Gosport-based writer, adventurer and planetary modeller, David Angus, has found some therapeutic benefits to writing about the current crisis and imagining it as a letter to his late parents.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Well, things have really gone down the toilet now. Although I’m relieved to say that I’m having a relatively easy time of it.
Let me update you a bit: last December we had yet another general election that turned out to be a real disaster. The LibDem leader lost her seat, Boris ‘Bullshit’ Johnson secured his power with a thumping majority and Brexit was handed to him on a plate. The opportunity of another referendum vote to get rid of that – which is what most Britons want now – was thrown away by daft LibDem tactics, so I’ve left the party though I’ll still support them in local elections. What really got to me, though, were the decisive votes coming from northern constituencies voting Tory not because they wanted Brexit but because they didn’t like the Labour leader. Morons! It’s too much to hope that they’d vote LibDem or Green but why didn’t they just stay at home – as is their usual lazy wont – get some booze down them and just don’t bother voting? It’s still not a legal requirement to vote and so many have done that over the last few decades anyway.
But no, they just had to faithfully and dutifully drag themselves down to the polling office for their chance to blight so many futures with their stupid fear brought about by believing tabloid crap. This being before they finally expired through self-inflicted junk food – and booze – related ill-health.
2020 started well with Boris Bullshit coming up with a new slogan, ‘Get Brexit Done’, and taking us out of the EU on January 31st. Cue years of unnecessary trade wrangling and bureaucracy.
Now we’ve something worse than Brexit, if you can believe that. Remember SARS and MERS, those Asian-origin diseases that were contained? A similar new one called Coronavirus has put the UK into a state of siege with massively restricted movement. The virus escaped from China into northern Italy through air travel, emptying the streets there. Other cases appeared elsewhere in Europe. The government we’re stuck with, though, placed higher priority in keeping the economy going rather than everyone’s safety, which only led to more trouble later. A ‘lockdown’ was inevitable which would involve everything closing including many workplaces. It’s affecting everyone differently but the over-70s were most at risk and, of course, I’d just turned 70.
I’d also found out from a nurse at the local medical centre some time ago that I have ‘smoking-related damage to my lungs.’ I stopped smoking at the end of the last millenium and it could just as likely be down to the dust generated through those years of modelmaking. It sounds worse than it is, though, because after running me through a lot of tests the nurse concluded that my lungs were functioning very well and she didn’t know why.
‘What about the X-rays?’ I asked.
‘Forget the X-rays,’ said the nurse.
I was told not to worry when I asked questions about that on later visits; I wasn’t worried I was just being curious.
Anyway, what this boils down to is that, in Star Trek terms, I had to go on to ‘Yellow Alert’ with this virus. Not ‘Orange’ as suggested by a friend because that’s overreacting. Just be aware that my lungs could be a chink in my armour of good health, while remaining confident and worry-free through following safety advice.
By early March, I sensed that major changes were coming. One comical aspect of this was the panic-buying of toilet rolls. The crunch came after an afternoon run when I got a phone call from a Council colleague telling me to stop working because I belonged to a ‘high-risk’ group. Full lockdown was declared a few days later, closing most public places and compelling people to travel if it was only absolutely necessary for work and to exercise only through solitary walking a mile or two.
To begin with, I resented fate being on my case again and I missed my job. But, apart from probably saving my life, the Council have kept me on full pay and there’s no problem me returning to work after this crisis is over. A friend agreed to go shopping for me throughout the lockdown. I spent the first two weeks of it indulging in the pleasures of alcohol. After that, I got wiser and started going on hikes, steering clear of others and training with the backpack and gear I’m booked to take to Nepal in August. That trip’s in doubt of course, and the embassy have stopped issuing travel visas, but that’s all the more reason for keeping in shape for when the time eventually comes.
As you’ll remember, I was rarely bored as a child and am used to living on my own, so I’ve adapted easily. I’m using much of the time to write the autobiography my contact at Portsmouth University suggested I should. I’m making real progress digitising images of previous adventures.
The world is in the grip of a crisis that seems out of a Sci-Fi novel. No one knows how long this will last for or if a vaccine will ever be found, although drugs along the lines of those used with AIDS, or effective virus detection and isolation could be the solution. I haven’t been far from my home since mid-March, though places are often just that bit quieter than I was used to. Fareham and Gosport High Street, let alone Portsmouth, seem almost like other countries now. As if to tease the huge percentage of the population cooped up indoors, the weather became beautiful as soon as lockdown was declared, and has remained pretty good ever since.
Travel restrictions and the fact that many more people are working from home have caused pollution levels to drop. This should be a good thing for the climate change catastrophe we are heading for, but it won’t have long-term benefits.
All things considered, I’m really lucky. Many have been pitchforked into situations much worse: bankruptcy; job loss; lethal exposure to the disease; domestic violence, mental and physical problems brought about through isolation, cramped conditions and lack of exercise. Apart from Facebook, I’ve been keeping in touch with people I haven’t contacted for years by gradually working my way through my address database.
And we have absolutely the worst possible power in government during this crisis.
One sight of them rhythmically thumping the cabinet room table as an election achievement was enough to convince me I’d never seen anything more stupid. And sure enough, their Brexit-related mentality rendered them almost incapable of supporting the NHS which they’d weakened to the point of crisis before the virus arrived. We were way behind Europe in virus detection and protective equipment while Boris Bullshit and his cronies turned down an offer of help from the EU and lied about growing infections and deaths. Even airports were allowed to function without quarantine to the extent that we became the only country in the world that lax, apart from Iran!
One particularly vile maggot involved is Dominic Cummings. Imagine a cross between Gollum and Goebbels. He’d masterminded the Brexit referendum publicity campaign of deceit, wangled far too much undemocratic power and was now in the cabinet as an ‘advisor’: advising the government in favour of ‘herd immunity‘. To me this is not a million miles away from ‘The Final Solution’ because it means letting the virus run its course taking out the old – including guess who – and the weak while ‘the herd’ builds up natural immunity. This solution is not only sinister, it’s rubbish. New Zealand imposed lockdown early on leading to efficient control early on. Germany had much more in the way of testing for the virus. By the way, both countries have women leaders. I don’t know about South Korea but it’s an interesting example: ½ the land area of the UK with twice the population but far fewer virus casualties.
Incredibly it wasn’t long before Prime Minister Bullshit – who’d missed Cobra meetings and gone on holiday – and Maggot Cummings got the virus! Bullshit was particularly ill but both have recovered; most likely because of the special care they could obtain. No doubt welcoming the public show of support for the NHS through public applause every evening. There was too, an old army captain – now 100 – who was promoted to colonel and given a knighthood after sponsored walking with a Zimmer frame in his back garden raising many millions for the NHS. It might save the ‘government’ giving the medical profession the financial support they deserve.
By the way, during my alcoholic fortnight I gave my local dustbin men a bottle of wine. They too are on the ‘front line’ of essential services. So are bus drivers who are still working but I’ve seen many empty buses or ones with few passengers and the news reported many dying of the virus. I tried to get some free shopping to the local hospital too and made two contacts, but they never got back to me to follow up.
We now have the highest death rate in Europe and probably globally, although the virus is hitting the Third World now and Brazil’s catching up fast. The ‘winner’ is the USA which has Trump at the helm. Part of our problem is the virus getting into the care homes and slaughtering the old there. Something this criminal government is of course keen to downplay or cover up.
Well there you have it: a real doomsday scenario now. And this f*****g government are still mucking the European Union around with Brexit negotiations.
I’m doing alright, though.
© D Angus 5 2
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