Peter Rhodes on pandemic chores, the search for resilience and the perils of photographing a lock-in

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Still saving it?

Still passionate about saving the planet? Here's a little test of your green commitment. After weeks of shortages, panic-buying and hoarding, a new supply of anti-viral hand sanitizer appears in the shops, It's in plastic bottles. Your call . . . .

When this sub-molecular war is over, expect to hear a lot of the word “resilience.” It has been a growth industry over the past few years. People earn good money thinking up ways to protect systems, workforces, hardware and software from anything from floods to nuclear war. When the inevitable post-pandemic inquiry is held, it should consider the paramedic evicted from his lodging by a landlady who was scared he would bring the contagion home. Front-line staff like this should have been offered secure accommodation on day one.

The BBC, too, could use a resilience check. At a time like this, a great institution like Auntie Beeb should be unruffled and flawless, not scrabbling around to re-connect broken interviews. Why do they insist on making an internet connection with interviewees instead of using a low-tech but reliable landline?

Meanwhile, we play the waiting game. In a week or so, there will be mass distribution of pinprick blood tests designed to show whether someone has already had coronavirus. If millions of folk test positive, it will support last week's research at Oxford University which suggests the virus may have been here longer than we thought and millions of folk have had a dose and recovered, some without even knowing it. This is an appealing, optimistic piece of research but it has been seriously challenged by other experts. The blood tests may tell a gloomier tale but at least we'll know more about this virus. And knowledge, as they tell us, is strength.

If we are hoping for common sense and co-operation to get us through this pandemic, we're doomed. Take, for example, those boozers who enjoyed a lock-in after the pubs were ordered to close.

Small confession. In my misspent youth I found myself in a number of late-night lock-ins at various boozers. There were certain rules to be followed. You used the back door. You kept the noise down. And you never,ever took a photo of the event. Indeed, if anybody had produced a camera at an old-style lock-in, it would probably have required surgical removal. What happened at the lock-in stayed at the lock-in. Including the fact that most of the drinkers were cops coming off their night shift.

Today, you'll find images online of people smiling for the smartphone camera as they cheerfully break the pandemic rules at lock-ins. Let us hope they do not come to regret it.

Mow lawn. Clean gutters. Wash car. Don't you hate it when you do an entire month's work in one day?

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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