October 2020

So, here we are. The year has been a total shit show and it shows no signs of slowing down. The pandemic is in its seventh month and restrictions are increasing across the UK. London and my borough are in tier 2 restrictions and I wonder whether or not we’re going to be able to travel to Oxford to collect Mum to have us with her over Christmas. No one knows. The cases are rising every day and Boris is being useless. We’re at over 20,000 cases per day, which is worse than when the pandemic first reached our shores.

The US is still racking up cases and deaths and thanks to their uncoordinated efforts, the lack of listening to science and the downplaying of the seriousness of the virus has cost them over 220,000 lives. My parents are still being cautious and fortunately, they were always sort of shut-ins anyway, so there isn’t so much upheaval where they’re concerned. I continue to be grateful for Zoom and FaceTime to see how they’re doing every week.

The US election is 10 days away and I’m cautiously optimistic that Biden will will and get rid of that sociopath in the White House. Still, if this last four years has taught me anything, its that my countrymen are capable of self-sabotage and there are more vile, racist, ignorant morons out there that I had ever thought possible. Watch this space.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that everything has been doom and gloom. (Though, externally, it has). There are a few things to be happy about. My cancer is retreating again and I’m nearly back to normal. I’m tired and sleep is something I’m always chasing, (thank you pharmaceuticals) but things are looking up.

I’m studying Critical Reading with the Oxford Extended Learning program and I’m in the first unit of Creative and Critical Writing at Birkbeck. It means a lot of reading, but it’s something I enjoy and is not too taxing for my energy levels thus far.

Everyone continues to be supportive and I finally feel like I have enough energy to write again. (Hence the blog revisit)

We’ve been reading a lot of books that deal with social issues. From the depletion of fossil fuels and the rise of stupidity thanks to over dependence on automation (Pump Six) to the AIDS crisis of the 80s and the undercurrent of homophobia in Thatcher’s England (The Line of Beauty) and the rise of fungal diseases (plants getting back at us) in the novel Rosewater. These have all been excellent, and for the first time, the books I’m reading are more overt in their cautionary tales. Books should entertain, but the really valuable ones make us question our society. although “Pump Six” was only a short piece, it is a chilling commentary about where we’re heading as a society. We’re already seeing evidence of dumbing down and I doubt many of us could fix most of the things we’re dependent on if we had to. We rely on plumbers, electricians, doctors, engineers, etc, but these professions feel like their more and more specialised, and not as glamour our or rewarding financially that finance, etc. The advent of “influencers”, instant celebrity of nothing more than showing up on a reality TV show and the hero worship of overpaid sportsmen with little education off the football pitch makes me worry that young people have fewer and fewer role models that have actually achieved anything for their fellow man. I’m rambling, but these books are making me more aware of what an uphill battle we have to improve our lot before its too late.

I know this is meant to be a reading and writing blog and not just a place for me to rant, but in order for me to write about what I feel is meaningful, I feel like its important to provide a state of play. This is were we are as of 23 Oct 2020. I’ve just had another birthday, for which I am grateful, and the fate of our planet is at risk. A lot is being decided in the coming days. In the US, we have an election, a Supreme Court appointment the Republicans are trying to push through (unqualified Christian fundamentalist that will role back civil rights) and in the UK, we looking down the barrel at a no-deal Brexit and all of this is happening in the midst of a pandemic that show no signs of slowing down. it’s not quite the end of days, but there’re is change in the air and I feel much is at risk at the moment.

So, for now, stay safe, wear a mask, be nice to people and read a lot. That’s all I’ve got for now. Good luck.

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