You never know how quickly ‘normality’ can change. Literally overnight. And before long that normality is looked back on with fascination.

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The pub you can see above is The Hung Drawn and Quartered, not too far from the Tower of London. This was a punishment given to Guy Fawkes for his crimes, at the time not too wild. Then one day the death penalty was abolished and now we look back in horror at how immoral this punishment was. The only thing between normality and insanity is time.

But on a much smaller and less brutal scale, I wanted to share the last of my winter pictures in one post. A time when crowds were the normality I speak of, and after just a few weeks of isolation how strange it looks now.

How strange it will be to get back to this normality.

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Police stopping traffic and pedestrians as someone leaves Buckingham Palace, before biking off and the rush continues.

Football fans flying into London for an away game, meeting in their masses at Piccadilly Circus. How outrageous would this meeting be right now?!

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A beautiful sight nevertheless. Seeing groups of tourists learning about the area and finally being allowed to travel again. In a way this lockdown helps me to appreciate what can easily be taken for granted. Basic freedoms of movement for example. However it also reminds me that just because these are taken away doesn’t mean we aren’t free, although I have seen some people suggest this is the case. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to help us move forward. Taking a step back is sometimes the quickest way forward. And I am taking this time to see what I am missing about ‘normality’. Not with anger, but with appreciation for what we have waiting for us again.

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Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!

Sam


 

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41 thoughts

  1. It’s funny how our minds change isn’t it … I look at the crowds and I think, “How unsanitary!” What am I on!! I think it’s just I’m going slightly mad 😄

    1. You might not be going slightly mad, we might just be getting used to the new normal! We shall see when we are allowed to mingle like this again… 😃

  2. I agree that now is the time to be grateful for the freedoms we do have. There have been some protests in various states lately with one due to happen in my own (Pennsylvania) on Monday against the stay at home orders. While I recognize there are many people who are financially struggling and anxious to get back to work, it seems awfully selfish to put others’ health and lives at risk. The majority of us still have a roof over our heads, food on the table and plenty of TV and Internet; things could be a lot worse and people seem to forget that.

    1. I have seen these protests on TV, what’s up with that! I haven’t looked into them but I agree it seems selfish to go against the orders and potentially spread the virus. I hope they don’t escalate…

      1. NO, these protests are NOT selfish. The government really does not have ANY right to take away civil liberties at least in the United States. They should be guidelines and they should ASK people to comply. I live in Michigan and the people can go into hardware stores for things, BUT they cannot buy seed for their gardens which are right there on the shelves. Or paint. They can have no lawn services. They are not allowed to have anyone over to their house — by edict. They can use a kayak or canoe, but no motor boats? WTF, who does she think she is?? They can’t go between their privately owned homes, even if they were to take groceries and self quarantine 14 days if they make the move. They are not allowed to fish in a motor boat. In Virginia that idiot is using this to take away second amendment rights. NO excuse for that. It’s arbitrary and extremely heavy handed. For a while our governor was threatening doctors for prescribing the malaria drugs off-label which is legal–all because she’s in opposition to anything Trump says or does.

        There WERE a few people who got out of their cars and didn’t wear masks. But most of the protestors were in their cars and there are a lot of them in many states. This is a big warning here.

        These are people who are not protestors normally,b ut they are making it clear we have no intention of letting the state roll over our liberties. Also, the young people think t he death rate does NOT justify these draconian extreme measures or ruining their future. The models have all been very wrong. Older people can isolate as they are. But they need to lift these measures in the most drastic states. I am talking about the U.S. now obviously. I don’t know what is happening in the UK or if you are getting protestors, but there is a way to do this and this way is wrong.

      2. I don’t know of anywhere having protests right now other than those in the US. I don’t know if this is more of a British/European viewpoint or just my own, but I was relieved when the government finally started shutting pubs/restaurants etc and only left supermarkets and essential stores open for business. When the government kept them open but told people not to go, people still went. As much as I never want a government to take away liberties, sometimes I worry that the general population cannot be trusted to take a step back (especially when the chances are they won’t be the ones affected by the virus) and stay inside for a month or so. I sadly don’t have too much faith in the majority complying unless it is being forced. I worry just as much about an irresponsible population as much as I do a tyrannical government, I think both are a threat to our freedom.

        I also understand it must be hard to enforce something like this, but what can you do when a global pandemic hits? I don’t think many governments have considered this when creating laws? Surely there are times when we think ‘yes there isn’t a law that states people stay inside when asked to’ (I don’t know anything about US law, sorry!) but surely there are exceptions when there are events that we simply didn’t predict? I agree there will be things the government have done badly of course, the British government definitely has a few examples of this.

        ‘Also, the young people think the death rate does NOT justify these draconian extreme measures or ruining their future.’- I am sorry but as a 30 year old (youngish), I would not want to associate with these young people at all. This seems incredibly selfish to me more than anything. And they have grandparents and vulnerable relatives right? It isn’t just old people suffering but those with severe asthma like my sister. Are they happy to sacrifice weaker relatives if it means they can have a few more nights out this month and next?

        I appreciate different opinions, and more than happy to hear your opinions of mine, just my current thoughts on this 🙂

      3. Well, there are a lot of things to consider–it’s not simple.
        1. Most people are taking precautions and older people are pretty much quarantined/isolated here. So really, if younger people want to take risks, it has the UP side of building some herd immunity which is also good for everybody–they are assuming risks for all of us. And as things open here, that is going to be the case anyway. because it MUST open. So it isn’t all bad. Same argument I make for vaccines. If YOU take a vaccine you want, you should be protected. Everyone can take their own precautions. So yes, it might spread faster, but it will also get people through this faster. And I am in the high risk group, 65, Blood Type A — no underlying conditions, but my son has Down Syndrome, and my father is 88 with Parkinsons, COPD and heart problems. My husband has heart problems. And we are NOT willing to give up our country and freedom for the “safety” they promise they cannot deliver anyway. Many people think this is an excuse for a power grab we cannot recover from.
        2. People WILL cooperate if governments are not stupid and arbitrary. They are already allowed in the store for things, so they should be able to buy seeds right in front of them. Or paint. They can buy alcohol, marijuana and lottery tickets? It makes absolutely NO sense why someone can kayak but not use a motor boat–no reason for that. You can’t forbid people to use their own property–you have to ask them to take precautions. Above all, you have to ask for their cooperation. You won’t get it 100%, but you’ll get it mostly.
        3. I have more faith in people than I do governments.
        4. People were more selfish at first when we thought our hospitals would be overwhelmed. That has not turned out to be the case. Even in New York. We have hospital beds, health care workers, and ventilators. I agreed with you then. Now, they are going to have to get people back to work here.
        5. People die from poverty and suicide and domestic abuse, too. And draconian measures that are arbitrary.
        6. Our health officials claim we have enough testing for phase I of opening, yet these media people get on tv every day and say we don’t. We are not going to have tests that screen 300 million people every day which is what it would take to guarantee it’s “safe.” Things are not going to be “safe” here anymore and that means taking personal responsibility –wearing masks, keeping distance, working from home, not coming in when sick. But if you have no faith in your fellow man, I don’t see why you want to put those same flawed humans in government positions in charge where power is sure to be abused as it is. Government people tend to be more corrupt than your neighbors. I have faith in us.
        7. And finally, I’ve lived a long time and let me assure you there are worse things than death. This is a balance and we better start balancing.

        Thanks for your thoughts!

      4. I am not saying I don’t have faith in people- just with 6 billion or so in the world there will be a few bad eggs that act selfishly and ruin it for the rest of us… potentially. I am actually surprised that you are so willing to relax the rules with the conditions you mentioned in the family, do you really see it as giving up your country and freedom? It isn’t an army taking over but a virus! I don’t see any government currently trying to use this as a way to restrict our freedoms in the long term other than to stop a virus spreading! Not that governments don’t do that or course.

        I am pleased to hear you’re coping however and I hope everything gets back to normal soon.

      5. People are going to die when this country collapses and the death rate doesn’t justify this. I expect to isolate my family either way from this virus, but I don’t expect younger, healthier people to give up their way of life and their freedom and everything they’ve worked for, either. I guess when you see how at risk we all are, and I am in charge of protecting them, you should be able to see how important we think freedom is and our way of life. They have to open this country up and soon. Or we are going to experience death in ways nobody anticipated. The liberals love this and want to gain power through it — they say so openly. They have just held up help to small business for weeks, the first payouts and now again. For their progressive agenda. While these companies are going bankrupt. There are governors taking this way too far. Our governor just tried to put TWO liberal action committees in charge of going door to door to deal with the virus and is using OUR tax dollars to do it without even taking bids from anyone. When called on it, she just cancelled both contracts. The Washington Post covered it, but no mention of it in our local liberal paper. We are watching her every move. 80% of our population, 80% mind you, think we need to stop immigration temporarily, but she attacks Trump for doing the obvious instead of doing her job. The other things she has done in this state are way overboard. We have four sheriffs publically writing her and going on tv to say they will not enforce her ridiculous edicts. One was a Democrat. You don’t live in Michigan, or the U.S. so I guess you really don’t know what is happening here. There are recall petitions circulating now.

      6. Young and healthy people are dying from it too. It’s also causing permanent organ damage in some people (one young and formerly healthy person I know now has permanent lung damage from covid). Oh, and even if they’re not putting themselves at risk, they’re putting other people at risk because it’s possible to be a carrier without knowing it. There are still plenty of at-risk people who are essential workers and still need to be out there. Not every elderly person has someone to pick up food and prescriptions for them–they still have to go out sometimes too. Not only that, but getting it might not actually give you antibodies, so herd immunity via spreading the illness is hardly a sure thing. And on top of all that, the whole point of this lockdown/isolation is to slow the spread so that hospitals can cope with it. When all the doctors and nurses are exhausted from trying to help overwhelming numbers of sick people, then what? When they have to start deciding who lives and who dies because there aren’t enough ventilators (which, news flash, is already happening), then what? The economy will recover–we don’t need to sacrifice thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of people for the sake of the economy (a bunch of sick and dead people doesn’t exactly help the economy anyway). As for freedoms, I’d like to have the freedom to live in a world where other people don’t decide my life really isn’t worth that much.

      7. None of that will matter if the whole country fails–you haven’t seen death until that all happens. If the death rate was higher, it would be different. And anarchy and a lot more than that. It’s not logical. It’s a power grab. The death rates don’t justify it. It appears to be working out fine in Sweden–we will see. They are no worse. They will be ahead of the game, too, because they will have herd immunity there and we won’t have enough. This is NOT as simple as you want to paint it. And if you get your way, the whole world will pay for it. We are not a small place like England folks. Or Italy. We have places where there are NO cases in counties and where it’s not a problem. You do one thing in New York and Metro Detroit, and other things other places. This HAS to stop. It’s NOT one size fits all.

        The long term effects ARE worrisome–the death rate is not–, but still, this is a huge country and there is no choice but to deal with this regionally, even county by county. Or the consequences will be worse than the disease.

        But I’m done talking. You don’t live here, clearly. So I don’t think you have a right to decide one approach fits all for the world.

      8. When you don’t test, you can easily say you don’t have any cases. When you under test, you can say there aren’t that many cases. When you report cause of death incorrectly (death by pneumonia due to covid is recorded as death by pneumonia), you can claim there aren’t that many deaths. It doesn’t matter where you live–covid will kill you anywhere you are in the world. I’m sorry you refuse to understand the reality of the situation. Best of luck.

      9. Where do you live?? I don’t think you understand testing at all. Do you even listen to Dr. Fauci? What you are talking about is testing everybody. 350 million people, not ONCE, EVERY DAY! Because if you test negative today, you could test positive tomorrow. The antibody test will illuminate a lot of things, most likely how LOW the death rate is, but we have been STATIC in our county for over a MONTH at EIGHT cases. And we can’t buy garden seeds or have a yard service or fish on our motor boats? New York City is not the rest of the country here. Or the rest of the world.

        So the point is you are NEVER going to test like that in this country.

        We have to start opening up here using masks, social distancing and the things we’ve learned. And we have to do it soon. I’ll bet you are one of those with a government job. I love how the teachers and the government workers who are getting pay checks all think private America should stay shut down when government jobs ride on THEIR backs. Only private business contributes. The rest are all consumers. We have had businesses all our lives. If you don’t provide jobs, your “rights” all come off the backs of the private sector. You ought to read Atlas Shrugged. Oh, I love how the government in our state just voted themselves a fricking raise while they continue to tell us to sit home and give up our civil liberties and our very livelihoods.

        There is a way to do this and they better start doing it. You keep New York and Metro Detroit shut down and any other city that is a problem, and you get open using all the hygiene, masks and everything else at our disposal. And you deal with any outbreaks as they arise.

        And you science people conveniently leave out that we cannot stay shut down forever, two years? Vaccines for flu are about 40-60% effective. There is no such thing as “safe anymore, folks. So you are just putting off building up herd immunity. Places like Italy and Sweden will likely recover faster. I was for this shut down for a month to be sure our medical community was in shape and not overwhelmed and to get testing going (and that is NOT testing the whole freaking country every day)–there are never going to be tests for all these people every day and if there was, it would be an invasion of privacy and a world nobody wants to live in. But if you listen Dr. Fauci said that is not happening here.

        So WHY would we have one rule for the whole freaking country here? Think about it. We are the United States of America. Each country is Europe makes up its own mind h ow to deal with this because their situations are all different. The U.S. is bigger than that, but the states are all supposed to do one size fits all? It’s ludicrous and not logical. And I love the way the rest of the world always thinks they have a say in the US — as if YOU have a say.

        Elitists always think they know what’s best for everyone else and want to run the world. Good for you. We will see how you like it when it all melts down. Because it will.

        That’s all I’m saying here. You may be sorry for what you wished.

      10. One more thing before I’m gone here. It is always crazy how the rest of the world actually comments and thinks they have a say on US politics as if they live here. We wouldn’t think of presuming to know how things are in the UK or what is right there, or Italy or anywhere else. We listen to the people who live there and respect their cultures and individual opinions about it, but the whole world always talks about the US like they know everything about our politics and your opinion is equal to mine. You are influenced by your OWN politics and what they say about us, which is often flawed. You have no idea what it’s like to live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or Wyoming, for instance. Or a country this large. And liberal viewpoints from the coasts you all get reported about by a very liberal media are not the whole story. This is a huge and divided country. It’s nuanced and a federation of states. And there are many viewpoints to consider here. It is not one size fits all for the world and it certainly is not one size fits all for this country and I doubt you all know more about our country than we do. I may be wrong and you live here, but I doubt it highly.

        You can reply but I’m sure I’m upsetting Sam, so won’t reply anymore on this blog.

      11. I am not upset, I just don’t know much about US politics so I cannot comment. The only reason I feel anyone gets into US politics however is because of how it influences the world. We see Trump on TV everyday and what is happening over there, but I haven’t studied the politics in depth so it would be arrogant for me to do anything other than listen to US citizens. I love the US and loved living there. And I do agree it is a vast place. I guess the difference despite being of a similar size is Europe has a bunch of different nations within and the US is all under one national flag, so naturally there would be a more ‘one size fits all’ approach.

        I value opinions of course, what I don’t like is when conversations become hostile and there are comments such as ‘you must be this or that’ making assumptions. That’s when it becomes less of a learning process and more of a lecture, and I can tell it is something that you feel strongly about. I just don’t want it to turn to anger!

      12. You are dead wrong on our reporting here in the states like you are wrong about all of this. We report all deaths here as coronavirus if anyone has it –you are very uninformed — which is why our death rate is as high as it is — a controversial thing. But the way I agree it should be done. That was decided by our CDC. So you don’t have a clue about our testing situation nor do you understand it. There is going to be no time this is “safe” to open and we are going to have to spot deal with this and soon. This country is too large. I don’t think you are from the US and moreover you are not from upper Michigan, so I don’t think you are qualified to an opinion like I wouldn’t comment on how things are in your country. But if we continue to shut down the whole country here or the whole world like you want much longer, you will soon see why it wasn’t a good idea. Now I really am going to stop. It’s not my desire to upset Sam.

      13. ‘I’d like to have the freedom to live in a world where other people don’t decide my life really isn’t worth that much.’ Love this!

        I don’t personally worry about our freedoms being taken away when it is obvious the measures are due to a pandemic. But I am not in the US so I am pretty clueless about what the government is doing there. What I do know is that the UK was going to go for herd immunity then changed their mind on it.

      14. Thank you. I don’t want to re-start a pointless debate, but I will say that this disease doesn’t care about politics or borders or personal beliefs or anything else. It will infect the entire world if we let it, and kill millions. This isn’t like the flu or anything else we’ve ever experienced. People who want to delude themselves otherwise put themselves and, more importantly, others at risk, and that’s not okay. I’ll just leave it at that.

    1. My main concern with these crowds prior to this was the chance of violence or unrest, however now we can see how fast viruses can spread. I have always loved seeing big crowds in unity (such as football or a concert) when it is all love. However do you think we will look back at pictures like this and see them as unhygienic?! Maybe so!

      1. I think going forward we’ll be seeing the world a bit differently than we used to. Imagine being in a crowd like that in a few months and someone coughs. I also really, really hope that people finally learn to stay home when they’re sick because before this, too many people with “just” a cold or a flu would go out, go to work/school, without any thought about how they’re spreading the illness and how it could affect others. All those underlying conditions that can make covid deadly also complicate colds and flus in ways that can kill people. It would be nice if we cared about one another a little more, wouldn’t it?

      2. We are all going to be on edge when someone coughs, especially on public transport and things! I too hope we all put more effort into isolating when sick, or maybe where masks more like some countries already do. It can only be good for the world!

      3. I have just noticed my awful spelling, typing ‘where’ instead of ‘wear’ here… please accept my apologies 😀

    2. The numbers are not backing up your claims anywhere in the world, but especially with the antibody tests coming out of New York and California. Puts the death rate at .75 possibly. THey don’t know yet if the people have the right type of antibodies, but they’ve obviously had it. Over 2 million people have had it in New York. Between 13% and 25% of the population. The long lasting effects for some people are more worrisome. At any rate, it doesn’t matter because it has to be dealt with differently while people go on. We simply don’t have the time to wait for it to be totally gone. Old people will have to isolate and those with health conditions, we will have to live life differently, but it must go on. And no matter how much testing they get, unless it’s done every single day for 350 million people in this country, there is no such thing as “safety.” They will test high risk groups and people working with the public and do testing to extrapolate data in places hard hit or nursing homes. They will be testing a lot in nursing homes since those were the hardest hit. It’s a new world for a while, maybe permanently. But guarding our civil liberties and our economy is as important as our health in this situation.

  3. Well, I don’t like responding in anger and regret that, but of course, the original post about how selfish our demonstrators are and was posted in anger. Plenty of it. And without knowing what it’s like to be here, I’m fairly sure. So it seems it depends on your point of view if you’re allowed to express anger.

    The country is too large for a one size fits all approach here. It is no different than the various countries in Europe. We have governors in each state, and even a one size fits all approach is wrong within states. It’s going to have to be much more nuanced and done carefully, but it simply has to change here and soon. One columnist wrote that if the outbreak epicenter was just in Wyoming would they have closed New York City and New York? Of course not. And they shouldn’t.

    Much of this is a power grab and there are those that would like to see this economy crash — take a look at Bill Maher — he said it straight out. Anything to get rid of Trump. Well, that is a progressive view point that is nothing short of treason and they will cause death more than the virus if left to their own devices. Our small businesses are failing here daily and many of them do not need to. There are a lot of businesses that can open safely. And we’ve learned a lot about precautions.

    Also, a study came out today that antibody testing in New York shows 21% of the population has antibodies–something similar in California. This means the death rate is much lower and that there are many people with no symptoms. So we’ll see how it goes in Georgia here. Our Attorney General plans to step in if some of these governors continue to overstep their authority which they are. In California one mayor threatened to turn off gas and electricity if they didn’t stay inside. So they have to use common sense here. The media is even opposing what Fauci and Birx are saying and there’s no excuse for that. They explain how the testing should be done and we have enough for Phase One now–but the media and others want people tested every day which is going to be impossible. Fauci tells people that repeatedly. Freedom has always been somewhat juxtaposed with “safety.” People are too willing to trade freedom for a “safety” that is not even possible. Then they’ll lose it all.

    1. I guess it also depends on the perspective as in the original post was a pretty calm one to me. An opposition to what you think is right clearly, but I didn’t feel it was angry or heated. The words ‘it seems awfully selfish’ were used to show it was an opinion more than fact and I am okay with that. As long as you are okay and aren’t seeing messages as attacks or insulting, that’s the main thing. I value your opinions and I am pleased you are giving me an insight to what life is like for you, so thank you!

      Again I am certainly not qualified to speak on behalf of the USA as I don’t know what it is like over there, but I can certainly imagine it would be frustrating to have the same measures everywhere, especially if certain areas are being hit more. We will just have to see what unfolds and I will try to see more news from the States for updates 🙂

    2. I was watching this new episode of the JRE last night and I thought of you as they talk about the current danger to the economy, and other dangers of having an extended lockdown. They say some very interesting things in the first 10 minutes (I am not going to ask you to watch a whole 3 hours!) but just if you are interested.

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