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Corona quarantine diary
Thread poster: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Monday 1 June Jun 1

You might like to scan this first with an interestometer, if you happen to have access to such an item. You simply load the application with your interests and disinterests, scan it, and the device tells you within seconds whether it’s worth your while even bothering with it. So you can discard it in advance, and don’t have to read it. Otherwise, you have to actually read the thing, and some people become so incensed with the lack of interesting material and the precious time they have waste... See more
You might like to scan this first with an interestometer, if you happen to have access to such an item. You simply load the application with your interests and disinterests, scan it, and the device tells you within seconds whether it’s worth your while even bothering with it. So you can discard it in advance, and don’t have to read it. Otherwise, you have to actually read the thing, and some people become so incensed with the lack of interesting material and the precious time they have wasted while reading it that they then waste even more of their precious time by telling everyone else how uninteresting it all is, so that they don’t waste their time like they did. But here’s the thing – people who might not have read it in the first place then go and read it immediately, out of interest, or even out of disinterest, and they needlessly waste their time as well, thanks to you. So it’s a major time-waster for everyone concerned.

In the London Bugle I read a sorry tale about one man who didn’t have an interestometer, and paid the price:

“It’s so frustrating”, fumed T.I.L., “although I must admit I was out of sorts already because my cat had run off somewhere and couldn’t be found. Anyway, there I was, simply minding other people’s business, and I find this heap of horrible smelly dog-do masquerading as an interesting article, although of course I actually had to read the damn thing before I realised it was of no interest to me whatsoever, and by then it was too late, which put me in an absolutely foul mood, I can tell you, and no pussy either. I’m jolly well going to sign up for one of those interestometers, I can tell you.”

You have been warned. But if you’ve got this far, it’s not too late to stop now and exercise a little damage limitation. Otherwise …

Someone (an expert on tension, presumably, among the parade of experts on this and that we’ve been seeing lately) said that Spain leads its EU counterparts in terms of political tension. It’s not hard to see why. They say some terrible things to each other in parliament, and if that’s the MPs, what hope is there for Paco and Juanito blethering to each other at the bar?

A while ago the Spanish Parliament set up a “reconstruction” committee. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Not to mention hopeful. The idea, as committee chairman Patxi López said, was to reach a consensus across a broad political spectrum to come up with ideas to help reconstruct the country amid a health crisis and serious economic concerns. He added that he trusted interparty bickering would not hinder the committee’s efforts. Some hope.

Patxi used to be the leader of the Basque socialist party, and was even Lehendakari or Basque President some years ago when the socialists teamed up with unlikely bedfellows in the conservative Partido Popular to keep Basque nationalists away from the reins of power here. It didn't last long. The Invisible Man, I called him, because we didn’t see much of him during his term, and most of the talking was done by the Basque Government’s spokeswoman. Personally I feel he realised early on he wasn’t up to the job, and left it to her to face the media.

He was then made President of the Spanish Parliament, and there too he failed to make his mark, on one occasion famously addressing Pablo Iglesias, the ultra-leftie firebrand, in opposition at the time, as the more familiar “tú”, but everyone else as the more formal “usted”, as is the parliamentary custom. Iglesias was quick to remark on the slight.

Fast forward to a few days ago, and now Patxi is chairing the reconstruction committee, alongside Mr Firebrand, who’s less of a firebrand now that he’s one of the Deputy PMs in the government and has a huge house in Galapagar, the kind of huge house he used to get stuck into others about, but well, power changes people, everyone knows that.

While answering questions from one of the right-wing Vox MPs, Iglesias went so far as to say that the MP’s problem was that he would really like to lead a coup d’état in Spain, but didn’t dare. The Vox MP was shocked (but to be fair, really it was a welcome gift for him to play the outraged victim) and appealed to Chairman Patxi, but now that Patxi is Iglesias’s friend in the corridors of power, Patxi shrugged the insult off as a mere nothing. The MP concerned decided to leave in protest, and as he made for the exit, Iglesias could be heard saying, “Close the door on your way out.”

A nice touch. But then, people from Vox and other dissidents have been turning up outside that big house recently to shout at him, and one Partido Popular MP called Iglesias’s father a terrorist the other day too, so you can understand he’s a little on edge at the moment. Even his trademark ponytail seems to have lost a bit of its sheen.


[Edited at 2020-06-01 09:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-01 09:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-01 09:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-01 10:30 GMT]
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expressisverbis
Chris S
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
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Spanish to English
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Wrapping up the quarantine diary Jun 1

Not that you can actually wrap up a thread (although they can wrap up a thread or a post on your behalf, as I've found out occasionally!), because it goes on for as long as someone posts on it, but it’s been impinging on my time of late, not nearly as much as Little Translator’s escapades had started to all those years ago, but enough is enough, and I’m going passive on it now, posting whenever the fancy takes me, instead of feeling I have to write the date and then start yacking about wha... See more
Not that you can actually wrap up a thread (although they can wrap up a thread or a post on your behalf, as I've found out occasionally!), because it goes on for as long as someone posts on it, but it’s been impinging on my time of late, not nearly as much as Little Translator’s escapades had started to all those years ago, but enough is enough, and I’m going passive on it now, posting whenever the fancy takes me, instead of feeling I have to write the date and then start yacking about whatever comes into my head. And, of course, sometimes one doesn’t have too much to yack about, even me, and it shows.

It isn’t even a “quarantine” diary anymore, either. It was different in the first few weeks after mid-March, when it was very real indeed, and we were all cooped up and couldn’t go out except for food or medication or newspapers, and spent a lot of time staring at each other on those balconies. Today I’ve just come back from the Casco, and both it and Bilbao city centre were buzzing just as much as on any sunny Monday afternoon before all this. This time with a lot of masks.

Thanks for all your contributions, and stay safe!


[Edited at 2020-06-01 17:17 GMT]
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Angie Garbarino
Jean Dimitriadis
expressisverbis
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Chris S
Michael Wetzel
Jennifer Forbes
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 10:15
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A light after dark Jun 2

The topic is a sensitive issue, but it was a pleasure to read this quarantine diary, as well as the many contributions from other members.
It was a nice away to share feelings and worries, sympathise with colleagues from all corners of the globe, know each one a little better, and even have a "cuisine diary" with recipes for whetting our appetite and inviting us to cook.
The future will bring us positive things! Every cloud has a silver lining.
We all need light after dark. ... See more
The topic is a sensitive issue, but it was a pleasure to read this quarantine diary, as well as the many contributions from other members.
It was a nice away to share feelings and worries, sympathise with colleagues from all corners of the globe, know each one a little better, and even have a "cuisine diary" with recipes for whetting our appetite and inviting us to cook.
The future will bring us positive things! Every cloud has a silver lining.
We all need light after dark.
All the best! Stay safe everyone!
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Angie Garbarino
Christel Zipfel
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
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Spanish to English
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Brave new US? Jun 3

I take up Michael's doubts again about the way the virus will change us for the better. Certainly doesn't seem to be changing US for the better - across the pond, I mean. Even you did have a mean job before, now you don't, and now no health because The Wise One said it was just a bit of flu, inject yourself with disinfectant and you'll be good to go, and no nothing. Then there's the rednecking, and these days that means blacknecking too, with cops genuflecting on your airways. It's only a matter... See more
I take up Michael's doubts again about the way the virus will change us for the better. Certainly doesn't seem to be changing US for the better - across the pond, I mean. Even you did have a mean job before, now you don't, and now no health because The Wise One said it was just a bit of flu, inject yourself with disinfectant and you'll be good to go, and no nothing. Then there's the rednecking, and these days that means blacknecking too, with cops genuflecting on your airways. It's only a matter of time before Donald tweets that really the man tried to fake his own murder. A vicious assault on a police officer's knee with his neck.






[Edited at 2020-06-03 16:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-03 16:12 GMT]
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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
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Thank you Mervyn for this thread! Jun 3

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Not that you can actually wrap up a thread (although they can wrap up a thread or a post on your behalf, as I've found out occasionally!), because it goes on for as long as someone posts on it, but it’s been impinging on my time of late, not nearly as much as Little Translator’s escapades had started to all those years ago, but enough is enough, and I’m going passive on it now, posting whenever the fancy takes me, instead of feeling I have to write the date and then start yacking about whatever comes into my head. And, of course, sometimes one doesn’t have too much to yack about, even me, and it shows.
Thanks for all your contributions, and stay safe!


I liked it very much, especially in the first dark and hardest times for many of us, even if it was difficult for me to understand some of your long posts (with only school knowledge of English, which I got a long time ago...), much more difficult than the "Little translator" which I devoured. But this whole thread I think made feel some of us a bit less alone in this tough situation.
Thank you so much!
And most important that none of the contributors apparently did'nt get the coronavirus so far.
Maybe eventually some time we'll find out things that for the moment are not clear, e.g. why some regions and countries have been so badly hit, and other questions we are wondering at (or not, who knows...).

P.S. Anyway, your tortilla recipe will belong to my menu forever, I think, with or without chorizo (if I can get it). I have cooked it since then nearly once a week.

Best wishes to everyone that has contributed.


Angie Garbarino
QHE
Sandra & Kenneth Grossman
Michael Wetzel
expressisverbis
Oksana Weiss
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Spanish to English
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Other side of the coin Jun 4

George was murdered for using a forged note, but it's not just policemen who are irritable these days. A couple of days ago an off-duty municipal policeman was in one of the newly-opened bars in Bilbao with his family, and a drunk leaning on the bar (which still isn't allowed, and bars are sit-down only) was pestering the barmaid. The policeman's sister remonstrated with him, and both her and her brother received a torrent of insults, and suddenly this bloke, who had apparently recognised the po... See more
George was murdered for using a forged note, but it's not just policemen who are irritable these days. A couple of days ago an off-duty municipal policeman was in one of the newly-opened bars in Bilbao with his family, and a drunk leaning on the bar (which still isn't allowed, and bars are sit-down only) was pestering the barmaid. The policeman's sister remonstrated with him, and both her and her brother received a torrent of insults, and suddenly this bloke, who had apparently recognised the policeman, up and glassed him all down the side of his face, adding "Better to go out with your gun, because today I'll kill you and all your police mates."

Those inside the bar restrained him and held him until the police arrived, but by that stage the cop was needing twenty-odd stitches all down his cheek and neck. At about the same time he was leaving the hospital, funnily enough the drunk was leaving the police station, pending trial, and no need for bail either. Doh. Given the backlog of court stuff to deal with, this chap will be free to walk the streets for months on end. Ain't life grand?

[Edited at 2020-06-04 07:34 GMT]
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Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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And ... Jun 5

... I know black American footballers have done this kind of thing before as a protest, and it might just be me, but does anyone else see something odd about all those policemen and soldiers paying tribute to George Floyd by going down on one knee? I'm nothing if not cynical, but at the very least it makes me wonder whether they're all on the same page.

expressisverbis
 

Oliver Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:15
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
One knee Jun 5

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

... I know black American footballers have done this kind of thing before as a protest, and it might just be me, but does anyone else see something odd about all those policemen and soldiers paying tribute to George Floyd by going down on one knee? I'm nothing if not cynical, but at the very least it makes me wonder whether they're all on the same page.


OK so I tend to be naive about this stuff. I saw that video and thought it was a cool thing to do, so what's to wonder? If it wasn't sincere it at least helped to defuse a situation (if there was one). But like I say, I'm naive, so I thought they meant it?


expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:15
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Meaning Jun 5

There's meaning it and then there's meaning it ... I just think that it's a hugely ironic opportunity for what is hopefully a vast minority to play along while tittering to themselves imagining a neck under their knee.

I do know I'm too cynical, though. On various counts, God help me:

For instance, looking at the solemn memorial ceremony I wondered about all the bros and broettes lined up there. I wondered if they'd have had many qualms about calling in the like of Chau
... See more
There's meaning it and then there's meaning it ... I just think that it's a hugely ironic opportunity for what is hopefully a vast minority to play along while tittering to themselves imagining a neck under their knee.

I do know I'm too cynical, though. On various counts, God help me:

For instance, looking at the solemn memorial ceremony I wondered about all the bros and broettes lined up there. I wondered if they'd have had many qualms about calling in the like of Chauvin and his mates if George had ever come within ten feet of them.

George, apparently, had done his fair share of gangstaing, but he had long since reformed, had seen the light and was black on track. Then he lost his job, one day last month he paid for his smokes with a dud bill, and bang. Now ex-wife Roxie wants justice for "a good man". But she won't be getting it from Donald, or maybe even from the courts. I heard a lawyer saying it would be difficult to get a conviction (why, because it was self-defence? - why, because crystal-clear footage of slow deliberate murder doesn't count? - why, because the cop has an alibi?). She needn't worry about little Gianna and herself, though, because there are plenty of Oprah Winfreys and other high-profile bruddahs and sistahs to take care of them financially for years to come.

And Donald probably isn't finished, either. A man who said he could go on a gunfire spree on Fifth Avenue (as I remember), and still get elected? And he did. Get elected, I mean, not go on a gunfire spree - although it hasn't actually come to light or been proven that he went on the spree (yet). So watch out for upcoming tweets: "Maybe Floyd should have taken the time to study the health warning on that packet of cigarettes. Smoking kills." You think I'm joking?

[Edited at 2020-06-05 14:15 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-05 14:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-05 16:46 GMT]
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Oliver Pekelharing
expressisverbis
 

Oliver Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:15
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
You're right of course... Jun 5

... but then it's the little things that count et cetera.

Donald will be gone one day, but he'll always have the last laugh because he's a narcissist and everything he says and does is, and always will be, the best thing that anyone has ever said or done.
Now you've got me all cynical too.


expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
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Wimmin Jun 8

The usual playground fights in Spain’s parliament in the last few days, as it becomes clear that the government was already aware of the potential of Covid-19 by 8 March, only days before the state of alarm was declared here, considering what had already happened in China and Italy and was just starting in Madrid and the Basque Country, mostly. As you know, 8 March was International Me Too/Feminist/General Wimmin’s day, and as usual there was a huge demo in Madrid, just as the term “social... See more
The usual playground fights in Spain’s parliament in the last few days, as it becomes clear that the government was already aware of the potential of Covid-19 by 8 March, only days before the state of alarm was declared here, considering what had already happened in China and Italy and was just starting in Madrid and the Basque Country, mostly. As you know, 8 March was International Me Too/Feminist/General Wimmin’s day, and as usual there was a huge demo in Madrid, just as the term “social distancing” was becoming popular. The gig was headed by, among others, Irene Montero, aka the Marchioness of Galapagar, Mr Former Firebrand’s wife and also Ministeress for Equality.

“Why did you let us hold this demo? Why didn’t you stop us? Shame on you!”, whine the usual opposition suspects now. It’s a pity we can’t have two alternative pasts, but what if the government had actually banned it? Yes, you know, of course - “Why didn’t you let us hold this demo? Why did you stop us? Shame on you! etc. etc.”

As one journalist wrote a few days ago, the government allowed them to go to the demo, but it also allowed them NOT to go. Sometimes a bit of good old-fashioned common sense is useful in individuals too, and if you know there’s a nasty contagious virus about that has taken only a week or so to travel thousands of kilometres, maybe a better idea to stay at home?

The journo also mentioned that, if microwave instructions contain a warning these days not to use them as driers for pets, it’s because a woman once found her cat had come in soaked by the rain, put it in the microwave to dry it off, and guess what? As the journo said, the woman was an idiot, because who needs to be actually told not to do such a thing, but she sued the company for not warning her about moggies ...

Ahem. The next bit contains a rather risqué double entendre, not for the prudish, and it more or less ends with said lewdish pun, so you won’t be missing anything else if you stop reading RIGHT NOW. Don’t say I didn’t warn you ...

I like to think that the microwave company’s lawyer stood up in court and said, “Mrs Peabody-Smith, what on earth possessed you to use a microwave for this purpose? How could you have failed to foresee the consequences? Surely there must be dozens of other ways of solving the relatively simple problem of a wet pussy. With or without electronic devices.”



Still reading? I thought you might be. Shame on you etc. etc.


[Edited at 2020-06-08 08:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-06-08 11:37 GMT]
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Chris S
expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
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Back with an update Jun 24

Just touching base post-quarantine, because the pandemic thang has moved on since then. Here the state of alarm ended some days ago, and we are now free to go wherever we want within the State, and by golly everyone's taking advantage too. As the El Rag headline says this morning, there are increasing fears of a resurge as everyone meets up again, particularly in relation to small children and teenagers. I reckon it's got to come, plus there are increasing indications from other countries.
... See more
Just touching base post-quarantine, because the pandemic thang has moved on since then. Here the state of alarm ended some days ago, and we are now free to go wherever we want within the State, and by golly everyone's taking advantage too. As the El Rag headline says this morning, there are increasing fears of a resurge as everyone meets up again, particularly in relation to small children and teenagers. I reckon it's got to come, plus there are increasing indications from other countries.

On Saturday morning I was at first cheered and then depressed to finally hear those strangled 7 am post-party cries again - the recently released young things screeching and throwing up pavement pizzas as they emerged from the clubs round about. Mental note: avoid anyone under 30 at all costs for the next three months at least.

But it's not just the young people. The only rule we have now is to wear a mask when social distancing (sorry, Tom) can't be guaranteed. It's only a matter of time, because people left to their own devices concentrate on just that, their own devices, and this is an area which reacted quite early on, so now I'm wondering about Wales (sorry, Chris S) and other places that had a late start.

I've been in groups these days where I was the only one wearing a mask, and I don't mean just our group - I mean most of the others around us. At the beginning of this thread I mentioned that I stood out because I was wearing one, and after months of everybody wearing one, I'm getting that feeling again. Does the mask actually help? With all the talk about faulty masks, I'm not sure, but it certainly makes me feel safer at the time, and that counts for something in my paranoid head.

[Edited at 2020-06-24 06:47 GMT]
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Chris S
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
A wee Jun 24

Well, although not explicitly mentioned in the article below, it’s clear that going to the optician’s after a nice swim in the town pool the day before lockdown is why Ceredigion has done better than anywhere else in Britain.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53142088


Edit: Not sure what I meant to type for the title of this post but there we go.

... See more
Well, although not explicitly mentioned in the article below, it’s clear that going to the optician’s after a nice swim in the town pool the day before lockdown is why Ceredigion has done better than anywhere else in Britain.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53142088


Edit: Not sure what I meant to type for the title of this post but there we go.

[Edited at 2020-06-24 14:20 GMT]
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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:15
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"Caravan and camping sites - all 800 of them - were also encouraged to close by the council" Jun 24

Chris,

I don't know about the swimming pools, but it looks like those bogus caravan-dwelling Taffs you railed at a while ago might finally be run out of Wales!


Chris S
 

Yolande Hivart
Austria
Local time: 11:15
Member (2016)
German to French
Masks Jun 24

I don't know if masks really help - maybe a little, but here we had a case where a man has supposedly infected two others while 1. returning from Afghanistan on a plane (and they did not check him at the airport) and 2. crossing the whole country of Austria on a train while wearing a mask where he is said to have infected 2 other passengers, one of them which had been on the same plane.

Note to safe: avoid party goers (but I am too old for this) ; avoid anyone with a backpack or a c
... See more
I don't know if masks really help - maybe a little, but here we had a case where a man has supposedly infected two others while 1. returning from Afghanistan on a plane (and they did not check him at the airport) and 2. crossing the whole country of Austria on a train while wearing a mask where he is said to have infected 2 other passengers, one of them which had been on the same plane.

Note to safe: avoid party goers (but I am too old for this) ; avoid anyone with a backpack or a case.
My father thinks that they just opened the borders to save the tourism industry but in France they expect the second wave back in August where they will be able to close the borders again when the summer time is other - but this is just the joke of a maybe uninformed person.

In any case, work is back from abroad, within the country it is still very moody.
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