‘When a man gets power, even his chickens and dogs rise to heaven.’
This wasn’t originally an opening line. The idea for opening with it is from a 2011 fund-raising blog. I started every entry with the first line of a recently read novel. This was easy’ish’ because a novel a week was a great distraction from the inflections of geoscience projects and travel-induced jet lags. It was was a quiz-inspired fund-raising hook and I’d reveal the answer in a subsequent post. Interested readers might come back to learn, for example, that it was Hilary Mantel who opened Booker-winning Wolf Hall with ‘So now get up’. I had hoped, more importantly, that some might also contribute to a group fund-raising effort before a charity walk. They did contribute and most generously but not because of the quotations.
Tom Moore had a much better idea. So good that his 100 garden laps got him into the Guinness Book of records and to the top of the UK music charts. He’s a couple days short of his 100th birthday and a few euro short of 33 million for public healthcare workers and Covid-19 patients. A remarkable story, that for me at least, highlights by contrast, the cynicism with which politicians and bureaucrats dissemble and obfuscate the masquerade that is social healthcare in so much of Europe. Tell me, how would you distribute assistance to people whose social exclusions disqualify them from your counting? The home-alone aged, the sectioned or otherwise incarcerated, the detained refugees, the homeless (addicted or clean), the incapacitated underlying-conditionists, the migrant farm workers … Some chickens and dogs will doubtless get better treatment (to rework the quote from Jung Chang in Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.)
I washed my hands 14 times yesterday. Others might have run a thousand laps of their garden.
This is my 59th successive daily journal. There’s a guy in London who inks a tattoo on himself each day to mark his lockdown.
I know a guy whose company created a website a couple of weeks ago to ingest and analyse scientific papers about COVID-19 research. There are so many people chasing a vaccine around the world (sic) that hundreds of new peer-assisted academic papers and insights are being aggregated to the site every day. The site has become the intended real-time resource for researchers, scientists, policymakers, and journalists.
There is a light haze over Dublin Bay this morning, a surplus RORO ferry at anchor reminding us of the economic impact of the plague.
Haze or not, I can see a hundred kilometres to Slieve Donard and Slieve Gullion. The peaks reappeared on the horizon for the first sighting in twenty days. Both have since been reabsorbed into the haze and then lent back to us by the action of a benevolent sun.
Distant friends and rural family tell me that swallows have returned to Ireland from their African winters. The still dawn air here is alive with birdsong courtesy of absent jet hum and surpressed road traffic thrum. It was the song of thrushes that woke me, the pigeons, robins, wrens and blackbirds encouraged me to now get up.