Monthly Archives: April 2020

Catspiracy Theory exposed: click here for the truth!

So our family cat – Milly – called it a day a month ago after fifteen years of strutting her inimitable stuff. Mere days before the lock-down started.

I call foul. I cry conspiracy!

Here’s my evidence:

Cats have nine lives yeah? So how come this – so called – pandemic affects humans not felines right? I know! It’s a cover up that’s what it is. Her feisty-ness was legendary round these parts. Here’s proof: living on a country bus route not a week would go by without a double-decker stopping as she lay at full stretch in the middle of the road. Feisty? Nay, fearless. Only when she was finished having a lie down could the public could complete their journeys. So if a 20 ton bus couldn’t see her off… I know! Deny this – so called – government.

You can’t.

Cover up.

Then watched that Tiger King last week – dunno, had some time on my hands – and it got me thinking. Did Carol *&€^ing Baskin really feed her first husband to a big cat? It’s all too neat. Too easy. There must be another explanation. You can see where this is going yeah? It’s all to do with cats.

Then there was this thing on YouTube. I watched it to 3AM – without going for a wee, which was a challenge – and there is video after video after video agreeing with the thing that I had been watching in the first place before I nodded off. Of course, no governments, scientists, credible authors nor anyone with any form of certified education agrees with these videos. That would be too easy. You have to go on FACEBOOK to find evidence where there’s lots of true facts about it. I know! It simply screams “cover up”. The government and that shadowy illuminar, no allumin, no the illumiparty are behind it they are. They are out to get us. Them and the KGB, Mossad and – I watched that East Berlin documentary, Atomic Blonde – the Stasi.

Then there’s them videos of cats walking through a corridor with balanced pens no problem. I know! It’s not as if dogs can do it, right?

So our cat, right. It wasn’t natural causes. She faked it because she couldn’t face being at home with a house full of humans for a month plus.

Tell me I’m wrong. I’ve got all the evidence I need.

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The above STILL makes more sense than the utter bollocks about 5G causing coronovirus.

Anyway, below is really what you came here for. Milly pictures.

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Come fly with me?

Having managed to wrest a refund from BA today, travel is on my mind. Twenty-twenty was – according to my increasingly irrelevant calendar – riddled with air travel. Mainly business, mainly humdrum. Mixed in were spicier Middle East trips to fulfil a long term contract and even a spring wedding in the USofA.

The wedding is going ahead in Pennsylvania without us.

The nerve centre of [ahem] corporate global operations is now a small office in a Wiltshire garden where you’ll find me piloting a desk. The window frames the local bird life who provide charming distraction as they patrol their patch. Only they have clearance to fly. When my mind wanders further I gaze at the sky. These days the sight and sound of an aircraft is something of a novelty. (Ironically, as I type, a military chopper passes noisily low overhead. Nestled are we on the downs north of Salisbury plain where the armed forces practice, so this is a regular occurrence. Although what they are practising for presently is a moot point.)

Of course – as for so many – the laptop is both the focus of my remote work and primary distraction device. This morning I idly clicked upon Flightradar24 as once again the skies were bereft of con’ trails. Refreshing the page I was slightly puzzled. No aircraft. Zoom out. Still no aircraft. (The military stuff isn’t always registered on a public access website funnily enough.) Zoom out again and – finally – some activity.

As you’ll note from the screen grab below, there are zero airborne commercial aircraft at 08.00 on a weekday over South Wales, the South West all the way to a N-S line from Oxford to the Solent. Strange times indeed. Normally – ha! “Normally” – at this hour a procession of flights litter the screen inbound to LHR from ‘Stateside.

0800 skies over the SW 16th April

Spot the plane

According to the lovely, chatty, all-the-time-in-world man at BA, there are small percentage of flights to/from the US. The cabins have the unusual combination of a small number of socially distanced passengers – Americans can still travel abroad for pressing reasons – and the mail riding in style. (The holds are full of cargo.) Apparently they are booking up to sixty passengers on a transatlantic flight, with a 50% no show rate.

It’ll be some considerable time before air travel troubles this house I fear.

Meanwhile, here is Mister Blackbird having a bath.

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The corona-virus diaries: day X+?

Sit’ Rep’: we have been staying tF at home with steely resolve. We have supplies, we have the internet, we have countryside on the doorstep. We are socially distanced. We are, if anything, a little fitter than usual. We are – touch wood – well.

We are very, very fortunate.

Although, quietly, slowly, I have also had a realisation. Namely that life will never be the same again.

What does that bring to mind? The future of work? Of travel? Health? Politics? Recession?

While all of those may be now set on an unexpected, unpredictable path there is a factor that is unique viewed through the Beer clan lens.

Pretty soon the kids aren’t going to be kids anymore. They are not even going to be here.

Circumstance has caused the eldest, accidentally, through no action of her own, to finish her schooling. Exactly what will happen for the (A-level) class of twenty-twenty is unclear at this time, but it seems almost certain that whatever happens, she ain’t going back to school.

The Beer quartet are soon to become the Beer trio.

Even with the security of a roof over our heads, a cottage is oft oppressive in these strange days. Of course, we are not prisoners. Far from it. We are more like astronauts simulating a space journey, living together in the same experimental earthbound capsule shaped like the family home. We are in erratic orbit trapped by the gravity of Covid-19. Our crew only truly aligning for dinner each evening, before each melt away into private evenings of 21st century head-space. (Not so long ago broadcast TV would be the conduit for our shared space, shared experience… No more as separate screens glow in each cabin.)

Strangely immune from normal routines, waking times, bedtimes et al. “Weekends” have become tragi-comically irrelevant. The clock-change to BST? Seemed like an April fools. Whereas April fools was properly out-of-sorts and didn’t seem like itself at all.

SharedScreenshot

Twitter.

The only certainty is the evening meal. Yet whenever we sit down to dinner – and boy, there has been some top notch cookery action – I find myself looking beyond the food. Surreptitiously I check my family’s faces, taking mental snapshots. Then I check-in with my own feelings and choke back a tear. I know that wherever we are headed, we won’t naturally pass by this way again. Not like this. Assuming we are – forgive the dramatic tone here – saved from the pandemic, this family chapter will, come summer, close and a page will turn. The table will soon be set for three. Our daughter will leave home. Time will pass in a heartbeat and then, so will our son move on.

Table for two.

Present day April 2020. We four squabble, we disagree, we laugh – a lot – and yet we make a reasonably effective team. I genuinely don’t mind being cooped up on this mission together. Rather, I am cherishing it. As I write – for I have not said this aloud in a “Father-has-an-announcement” proclamation at the kitchen table – this is somehow a secret. To identify the elephant in the room, I fear, will somehow make it the only topic of conversation: we are flowing along a river that will soon meet the sea. This is made all the more poignant in the knowledge that the simple, daily focal family dinner will soon require diaries, planning and an effort to simply occur.

Right now is precious, because life will never be the same again.

Stay well everyone.

Ian

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