19 October 2020

Mundanity

Monday October 19th. Another day in this magnificent year - 2020AD. COVID-19 control measures have placed the city of Sheffield in the "high" tier. There are three tiers - medium, high and very high. To me this seems like a manipulative misuse of language. Surely the three tiers should be low, medium and high. Playing language tricks like that contributes to feelings of mistrust that may lead to further non-compliance.

Rules connected with "high" zones are manifold. Some of those rules are clearcut but others are vague and open to interpretation. What I do know is that we are not meant to visit other people's homes. We must stay in our household bubbles. This means that Shirley and I cannot visit our lovely daughter and her equally lovely husband and they cannot come here. Who knows for how long? Perhaps a month, maybe longer. Ideally, pregnant women enjoy family support as the birth day approaches.

Over in Wales, their devolved government have decided to enforce a two week shutdown. I just heard the First Minister of Wales on the radio. He declared that people - with few exceptions - must stay in their own homes and only venture out to buy food or to visit a medical facility. As an aside I should say that the infection rate in South Yorkshire is significantly higher than in Wales. Maybe we are heading for a similar "fire break" period.

It's a bit glum outside. Not raining but overcast. I went to the big Sainsburys at Millhouses earlier on to buy some supplies - including "Red Label" tea bags and my first ever jar of "Marmite" flavoured peanut butter. As Frances is a fan of both, I bought her a jar too. Well, you have to have something to look forward to when you are in the "High" tier. I wish that being in the "High" tier meant that that we received free bags of marijuana from our beloved government so that we could get "High" and forget about The Plague till tomorrow.

39 comments:

  1. Welcome to tier three.

    This year just gets worse and worse, doesn't it.

    Hope things get better all round and then you get to see your family.
    I'm missing mine immensely.

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  2. What a toff life, Sir Yorky! Popping into Waitrose at Millhouses for Marmite. And you have the audacity Sir to complain about our overcast English skies!

    You know the story about the sub-editor at The London Illustrated News? He was subbing G.K. Chesterton's monthly column, and said to his colleague: *I thought Chesterton could no longer surprise me, but he has really gone too far this time!*

    *What's he saying this month?* asked the other chap. *He's saying English skies are beautiful, and grey is a beautiful and underrated colour,* replied the sub.

    Life is too short to read drivel like 50 Shades of Grey, but we can enjoy the subtle shifting grey light above our heads. As Franz Kafka said in a letter to Max Brod: *Why is Chesterton so HAPPY?*

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    1. My idea of torture would be being forced to read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and then answering question about it.

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    2. Aye, we will send Fifty Shades o'Grunge tae bed without any supper.
      How about writers who turn Mundanity into Magic?

      Sheilagh Delaney's Salford (Ken Russell BBC 4) YouTube.
      David Sillitoe on his father, writer Alan Sillitoe. CityArtsNotts. YouTube.
      Ruth Fainlight Reads Six Poems. Bloodaxe Books. YouTube.

      David Sillitoe is without any affectation in talking about his brilliant father just as Sheilagh Delaney was without artifice in her love of Salford.
      I think she was all of 19 when Joan Littlewood produced her masterpiece, A Taste of Honey.

      And Ruth Fainlight was married to Alan Sillitoe and is the mother of David Sillitoe. Her dazzling Collected Poems are published by Bloodaxe, one of England's great publishing ventures.

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  3. Does this mean that you will no longer be able to go walk-about YP? No more lovely photos to cheer us for a while?
    Here, we are living with the new "norm", and apart from (almost) everyone wearing masks, and some hotels and shops closed, life seems to have reverted to (almost) pre Covid days. We're lucky that we are in a region where the figures are still the lowest in the country.
    There are more UK registered cars and camper vans about this last week or so, and we hope that they are not bringing the UK virus with them! We've survived the hoards from Madrid and other virus hot-spots this summer, and would, selfishly, hate to have a surge now that most tourists have gone home.

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    1. Whaddya mean "the UK Virus"? Everybody knows it's The Wuhan Virus!

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  4. Eat your Marmite peanut butter quickly before the Covid Police ban it! What ever happened to passing things through Parliament?

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    1. The only thing that passes through parliament begins with an "s" and ends with a "t".

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  5. Marmite peanut butter??? Ye gods and little fishes! Whatever next?

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  6. I love peanut butter (especially the crunchy variety) but have never tasted Marmite, so I find this rather intriguing.
    My town has, along with Stuttgart, been declared a "Corona hot spot" and so stricter measures are in order here as well. Since last Thursday, face masks are mandatory even out in the open within certain inner-city boundaries and whenever the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 m can not be kept. Schools, shops, restaurants are still open, but it is probably just a question of time before bars etc. have to close at 11:00 pm. Besides, I find visits to restaurants and so on not very attractive right now.
    Oh, and I hear that some of the shops around here are running out of bog roll again...

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    1. Here the curfew for pubs etc. is 2200 hrs. The recommended social distancing is 2 m. Try and tell that to people who still measure in yards, feet and ounces.

      The whole thing stinks to high heaven; and as I don't have any answers I feel like in no-man's land. In the dark. No compass. Meanwhile I hear from friends (on the phone) who are in varying states of hysteria. Obviously, I can't say to them "Just let's all lie down and die and be done with it". That'd be too easy.

      Marmite is an acquired taste. It grows on you the more often you try it.

      U

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    2. We think in miles yards feet inches tons hundredweights stones pounds ounces guineas shillings and pence to confuse Europeans. To taunt them even more, we refer to the system for weights as the Avoirdupois system.

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    3. You are right Herr Tasker. Those kilometres, litres and kilograms will never catch on upon this sceptred isle. Sorry to hear that Ludwigsburg is on the verge of a full lockdown.

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  7. At least you have a government who is trying to do SOMETHING. Over here it's "Hey- get sick and die!"
    So if the government did deliver bags of cannabis, you'd need more jars of peanut butter (of any type) to eat. I actually know nothing about Marmite but I think it may be made of what we call brewer's yeast which we use on popcorn or in sauces as a cheese substitute. When I was pregnant, I used to mix it into milk to drink. Supposedly full of B-vitamins.
    Hang in there, man.

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    1. Yuk! Milk with Marmite sounds rather disgusting. I will tell Frances about it.

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    2. But we get the dry flakes, not the paste.

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  8. Far be it from me to suggest anarchy, YP. But, seriously, who will stop you and Shirley to see your daughter and father of your future grandchild if the four and a half of you agree?

    The whole virus script is getting out of hand. For me, the worst part, that people will just succumb to what they are mandated to. It's like being in the army. Yes Sir, no Sir. Yes, Sir, have left my own judgment at the door; no, Sir, I most certainly won't do anything unless you tell me to. It's ridiculous.

    Other than that, commiserations, YP. Subterfuge needs to be employed. Remember that Rolling Stones' song "Under cover of the night"? Who knows what was on their brain when they wrote those lyrics. If you look closely there is more to it than the obvious.

    U

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    1. I like to play all games by the rules - even life itself.

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    2. If we all went “ off piste “ there would be anarchy

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    3. But some people always know better

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    4. Let me be facetious, John, just for sake of argument (and please do note that I didn't suggest anarchy). You do know what anarchy means, don't you? It doesn't mean that people disregard rules, regulations, the law. It means "without government". Whilst England does have a "government" of sorts, at least in name, it is an inefficient one, an uninspiring one. As to manage the virus there are no clear guide lines, there are contradictions. You say "some people always know better". Don't you see the irony? Science says one thing, the "government" cherry picks.

      I don't want to bring up that Cummings saga again - but what do you expect of people with fewer than two brain cells to rub together than to ignore the rules their "leaders" themselves do not observe?

      I do the mask thing, I am an absolute stickler for the two meter rule - and, on occasion, I am bemused how people feel safe behind their masks and forget all about social distancing. I don't voice this. I just stand back till they got their bananas. Which reminds me: You know the worst offenders? In the name of political correctness I will not spell it out in writing here. Let's just say that they are deemed, potentially, to be the ones at greatest risk of spreading and succumbing (no, I don't mean the old with one foot out of the door). It's a great shame that that demographic gives themselves a bad name because they are, largely, a most charming and attractive one. And they rarely come in formations of less than five. Taking up the width of the pavement. So, and please don't count me as roadkill yet, I swerve out onto the road or cross it to the other side.

      I may be wrong but I imagine you, John, living in a fairly unpopulated backwater. I live in a big city. I WALK everywhere. Different ball game. So I see what's happening raw, unadulterated. You may be pleased to hear that my favourite store (John Lewis and its little Waitrose therein) does police its entrance. If you don't wear a mask, if you don't sanitize your hands under their watchful eye you'll be directed to go to Asda (only joking. Though Asda, and what does that tell you, is as lax as lax can be. Hate the place.) M&S too has relaxed a little since the first wave - though they do count people in and out. Alas, the more expensive a store the fewer customers. Which means they are oasis (what's the plural of oasis?) of calm. And easy for customers to steer clear of each other.

      In the meantime let me assure you, John, that I have nothing but admiration for those professionals who put themselves at daily risk. What would I do in their/your position? Run up the hills, screaming? I don't know. Instead of which I receive a letter from my hospital cancelling my appointment and offering me a doctor on the phone instead. Great. Maybe I'll become a victim of Corona indirectly, by stealth. Some already have. And that is shameful.

      U

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  9. I would have to be high on marijuana before considering eating that stuff.

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    1. Yes. As I am confident you already know Tasker, when "the munchies" arrive everything is tasty. Peace and love man!

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    2. Marmite peanut butter hash-cakes? Am I in *The Morning of the Magicians*, or what?
      Who was the French physicist who rubbished that hippie book? He wrote a reply, *The Twilight of the Magicians*. One of my mates ate hash-cakes on a boat in Amsterdam and was as sick as Bill Sykes's dog.
      Call me gay, but I enjoy Waitrose lavender shortbread with my Clipper Green Tea.

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    3. You have exotic tastes John! Bill Sikes's dog was called Bulls-eye. And yes, Sikes is spelt with an "i" not a "y".

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    4. Sikes or Sykes I always saw him as Robert Newton in the 1948 David Lean film. I had forgotten the dog was Bulls-eye. Kafka read Dickens, but we can only wonder what Dickens would have made of Kafka: The Trial is Dickens on LSD.

      The French physicist who wrote *Le Crepuscule des Magiciens* was Yves Galifret, sad I can find no entry for him in Wiki. I don't know if his book was translated. He was the Richard Dawkins of his day and a man I wish I had read when young.

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  10. Please let me know what the Marmite peanut butter tastes like. As a fan of both I'm rather interested to know.

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    1. I have not opened ours yet Graham. Maybe tomorrow.

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  11. I've heard Marmite mentioned on the British blogs but I still don't quite know what it is? We usually have peanut butter and I like it in a sandwich for lunch occasionally.

    It sounds to me like you are in the medium tier if there is no low? I'm sorry to hear about the stricter restrictions. How do they know if you happen to visit your daughter? I might be a law breaker and forget that rule occasionally. The only real restrictions we have are mask orders and even that is just in some counties and not other counties. I do think that masks help prevent the spread of covid but when they are not worn everywhere I wonder how helpful it can be. I hope you can still get some walks in!

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    1. "Marmite" is a kind of yeast extract discovered as a by-product in the brewing industry. Normally you spread it on toast. Some British people absolutely love it and some hate it.

      I am not into breaking rules these days. I like to play by the rules Bonnie.

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  12. I think I'll take my peanut butter straight. Well except for the sliced banana atop it atop my morning toast.

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  13. I wonder how effective the two week Welsh shut down will be. It seems to be in place to give hospitals some breathing space. No fanks to the Marmite and peanut butter.

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  14. Nice play on words at the end. But getting serious , it doesn't look like Covid is coming to an end anytime soon.

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  15. Well if it is any compensation I noted on the news yesterday that you have acquired a steel panda on top of a roof in the 'Asian' part of Sheffield. Timing?? But then the symbolic meaning of the panda means peace and good luck and a positive attitude to life. Which you have. I think the mixing of marmite and peanut butter in an advert is not the best way to sell it!

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  16. London is now High too. t this rate I can see my special birthday a the end of November being spent in solitude. Still, better that than dead, I suppose.

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