Saturday 14 March

The rugby has been cancelled, so I can’t even watch it on TV, but the weather looks fine so I don my gardening gear, release the chickens from their sodden coop and head for the greenhouse. Lots of planting to be done.

Plans for a Climate Change Family Fun Day on the nearby Hillfields “Homes Fit For Heroes” Estate (which has just celebrated its centenary) next Saturday have been cancelled, so there will be time to expand the range of seedlings for one of the stalls. (In the meantime the BS16 XR activists are finding ways of supporting the vulnerable in the local community – though we ‘Rebel Elders’ are somewhat restricted in what we can do.

Taking advantage of the break in the weather I light the incinerator in the late afternoon to deal with a build up of garden waste, only to realise that I am contributing to carbon emissions. As I stoke the fire I secretly hope the naysayers will think the smoke comes from a wood burning stove recently installed by some neighbours.

A passer-by daily drops a used tissue beside the wheelie bin outside my house, much to my annoyance, so I use current circumstances to pen a short poem entitled ‘Your Tissue Is A Public Health Issue’ ‘Don’t drop your tissues on the ground. Within this bin they should be found.’ We shall see how long it lasts affixed to the aforementioned, and what difference it makes.

All three of my children have made contact to ensure all is well with the old man, and remark that I am now among the vulnerable. I am reminded that those with children may be inadvertent carriers so contact will be very limited. A big downside to surviving the pandemic.

Colleagues from World Health Communications Associates suggest we might combine forces from our bunkers to develop a COVID 19 Connecting Communities Newsletter to share reliable information and experiences via social media. I fear we shall all be inundated with more all information than we can cope with, but this could be a useful initiative. Am pondering how best to contribute.

A fellow retired but active ‘incarceree’ sends an invite to dinner later in the week. Apparently she has “a lamb shank with my name it”, and will share it if I wish my hands as soon as I cross her threshold. That’s Thursday’s supper sorted.

Another gets in touch to make sure all is well at this end of the street. She and her neighbours are already organising a rota to look after the housebound.

Happily exhausted by my efforts in the garden, I knock up a quick supper with one of the truly excellent Buxton pies delivered by Good Taste Foods, crack open a tasty Montaria red from Portugal and settle down to watch ‘Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool’ on BBC2.

My refugee house guest comes home late and we have a discussion about how best to manage the coming weeks and months. He too has health issues but dreads the idea of being in lock-down, but at least this place has more appeal than a detention centre. He had left his bedroom window open to get some fresh air but there is now a howling gale outside and the wind is whistling through the house.

By the time I hit the sack BBC World Service is regaling me with dreadful details of the world’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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