Nothing to buy, no-one to pay

I have seen a few people point out that a billionaire can survive years of lockdown while the likes of me cannot. Sure, my meagre savings would soon hit zero while a billionaire reduced to a millionaire would still be rich.

But what use is money if there’s nothing to buy?

Farmers are having to dump crops and euthanase livestock because nobody wants to buy them. All restaurants and pubs are closed. Yeast is in short supply because breweries are closed and not producing any. Car dealerships are closed so cheap petrol is irrelevant. Many businesses, including farms, will not survive.

If this is a scheme by ‘the elite’ to get rid of we plebs, they really haven’t thought it through. We plebs are the ones who harvest fruit and vegetables. We are the ones who work in slaughterhouses and supermarkets and drive the trucks between them. We are the ones who keep the shops clean so you don’t catch anything nasty in there. We are the ones they want to kill off so they can have their Agenda 21 and Georgia Guidestone Utopia. In which they are all rich… with nothing to buy.

Who will they tax when there are no plebs left? Who will be producing all the stuff needed by those who need someone else to dress them and cook for them and clean for them? Their genderless drones are not yet ready, that will take at least one more generation. They are now being trained in ‘no physical contact’ but again, that will take a generation to be installed. It’s too soon. That’s why I think this virus is not The Terrible Thing. That comes later.

I really think we are only one or two generations away from Panoptica. We have instantly switched from ‘ban all face coverings’ to ‘everyone must wear a mask’ and that means the expensive face recognition technology recently trialled by London police is worthless. We will have to be fitted with other means of recognition. A onesie with a barcode, a RFID chip, or both.

Actually the barcodes won’t come in until your name is reduced to a number and that comes after gender is erased entirely. Maybe three more generations.

Can it be that fast? I am 60. I had vinyl-record players with 78 rpm as an option. I used to buy broken valve radios, fix them and resell them. I recorded radio on a reel to reel tape recorder. I saw the invention of cassette tapes. I saw the invention of the CD. I saw the VHS/Betamax battle. I remember laser discs. I remember when hardly anyone had a phone in the house, much less in their pockets, and the pocket phones just did calls and texts. I was on CompuServe. All those and more have come and gone in the last 60 years. Even DVDs are fading out now. This world is moving at extraordinary speed towards total dependence on connections. Internet banking. Contactless payment. Embedded chips. It’s so easy now to just switch someone off.

That last bit is what nobody sees. The young love this technology. They will be at the head of the queue for the implanted credit card chips. They will never think that one word out of place, one wrong thought, will simply delete their bank accounts.

You cannot rebel when those in charge can cancel all your chips and you have no money and can’t even get into your own house. You have been housed, fed and watered by the State all your life. How can you live homeless?

And yet the rich, oh they are still rich. The plebs have been eliminated, all that is left are the smug rich with pots of cash.

What will they buy?

The Fall of the House of Covid

Many are trying to prevent it, until they can make either capital or political gain out of it, but it’s going to happen anyway.

This virus is going to kill people and it will keep killing people for quite some time. This cannot be prevented, no matter how hard you shout at and villify the current or any future government. It’s a virus. You cannot just make a law against it and expect it to comply.

It now seems that the ‘reinfection’ that has been widely talked about is just false positives. PCR is ‘polymerase chain reaction’, and put simply, if you have a tiny bit of DNA or RNA, the machinery will make many more copies of it until it’s at a high enough concentration to be detected and analysed. I’m not going into the details, if you’re not a microbiologist it’ll just make your eyes cloud over. Science is repetetive and fairly boring most of the time, every scientist knows that.

When I worked in food borne disease, food poisoning and food spoilage, there was often talk of ‘making it modern’ by using PCR. However, PCR has a major flaw in that application. It detects DNA. Sure, it’s more sensitive than our culture methods but our culture methods do not detect dead cells. PCR does. It detects fragments of DNA and RNA, It will detect the remnants of one single Salmonella in a piece of chicken but it will not tell you if the chicken was rife with disease or if there was just a fragment of one dead cell on it. Culture tells you if they are alive.

So it is with a virus. Remaining fragments of dead virus could be hanging around in the mess it’s left behind after it’s gone. After infection (and by all accounts this one makes quite a mess of your airways especially if it gets bad enough to need hospitalisation) there are going to be a lot of your smashed cells, and virus bits, strewn across the battlefield of your airways.

If reinfection happened then those reinfected would get sick again. If they don’t (and it appears they don’t) then it’s probably just battlefield residue the test is picking up. PCR cannot distinguish between active and dead and it will detect extraordinarily tiny amounts..

Think of it like an actual battle where your side has killed every last enemy, but your generals see the prone uniforms and insist the enemy is still there and you have to keep firing. That’s a PCR test. A culture test would ask ‘are they still firing back?’ A PCR test does not.

So currently it is likely that you get immunity after suffering this virus. Well, you might not suffer, you might not even know you had it, but a test will show its presence even if your immune system has already smashed it. Something else to add to the ‘tests are pointless’ list. An antibody test is more useful, it will test whether you have immunity.

There is a treatment. A cheap one. Hydroxychloroquine, antibiotic and zinc. It has been poo-pooed because Trump said it and also because it doesn’t make anyone rich. You really want to stake your life on your ideology? Hydroxychloroquine is an old antimalarial drug that has become a generic. It’s very, very cheap. Many, many people who travel to malaria risk countries use it every year. A few develop side effects, but then some people suffer an allergy to tonic water. Most people are fine.

There is also an expensive treatment, an antiviral that costs $1000 per pill. That’s the one being pushed by those who will profit from it.

Zinc sulphate supplements are very cheap. Zinc is often depleted in older people and worth stocking up on. It helps with wound healing and breaks cytokine storms. Long term use of the supplement can cause anaemia so it’s really only something we old buggers should take when there’s a risk.

With all this, a lot of people will still die. It’s horrible but it will happen, no matter what we do. None of us will live forever, under any government or health regime. Life is a risk every day. If there is no risk, it’s not life. It’s just existing.

The ‘flatten the curve’ idea behind lockdown led many to believe that this would save lives. It will and it won’t. The area under the two curves is the same. Same number of infections from this virus, same number of deaths. Flattening the curve means the medical side won’t get overwhelmed over a short period so they can cope. That means we avoid excess deaths due to an overstretched health service and won’t have to ignore all other diseases while the virus runs its course. Something the NHS has only just started to realise.

There has been much criticism of the Nightingale hospitals having few to no patients. If we had not had the lockdown they would likely be overflowing. This is not touted as a ‘success of lockdown’ but as a ‘failure of government’.

China hid away the virus for so long they had to quickly make emergency hospitals out of stacked portakabins. Italy had no time to prepare so they were overwhelmed. The UK saw it coming and prepared Nightingale hospitals before they were needed (they still might be) and the USA has made the mistake of dismantling some of their temporary hospitals before this is over.

Lockdown, in my view, was done at the right time. Boris didn’t want to do it at all and many people, even those who don’t want to admit it, wish he hadn’t.

If he had done it sooner, as hysterical toddlers like Piers Morgan say, people would have looked around and said ‘Fuck all is happening, this is silly’ and it would have failed in a week. Now he is being villified for doing it too late by people who are already going stir crazy and claiming the lack of mass graves proves they are right.

The lack of mass graves proves Boris was right. This lockdown hits the poorest hardest, those who only get paid when they show up for work. I am astounded that many places are laying off cleaners in a time when cleanliness is vital but then people, especially managers, aren’t too bright. That’s why Boris didn’t want to do it. He was railroaded into it by those who are now complaining about it.

Lockdown cannot be sustained for much longer. I give it another week at most. Boris knew this. The Brits will not be contained for long. The Americans, even less so. However, it has achieved its aim – to slow the spread so there is no massive peak as in China and Italy. When lockdown is relaxed the virus will spread but we now have all those emergency spare hospitals to deal with it. We have had time to stock up on PPE. They have, you know. The Panorama thing was bollocks. It was, like most things on the BBC, a Leftie hate-fest. It’s not even the government’s job to source PPE, it’s the job of the thousands of idiots paid to be NHS procurement managers. Most of whom are lefties too.

People are dying not because of Boris and the Tories (could be a good band name) but because of the lefties who care nothing for lives lost as long as they can make a point. Who would you trust with your life in this situation? Happy to become a statistic so the Lefties can bring down the government?

Then we have nicotine. You know, it’s a good thing ASH and their ilk weren’t around long ago or you would not now have niacin in bread and most of you would be suffering pellagra. I have delighted in telling people that niacin is nicotinic acid and that it’s in bread and other foods to get them addicted. Doing my bit to raise the average IQ of the planet.

It looks like nicotine, an ACE2 blocker, reduces your chances of catching the virus and makes it less bad if you do. It needs research but who would dare? Any research suggesting a positive effect of nicotine and the Puritans will end your career.

We need to know if this is true, we need to know how long nicotine blocks those receptors, do we have to take it hourly or daily? Should we all be vaping or using Snus? Which is best, does it work at all?

I have a feeling we will never know because the Puritans would rather we died than admit they are wrong.

Smoking, and Schrodinger’s Tyrant

Still waiting to hear from one author, who is ill. I’ll get the rest of the contracts out tomorrow anyway and finish assembling the book and cover so it’s all set to go as soon as I hear. Payments go out after contracts – if you want to be paid in books, it could take a while unless I can get Amazon to send them direct. I still don’t have the cable to fix the car so I still can’t go anywhere. Might buy a moped…

So Kim Jong Un might or might not be dead. Only opening the country and taking a look inside will force his current quantum uncertainty into one state or the other. Just what 2020 needed, uncertainty in a nuclear-armed rogue state. I would say things can’t get worse but the universe just takes that as a challenge these days.

If he is dead, it seems likely his sister will take over. Lots of talk about how pretty she is – and she is – but I see a very harsh mouth and eyes. Kim Jong Undead was/is a tyrant but there were often images of him laughing and smiling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his sister wear any expression other than ‘the teacher who caught you smoking’. I don’t think North Korea will be more open under her rule. I think she’ll lock it down harder.

On smoking, there is increasing evidence that smokers are less likely to catch the Flu Manchu and have less severe symptoms if they do get it. Why? Several theories have been put forward, it seems that nicotine can block ACE2, a cell surface protein that the virus needs to attach to to get into your cells. This protein is all over the surfaces of your lungs and throat and other organs inside you. If it gets into your blood it can infect non-airway organs too.

One place rich in ACE2 is the testicles, so men have an extra breeding ground for the virus that women don’t have. Might be connected to its higher kill rate among men than women – so, sorry guys, off with them.

I had been wondering how I’d make the jump to a female-drone neutered workforce in Panoptica, and here’s the answer. I wonder if the universe is helping me write that book?

I don’t think the French experiment with patches will work. The patches put nicotine in your bloodstream where it could well have a protective effect on your internal organs – but not your nose, throat or lungs.

The ACE2 receptors the virus uses are on the outside (air side) of respiratory tissue. Those receptors do not come in contact with blood. They’re also on the inside of the tissue, where the blood goes past them, but the virus isn’t coming that way. It’s coming from the air side. You need to block those air-side receptors and you can only do that if the nicotine is in inhaled air or at least in saliva. Might be why Sweden isn’t in lockdown – loads of them use snus and they are antisocial buggers at the best of times anyway. Their extreme politeness extends to hardly ever interacting at all. My bet is most of the cases they have are among migrants. Who, as here, will ignore lockdown instructions anyway.

No doctor would dare suggest anyone take up smoking. They’d be struck off. Even suggesting a lifelong nonsmoker take up vaping would get them hounded out of a job. There is a simple solution.

Nicotine in an asthma inhaler. It would be cheap and likely to be effective and yet there will be massive opposition. So many have been brainwashed with lies about nicotine being a carcinogen, a toxin, addictive… none of that is true. Thanks to the antismokers those lies are deeply ingrained now. Many will refuse this treatment, it’ll be hard as hell to even get approval for a trial, and the WHO will not budge from their position on nicotine. Even if it has the potential to save many thousands of lives.

Antismokers really would let people die rather than give up their crusade. Well it won’t be the smokers or vapers dying, nor even the bulk of nonsmokers who just aren’t bothered about smokers. Those antismokers would take the inhalers. It’ll be their own army of zealots who will suffer so it’s hard to give a shit, really.

Actually, nicotine gum would be better than patches but someone in intensive care isn’t likely to be up for a chewing session. They might not even be conscious. In that case, a nebuliser shooting a dose of nicotine vapour into their oxygen mask might be an option – but it would require a consent form. Which would have to be signed before they get that bad. If they refuse it, then it can’t be used.

Hospitals really don’t want a rash of lawsuits from rabid antismokers whose lives they have just saved. The consent form is essential.

I suspect the French patches study will show some effect on the multiple-organ infections in the really bad cases, but little to no effect in the airways. Antismokers will pounce on this as proof that it’s all rubbish. Maybe those French researchers will realise why it doesn’t work on the airways, maybe they won’t. We’ll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, I’m lighting up another one.

Mask

Well, I have heard back from all but one author on edits on the next anthology. The last author is unwell (no, it’s not the current pestilence) but I have a cover to finish and a book to assemble so it’s really not slowing things down. Author contracts will be out in a couple of days and payments will be out before publication – hopefully that will be this week.

I am considering adding a masked monster to the Loch Ness picture I’m using. It’s still possible.

There are several other single author books delayed by this mess and my own writing has stalled. I have to do some catching up. Especially with Panoptica, which is coming true very fast now.

So, masks. We are to be told soon that masks will be compulsory but will they do any good? Can you afford them from the price gougers? Can you even get them?

A surgical mask is not designed to protect the one wearing it. It’s designed to stop the surgeon infecting the patient. Wearing one does not protect you, it protects everyone else from you. Of course, if everyone wears one, that’s okay, but can everyone get one? You can’t re-use it. It’s meant to be sent for autoclaving and disposal after use and not too many people have access to a box full of masks and an autoclave. Although many people still have pressure cookers, so 15 minutes with the full weight on will do the same. The mask will not be useable afterwards though.

Right, so you are likely to be told to wear a mask even though you can’t get one. A scarf isn’t going to do too much to help. The fabric masks with the bottom half of a skull printed on them will have near-zero effect too. And something that seems to have been forgotten – the virus gets in through your eyes. Wear safety glasses, the ones that wrap around the sides.

Home made masks. It’s not as simple as wrapping a scarf around your face, you will need a bit of sewing.

First, you need the layer next to your face. Make it heavy gauge cotton perhaps from an old pair of jeans because you really don’t want the next two layers touching your face,

Next layer, HEPA material from one of those white cloth vacuum cleaner bags. Careful with this stuff, it has fibreglass in it so wear gloves handling it and cut it outside or at least near an open window. It can cause long term irritation. It is, however, very good at filtering.

Next layer, any material soaked in 30% (30 grams per 100ml) salt solution. Ordinary table salt is fine. Add a touch of detergent to help it spread, a drop of washing up liquid will do. Let it dry completely and lay it on the stack.

Finally, outer layer. Anything you like. It’s not really doing anything other than keeping the lower layers in place. Remember you have to breathe through all this stuff so the outer layer can be as open as you want.

When it’s assembled, I’d say don’t put the loops over your ears. Use some kind of elastic to hold the loops behind your head, it takes pressure off your ears so you don’t end up looking like Prince Charles, aka Plug from the Bash Street Kids.

Stitch or staple pleats either side of your nose, to make it fit snugly. Air flow will be much easier around the mask than through it and you want to avoid that. It’s not going to be easy to breathe through this thing so don’t think you’re going to be running a marathon wearing it but walkkng slowly through a supermarket should be fine.

Oh and if you are thinking of taking up smoking because of the effects of nicotine on this virus, it’s too late. The effects of nicotine on ACE2 receptor expression don’t happen overnight. The current French experiment using nicotine patches is most likely going to fail unless the patient is a current or recently-quit smoker or vaper. If it does, that failure will be pounced on by the WHO who seem intent on causing as many deaths as possible for their Chinese masters.

Me? I just stocked up on baccy and whisky and vitamins D and C and zinc sulphate. But what do I know, eh?

Some will say I should have stocked up on tinfoil. We shall see.

Loch Doon and Tinfoil Hats

I knew I’d lost a story somewhere in all the confusion. I had lost two from Marsha Webb. Those are now edited and returned and contracts, then payments, won’t be long now. I hope to have it assembled for Beltane, it’s not much time but until I can at least get the part to fix my car, I’m going nowhere anyway.

The book, thanks to Longrider, will be titled Tales from Loch Doon. This is a quick mockup of a cover using one of my photos of Loch Ness.

I’ll mess around with the lighting and I’m not entirely happy with the font there. Still, the basic image works, I think. Roo B. Doo will be first in the editor list since she did, by far, most of the work while I was dealing with life. Life. Don’t talk to me about life. Loathe it or hate it, you can’t ignore it.

The book will have 14 stories from 9 authors, unless I missed someone else. If you still don’t have edits back, please let me know. Check your spam cupboard for a Leg Iron Books email.

Okay, that’s the book stuff. Tinfoil hats ready? Here we go.

Is 5G really dangerous?

I don’t know. Ask Vanessa Redgrave. (Okay I can’t get to a post office, possibly for weeks, but if you get that reference I’l email you an eBook of your choice from Leg Iron Books in any format you want)

I have no expertise in microwave radiation at all and frankly, I live where 4G is only available if you stand in the right place and our landline comes through ageing copper wires. I’m not going to have to worry about 5G for a very long time, so I haven’t looked into it all that hard.

It seems to have a short range so you need a lot of towers. That sounds expensive. And ugly. I’ve seen the towers and they aren’t exactly pretty things. I admit I am not keen on this whole ‘internet of things’ idea at all but then I did grow up in a time where only the posh people had a landline phone in the house. It’s all accelerated at a hell of a speed. I remember the invention of cassette tapes, and how we couldn’t afford a Walkman and didn’t feel the need for one. I remember when the CD was a fanciful myth on ‘Tomorrow’s World’ and those are already gone.

So, this new 5G, well, I doubt I really need it and if I stay in this house I’m not likely to get it anyway. I will not install an Alexa listening device in this house and I won’t buy a TV with a camera in it. There’d be no point anyway, the internet out here won’t cope with it. Most of what I do, most of what I send by email, involves text documents. I could do it with an old dial-up modem.

But is 5G dangerous? I don’t know. I admit I am concerned by the lack of any testing and the apparent lack of will to do any testing. I really do think it should be tested, high energy microwaves have the potential to be harmful and if they are going to tell me my smoking and drinking is harming me then they need to prove that their profitable new game is at least less harmful.

Baseline answer: I don’t trust it because of the refusal to run and publish tests, but I have no hard evidence it’s dangerous.

Can 5G create/control a virus?

No.

This is an area where I do have some expertise. You cannot create a virus from electromagnetic radiation and there is no way at all to control a virus. As most of the world is currently finding out.

A virus does not have a brain, nor even the basis of any kind of nervous system. It does not think, it does not reason, it considers nothing, sees nothing, hears nothing, feels nothing. It is not even an entire cell. It’s essentially a cell fragment. Lower in complexity even than archaebacteria. A bit of RNA or DNA enclosed in protein and lipid, with a surface that lets it attach and get into a real cell. It is a parasite. It does nothing but invade cells and replicate itself.

The current bout of Mao Tse Lung seems to affect some ethnic groups more than others. That does not make it racist. It knows nothing of race, it doesn’t even know humans exist. It doesn’t know it infects cells expressing ACE2 protein, it doesn’t know it kills people, it doesn’t know about people at all. It knows nothing at all. It has no means of storing any kind of external information and no means of receiving external information. You can blast Radio 4 at it for eternity, it will not notice.

So aside from the rather obvious observation that even 5G is not a Star Trek replicator and creates nothing, there is no means to control a virus via any kind of waveform because the virus has no means to even detect that waveform. 5G has absolutely nothing to do with any virus of any kind.

Are renewables renewable?

Windmills and solar panels are possibly the worst thing to ever have happened to this planet. Sure, oil spills are bad, but oil is part of the planet. The world can eventually reabsorb it and deal with it. Okay, timescales are longer than human lifetimes but we are ephemeral. Our entire history is such that the planet hasn’t noticed us yet. We really aren’t as important as we like to think we are.

Basically, we are a form of monkey that has developed fancy toys. All made from the planet’s resources and much of it will just be reabsorbed. Like CO2. It really is plant food, you know. Anyone who was taught real biology knows this.

The windmills and solar panels, those ‘green’ things, are causing lakes of toxic waste where the required elements are extracted. Solar panels, once expired, are buried in landfill where they leach out poison into the soil. They cannot be recycled.

Ever wondered how a 60 foot windmill stays up? It’s bolted to several hundred tons of concrete hidden below the soil. Every one of them. Those blocks will be wondered at by archaeologists a thousand years from now, and they will produce complex theories about the fibreglass windmill-blade mass graves they will find all over the planet. None of these things are recyclable and they are going to be in the ground far longer than any other landfill. They won’t rot.

Nuclear power waste will be long gone before the solar panel and windmill waste decays. Future archaeologists will wonder how we powered our world with such inefficlent systems while they power theirs with uranium. Just as ours now wonder how the Incas cut stone so precisely.

Eventually it will all fall apart and the realism that hydro and nuclear are the clean way forward will emerge, but we will never power any kind of long distance transport with those things. Fossil fuel use will reduce but I don’t believe it can ever be utterly dispensed with. Just ask Greenpeace and their diesel powered ships.

We could, of course, go back to putting sails on ships… Greenpeace hasn’t though. Why is that, I wonder?

Is there really a plan to reduce global population?

Yes. There has been for a long time and they really aren’t being subtle about it. Africa – all of it – will be a nature reserve, large areas of other continents will be no go areas for humans, we are to be corralled into economically productive cities and only the elites will travel.

Sounds horrible? It is, but the ones pushing it think it won’t apply to them. Just like the ones who fought for communism in the Soviet Union and China and those who supported Nazism in 1930s Germany. Just like those academics who supported Pol Pot until he had them all exterminated.

Oh you can call it tinhat foilery all you want. You can pretend it won’t apply to you all you want but it is no secret. The UN are quite open about Agenda 21. The delegates at their meetings think it won’t apply to them or their families. Agenda 21 was a ‘conspiracy theory’ but there are now conferences discussing it.

Does anyone want to destroy society as we know it?

You haven’t been paying attention, have you? The ecoloons want to drive us back to mediaeval times. No industry, no nothing, you will be caking your straw hut in cow shit and eating raw turnips to save a planet that has not noticed you exist. This is genuinely what they want and once again, they don’t think it will apply to them. They think they will film it all on iPhones and upload it to TikTok. Sorry guys, neither of those things will exist. You’ll be up at 4 am to chase badgers off your turnip fields and pick slugs off your lettuce just like everyone else. Unless, of course, you are executed for wrongthink.

You don’t need to look at the tinfoil hat brigade. There are no aliens coming to poke your bum, no reptiles coming to eat your children. That’s not even needed.

Look at what they are telling you openly. They are not kidding.

Viral smokiness

I’m seeing a lot of reports that smokers and vapers are very under-represented in cases of the new virus. I haven’t seen solid studies yet, just admissions/deaths numbers but then there really hasn’t been time to study mechanisms in detail.

There are a lot of possible mechanisms. It seems regular intake of nicotine represses a protein called ACE2. I’m not going to bore you with biochemistry, suffice to say that this is a cell surface protein that has a few jobs to do, but it’s also the one Flu Manchu attaches to when attacking cells. So, cells that have a lot of this protein are highly susceptible to the virus.

If it is reduced in nicotine users then those using nicotine patches and gum long term should also show a protective effect. I haven’t seen any data at all on that though. If it does turn out that patches and gum have an effect then nonsmokers don’t need to take up smoking. During flu season, slap on a nicotine patch.

Of course, that route has been effectively blocked by Public Health, who have spent years convincing the gullible that nicotine is harmful, carcinogenic and addictive. It is none of those things but the public won’t believe that now and I have long given up arguing with the indoctrinated. ‘Harmful’ and ‘carcinogenic’ can be applied to other chemicals in smoke just as well as they can be applied to the chemicals in vehicle exhausts. Nicotine plays no role in any of those things.

There are, of course, other, potentially simpler reasons why smokers are under-represented in the current Mao Tse Lung outbreak. Smokers, long term ones anyway, tend to cough quite a bit. Often with phlegm, which will make it harder for a virus to get in. Viruses can’t swim, they have no motive power at all, they just go where the wind takes them. If they get stuck in mucus and coughed back out, they can’t get you. Also, an infected cell releasing new viruses into a layer of phlegm will slow the infection of neighbouring cells and give the immune system a better chance of dealing with it.

Then there is the whole social isolation thing. Smokers have been ostracised harder and harder for many years and really, a lot of people stay well away from us anyway due to the ridiculous fearmongering around second and third and nine hundredth hand smoke. Our social lives have been so curtailed that we must surely be at far lower risk of catching anything at all.

Incidentally, Amnesty International have been on social media to declare that calling it ‘the Chinese virus’ is racist. I’m sure they won’t like the names I’ve been calling it. However, having now seen multiple instances of black people in China being evicted, turned away from shops, turned away from hospitals when in labour, and not a peep from the Champions of Anti-Racism, Amnesty can go in the same bin as the WHO, UN and Public Health. They have all proved themselves as useless as the EU in this outbreak. Just nannying and virtue signalling and pushing agendas. ‘Never mind the sick people, this is our chance to get what we want.’

Quite a few organisations are showing their true faces now. The Masque of the Red Death (I’d make it a competition but can’t get to a post office anyway) did that too, and the title seems appropriate here.

There has been a sudden switch from ‘Ban all face coverings’ to ‘Cover all faces’, hasn’t there? I need a mask with a cigarette sized hole in it, is that allowed? I doubt it. Anyway, if you have to make your own masks, get some hoover bags. The HEPA ones, they look like white cloth, are best although the paper ones will do at a pinch. Cut those up to make a layer in the mask, they are not quite as good as N95 but pretty close. Oh and don’t forget the salt-encrusted cloth layer. It’s in several earlier posts.

If you have a gas mask or spray paint mask or one of those rubber dust masks with filters in it, you can replace the filters with the HEPA layer and salt layer. Make sure there are no gaps.

Oh, and getting back to racism because ma, papa, we’re all racists now (that would have been too easy for a competition), the Mayor of London, Napoleon something, has declared that because BAME people are disproportionally represented in infection rates, there must be something racist going on. It can’t just be that they are ignoring lockdown and social distancing rules, someone has to be to blame. Someone white and male, naturally. Well, viruses have no gender and since they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, they have no colour either. Good luck accusing them of racism.

Maybe it’s those BAME gatherings that are behind their enhanced infection rate.

Or maybe they just didn’t smoke enough.

Just when you think it can’t get worse…

…the car broke down.

Last Wednesday in fact. I had just gone to Local Shop and when I got back into the car and moved the handle to ‘drive’, nothing happened. The cable between that handle and the gearbox has snapped. Naturally, this was the one day I hadn’t taken my phone with me so had to borrow the shop’s to call the AA.

They turned up pretty quickly, really. Apparently they’d had a busy day, with all the cars sat idle for a week or more taking to the roads, many with deferred MOT tests and no servicing or maintenance… maybe those things are not quite as non-essential as the police and government think.

So anyway, they dragged my immobilised car onto the back of a truck, took me the two miles home and dragged it off again. It’s an automatic stuck in ‘park’, all you can do is put sliders under the wheels and drag it. It doesn’t have an override to put it in neutral. The driver got a cup of tea and a Leg Iron Books mug as a tip because he was really patient with a right bastard of a job – but it might be a while before I get that competition winner’s mug posted.

Replacing the cable is a reasonably easy task but… all of the dealerships are closed. I cannot get the part. EBay is no use, the only ones selling cables that *might* fit are in Lithuania, the USA or the UAE. Amazon UK has one seller with one cable at a price that would make me scrap the car. Lots of them on the American and Canadian sites, at much more reasonable prices, but again, I cannot be sure they are the right ones. I can’t get the parts department at the closed dealership so I can’t get the part number.

A mobile mechanic came out to look at it yesterday. He did what he could, patched it so it can be moved, but without the right part he can’t do a final repair. So if I drive anywhere I could get stuck there.

Therefore we are now in full lockdown, missing only the welded-shut doors. We cannot go anywhere. CStM has placed a delivery order but it won’t come until April 30th so we will be heavily reliant on Local Shop’s emergency delivery for a while. They have been really spectacular in all of this, maybe one day I’ll even tell them who I am. But then it’s only been four years, I don’t want to seem pushy.

Okay, we have two freezers of food and I have a good stock of whisky and baccy so we’ll get through this without me taking pot-shots at passing Audis, tempting though that always is.

Editing on the anthology stories is now also complete and they’ll get sent out to authors this weekend. If you sent in a story and don’t hear back before Sunday, I might have lost it in all this year’s confusion. Don’t hesitate to drop me a reminder.

RooBeeDoo gets first place on the editor list for this one, she did most of the editing while I was in a blue funk for the last few months.

Finally, I need to come up with a title for this one. Something about quarantine, masks, handwash or toilet paper, ideally. Once all the edits are out, I’ll have a bit of a think.

Suggestions welcome, of course.