The Coronavirus Diaries, 13th April 2020

There was a man sitting at a table outside a closed pub writing in a notebook. He had a can of beer in front of him. It brought a whole new meaning to BYO.

My bike ride today was to try to gee myself up. Some days I seem very lethargic. The hours pass and I do very little. I was thinking a lot about my friend Vicki in Melbourne. She emailed me to say her father had died. Not of coronavirus, at least she didn’t say so, and she did say the family had been able to spend time with him before he died. It’s so hard when you lose a parent. Given that happens to everybody we are unaccountably bad at looking after others when it happens to them. In many workplaces you are allowed one day off to attend the funeral of a close relative. One day. It’s ridiculous. It’s unkind. It’s dangerous. Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who had just been bereaved? flown by a pilot who had had one day off when her mother died? I wouldn’t. You are vulnerable when you are bereaved, fragile. It’s like an altered state.

So fresh air on a noticeably cooler day than we have for some time sounded like what I needed. My goal was Westminster. I reckoned it would be quiet, which was what I wanted. The ride to St Thomas’ was uneventful, though one speeding driver of a 4×4 on a narrow road might have ended my existence had I not heard her coming and pulled over. Her shouted “sorry’ out of the window as she sped on did little to appease. I wonder if she observes social distancing. Probably not.

Opposite the hospital and right where I parked my bike was this sign.

Thank-you

I realise I did not include another photo yesterday from outside Guy’s Hospital.

Free to key workers

The windows of the school opposite the hospital were covered with children’s drawings, all of them to thank the NHS.

This outpouring of thanks is wonderful, and I should love to see it translated into greater investment in the NHS, better pay for NHS workers. But I fear that when we are over coronavirus it will be the rich who remain rich and the poor who become poorer. The rich are good at lobbying, and using influence to get what they want. That Philip Green and Richard Branson, neither of whom are UK taxpayers, expect the rest to bail them out while they keep their billions, says it all. Amazon must be making a fortune from coronavirus, all those deliveries. Does it contribute millions to the UK treasury? No. Tesco accepted a government hand out to pay its workers and then paid out more to its shareholders.

Some of my neighbours are saying that when this is over we shall all have learned what really matters and the world will change. I’d love them to be right, but I can’t see it. As China gets over the virus it’s a return to business as usual and the clean air people have enjoyed is already polluted.

I walked to Westminster Bridge and took another picture.

I ❤️ NHS

It was still very quiet, hardly any traffic other than buses and some cyclists. One or two people on foot. I could see hospital staff enjoying their breaks by the fountain where the geese swam. I walked onto the bridge. I was about halfway across when I saw around ten people coming towards me. I was surprised. They filed by. Then a group of cyclists who looked very much as though they were out together. I was more surprised.

But that was nothing. When I reached the far side of the bridge by the Palace of Westminster which I had expected to be deserted there were families and couples evidently doing a bit of serious sightseeing. I revised my plans and returned to my bike. I rode through Archbishop’s Park. I wish these signs were everywhere.

Keep Your Distance

The usual equipment was all taped off, the benches out of bounds, but it was still beautiful.

No sitting

No picnics

Spring and cyclist

I received a message from my friend Maria in Barcelona to say her mother-in-law died yesterday. They don’t yet know if coronavirus contributed to her death. Of course with the current restrictions it will be a very quiet burial, just three people allowed at the cemetery.

Keep well.

2 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 13th April 2020

  1. Rolling about in my mind is the now contrast between the vibrant creativity that arises in cities where people are in close proximity and the fact that cities have always been vectors for massive disease. I wonder how our younger generation/s will respond to this pandemic. Will life in the city no longer appeal? We had sun today too! And just a brief moment to say that I so appreciated the friendship and support I got from you and those other folk during the loss of a parent.

    • The city has so much that is attractive. Not just creativity but a freedom often absent in rural communities. I love the diversity of London, the mix of cultures that we take for granted and which enrich our food, our entertainment, our language. I love the countryside too, but with public transport decimated too often it’s a car culture. The one silver lining about the day I give up the boat is that I shall no longer need my car!
      You may know that Celia and I cemented our friendship which had begun at the local poetry group when our mothers were dying and then died. Grief is a long old process and it’s good to be able to talk about it. As I remember it was also the time when you found this blog, so you also gave me friendship and support at that time.

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