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Social isolation across the pond, with ducklings and the pajama lifestyle

Today I learned that COVID-19 stands for COronaVIrus Disease 2019. Who knew? Probably all of you.

Our Prime Minister Boris Johnson (BoJo to the masses) is in intensive care where he is being treated for a fairly severe case of coronavirus. It’s pretty shocking. Both our Prime Minister and Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, have now been diagnosed with the virus, proving that COVID-19 acknowledges no socio-economic, education or class barriers and is equally potentially deadly to all of us. Boris is showing improvement and Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and first secretary of state, is taking the lead in his absence. Raab has confirmed today that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown is to continue beyond the original Easter deadline, a sensible decision which surprises no-one. We recognise that it is crucial we do not cut corners when it comes to social isolation and keeping physical distance.

BoJo is currently in St. Thomas’ hospital directly across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament. Coincidentally, Tony Ortega drove past St. Thomas’ in a late night cab with Pete Griffiths, Stephen Jones (Axiom142) and myself when Tony flew into London for the 2015 premiere of Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie. Notice how deftly I shepherded the conversation back to the mothership?

As often happens, the worst of the crisis has brought out the best in humanity, here and around the world. In the UK we have our weekly #ClapForOurCarers #ClapForNHS each Thursday at precisely 8pm to show appreciation for our beloved National Health Service employees and other essential frontline workers who put their lives on the line daily to treat those who are terribly sick with COVID-19.


Millions of people open their doors and windows, stand out in their gardens or on their driveways in a collective display of solidarity and gratitude, and simply clap. The first time was extraordinary. Nobody honestly expected the initiative to take off so when applause and cheers and church bells and shouts of thanks from millions of our people rang out across the land it was one of the most moving things I’d ever experienced, one of those beautiful moments you know you will never forget.

Last week in our town it was all magical church bells, twinkling street lights, glorious sunset and polite applause. This week one of our neighbours deployed an air horn and deafened us all, but we adore him, so although it will take some time, we will learn to forgive him by August next year. We love you, NHS!


A week ago my sister-in-law asked if I was fully invested in the pajama lifestyle known as Lockdown Chic (I am)…but I heard it as “lockdown sheet”, and now I can’t think of anything I want more than a lockdown sheet. Won’t need to bother with pajamas! Brushing my hair! Eating vegetables! Just a big white sheet to lounge under with my Kindle and a packet of chocolate Hobnobs. And people will be obliged to knock on my sheet to request my attention, except their knocking won’t make any sound so I can legitimately ignore them. The spoken words “knock knock” are a loophole and will be treated with the scorn they deserve.

Yesterday I took a lovely, sunny walk across our local water meadows which were weirdly empty so I only needed to socially distance myself from the cows and ducks. The ducklings have hatched! All is well in that tiny, watery corner of the world, or it would be if the daddy duck wasn’t adamant that the mummy duck should accept his renewed advances (she hatched a million babies a week ago, you monster!) but she soon put him straight with a profoundly accurate slap from a webbed foot across the back of his head. Let that be a lesson to you, anatra amorosa!

Please stay safe, everyone.

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