This has probably been an odd Christmas for lots of you, so I just wanted to send you all some good feelings of peace and warmth, like a hot toddy in front of a well contained fire. xx (for anyone not from UK, these are kisses, not just random ‘xx’s. It’s actually perfectly normal to put ‘xx’s at the bottom of a message, and I think you should all start doing it 🙂 )
Personal responsibility, Covid and Bojo. MY rant.
People have got understandably upset over the thousands of Londoners* crowded into St Pancras last night trying to escape London. Yesterday, travel was banned for Christmas in the south of England with 8 hours notice. Previously, there were repeated promises that that definitely wouldn’t happen, so everyone made plans and promises and then had eight hours to fulfil those plans and promises, leading to scenes like the above picture.
With our new mutated virus, this could be catastrophic, and I’m seeing a lot of anger towards the people who travelled, but not enough with the people who caused all this. And since the virus started so much blame has been turned on individuals making stupid decisions, which hasn’t helped at all. The argument I keep seeing from anti-maskers is ‘It’s all about personal responsibility.’ ‘Stop telling me what to do, leave it up to personal responsibility.’ And then from the government ‘These people aren’t using personal responsibility, what’s wrong with them?’ For example:
‘The Government should allow us to take personal responsibility in the ongoing battle against Covid, not put us on the naughty step’Julia Hartley Brewer from a Telegraph headline.
‘Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned that ministers will fail to get the new strain of coronavirus under control unless the public take personal responsibility for preventing its spread.’From the Independent
And it’s bollocks. Utter utter bollocks.
Because these people in St Pancras ARE using personal responsibility, that is exactly the problem. Their personal responsibility is to their families, their mental health, their happiness. They’re trying to get home to fulfill their personal responsibilities, but in such a panic that it doesn’t occur to them that lots of other people would do the same or how disastrous that might be.
What these people need is group responsibility, social responsibility, and that isn’t (in our individualistic society) so easy to come by, especially in a crisis.
That’s why we need a government, to control society in times of trouble so that our individual needs don’t take over. We need them to make calm, logical, consistent decisions so we know what to do. Instead we’ve had vague, rambling, ever changing decisions that are so ludicrous it’s led to constant doubt that the virus even exists despite 1.6m deaths worldwide.
From the people I know who are trying to do the right thing, I keep hearing the same cry. They say, ‘I need someone to tell me what I’m supposed to do for the best,’ and more importantly, ‘I need someone to tell the people I’m letting down that it is for the best.’ Because this situation is complicated and unfamiliar and no one can agree about what’s going on we each cling to what makes sense to us personally. It’s the work of our government to think in terms of the country as a whole, we can’t do that.
But in order for our rulers to be capable of that, they have to have social responsibility. We need a prime minister who isn’t acting purely with selfish, panicked (or disaster capitalist) interests and can instead make decisions that benefit the people of the country he’s responsible for, no matter how difficult. That’s the role he chose to take on.
We need a leader, not Bojo the clown.
* Actually, they probably aren’t Londoners if they’re going North to get home for Christmas
Say goodbye to the foxes
The foxes aren’t actually leaving, they’re way too happy, but the situation with has got silly and a bit unpleasant, so after this I’m going to leave off writing about them for a while.
We already had some residents demanding that we dispose of the foxes because they are a health risk, even though we kept insisting that we absolutely fucking wouldn’t. We also knew we had residents sneaking around feeding the foxes even though we repeatedly explained it was a bad idea – they have become totally tame and dependent on people.
But now we have one particularly enraged resident saying that she’ll report us to the police because somehow she’s come to the conclusion that we absolutely fucking do intend to kill the foxes and it’s disgusting and we’re all evil. She called up one manager and screamed ‘How dare you kill the foxes.’ The manager explained that we have no intention of doing so. Then she called up my boss and screamed at her for her terrible murderous ways, while my boss explained that no killing will be happening. Then she cornered Mike and lectured him on how she’s started a petition to stop us killing the foxes. I don’t know what it will take to convince her, I mean the foxes are still there, hanging out, looking healthy and happy.
Anyway, Reynard and Talbot will be staying out of the blog for a while. Which is good, because I think it may have gone to their heads.
We are not trying to kill the foxes. We’ve given up even shouting at them because they aren’t even slightly bothered and assume we’re playing. But I figure it’s wise to shut up about the foxes for a bit.
A Big Tidy Up
Hello fellow piglets (and those who identify as human)! I’m off work this week, and since we’re in lockdown I haven’t got a lot to do but play around in my garden and with the Internet. I might clean the flat at some point, but I don’t want to rush into anything drastic.
Anyway, to fill the time I’ve been organising my blog by creating proper categories for it, instead of listing almost everything under ‘blogging’ out of laziness. This means that I can find things here when I want to, and more importantly, so can you! All those brain-searing posts from the past you might have missed. Like when I found a penguin! Or spent days watching foxes play football and piss in a shoe. Not to mention loads of weirdy and short tales, dragged up from the days when I still wrote proper stories. (Note: I don’t understand the phrase ‘not to mention’, because it is always followed by mentioning). You can find them all with the squeak of a mouse, just to the right of the page there >>>>
Today I’m sharing with you the delightful journey of the Inspirational Quotes category. Including both Inspirobot wisdom (which, now I’m looking back, is quite harsh!) and my own take own motivation. Honestly, these snippets of insight might change your view of the world. Nay! Even your whole life!
The Tube in Covid Times
I wanted to share a few photos showing what the tube looks like right now, because it is WEIRD. There have been a few cries from Transport for London saying that they are hugely in debt and need money from the government to carry on. However, I don’t think this is just due to the lack of passengers, but also the lack of advertising, because there is very little.
Instead there are posters telling us to be kind or mind the gap. I think they’re just putting up whatever they can find.
Maybe this is what a post-capitalist world would look like. Instead of every step we take being filled with BUY THIS! maybe we could get rid of these posters all together and have murals, or large photos of the sky.
With this and the talk about changing statues, it feels like London is getting a whole makeover this Covid season. I get why people find it frightening, but I think it’s exciting, like moving to a new city.
Note: sorry I’ve been kind of absent recently. I don’t have a good reason, I just don’t have anything to say 🙂
Deterring those foxes!
Just a quick update for anyone worried about Reynard and Talbot. Our boss got some fox deterrent powder to be added to water and sprinkled around the garden. Mateo trundled out with his watering can, putting the most solution in the sandpit since they clearly like it there. On his way back from sprinkling around the rest of the garden, he passed the sandpit. One of the foxes was sitting happily in the sand, happy as Larry.
We suspect the deterrent is not effective.
For those of you getting attached to these foxes, don’t read on. Instead have a look at this fox from my garden during lockdown and then move on.
So, nature can be quite grim. And inexplicable. Don’t worry, Reynard and Talbot are still alive and harassing children, but one fox isn’t. Mateo found the head, but only the head, of a fox this morning, in the bushes. Did one of the children exact revenge on another fox? Perhaps the children were the aggressors all along?
Some of you might remember the cat’s head that Jessica found a few years ago. I think the police said that that foxes did it, but we were never satisfied with that explanation. It’s all very strange. Where did the body go?
Gangster foxes turn nasty
Some of you might remember the gangster foxes, Talbot and Reynard, at one of the large gardens where I work. Their cheeky faces won over our hearts and their tendency to creep up on children in a sinister way fired up some panic. Seems they’ve gone one step further now.
Previous blogs: Fantastic Mr Fox
Gangster foxes: Talbot and Reynard
Today my boss got a call from a parent. We have a small playground for children with a sand pit. Turns out the foxes have been jumping into the sand pit where children are playing, stealing their toys and leaping out again. They then rip up the toys in front of the children before running off.
I did suspect that the foxes were setting up a protection racket, but it looks like some of the children have refused to take part and it’s led to rivalry and the start of territory war.
‘Nice dolly you have here. Be a shame if something happened to it,’ sneers Talbot while Reynard sniggers nearby. ‘Oops!’ says Reynard as the dolly’s head is snapped off.
This is not the Beatrix Potter style story I was hoping for when I posted their photos.
Was walking to the station early on Friday morning and saw this sparkling fizzy pop of a car. In case the picture doesn’t make it clear, it has the texture of glitter ball deely boppers, in the colour of an orangeade-cherryade mix.
I have no idea what I think of it. Is it a daring and dashing fashion choice? A practical joke? The car of a disco champion reliving their glitterball hey-day? Did someone end up with too much glittery wrapping paper and became inspired?
Help me out!
Attack of the vapours
Today’s ridiculous drama: I had just driven back to base and had gracefully leapt from the van barely stumbling at all, when Mike appeared from the shadows and said earnestly, ‘I’ve got vapers’ tongue!’
‘What?’ I asked politely, pressing all the wrong buttons on the key to lock the van.
‘It’s when you lose your sense of taste because you’ve been vaping too much. See?’ he went on proudly. ‘People thinking vaping is simple, like smoking, but actually there’s a lot to know.’
Finally I stopped faffing about and started listening. ‘Wait, you’ve lost your sense of taste? Isn’t that a sign of the virus?’
‘No, it’s vapers’ tongue,’ said Mike.
‘And you said you were coughing earlier. You’ve got the plague! Stay away from me infiltrated one!’ I tried to ward him off with the van key, holding my sleeve in front of my mouth.
‘It’s vapers’ tongue!’ said Mike insistently. ‘I’ll get my sense of taste back once I have some chewing gum. It’s all fine. My vape dealer explained it all, it’s vapers’ tongue. Have you got any chewing gum, I need mint!’
I watched him carefully for the rest of the afternoon. No more signs, but I’m ready with a net, a cross and a plastic bag. We’ve already made plans for how we can survive in the gardens if the plague takes over London, but if one of us get it, then we’re screwed.
A baby woodpecker!
So I was trundling along the path with my wheel barrow, when I saw some jays flapping around with a tufty looking bird nearby. I thought he might be a young jay, but he had a long beak, and after he turned around a few times, I saw there was a red tinge to his head and green to his body. He wasn’t fully colourful because he still had his young fluffy brown feathers, but I could see his shape was distinctively a woodpecker.
Woodpeckers are ace!
By now he had hopped a bit further on and was standing with his chest puffed out. I crept closer and took a photo. He didn’t fly away so I kept on creeping. My phone is shitty, so I knew the photos wouldn’t be great, but I kept on creeping up to see how close I could get. At one point Mike walked up from the opposite direction and saw me. He stopped where he was so he would scare my new fluffy friend away. Woody Woodpecker gave me a few more poses, hopping around before flying off.
Then I realised unfortunately that my new manager (my boss’s boss) was standing watching all this. Fortunately he thought it was hysterical to watch me sneaking up slow footstep by slow footstep, especially since from his point of view the bird was obscured and he thought I was creeping up on a tree.
‘I’m actually working very hard!’ I shouted over to him and he seemed to accept it.
Here is what the woodpecker will look like as an adult, you can see that proud pose already forming in the photo I took:
From Garden Bird