Tag Archives: COVID 19

ECCENTRIVIA – hairy-nosed wombats, almost dead parrots, Scots and tossers

My last blog ended with the mention of comedian and author Janey Godley’s meal of mince on toast being the subject of a prominent news article in Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper.

The next day, England’s/the UK’s Daily Star newspaper picked up the Daily Record story and it also turned out that, according to Google, ‘Janey Godley’ was the most-searched name for and by Scots in 2020.

Forget toast; she is on a roll.

********

Fame though, like the hairy-nosed wombat, can be a fickle thing.

Hairy-nosed wombat (Photo by Eva Hejda, via Wikipedia)

Creative hyphenate Ariane Sherine’s 9-year old daughter decided that, for her upcoming birthday in April, she wanted to adopt (online) a hairy-nosed wombat. They are an endangered species and she reckons they look sweet.

I am not altogether sure I agree and I felt obliged to point out to her that there are only reckoned to be either 206 or 147 of the even-more-endangered kākāpō left in the world.

These are quirky, large, flightless, nocturnal parrots.

Ralph (Photo: New Zealand Department of Conservation)

As a result, for her still upcoming birthday, she has now persuaded her long-suffering mother to fork out an extra £55 for the adoption of a near-extinct non-Monty Python kākāpō parrot called Ralph.

I suggested that, as the Rule of Three is immutable (she is an expert Scrabble player) Ariane’s daughter should also adopt the two squirrels who live in my back garden and, as I cannot tell them apart, we should call both of them Cyril. 

So she has now informally and additionally adopted Cyrils the Squirrels.

We will skate over the fact that four creatures are now involved. 

********

Andy Dunlop in happier days

On a more serious note, I received this sad missive from Andy Dunlop – President of the World Egg Throwing Federation:

“The World Egg Throwing Championships, hosted by Swaton Show, was looking forward to its return this year following last year’s lock down but the Committee fears our June 27th date may be unachievable due to the global pandemic. Movement to another date this year is impractical for wholly understandable reasons.”

I suggested that, when tennis becomes allowed, surely egg throwing must be allowed and that, if Scotch Eggs could be classified as a full meal to get round pub restrictions, maybe they are the future of egg-throwing too – though a bit dangerous for Russian Egg Roulette, which involves smashing an egg into your own forehead.

Andy Dunlop’s disappointing reply was: “Probably not.”

The moment the World Gravy Wrestling Champion failed in his World Russian Egg Roulette title bid in 2012

He added: “Our family continue to be fine as are now both vaccinated and it’s pretty much OK to be locked down when I can work from my conservatory, over-looking a couple of acres of garden and field disturbed only by bird song and the occasional baa from the sheep looking through my fence. 

“The ten girls in there since yesterday, placed by farmer Steven (son of Steve, father of Steven John) arrived after a scan revealed they are not in lamb and, unbeknown to them, are being fattened before their final trip. They will be replaced shortly by a clutch of successful mothers and their new joyous off spring.”

It took me a moment to realise all this referred to sheep.

********

Shortly after that message arrived from the barren outlands north of Watford, I received this photo from comedy uber-fan Sandra Smith on England’s south coast:

I had always assumed the locals in Brighton were fairly sophisticated men and women of the world (other genders are available). But I am prepared to reconsider this opinion…

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Reaction to the incompetence of the UK’s National Health Service…

Yesterday’s blog was me bitching about the inefficient, mindless bureaucracy of the NHS. In particular, about how they sent me three self-contradictory letters about changing my meeting with a Consultant in June (in four months’ time) from an in-the-flesh meeting to a telephone call (because of the infection risk during the current COVID outbreak).

Inevitably, about ten minutes after posting that blog, I got a phone call from the NHS about changing from flesh-to-telephone a different appointment I have tomorrow with a different Consultant at the same hospital.

Something of a pity that I am not seeing him in the flesh because last week I had a recurrance of the vertigo I suddenly had without warning three weeks ago… and the neck/shoulder/arm pain which has recently got worse since it started back in November… and, of course, the fact I have not had a proper night’s sleep since I was in hospital in May last year – I wake up at least once every hour during the night, dehydrated, with my throat and mouth parched and having to drink water.

This means – because of the water – having to go to the toilet a lot during the night, which is not helped by falling-over vertigo or a painful and restrictive neck/shoulder/arm problem which is easier to describe visually rather than over the phone.

It also means I will not be given a blood test to see how my calcium level/kidney function is progressing or not. Those were involved in my problem last May, the cause of which is still a “mystery” (technical term).

Anyway, I got a fair number of comments about yesterday’s blog. These are a few…


Andy’s response was:


You should raise this with The Minister at The Department of Administrative Affairs. The response will be that to change a standard NHS letter issued by a single key stroke that generates three different but essential standard letters to the same person whilst informing several departments of the change is essential in effective running of the appointments system. 

Whilst admitting that this does appear to be wasteful and confusing, particularly if the three letters received by the patient are opened in the wrong order, to alter the system requires the employment of a number of consultants and support staff over a period. It’s estimated, that may extend over several years because there is no central office for administration within the NHS. 

You’ll recall the failure of the government proposed computer system to link all the the NHS computer systems into one seamless system. It’s considered that to fix this issue, which is considered mostly harmless, would take in the area of £736,000,000 and is therefore not worth doing.

In addition, all of the Ministers’ friends are all currently overstretched in other government projects they’ve been awarded so won’t be able to start work in this until at least 2037.


‘King1394’ observed:


Yes it is the efficient work of computerised automation. Once there would have been a thinking clerical worker managing your appointments. But computers are cheap to employ even if they produce three contradictory letters where one would suffice.


Alan commented:


This is the same bureaucracy that, when medics were crying out for Personal Protective Equipment, refused to deal with many suppliers who had stockpiles of exactly the right equipment, in date, authorised for medical use… They refused to purchase it because that particular supplier couldn’t be added to the procurement system due to a lack of past dealings.

Every once in a while there’s a cry-out for everyone in the NHS to receive a pay rise or bonus due to the hard work they’ve done in fighting the pandemic.

While I wholeheartedly agree that every single person in the NHS who has been right there in the hospital, facing danger, risking their own health as well as that of their families should get something, I’m still very reticent to make it a blanket award as I don’t want to reward those who made it more difficult or who simply did their job from home at no additional risk to themselves or others.


…and Sandra said:


The NHS? I have been lucky in my treatment from them in the main.

Apart from the time when I was sent for physio, when in fact my hip was on the point of fracturing.

Plus one other doctor whom everyone avoided.

As it turned out, he mis-diagnosed my condition, complained about the price of the meds he was about to prescribe, then ran after me begging forgiveness because he had given me the wrong prescription. Bastard. 

And I told him so, leaving out the word bastard…


Obviously, I realise my alleged problems are only relatively minor inconveniences, but – hey! – look – it’s my blog. It needs writing and where else can I selfishly whinge up my own arse if not in my blog?

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The mindless administrative mess that is the UK’s National Health Service…

(Photo by Bofu Shaw via UnSplash)

This week, on one single morning, I got three NHS letters in two envelopes from the same London hospital, all posted from Bristol and all written on the same day, five days earlier.

The first told me (in paragraph 2) that my appointment to see a doctor at 10.30am on Friday 18th June had been cancelled “as part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak”. 

In paragraph 3, the letter explained that, although the second paragraph “states your appointment has been ‘cancelled’, this is not the case. You have been placed on a waiting list.”

Attached to this letter was a second letter saying: “We’re sorry but we have had to cancel your appointment” at 10.30am on Friday 18th June.

Both these letters were in the same envelope.

In a second envelope which arrived at the same time on the same day was a third letter dated on exactly the same day as the first two letters.

It said: “This letter is to confirm that a telephone appointment has been made for you at 10.30am on Friday 18th June. When you have a telephone appointment you are not required to attend the hospital.”

So basically, entirely reasonably, to avoid people attending the hospital in person during the COVID-19 outbreak, my in-the-flesh appointment at 1030 on Friday 18th June (over four months away) had been changed to a telephone appointment at exactly the same time.

To do this, I was sent a letter saying my appointment was cancelled but not cancelled… an attached letter saying my appointment was cancelled… and a third, separate letter saying my appointment had been changed from physical to telephone.

All that I needed to receive was one letter saying my appointment had been changed from physical to telephone, not three letters, all sent from the source on the same day.

Have I mentioned before how much I hate mindless bureaucracy in general and what an administrative mess the NHS is?

… CONTINUED HERE

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COVID Lockdown London: lunchtime in a massive East End shopping centre…

The station at Stratford in East London is always busy because it’s an interchange between two London Underground lines, the Overground, the Docklands Light Railway, national Great Eastern trains and the existing TfL Crossrail service.

Counting Underground passengers alone, in 2019, 64.85 million people entered or exited the station. This was the main exit from the station(s) to the massive Westfield shopping centre today, an ordinary Thursday…

And this was one small area inside Westfield shopping centre around lunchtime today:

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The unsinkable Anna Smith gets a COVID vaccine jab in Vancouver…

Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, is currently homeless because her 33ft boat sank. (See my last blog) but yesterday she had The Jab…


COVID vaccination arrangements at the Carnegie Center

I got immunized for Covid-19 yesterday morning, at the Carnegie Center in Vancouver.

My friend and I lined up for two hours in the cold, watching fights break out, fire trucks passing by and an unending parade of physically and mentally ill people on crutches, canes or pushing each other in wheelchairs. A police car went speeding past going twice the speed limit, weaving between lanes, without its lights on.

And there was the ever-present purveying of every drug known to man… and cheese. 

Behind us in the line were two patient First Nations teenagers wearing sports jerseys. They explained: “We’re getting the vaccine so we don’t give it to our parents…”

Anna Smith with warm COVID nurse Felicia…

Ahead of us in the line were a couple, very thin and ill-looking, wearing dark hoodies. Huddled together in the cold, their figures merged together, it was almost impossible to distinguish them from each other.

They seemed like an outline of one tall, thin person.

After ascertaining my identity, which was her job, the very warm and personable Nurse Felicia from Liverpool was interested to hear that I contribute to a British blog. She asked me how to find it and scribbled down So it Goes

After the vaccination, we went upstairs to the City of Vancouver run cafeteria and picked up delicious meals: a beef dip  – thin sliced beef on toast topped with cheese and gravy, served with a side salad of iceberg lettuce and radish sprouts and crispy empanadas with spinach and feta cheese dressing. It cost the equivalent of three UK pounds. We are very fortunate in Vancouver to have three of these city-run eateries downtown, as well as several places serving good food for free. Sort of odd, though… all these well-nourished people, but still we’re so lacking in affordable housing.

Five unexplained dwarves having a bit of a rest in Vancouver

When I left, heading towards a bus, I encountered some resting dwarves outside Pacific Central Station, on Main Street.

Mad Mike’s Mushroom tent is gone for the winter, but I discovered a cafe selling psychedelics and other things – which, of course, I don’t recommend – in the Strathcona neighbourhood.

My arm became a little sore later in the day, yesterday, and today I got a little rash on the opposite arm, but might just be a spider bite.
 
That’s one thing I miss from the boat. It was like a spider sanctuary. I had different species in different parts of the boat. There were some fat yellowish-white little spiders that I would only see in the summertime. They would startle when they saw me and jump up in the air and land facing the opposite way. Like dancers.
 
I will miss the little waterbugs too. They used to entertain me on hot summer days with how they walked on the river’s surface, in the cool shadow under my boat.I wrote a little blues verse about them, which I still like:
 
All you little water bugs
Underneath my boat
You have such great big families…
And I am all alone
 

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That was the weak… Being unbalanced maybe with vertigo in a time of COVID

This is more of a self-centred, up-my-own-arse aide-mémoire diary entry for myself than a blog for others. Proceed with caution and without anticipation. You have been warned…


A page from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”

MONDAY 11th JANUARY

Tonight, around 9.30pm or 10.30pm, I became unbalanced.

Dizzy is not the word. The world around me was not spinning. But I was very swoony. Inside my head. I felt I was going to overbalance and fall over. In my house, if I walked across my living room, if I went upstairs or downstairs, I felt I was going to fall over and had to touch the walls to stay upright.

Since I was in hospital for one week in May (with an abnormally high calcium level and dangerously low kidney function) I had been waking up at least once every hour during the night with the interior of my mouth bone dry. No spittle, no lubrication, just totally Sahara Desert type dry. My dry tongue would feel it was stuck to the dry roof of my mouth or inside of the cheek. I had to drink water to lubricate my mouth and this, of course, meant I was having to go to the toilet a fair number of times during the night.

TUESDAY 12th JANUARY

Last night, if I stayed still and horizontal in bed I was OK but, if I stood up and walked into the bathroom, my balance went haywire. I needed the reassurance of nearby walls to touch as the inside of my head was all over the place.

It was the same thing this morning.

Not dizziness as such but a bit like being drunk (which I’ve only been twice in my life, in my long-ago twenties) – I was a bit sway-ey when I moved around. My foot-placement and balance were not 100% under my control.

This was pretty obviously NOT the COVID virus – I had no temperature, no new persistent cough, no loss of taste/smell – but I was unbalanced.

I thought: I’ll phone my local doctor tomorrow if I’m still feeling this way then.

Getting access to a GP during the current Coronavirus problems in the UK is not easy, as I know from my experience back in May. They don’t really want to talk to you; too much hassle.

This afternoon, I phoned my friend Lynn, whose husband has a slight medical background. She thought what I thought: that it was a dramatic symptom but probably something to do with an infection of the inner ear – BPPV, she suggested – when crystals in the ear dislodge. She said what I was feeling was vertigo and it might well resolve itself. She suggested I try the Epley Manoeuvre which aims to sort out the crystal problem.

There were some videos online

When I looked up BPPV online (never look up anything medical online) it turned out the loosened crystals involved are calcium crystals. I did not find this reassuring given my calcium problems back in May.

I talked to someone else I know. “Definitely sounds like vertigo,” she said. “I get vertigo attacks a couple of times a year as a result of having Meniere’s Disease. Usually brought on by dehydration in my case.”

Ah, I thought. Dehydration is why I have been waking up virtually every hour every night for about the last six months!

I had never thought of the word Vertigo until Lynn mentioned it but, when she said it, a lightbulb lit up in my head. Ping!

If lightbulbs go Ping!

I used to think I was frightened of heights but, after flying in a bubble-nosed helicopter in the US and travelling in multiple cable cars in Switzerland, I eventually realised I was not literally frightened of heights. I was frightened of overbalancing and falling… because of something that happened in my childhood.

To this day, I cannot walk across the Wibbly Wobbly footbridge or the Hungerford footbridge across the River Thames. They have no visible means of support when you are on them and I panic; I can almost feel the levels in my ears go out of control and I want to throw myself down on the surface of the bridges for safety.

This overbalancing feeling was like that… and a bit like part of what I felt before I was taken into hospital in May. Lightheaded. Unbalanced.

A week of saline drips back then got my kidney function up to a less dangerous level. 

Since then, I have been an outpatient of the local hospital’s Kidney Man and seen his mate the Calcium Man; though neither took any obvious interest in my constantly waking with a dry mouth. And no-one has found what caused my sudden kidney/calcium problem. 

I am scheduled to see the Kidney Man again in February, the Respiratory Team in May, the Calcium Man in June and, yet to be scheduled, an Ear, Nose & Throat person. All hoping they might find a cause for what happened in May.

It seems easier to see them than to get through to a GP…

Anyway, throughout Tuesday, I spent the day in bed and was still unbalanced whenever I got up to go to the loo.

I thought: I’ll phone my local doctor tomorrow if I’m still feeling this way then.

But do I trust my GP even if I can get hold of him? Not really.

WEDNESDAY 13th JANUARY 

I spent another day in bed but was maybe 60% less unbalanced when I was up and going to the toilet.

I stayed in bed until around teatime, then went out and walked to the nearby shops and back. I was a bit meander-y with slightly uncertain footing and, on the way back, my body felt very hot internally – inside the torso – which, I think, was just because I had over-exerted myself. It was only a 10 or 15 minute walk.

(Look, I told you in advance this is more of a self-centred, up-my-owm-arse diary entry for myself rather than something of interest to others. You were warned…)

Back home, I booked a COVID test just in case. I had none of the main symptoms, but my post-May symptoms sufficed. I also managed to slightly twist my lower spine by bending down to pick something up – never a good thing to do since I got hit by a truck while standing on a pavement in Borehamwood in 1991. So I had to sleep on the floor tonight.

(Like I said in the brackets above, you were warned…)

THURSDAY 14th JANUARY

Same as yesterday.

I stayed in bed until around teatime, then got up and walked to the nearby shops and back. I was a bit meander-y with slightly uncertain footing and, on the way back, my body felt very hot internally – inside the torso – which, I think, was just because I had over-exerted myself. It was only a 10 or 15 minute walk.

Yup, like I said, same as yesterday.

Though my balance was very slightly better.

I thought: Shall I phone my local doctor tomorrow? I think I’m feeling slightly better.

I didn’t phone.

I slept on the floor overnight, to try to mend my back.

It was all getting a bit samey.

FRIDAY 15th JANUARY

My balance was slightly better.

I thought: Is it worth phoning my local doctor with all the hassle and evasion that will involve?

I didn’t.

I took the self-administered COVID test which had now arrived and sent it off.

I slept on the floor overnight, to try to mend my back.

SATURDAY 16th JANUARY 

My balance was slightly better.

I slept on the floor overnight, to try to mend my back. 

SUNDAY 17th JANUARY

My COVID test result arrived by email and was unsurprisingly negative. That’s my seventh negative test, including three during my week in hospital in May. Did I mention I had been in hospital in May?

My back had mended. But the back of my neck and right shoulder remained occasionally painful. That has been going on for about the last three or four weeks and is, like my spinal problem,  connected with the after-effects of the being-hit-by-a-truck incident in 1991. I may not have mentioned that incident…


Those were my travails over that one week.

But they were minor and mean bugger-all. They are mild inconveniences. Over that same week, the DAILY death figures from COVID in the UK were around 1,000 to 1,500. The following week, they got up to 1,600 and 1,800 deaths per day.

At the time of writing this, there have been – as of yesterday – 97,329 deaths due to COVID – another 1,348 yesterday; and the number of COVID patients on mechanical ventilators in UK hospitals has passed 4,000 for the first time – 4,076, according to the BBC.

I know someone who had COVID very badly at the beginning of last year and, about a fortnight ago… one day… two of his toes fell off. One of his big toes and another toe. 

It kinda puts my problems of a dry mouth and being a bit unsteady on my feet fnto perspective.

Apparently what sometimes/often happens when a person is critically ill and on a life support ventilator – which he was for months – is that drugs called vasopressors are used to support the patient’s blood pressure. He had to have vasopressors for a long time to keep him alive. These drugs constrict the blood vessels in order to increase blood pressure, so that blood circulates through the vital organs to keep them alive. 

A horrible side effect of directing blood to the central organs is that it can induce ischemia (reduced blood supply) to the extremities. The toes are most commonly affected but some COVID patients have lost fingers. 

In his case, his whole feet were affected. The nerves in his feet were damaged by lack of blood supply and they were in constant pain. The toes on one foot did not recover from lack of blood supply and turned black. Rather than amputating the affected toes, the doctors decided to leave them to ‘auto-amputate’, which is considered safer than surgery. 

The process tends to take about a year – in this case it took ten months. 

Even though he knew it was going to happen, it was obviously mentally traumatic. 

Two of his toes fell off.

Apparently another two will follow.

So my minor ailments are nothing.

Life is shit.

All shit is comparative.

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Thoughts written in Britain during the coronavirus lockdown, Christmas 2020

(Photograph by Fusion Medical Animation, via UnSplash)

My British-born friend Louisette Stodel posted this on her Facebook page today and I think it deserves an even wider readership.

Her parents and family were Dutch, based in Amsterdam…


When my Jewish parents were in hiding from the Nazis for 3 years as children during WWII, they did not have phones, iPads or Zoom to stay in touch with their friends and family, they couldn’t chat and wish them happy holidays. They didn’t even know where their parents or siblings were, or whether they were alive or dead (and many did not come back from the concentration camps).

My point? Let’s stay safe this Christmas and make the best of it. Tier 4 has clipped your wings, ruined your plans and you won’t be going to Spain or feeding your Aunty or hugging your gran and that is really sad. But no doubt in the last 9 months you have been able to teach them how to do FaceTime and Zoom.

So enjoy the technology we have that allows you to be in touch with the people you love at Christmas. We all look forward to the day when we can safely hug one another again.

Happy Christmas xx

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More blood has to flow during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK…

(Image by kropekk_pl via Pixabay)

Yesterday, I got a phone call from the NHS Blood Transfusion Service asking if I would like to give blood.

Normally, I am a blood donor but, I was in hospital for a week in May with a high calcium level and a very low kidney function.

I am still not quite back to normal levels and the doctors still do not know the cause of the problem despite endless X-rays, scans, blood tests et al. 

So, last time I was due to give blood, I checked and was turned down and told I could not safely donate until I had finished being an out-patient at my local hospital. 

My blood is Group O+ which is, I think, the most common type.

I asked the Blood Donation person on the phone: “I’ve got dead common blood. Why are you phoning me – because people aren’t giving as much blood during the pandemic?”

And this, indeed, turned out to be the reason.

I was told there were fewer donors than normal because of the coronavirus pandemic and – also because of the pandemic – some of the smaller donor centres (hired for the day) have either closed-down permanently or are currently shut because of the ongoing lockdown provisions.

Blood donations have lowered to the extent that they are now phoning up existing donors to encourage them to give blood soon.

More blood has to flow.

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Why not all pubs are closed during the current English COVID-19 lockdown

(Photo by Eugene Ptashnik via UnSplash)

England is in a coronavirus total shutdown at the moment. It started on 5th November and continues until at least 2nd December.

This means all non-essential shops and retail premises are closed. So food shops remain open but all pubs are closed because large numbers of people congregating inside a pub, breathing on each other and getting drunk is clearly a bad idea.

But not all pubs are closed…

The last lockdown has encouraged some commendable creative thinking during this one.

My local pub in Hertfordshire has invested in polystyrene food containers and has reinvented itself as a hot meal takeaway.

A wine bar I know in East London has erected a tent outside and is doing – I think – takeaway hot dogs, burgers etc. At any rate, there’s a lot of sizzling and smoke going on there.

And a pub in trendy NW London has re-invented itself as rentable office space – You can rent a table and work from your local pub round the corner in a socially-distanced setting with WiFi and all the benefits of an office (but without any drinks being served).

Entrepreneurial thinking at its best in extremis.

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What we need in Britain are firework parties celebrating the coronavirus…

Beirut in 1993/1994 – home of sundry death-dealing devices

I spent New Year’s Eve 1993 (turning into 1994) in Beirut.

There was much celebration by way of firing sub-machines and sundry death-dealing devices in the air. 

I stayed inside my hotel on the seafront that night on the basis that what goes up must come down and that, if people were firing hundreds of bullets vertically up into the air, the last place I would want to be would be under the airborne missiles which would inevitably succumb to the force of gravity.

Tonight, I was reminded of that night in Beirut.

In the erstwhile innocent days of my youth in Britain, we used to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ Night on 5th November with firework displays, parties and children begging in the street – a joyful, innocent time when we celebrated an attempt to overthrow the government with high explosives by setting fire to effigies of people (not all of them Guy Fawkes – sometimes politicians).

Elliott, ET and commercialism overwhelmed Guy Fawkes…

Then, in 1982, along came Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which imported the European and American concept of Hallowe’en on 31st October with loads of fireworks, fancy costumes and parties.

The UK had largely ignored Hallowe’en until then. With the impact of Elliott, ET and international marketing, that worldwide commercialised concept soon mostly overwhelmed simple old Guy Fawkes’ Night.

A bit later, along came Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights which lasts for five days sometime between mid-October and mid-November, with fireworks and parties.

So we ended up, the last few years, with about two or three weeks of fireworks going off.

With the advent of COVID-19 this year – and with the UK in various national stages of lockdown – the two weeks of parties have mostly disappeared or been scaled-down dramatically. But we have had erratic firework outbreaks for the last couple of weeks or more and when I went out this evening – Diwali started on Thursday; this is Saturday – there were bangs and bangs and rat-a-tat-tats going off all over the place in the darkness. 

Diwali at The Golden Temple in pre-COVID days

Diwali’s Festival of Lights seems to have changed into a Festival of Bangs. 

Either that or I am having flashbacks to Beirut.

Diwali commendably symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. But this is Britain, so it may eventually turn into a festival of loud bangs, scared domestic pets and maimed children.

It strikes me that, as we already celebrate Hallowe’en (Death) and Guy Fawkes’ Night (Treason & Death), perhaps in years to come, we will – or should – nominate a day when we celebrate the coronavirus and everyone can dress up in blue masks, have parties, cough a lot and set off fireworks. For neatness’ sake, it should be held around mid-October to mid-November to coincide with the existing triumvirate of banging firework celebrations.

Only a suggestion.

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