10 day intervals to reduce risk). None of the staff busying around (often coming close to customers) were wearing face-masks, though the checkout-people were.

OK, I’m not surprised – just disappointed.





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  1. Further to this: it seems to me three groups of people are at fault when the quite manageable measure of supermarket shelf (mobile) staff getting face-masks doesn’t happen: (1): The government (that’s the UK government, by the way, and I note the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments have handled the crisis better than the guys in London) because they could make face coverings compulsory by law for staff in workplaces that have a big throughput of the general public; (2) the supermarkets, which include Morrison’s and Co-op in my area, because they’re failing their employees and to a lesser extent, their customers; and (3) the trade unions. USDAW used to be a quite strong and active trade union. Are they not putting down their foot about their members being put at risk? Or are the staff I see non-unionised?


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