our good fortune

Here is a new experience.

My Driving on the Right blog strives to provide me with a channel for mostly light-hearted reflections on aspects of our excursions, transits and experiences in La Belle France. I hope the posts that make up the blog enlighten the reader (if I have any, I am not sure, but clearly they will be few in number) about my take on the peculiarities associated with time spent in France, plans, getting there, getting back, what we see and do, that sort of thing. Tongue in cheek sometimes, but you know, sort of similar to life elsewhere, coloured by being in another country, driving on the right…

Right now, (this is date sensitive of course!) as you will be all too aware, folk like us are technically confined to barracks. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition, Mary sometimes reminds me, and neither did they expect the 'Spanish' Influenza either, after the horrors of the First World War, but it arrived close on the tail of that shocking catastrophe and took many more lives than the combined forces of human folly managed to terminate and shatter in the previous four years of unpleasantness.

Well, here we are again it would seem. Covid-19 is amongst us and taking life in ever increasing numbers. It's not 'flu.

Almost every person of my age will have arrived at this stage of their lives with some experience of that little inconvenience: influenza. It makes you feel wretched, knocks you out, puts you in bed for a week or two, incapacitates, leaves one feeling weak and washed out. Yes, it is still a killer but generally, these days, for the reasonably fit and healthy, without other issues of a serious sort, can expect to pass through it without lasting damage, and better still, each year we can get a jab that hopefully will ward off the winter affliction completely. For most 'flu is no longer the issue it was for those of us with some seniority. Flu has not grabbed the world as a whole by the throat since 1918. Even though it does dispatch thousands each year…

This Covid-19 is not 'flu though. It spreads like wildfire through a species that has overpopulated the world it lives on, and consequently tends increasingly to live in close proximity with itself, in a variety of disparate super-communities; a species exhibiting very unfortunate disregard for other life forms that try to co-exist in an ever decreasing amount of space and screwed up environment, a species that can't and won't cooperate world wide; a species that plunders every resource that there is with very little consideration for the consequences — until the eleventh hour, that is. And now is facing a world pandemic while clinging to World Trade Rules and the priority of wealth over need.

Coronavirus I gather,  ultimately attacks the respiratory system. Healthy individuals (and the younger you are the more healthy you may reasonably expect to be) may be hardly aware of an infection, may be moderately poorly, may be very poorly, may falter altogether and thus be brought to a miserable end. Existing health is no guarantee it seems. Almost a lottery. There is a good chance that if one is in good running order one will deal with the illness successfully, the body will develop the appropriate antibodies and after a week to a fortnight one can resume the lifestyle we have come to associate with the 21st Century. Err… no. As yet we have only vague ideas about re-infection, second waves; those in the field may be better informed, but it looks to me that this thing will get much much worse before it gets better. The novelty will wear off and who knows where any us will be by then, and how many of us will not see that recovery?

It is felt that if you are somewhat senior, it is not unreasonable to expect your entry level to a Coronavirus infection to be, well, more serious: life threatening in fact. You might get away with it, but the chances are less rosy.

Did we, as a species, see this coming? I think we did. Something like Covid-19 has been predicted for some years I understand. Were we ready for it? You are kidding. Here in in Angleterre? No way! That would have taken political leadership, the use of funds we'd rather waste on fancy pointless aircraft carriers with royal names, inappropriate railway lines and so on. Investment in public health and care, having kit in store against eventualites and enough doctors, nurses, carers and the facilities to support and succour victims? Come-on! No chance, far more pleasant things to do with our cash! Until the shit hits the fan.

What we have to do then, is make sure we don't add to the catastrophe by copping Covid-19 ourselves. We will do our best. As the spring gets ever more attractive we can only stay at home and avoid physical contact with anyone at all. We have television, we have radio; we have the internet and on there we have Facetime so we can have digital face-to-faces with the son-and-heir who is not here. The telephone works as well.

Our good fortune is where we live.