Tag Archives | coronavirus


I must have been feeling hungry the other morning while I was lying half asleep in bed, as I was dreaming about my home-made bread and eating a slice of toast with honey or butter (but not both – one can’t be too self-indulgent!)

I make the toast in this house because my DBH (Dearly Beloved Husband) likes his cindered and I don’t. Our old toaster suffered from burnout, so we ditched it and acquired a new big toaster with four slots and a number of confusing dials – intended for use at big family weekends – but currently under-used, unfortunately.

The old toaster was simpler but in the end its whims and misdemeanours were almost as devious and unpredictable as the coronavirus. That got me thinking that toasters and viruses may have a lot in common.

It’s not an obvious connection I will admit. But strange as it seems, they have a number of shared characteristics. (I think you’ll find my argument persuasive.)

Firstly, both toasters and viruses have to be watched or they start to misbehave.  Humans think they have them under control – big mistake.

Secondly, they are unreliable and change over time: your brand-new efficient toaster turns into an exasperating and perverse appliance, and an emergent but identified coronavirus mutates into an unstable and relentless ‘chimera’ (fabled monster made up of parts of various animals).

Thirdly, their offspring (toast and illness) pop up when you least expect, either too soon or too late.

Fourthly, both toasters and coronaviruses produce extremes – toast comes out either pale and undone or black and burnt; and Covid-19 can be either relatively minor or extremely serious.

Finally, if you don’t have bread you can’t make toast, and if you don’t have big money you can’t defeat viruses or make vaccines.

I rest my case.

When an old toasters becomes too erratic and destructive, we get rid of it and buy a new model.  Coronavirus is a bit more devious, and to survive it turns itself into new variants, which we combat with new and better vaccines.

This is a fight to the death. Only one of us is going to win this battle – humans or viruses (I believe it will be us) – and the loser will be toast!

Say it Aloud

I am full of admiration for the fortitude of individuals who have been on their own this summer, confined to their homes and gardens.  Solitude can be a blessing if it is a choice, but enforced isolation is not congenial and causes problems and hardship.  I felt immensely sorry for people in Spain who were not even allowed to go outside during the hot months.  Thousands in this country have had to work from home or have been furloughed or lost their jobs. Coping with this pandemic calls for resilience and compassion.

I have been encouraged by the kindness I see all around me shown by those I know and those I don’t know. We have all made more of an effort to contact those we believe might be lonely and in need of cheering up. Communities and nations have come together to face the threat of the coronavirus, and the suffering and death it has caused. Clapping the NHS has been an example of this.

I hope that when the pandemic has finally run its course that this unity of purpose and energy can be channelled towards resolving the other vital issues which affects the future of our planet: climate change and military conflicts.  Life does not get better by chance – it gets better by change.  Humans need to be less selfish and less greedy and try to live in peace. There has to be a universal commitment to reduce global warming and to end fighting. It won’t happen unless we all want to make it happen.

We can’t control natural disasters – and we just have to deal with them as best we can when they happen. But so many people have died and have suffered from disease, poverty, hunger, and war, and these are all issues that can be addressed. As C.S. Lewis said: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Let’s act now.