A Journal of the Plague Year Day 20

Monday 6th April 2020

The day has been one of the harder ones, where the four walls do feel justifiably prison-like. The light curtailed, and writing for a good 12 hours in front of a TV. I feel stained by crass sensationalism, evoking so much emotion and memory, yet signifying nothing. The day a write off, excuse the pun.

There is a certain art to domesticity, making things feel snug, and that the Danes have trumpeted throughout their culture, making them supposedly the world’s happiest nation. It’s untranslatable, but hygge (rhymes slightly with boogie/ booger) is that sense of the familial and cosy, which can be brought to anything, from workplace meetings to camping trips. J has it down to an art.

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The Queen came on, to tell us about this virus that’s been going round, and to be all stalwart. Many people had reckoned it being on the passing of her 98 year old husband, Prince Phillip, topping Ladbrokes bets every year for the past decade who quietly salivate over his demise (you can imagine the bolly and plumes of coke in the boardroom when that announcement does come). The only other 3x she’s ever had a nationwide address (outside of her Xmas thing) were on the eve of Gulf War 1, the deaths of Princess Di then the Queen Mum, and on her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. 24 million (one third of the nation) tuned in rapt, only to hear her rattle on about everything we already knew about, and to urge people to stay indoors more -which was probably the main aim they wheeled the podium out. Crestfallen we didn’t have anything more to gossip about, or a national funeral to attend it’s life back to normal. Yes, this is normal. And people still out and about, enjoying the weather.


The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is now stricken with C-19. At first it was him ruling working from home and looking spry, then it was him going to hospital -just as a precaution -and still in good spirits with a lot of media bluster about being out soon, probably within the week. And now it’s worsened and he’s gone into intensive care, though not yet on an ICU. He may be an insufferable fool, but may he get well soon. The papers meanwhile are full of stories about who could replace him, changing their headlines midway through the day from a what happens with a ‘dead’ PM to an ‘incapacitated’ one. Type the word ‘how‘ into Google and it autopredicts instantly into ‘how old is Boris Johnson‘. ‘What ha‘ returns: ‘What happens when a Prime Minister dies in office?‘ Poor sod, he’s mathematically inclined to succumb.


The evening’s film was My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which turns out is the world’s most successful romcom, made for 4 million bucks but taking in nearly 100x that amount. It wasn’t as funny this time round, and it’s quite weird how you can date a film you enjoyed and was taken by, then watch it again within your lifetime and see it as newly facile, scales fallen. Back then, when it was also so doable, when melodrama was fun, and life was so granted. I’m getting on.


They revised yesterday’s deaths from 400+ up to 621, after counting post mortem tests and people who’d died outside hospitals, such as in their houses and in old folk’s homes. There’s also always a low count at the weekends for some reason. Hopes for a downturn have been dashed, rather we look to be starting on the high end of the curve, the bit where it’s either climbing stratospherically or plateauing at a high level.

Given that there’ve been no checkpoints, temperature gauging, or app tracking, and most people don’t wear masks it’s likely to climb. And will remain high, given the minimal measures even in lockdown. No checking of behaviour or automatic sanitising of still-functioning vector points, such as warehousing, supermarket baskets/ trolleys/ checkouts (not to mention the products themselves), mail, deliveries, PT, hire bikes, paypoints, cash, cash machines, ticket machines, lifts, lift buttons, public door handles, rails, door buzzers, and the streets themselves.

Unlike most of Asia, which went through the rigmarole beforehand, operating checkpoints every 300m and in every building, enforcing tracking apps and masks across the populace then hosing down every public surface. We need to do the same.


My legs ached all day, enough for me to get worried. But turns out that had all to do with my first bike ride in a year. J has also been worried, having been stricken by a tummy bug for a good week now, which in a certain percentage of cases is the only sign of C-19, but hopefully it’s just a rotavirus, we’ll see after day 10.

A is planning a cake. Greek milk pie it’s called. He’s a little pie himself.



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