DAY 32: 14 April

The world is in a terrible state of chassis’ 

I wake thinking today is 1 May – St Joseph the Worker’s Day – or just the Workers’ Day, if you prefer (old habits die hard). I suspect it is because I have been keeping this wretched diary for 31 days now, so yesterday’s felt like it was the end of the month. The self-isolation experience is very disorientating. Each night I discover what day of the week I have just lived through by checking the day on pop-out sachets for my pills.

For breakfast today I enjoyed a fresh double-yolk poached egg on (homemade) brown toast with a HUGE mug of tea while I watched the 9am news on Al Jazeera English.

I was greeted by the extraordinary sight of traffic queues many miles long at food banks in the USA; people living on cash soon run out when their work shuts down. Elsewhere in the States whole communities have had their homes wrecked by tornados. Meanwhile a smirking Trump claims he has everything under control, has all the answers, and the power to tell every State when to abandon lockdown. He decries the press for any attempt to hold him to account.

Biden may not be the best answer, but come November anyone would be better than this arrogant monster. Unlike here in the UK where the Tories vacant still claim the popular vote, I trust that Americans will realise the damage they have done to themselves and send the orange toad wart packing – and to jail if there is any justice in the land. 

Down in Brazil virus-denier, Bolosnaro, turns a blind eye as illegal loggers push deeper into the Amazon putting at risk the livelihoods and the very lives of indigenous peoples who have no chance against the coronavirus the outsiders will have brought with them.

Across in Europe another crook, Lukashenko tells the people of Belarus to drink vodka and play ice hockey to conquer COVID-19. And in the so-called Democratic Republic of Congo they face a fresh outbreak of Ebola alongside the coronavirus. Up in North Africa Libyans have to contend with continued internecine strife as a Tripoli hospital dealing with virus patients is shelled by the forces of Field Marshal Haftar.

Quite a backdrop to my cosy breakfast.

Trenchant words from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in her column today question whether the Tories sudden apparent conversion to gratitude for  immigrants is but skin deep. The death of so many NHS people of colour makes it hard for them to do otherwise, but she reminds us of the anti-immigration rhetoric and hostile environment policies which have kept the the Tories in power. When I tweeted a supportive response about the importance of inclusivity at this time and a repeated the call for one of the auxiliary hospitals to be named after Mary Seacole, the trolls started in on us immediately. To argue for inclusivity is ‘twaddle’ according to them. Perhaps they are the same people who refuse to be seen by Black of Asian doctors. Good luck to them if they catch the virus.

Back out in the garden it looks nice and sunny but it was quite chilly. The greenhouse was the place to be and I spent many an hour clearing up, repotting, mixing soil and compost. I cannot plant veg out yet because I still haven’t got the chicken wire I need to protect them, so the chickens strut their stuff as if the terrain is all theirs.

A brief trip indoors and I returned to find that all five had squeezed through the small gap I left in the greenhouse door way. They got short shrift from me and I managed to get them out without too much damage being done. Soon after I shepherded them to their coop, but I doubt they got the message, They moaned enough that I left them some bolted Brussel sprouts as a consolation for being cooped up early (such a softy I’m turning out to be).

There was another one of them there ‘airyplanes’ in the sky today; noisy blighters amn’t they. It took me back to my childhood days in the early 1950s when there weren’t so many about and we would all look up and stare in wonder while the adults droned on about the dreaded rumble of wartime bombers and the comforting sound of Spitfires. Mind you the planes we kids liked most were the little ones that flew low trailing banners advertising that the circus was in town, or some such.

A friend gets in touch to say she is mostly pootling today. Another term from a bygone age. It sounds like fun. I must try it sometime. I usually just potter about Another friend pops by while out for her cycle ride and deposits a bottle of homemade Kumbacha on the doorstep. i have vaguely heard about but never tried it. After washing the bottle down I stuck it in the fridge untasted for now.

I find an email from another old friend which turn out to be a chain letter . This one encourages you to send a #QuarantineRecipe to 21 others. Seems harmless enough, so my Soda Bread recipe was soon winging its way around the world. Rather more promptly than anticipated a friend from Philadelphia writes back to say she’s had this one seven times already, but she’ll  have ago at the Soda Bread. Luckily I BCC’d the letter.

No story reading tonight, the boys have had a busy day, so I have brief FaceTime chat and take the phone around the garden to show progress – and the hole I fell down while clearing up. My foot went through into the tunnel build by the badger that inhabited my garden until the back end of last year. I think he was a loner – I only caught a picture of one – and for a while the foxes also seemed to be using the sett.

A chicken pie and a herby salad for supper, after a much needed shower, and now its time for bed. But what is this – that madman Trump is threatening to quit the WHO, no doubt blaming it for his own shortcomings. I am sure his base will thank him for that as they struggle to cope with the consequences of his ineptitude.  Well, we can live in hope.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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