As ever, there are contradictory strands in the quickly changing story of Covid-19. The speed of movement is one characteristic of events here and globally. There are inklings of a stabilising in the number of deaths here in the UK, but more confidently in some European countries, like Spain. In Austria they are even talking about easing restrictions on opening shops. And in China they seem to be in a phase of giving thanks to those who died and opening things up again, whatever that means in China. So while it seems we still have a couple or more weeks of this ‘lockdown’ the fact that some other countries appear to be emerging from this gives a sense of confidence that, while our intensive care units have yet to see the peak in admissions, on a broader perspective, there is some light in the distance. At the same time, working at home, which never felt that unusual, is feeling normal already.
We had a lovely sunny weekend and we spent Sunday doing some sustained gardening. lots of planting and absorbing the suns rays in our small London garden.
On Sunday evening the queen made a televised speech to the country, and to the commonwealth I suppose, which we watched on a tiny mobile phone screen. I don’t know who wrote it for her but I found it very moving. It was full of references to the Second World War, which she, of course, experienced, but with no actual mention of it. She even closed by saying ‘we’ll meet again’ (after the end of lockdown). Very nice. She said that this lockdown was an opportunity for those of ‘all faiths and none’ (very inclusive) to reflect, slow down and meditate. Politicians aren’t quite in a position to say that. She managed to encapsulate a vision of what it was to be British in a crisis: ‘quiet good-humoured resolve’. It was astonishing. And I am astonished that I was so captivated and moved by it. Perhaps it is the undeniable seriousness of the situation, despite the over-the-horizon glimmering of hope, that makes me susceptible to such sentiment.
The other news, of course, is that our new Prime Minister, recently rather reviled as a posh power-hungry opportunist made (a little bit) good by his serious handling of this crisis, has been admitted to just-around-the-corner St Thomas’ hospital with the virus. First they were saying this was ‘for tests’ but now we hear that he has been admitted to intensive care, ‘just as a precaution’. Probably it is, and he is being taken care of as no other hapless sufferer is. Nevertheless my mind raced to the possibility, ‘what if he were to die?’ That would be a dramatic turn not only for the desperate story of Covid-19 but, in the longer term, for the story of his yearning to become Prime Minister. Brexit seems so distant and irrelevant now. Be careful what you ask for.