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Lindy McDowell

My A to Z of life in coronavirus lockdown...

Lindy McDowell



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Dawn chorus: birds are singing

Dawn chorus: birds are singing

Dawn chorus: birds are singing

A for... alcohol. Consumption has rocketed. Was this to be expected? As yer man in the beer ad says, probably.

B. Birdsong. With traffic noise reduced, our feathered friends are making themselves heard - from 4.30 in the morning. One bleeps a bit like a bin lorry reversing. Enchanting, yes. But not at the scrake of dawn.

C. Contradictory information. The experts can't agree. Every day there's a new scare story. Conflicting advice. Most worrying? We're no longer even sure what we should be most worried about.

D. Dancing nurses. Videos doing the rounds show health workers relax and keep spirits up with some downtime dancing. Inappropriate say the critics. Oh, come on. Cut them some slack. They've earned it.

E. Eating. Possibly linked to A ( see above). But also encouraged by...

F. Food programmes on TV. It's cookery overkill. This isn't inspiring us to cook. It's inspiring us to gorb.

G. Graphs. Every day another slew of them showing percentages, projections, flattened curves and potential peaks. Einstein himself would find it hard to keep up.

H. Hair. An attempt at pruning the fringe and you end up looking like a royal. Not Kate Middleton. Richard III. Men have the option of the severe head shave. What you could call a stockpiling haircut.

I. Isolation outreach. Have you ever in your life made/received so many phone calls?

J. Junk mail. An upside of lockdown - they've stopped clogging our letter boxes with flyers that go straight to recycling anyway.

K. Keeping your distance. Who is the most annoying - the stubborn pedestrian who refuses to budge on the pavement so you have to walk into the road to observe the two metres rule? Or the martyr who throws themselves into the hedge like they being forced to make way for Typhoid Mary?

L. Lifting the lockdown. What happens if it doesn't work? Is there an exit strategy from the exit strategy?

M. Money. When did you last have money in your hands? Will you ever touch a plastic fiver again - without money laundering?

N. Nosiness. You've discovered your inner curtain-twitcher. Who's that walking down the street? What's your neighbour trying to do on his stepladder? How many Deliveroos has next door had this week? More mystery than Midsomer.

O. Online armchair epidemiologists. So many people on social media who are suddenly experts in pandemic control.

P. PPE - i.e. make your own mask. This being Northern Ireland, a chance to celebrate your culture in your preferred Covid colours. Orange. Green. Celtic. Rangers. The mask my father wore...

Q. Quiet. It's hard to get used to it sometimes. The long gaps in conversation. The silent street outside. The children locked in the back room...

R. Respecting the rules. Apparently we've been more compliant in terms of doing as we're told than other parts of the UK. As my sister says: "And it isn't like us."

S. Shopping. That trick you had for picking items from the back of the shelf because other people might have touched the ones in front? Everybody's at that now.

T. Television interviews by Skype. Interviewees sound like they're speaking from inside a fridge. And the picture keeps freezing.

U. Unnecessary journeys. You came back from the shop without the milk. If you nip back out again is it essential travel - or guilt trip?

V. Vans. Everywhere, delivery vans. Online shopping is booming. Partly due to shoppers rashly ordering under the influence of A (see above).

W. WFH. Working from home. Still work. But with less gossip and more coffee breaks.

X. XL toilet roll packs. Limited to one per customer. Loo roll lockdown still not lifted.

Y. YouTube. An unlimited source of tutorials on how to mess up home improvements you really should leave to the professionals.

Z. Zoom video-chatting with friends. Works better without A (see above).

Trump should hold fire on quackery

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Donald Trump claimed he was being sarcastic after raising the idea of injections of disinfectant to fight the coronavirus (Evan Vucci/AP)

Donald Trump claimed he was being sarcastic after raising the idea of injections of disinfectant to fight the coronavirus (Evan Vucci/AP)

AP/PA Images

Donald Trump claimed he was being sarcastic after raising the idea of injections of disinfectant to fight the coronavirus (Evan Vucci/AP)

Donald Trump may not be an expert in virology or even in basic medical procedures. But you would think that even he would have the wit to hold his tongue when it comes to offering clean crazy suggestions on alternative ways to tackle Covid-19. Donald thinks a shot of disinfectant in the arm might do the trick. Domestos? Jeyes Fluid? He doesn't specify. And they're letting this boy near the nuclear button..

Humility of vaccine volunteer is a tonic

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Microbiologist Elisa Granato, 32, is injected as part of human trials in the UK for a coronavirus vaccine

Microbiologist Elisa Granato, 32, is injected as part of human trials in the UK for a coronavirus vaccine

PA

Microbiologist Elisa Granato, 32, is injected as part of human trials in the UK for a coronavirus vaccine

Modest heroine of the week. Oxford University microbiologist, Elisa Granato, who, on her 32nd birthday, became the first volunteer to be injected with a new trial vaccine for Covid-19. She explained that:"Since I don't study viruses I've felt a bit useless these days. So I felt like this was a very easy way for me to support the cause." Define easy. She's putting her health, potentially her life, on the line to help the rest of us. True courage.

Spare a thought, or a crust, for the poor, struggling privileged

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Tough life: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Tough life: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

PA

Tough life: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

It's been a trying week for the mega-rich and famous, some of whom have been sharing with us just how tough they've been finding life.

As ever Harry and Meghan top this week's Whinge List.

Taking time out from their "philanthropy" and "humanitarianism" which involves the delivery of food packages from their Porsche in Malibu (with a cameraman conveniently close to capture the scene) the pair have had another pop at the horrid Press.

They sent a pompous, waffly statement to UK papers which basically boils down to: "We're not speaking to you." As if anybody cares.

It's a toddler tantrum straight from the Trump handbook. It's also censorship not to mention insensitive timing.

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Virgin Australia, an airline started by Sir Richard Branson, has gone into voluntary administration due to the impacts of the pandemic (John Phillips/PA)

Virgin Australia, an airline started by Sir Richard Branson, has gone into voluntary administration due to the impacts of the pandemic (John Phillips/PA)

Virgin Australia, an airline started by Sir Richard Branson, has gone into voluntary administration due to the impacts of the pandemic (John Phillips/PA)

Meanwhile Richard Branson (worth over £4bn) is asking the UK government (the taxpayer) for a bailout for his Virgin Atlantic business. The well-known self-publicist and tax exile, is looking for a sub of around £500m. He says he will put his Necker Island up as collateral. Necker is less than half the size of the Copelands but sees more sun.

What would the government do with it anyway? Use it as a holiday bolthole for Boris? Rent it out on Airbnb? Sell it to the Beckhams?

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Victoria Beckham marked her 46th birthday with a low-key celebration amid the coronavirus lockdown (Ian West/PA)

Victoria Beckham marked her 46th birthday with a low-key celebration amid the coronavirus lockdown (Ian West/PA)

Victoria Beckham marked her 46th birthday with a low-key celebration amid the coronavirus lockdown (Ian West/PA)

Perhaps not. Mrs Beckham, not short of a bob or two herself, also has the begging bowl out. Despite her great personal wealth she's put her couple of dozen workers on taxpayer-funded furlough.

Royal, Rich and Posh ... but with no idea how bad this makes them look.

Belfast Telegraph