I don’t want to see any of you out there.

Stay home. Stay safe. Wash your hands.


Weeknotes: XII

Well, it’s all getting a bit scary, isn’t it?

In the beginning, it didn’t feel significant. It was important in the vague way a lot of things in the news are, but it was a long way away and the chances of it affecting me seemed slim. The vagueness resolved itself rather quickly. I was told to work from home, the phrase ‘social distancing’ became normalised, the schools closed, groceries became scarce, restaurants & pubs closed their doors. Many things now seem less certain than they did a couple of weeks ago.

Am I worried about the virus? A little, but not overly so. I’m young and fairly healthy. My family is healthy too, thankfully. We’ve got stable jobs and employers that allow us to work flexibly. By any measure, we are incredibly fortunate. We’ll follow the government advice because that’s the responsible thing to do to ensure that the NHS can treat those affected by the virus along with all of the other people it needs to treat each day.

Yesterday, my eldest daughter remarked that we’re living through a time that the children of future generations will learn of in school. She’s having a bad week. It’s her eighteenth birthday on Friday and everywhere is shut. On top of that her exams, which she’s been working towards for two years, have been cancelled and her employer has cut her hours to zero.

We adapt to this new way of life. There’s no choice. It seems more of an inconvenience than an emergency, but we treat it with the seriousness it deserves. There is little grumbling, though there is rising anger at the cretins stockpiling pasta and toilet-roll. ‘What a surprise. Selfish bastards’ said a woman in Asda when she saw the rows of empty pasta shelves. What on earth are people doing with all that pasta?

I’m working from home, so have left the house rarely this week. That’s not a big change from normal, except that everyone else is home with me. We like each other though, and I’m sure we’ll be fine once we’ve worked out the logistics of it all. If push comes to shove, they can evict me to my office in town.

I’ve been making an effort to reach out to people I haven’t spoken to a while (by phone of course), just to say hi. For some people, this will all be quite scary, and knowing that someone else is thinking about you might be enough to take the edge off a really shitty day.

Be kind to each other, and wash your hands.


Weeknotes: XI

Most of my work week was spent wondering what we should or shouldn’t be doing about COVID-19. I don’t want to over-react, but it would undoubtedly be worse to under-react. I’m sure there is a nice safe space in the middle to be found somewhere. I’ll let you know if I find it. 

I joined Twitter to keep an eye on all the virus goodness. Holy crap, it’s such an awful shit show. It really does bring out the worst in people. Thank goodness it’s not an accurate reflection of real life. If it was, we’d be fucked.

On Friday, E and I headed away for the weekend. A rare treat. We left the flat plains of the Humber and headed north; the Pennines on one side of us and the Yorkshire Dales on the other. We spent Friday in Durham and Saturday in Newcastle. Two very different places, but each beautiful in their own way.  We ate a lot, shopped a lot and walked a lot, so it all balanced out.

I don’t want to start a bridge war, but the Tyne Bridge is far inferior to the Humber Bridge.


Newcastle


7 Things I Found on the Internet

Here are seven things I found on the internet.

1. The oldest companies still in existence

The oldest in Europe is St. Peter Stiftskulinarium; a restaurant founded in Austria in 803. It sits within the walls of St.Peters Abbey in Salzburg and has served lunch to Christopher Columbus, Mozart & Faust. Found on Reddit.

2. Leaving your pets to the mercy of an internet-enabled ‘smart feeder’ is, surprisingly, not a good idea.

Please feed me

‘Petnet’ is a service that allows pet owners to schedule and control feeding times via their smartphone and an internet enabled ‘smart feeder’ costing £222. It works well, until it doesn’t: servers broke, connections failed and pets were sad. Ironically, one of the stated benefits of the service is preventing over feeding, so I guess it’s working as designed. What a strange world we live in. Via the BBC.

3. Vivienne Kubrick’s life with Stanley

Found on FlashBak

4. Falling printer misses man by inches

I’d buy a lottery ticket if I was him. Via BoingBoing

5. Cartoon Fossils

Found on Behance

6. More evidence that Facebook sucks.

In a surprise to no one, a new study shows that if you use Facebook less your life will improve. Even a minor reduction of 20 minutes per day leads to more physical activity, increased mood, and more satisfaction with life. Via Cal Newport

7. Irish singer cleans up his act after kid tells him to mind his language

Not sure what’s more awesome – the reaction of the singer, or the awesome EDM style beat-drop performed with acoustic instruments. Via YouTube


Week Notes IX – X

Our baby guppies are seven weeks old now. After the ill-fated release of a single fry a couple of weeks ago, we released them into the main tank today and they seem fine. A couple of them are in hiding. Assume this is because they observed the previous sacrifice.


People panic buy the weirdest things. Aspirin, paracetamol & ibuprofen I can understand. Toilet roll a little less so since you rarely get the runs with this type of illness. Bread flour? I have no idea why people would stockpile that, but I couldn’t find any in Asda, Tesco or Morrisons. Are people planning to spend their quarantine time baking? Anyway, while I’m not particularly worried about Covid-19, I’m starting to have some doubts about how we’ll manage if this thing blows up.

A bit hard to tell how this is all going to play out at the moment. Three years ago my family laughed when I installed a bidet, but when you suckers are fighting over toilet paper at Asda, I’ll be laughing all the way to the toilet.


We’ve been watching back to back episodes of Gavin & Stacey. I’ve never seen it before, probably because of my irrational hatred of James Cordon. He is a knob, but this is actually really good.


I’m elbow-deep in the 1200 pages of Edge of Eternity, so haven’t finished a single book over the past fortnight. Ken Follett’s books are a bit of a commitment – but usually worth it. I’ve also started a re-read of Walter Isaacson’s autobiography of Steve Jobs.


A friend sent me the photo below, posted on Facebook by someone I went to school with, of my final year class of primary school. Surprising that so many of the names came right back to me, even though I haven’t thought of them for decades.

I’m on the top row, second from the left.


Have a good week. Wash your hands, and leave some toilet roll for me.


Diving Belle

The statue is named ‘Diving Belle’ and represents the beginning of Scarborough’s popularity as a destination for bathers. She stands outside the old lighthouse, looking out to the sea.