A steak in Christmas

Yesterday evening I unsuccessfully tried to take a photo of the Christmas Tree Fairy with my phone using a pair of binoculars as a telephoto lens. It was suggested by a professional wildlife photographer on Countryfile. It did not go particularly well. I had not established the need for a third hand in advance and my attempt at taking a photograph of an inanimate object does not bode well for me trying to capture a picture of a living potentially mobile entity.

Television has been disappointing this Christmas. Less specials made due to social distancing complications and less blockbuster films released as some were held back for after the pandemic. Bill Bailey provided some entertainment on Strictly, although not as I expected, with verbal jousting with Craig. Instead, a work ethic combined with an unexpected aptitude brought him plaudits and a Glitterball.

It has not been a typical Christmas and I have tried to meet it on its own terms without seeking to create an insipid version of previous years. Last year was a headbanger of a Xmas literally with Rhi and Charlie(to hilariouseffect) bashing heads and Metallica Monopoly. Rhi was not able to get back this year. The year had been different and sometimes I have had to look for different choices. That also applied to Christmas Day. Less options were open and the gathering would be smaller. In fact, it would just be my Mum and myself for Christmas Dinner. A turkey for two? No thanks. Instead, I got two rib-eye steaks. My Mum is an excellent cook on traditional meals and even at 88, wants to take part or even take over. A roast would mean a day rush for my Mum. Steak is different. She knows I cook a better steak than she does and left me to it. I made a stilton sauce to accompany it. My Mum ate the steak said it was better than a roast and was so pleased with the sauce she tried to scrape the gravy boat I had put it in, clean with a fork(I have never seen my Mum do that before). It has been a difficult year for my Mum, knowing now that I made her day has made my Xmas. We may not have the same choices but even on this unexpected year the sun still rose on Xmas day. We always have choices but sometimes we have to look a bit harder than normal to see them.

There is hope for 2021 but hope often accompanies uncertainty. The new strain of the virus and changes due to Brexit are the most obvious uncertainties. Whatever 2021 brings we need to look for the opportunities and make it a year to remember.

Christmas Eternal

Christmas will be Xmas

And it will always be

Even if we forego roast turkey

Christmas bigger than presents

Christmas Carols can be pleasant

Not a competition to get the most cards

Laughing at cracker jokes can be hard

Family times watching a nativity

But what has happened

To Xmas TV?

When I was little we heard the Sound of Music

Christmas staple, fixed every year could not lose it

Then the channels began to multiply

Film premieres audiences high

Christmas specials truly special editions

Like the Queens speech TV became tradition

Christmas will be Xmas

And it will always be

Even if we forego roast turkey

Without Christmas Dinner there still cooking shows

Meals that repeat on you as much as ho ho ho

When you press the button on the remote

But couch potatoes so full we  bloat

Family times nothing comes for free

But what has happened

To Xmas TV?

No big premieres no Xmas Superheroes

Specials culled although not quite zero

Oh no the cat is attacking my baubles

Pet lumberjack Christmas tree wobbles

Fairy’s high perch has become precarious

Below board monopoly cheating nefarious

Christmas will be Xmas

And it will always be

Even if we forego roast turkey

Christmas bigger than wrapping

Christmas Highlights TV guide mapping

Not shortage of Xmas pudding or mince pies

But where is the gogglebox treat for the eye

Family times or zoom may have to be

But what has happened

To Xmas TV?

Strictly Bill Bailey

In 2020 cometh the man cometh the part -troll

Bill Bailey Strictly winner topped the audience poll

Would he Doolittle an elephant in the room?

Or with Ma Beauty be OT and quickstep with a zoom

Amongst the glitter released his tinsel worm

Never mind his buzzcocks his show dance would confirm

Enter the sandman thankfully not Bills last Tango

Metallica  pure cosmic jam he stay as others go

A qualm peddler he may be but ended up on Craigs list

Judged to bring so much delight with his rappers twist

Black Books Bill Bailey mannyed up can stand up tall

With Remarkable Happiness can boast of a Glitterball

Picanto and Aramis

I have never really been a car person. Cars are functional machines to get us from A to B. I have never named a car or been overly bothered by make or model. I did like my Mazda and it felt comfortable. I don’t think I have driven another car in the five years I had it. Last year it broke down in a junction amongst the traffic lights. It was no longer guaranteed to get me from A to B. I had a list of concerns about it, brakes, warning lights, alternator belt, catalytic converter, etc. I did take it to the garage who confirmed it was safe with a minimum of work but said to address all faults and wear, to get it through a future MOT would cost a small fortune(far more than its worth).

I have since been living in a strange sort of limbo. I restricted my journeys since the pandemic as I need the car to support my family. I regularly checked and topped up the oil as the engine burned more suggesting it was struggling. About 6 weeks into lockdown I had to call recovery out to start the car as the battery seemed dead. They did start the car but advised I needed to use it more for longer journeys to keep it charged.

This provided me with an ongoing dilemma. How long did I keep it? I needed to save to afford a reliable car. It would take a while as I didn’t have the knowledge to assess a car from a private sale so I wanted to buy from a reputable dealer. I needed to buy before the Mazda brokedown. I needed it to be able to get to other cars to look at and test drive. Without my own transport this would have been very difficult to arrange in the pandemic.

Time had come to look for a new car . Cars often have an odd number of doors either 5 or 3 but these cars only have 2 or four. They may be hatchbacks but is a hatch a door? Should I ask people to get in and out that way. If I can’t even understand the technicalities of doors what hope do I have with engine specifications .  Anyway after much thought and some internet research I decided I could just stretch to a Peugeot 107 or Kia Picanto from Hawkins motors (not the cheapest of dealers but with a very good reputation). I negotiated a price with Trade in and bought a red Kia Picanto. It has a pretty good miles per gallon and requires no tax and running costs are important to me. It is also serviced and MOT’ed so I should have no immediate extra costs.

I found Hawkin’s Motors as expected, very good to deal with helpful but not in any way pushy and I bought the car. It has a much smaller engine than I am used to but is reasonably responsive. I wasn’t looking for a fast car but it is relatively nippy around the corners and I find it comfortable to drive. It is not too low, so my Mum can get in and out.  It has not only taken the worry out of driving for me but in these times of restriction returned some of my freedom. Decisions to drive are not made on a potential risk assessment of whether the journey is necessary. My first trip on my birthday.

I had a great time yesterday on my birthday trekking with Alpacas on the moor. We were introduced to 9 Alpacas and allowed to make our own choice. The weather was good and my Alpaca Aramis (named after the musketeer not the perfume) was friendly but had personality. They had feeding spots around the trek and he speeded up every time we got close to one. Standing still for a selfie was not of interest and I took an array of pictures that did not make a full jigsaw. One of the staff took a picture for me. My daughter had Jack older and in no rush but easy to handle. Jack was deaf so she had to use his lead more to get his attention.

Family, a new car, alpacas and an avalanche of birthday wishes from friends combined and made it a very good birthday.

Milking the Medication

Parkinson’s is a progressive condition but how it affects you is more of a rollercoaster that a straight downhill decline James Parkinson’s Theme Park

Strap in prepare for the ride

No Disney world to stride

Diagnosed shown on poster

Board PD’s roller coaster

A ticket lifetime award

Many scares to be explored

Shaken in land of tremor

Symptomatic to the core

A ride called diagnosis

Sudden drop scary it is

Holding on with white knuckles

Facing fears with brave chuckles

Ride of life not all down hill

Nor mountain  to climb until

You realise park not linear

Ups and downs it is quite clear

Theme life is roller coaster

Not yet toast not in toaster

Face fears and find all the thrills

On the ride of taking pills

One of my symptoms that became more regular recently was a muscle cramp in my left foot which makes my toes curl a bit like a claw. It is difficult and painful to walk on. Until recently it was quite rare and only happened if I went out early before taking the medication for the day. It was a symptom pretty much under full Yet sometime after the start of the pandemic it became more prevalent. At first it seemed that maybe it was happening before my drugs kicked in. Sometimes though it was an hour or two after my first tablets. This seemed to me to have happened too fast.  Sudden changes in symptoms can be caused by infection or constipation. I was able to rule these out. This was reducing my exercise and denting my confidence to go out and walk.

I established this only happened within the period my first daily dose. Several weeks into the pandemic I had started to buy larger bottles of milk this was to ensure I didn’t run out. I drank the extra to avoid waste. I drank at breakfast time. Some of the Parkinson’s medications are absorbed into the body by protein receptors . It is advised not to eat protein in the period from 45 minutes before to 45 minutes after taking the medication.

I stopped drinking milk at breakfast time and the problem seems to have disappeared. It is so easy when things get worse to assume it is inevitable progression of the condition but sometimes there is something we can do. If in doubt consult the medical professional.

Life with Parkinson’s can be a roller coaster and it can make you scream. Sometimes though it is possible to just enjoy the ride.

Ease the lockdown

Hello to everyone here. I haven’t posted much here lately as I have been busy trying to move my life forward in these strange circumstances we are facing. I have adjusted to the change of working at home and with my family we have been deciding how to cope with the lockdown.

My family includes my 87 year old Mum and my shielding daughter 24 who has an auto-immune condition. We don’t live together but we are part of a family that works together for mutual support.

I am not going to tell anybody what to do and how much to ease your own personal lockdown. Like me you may have Parkinson’s, another health issue or no condition at all.  There are so manty separate circumstances that this is no time for one size fits all. What I am going to do is suggest a way to approach any fears or anxieties you may have.


Walk on the beach

I keep hearing the term “the new normal” but that is misleading. It may become the new normal but right now it is just change. Change in the best of times can be unsettling. I imagine that some of you like me, have not been to a supermarket for four months. If we go now most of us are expected to wear masks. Previously wearing a face covering in a shop meant a  possible robbery. Over the last few weeks we have seen shops, pubs and hairdressers open. Some people are now expected to return to work. The familiar has changed due to potential ambush from a virus we can’t see. I have been to the hairdressers but I am not ready for the pubs. I choose to have my groceries delivered.

You may be expanding your life in different ways but may be afraid or anxious. One approach for coping with that is to turn your fears into questions. If you can  turn your fears into questions you can start to put them into context, Perhaps they can then be written down and you can see what your anxieties are.

Once you have the questions you can hopefully start to answer them. If you can break down your fears, you may be able to find answers to all or part of them. Maybe you can make a plan My daughter had barely been out for 4 months and wanted to walk on a beach. We selected a beach we knew. It was a place we understood the access and the parking and went in the  evening, when it was quieter. We had a lovely walk. She wants to visit Charlestown, which is busier, so I went there a few days ago to check it out. We will decide how to do it together.



So just to summarise. If you can question your fears and write down your questions, you can then seek answers. You can break down the issues and minimise the risk with a plan. Hopefully this approach can help you take back some control in these changing times. One thing is for sure he change has not ended.

Good luck.


The Minack and the Kneehigh


This morning I turned on BBC News to a stunning but familiar sight. The report was on the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. A venue like no other, carved out of the rocks of a cliff. A place I have visited 40 to 50 times.




In 1931 a rocky place

Heralded drama on natures face

Ninety feet above the cold sea a perch

Where  gorse congregated a wild church

Tempest was forecast at a cliff top garden

Seed was sown for hands to bear the burden

Rowena Cade began to carve and shape

Venue for imaginations escape

Terraces built as huge boulders sundered

Split granite the rocks quarry plundered

Whilst Rowena Cade architect of this build

Her bare hands gaps with earth and stones filled.

A lifetimes chore sacks carried from the beach

Sand and concrete  platform for future speech

Artist she was and etched complex designs

Old screwdriver her tool crafting her signs

Legacy to host artistic wonder

In a setting of natures splendour

Inspiration across a stone stage

Story telling still turning the page


The Minack is one of those places with an individual magic all of its own. I have seen some fantastic plays there and will always carry some of the memories with me. I first took my two oldest daughters there at the age of 5 and 6 to see a version of Alice in Wonderland. I watched them as they watched spellbound by the performance. For years I organised coach trips from my workplace every year  and was always entertained. Although a performance of Cymbeline with an actor in the lead role who unintentionally  seemed to channel the drollness of Paul Merton with a queen who seemed costumed as Emperor Ming, provided  unexpected humour. Some troupes managed to use the darkness as part of the drama and in other the sea provided the extra’s with seals giving their own performances.

The Minack is part of a rich vein of theatre in Cornwall and outdoor theatre performed in many wonderful garden settings. I first saw the Kneehigh theatre company at Heligon Gardens and they were the masters of using the darkness to highlight the intensity of emotion in their plays. This they did in spectacular effect in a version of the Red Shoes. This was one of may plays where they made you laugh and cry. Comic timing, engaging the audience, using music to enhance the drama and always well written and directed. Their plays often modern (or even not so modern) fairytales contained large dollops of invention that filled me with wonder.



In Cornwall stands an institution

For those with imaginative constitution

They have taken over the asylum

Turned it to magical theatrical fulcrum

Giants of performance yet only Kneehigh

Magnificent milkers of emotion laugh, cry

Tragedy, comedy, in tales of wonder

Lyrical roleplay your dreams they plunder

Atmospheric sensation artistic invention

Style of the own darkness needs a mention

Human frailties and strength included

Wise men, as well as fools and deluded

Nights to remember over the years

Always end with audience cheers

Heligan’s Red Shoes used the dark

Raw emotions hit the mark

Stalwarts of the past and new talents

Entertainment always prevalent

Newer shows more polished like Rebecca

Masterfully directed by Emma

Rice dramatic, comic timing of Paddy

Experienced Shepherd watched gladly

Acting, dancing music combine all in the blend

Anarchic energy and emotion mixed to extend


Cornish vigorous and challenging

Miraculous with humanity engaging

Insanity just enough for everyone to try

Cornish theatrical legends known as Kneehigh

I didn’t grow up with a liking of theatre. I saw a wooden version of Arthur Millers the Crucible at the age of 14 or 15 that I endured as much as watched. I was in my twenties before I discovered Theatres delights.  Cornwall has been enriched with many talented actors and theatre companies. The Miracle theatre another regular favourite have shown how to cope with actors playing multiple parts . Although it was a comedy seagull that was one of my strongest memories of them. The Cornish Theatre company showed parts that other companies didn’t reach. I was not expecting one of the actors to have his private parts on display and my surprised female companion probably had the best view in the house.

As well as the local theatre performances we have also had larger shows like Julius Caeser in the Hall for Cornwall. Unlike me, my children have grown up appreciating the theatre and I can remember one telling me after the Royal Shakespeare Company performance of Julius Caeser that they didn’t understand it all but loved the acting. The other with a gleam in her eyes said she didn’t understand it but loved the stabbing.

Of course, as well as plays these venues provide music and comedy. Festivals and the Eden Project also ad to the mix. STERTS is a theatre on the moor. Carnglaze Caverns provides a cave as a music venue. There is so much more than I mentioned but I can’t mention it all. There has always been a richness and diversity also combined with talent to make Cornwall an excellent place for entertainment. It would be a shame to lose any of that because of the virus. If you can support or attend an event, please do.

Thank you for reading

Jon Best

Lockdown Time Off

After tomorrow I have a fortnight off and  I am ready for it. Ready for it but unsure what to do with it. I want to spend some time outside in the fresh air. Over the last month I have battled the IT to work at home. A keyboard worrier and at times I have been unsure who is winning.

In this the “new normal,” I feel restricted and impatient. I hate that phrase it just does not mean what is used to imply. We are in strange times and so much has changed but the we are all a bit unsettled by change. So to make it palatable this stranger has been disguised as normal an old friend. The new normal though gives undue comfort because until it becomes usual it can’t be normal. They have coined a phrase that is fitting because it keeps returning like a bad penny. Pennies that form our loose change. Loose because we have not yet got control of the virus. We still need to understand it better to save lives. The message may have changed but we still need to stay alert and minimise risk. Maybe if we dropped the “normal” branding less people will be complacent and less will die.

I am lucky. I have not lost anyone to the virus, and I want it to stay that way My Mum is 87 and one of my daughters has an autoimmune condition that makes her very vulnerable. My Parkinson’s may possibly make me vulnerable, but it is much easier to be careful, for others. I have not yet taken advantage of some of the freedoms we are being allowed. I will not be going to the pub in the near future. I have been offered the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and spend a day a week within the office. This is so tempting but the time is not yet right.

At the moment, I am slowly assessing each situation for myself. I have avidly watched the news UK and Worldwide and sometimes been stunned by leaders behaviour. It seems clear to me that countries who drop their guard take a big hit.

My week ahead may be undecided, but I will expand my life in a controlled way. I will rebuild some of the connections and look to the future. I will post some details and pictures of my time off.

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable week.

Thank you for reading.



Bubble Bath and Family Bubbles


I had a bath at the weekend and as I ran the bath, I put in some Radox. Radox Muscle Therapy (bath soak in very small letters) for men looks much like bubble bath. In fact, it is bubble bath but I guess that Radox must assume that my masculinity is fragile enough to be damaged by the use of bubble bath. Even more likely is that they can actually sell more to men in that guise. That may be so, but I like bubbles  and a bubble gave me a great weekend.


In England households have been allowed to form a bubble. This is a system where a single person (or single parent and children) have been allowed to form a bubble with another household(can be any size). These two households are allowed, to behave as one household interacting with out social distancing. I live with my daughter 17 here for part of the week every week and we reunited with my Mum 87at the weekend, We went for dinner at my Mum’s and reunited three generations. It was a lovely occasion where we were able to hug Mum for the first time in 3 months.

It had been a lonely time for my Mum but she has not uttered any complaints. I have been delivering food and her prescriptions to her porch and have spoken on the phone almost every day. My Mum has no internet so no video calls but also no internet banking. She also had no phone banking and as well cutting her social interactions she lost her financial independence. She needed others to shop and bank for her. She doesn’t drive so her exercise was confined to a central patch of grass in her avenue. Her main role in helping the family was to cook dinners and to bake muffins, pasties etc. Not only did she not have the access to the people but often couldn’t get the ingredients. She spent a lot of her time reading. She. usually bought second-hand paperbacks from charity shops. If she wanted to go anywhere on her own she would previously have used a taxi.

I have listed these aspects because I wanted to illustrate how this lockdown denied her much more than social interaction.  My daughter 24 is shielding she also has hearing problems and was unable to phone her Granny. We will shortly be arranging to video call and I will bring my Mum here so she can speak to her granddaughter via the internet. My daughter 24 has an autoimmune condition and needs to attend medical appointments. Facemasks provide a barrier not only to the virus but lipreading as well. Despite the communication challenges she has bridged the generation gap sending a card with photo’s  and a message to her Granny. Despite her restrictions under the shielding system she gives thought to helping her Granny from a distance.

My oldest daughter 25 lives and works in Lanzarote and her employment is under threat. My 3 daughters Mum is having to find another house to move to and this directly affects my youngest daughter 17 as she lives in both of our houses. Just within my family the different members face loneliness and other issues. I have Parkinson’s and the lockdown has undermined the way I usually cope. I work from home with my routine massively changed It has cancelled activities and exercise I enjoy and challenged me to think about things, I fear. Loneliness is a long- term possibility and at some point my body my initiate a sort of lock down of it’s own.

One way I cope with my darker thoughts is by bringing them into the open. My writing not only allows me to debate my feelings but sometimes to let them go. Doing things for others is a powerful way of easing your own worries. Everyone is facing a different situation and there is no way of quantifying whose circumstances are hardest. I have had good emotional and practical support from friends as well as family. Having an awareness of your own feelings can contribute to your own welfare if you are willing to allow yourself to be kind to be to yourself or ask it from others. I feel lucky as I have always found support when I have needed it.

I want to finish as I began with the bubble bath. Whether I call it muscle therapy or bubble bath it is the same thing. Whatever someone’s situation loneliness is loneliness. We should not evaluate and compare mental health issues but listen as we are all individuals, in individual situations. Being aware of others is vital if we can offer support. Sometimes bubble-wrap can cushion us against a very bruising world.  If someone else is struggling for whatever reason, a little kindness and compassion can go a long way.

Thank you for reading



Netflix Lockdown

How many of you reading this have spent time watching Netflix to get through the lockdown. I have had the company of Marvels Defenders, Daredevil. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, the Punisher and Iron Fist. I spent over two months getting sorted to work from home. Just staying at home does take its toll. I have a mindset that has been useful to me in the recent past. I have Parkinson’s and was once told by a Doctor to concentrate on today not think about tomorrow, but for me this is an oxymoron. You can’t have hope without thinking about the future. I had my own take on it. Look after today, but move forward. It was working for me and after a change of medication regime a couple of years ago. I built a routine that worked. I looked forward in the short and medium term to rewards such as concerts, theatre, activities with my children. I had goals to write books I also entered poetry and short story competitions. Another popular piece of advice for people with Parkinson’s is to use it or lose it. This is about maintaining your body with regular exercises.

I had thought about this year and my 2020 vision included resuming dating. At work I applied for a new role as an. Advocate of Fair Treatment to help those who felt bullied. I was pleased with the expression of interest I had written. Then came the Corona virus. I agreed to work from home as I fell into the governments clinically vulnerable category. All bets were off as the lockdown was announced. My routine was cancelled as were the events I was looking forward to. In the Punisher they described torture as robbing you of routine and control. I can now see their point. I established a new routine which worked fine for the first few weeks but has been harder to stick to in more recent weeks. This combined with my frustration at the length of time taken to provide me with the IT facilities to work from home. My application for the new role never received a response and even if I have been successful it is not a role Ii can effectively do from home.

The lockdown undermined not only my routine but also my hopes and plans for the near future. It undermined the way I think and my methods of coping. I have not served a shuttlecock in my Sunday badminton sessions for three months. I carried on writing blogs short stories and poetry, but in the past couple of weeks my inspiration to write has felt jaded.

I am writing today largely to process that. I want to look forward but sometimes you have to look back first. Amongst the frustration there are many positives time spent with my youngest daughter who lives with me at weekends, songs recorded online by my oldest daughter living in Lanzarote, and video calls with my other daughter. I have set up a website for any parents looking for someone bedtime reading to children can use for free my child friendly writing.   https://sweetdreamsforjago.wordpress.com. I have also made a couple of my short stories available on my blog site. I have helped raise friend’s spirits with poems, rhymes, humour and in one case a cushion. It has not been the 2020 I expected but I still have achievements and have helped others.

A quote from Jessica Jones, “Everything changes and nothing changes,” seems to be appropriate as circumstances have changed but I have not. I have hope. I not only have hope I have faith in myself. Even more than that I have faith in my friends who have encouraged, supported and helped me. On the surface maybe a motley crew, but they are endowed with above average kindness,

My lockdown may have contained an excessive Netflix content but Marvels Defenders fall someway short of my Marvelous friends. I will end with a quote from Kilgrave, “Don’t forget to smile.”

A virus arrived it was pandemic

Lockdown followed it was systemic

What could we do, but Netflix and chill

Marvel at vigilantes angst as they kill

They had to stay alert to stay alive

Wearing a mask helped them to thrive

One was a man who had an iron fist

Pressed his trousers with whats on his wrist

We can beat it if we follow their example

Hand sanitiser using a sample

Defenders with soap washing our hands

Whilst on Netflix lockdown stay home as planned



Best wishes


Lockdown hope


Yet another beautiful morning in lock down. I have taken a walk allowed for exercise each day and have been treated to seeing natures glory. The flowers and the birds have been spectacular. I have been blessed to see the cygnets, goslings, ducklings. juvenile gulls showing that we humans maybe locking down but life on the planet continues.


I have also seen signs of our negative behaviour. Including the litter that has infiltrated every nook a cranny and provides a sign of our lack of regard for the planet’s resources. Our economic activity has slowed during the corona virus outbreak and reports have suggested that Mother Nature has flourished. I hope that has demonstrated to everyone that we can change our impact on our world and we emerge from lockdown not only wiser but prepared to put that wisdom into practice.


I have included a poem below but if anyone is interested I have posted a reading of that poem on youtube at the link    https://youtu.be/R4DASM4eYCo


Marketing(Devils in the detail).

Saddled with mounting midlife crisis

Satan reviews seduction by vices

Epiphany erupts from apathy

Evil enrols on marketing degree

A grade Student, Top of his class

Entrepreneur cooking on gas

One for sorrow his business plan

Two for joy shiny trap for man

Encourages to inhabit nest

More magpie avarice expressed

Pink for a girl blue for a boy

Wants turn to need for latest toy

Three the witches who cast a spell

Four the horsemen take you to hell

Witches rebranded eco role models

Four horsemen, goths  angst audible

Five for silver, six for gold

Credit grasps them in its hold

Utility lost appears gain

Once possessed interest wains

Seven his secret never told

Package so perfect looks are sold

Money talks but we don’t listen

Barter sense for trinkets glisten

Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss

Selling dreams, package of bliss

More magpie with a birdbrain

By product falls. acid rain

Nine a surprise, you can’t resist

Multipack price too low to miss

Waste land fill eternity

Only care for what we see.

Ten for bargain you can’t dismiss

Endorsed by sport star and actress

Product placement down to a tea

Lets have brew refreshing Tetleys

Eleven for health, twelve for wealth

Squandered consumed by self

Resources stripped, mined for greed

Population causes planet bleed

Old hat rings customer service bell

Devils retirement plan trip to hell

Offers Hades free home delivery

On earth due to our activity

When you buy please read the small print

Devils in detail, take a hint

Think before purchase, not fooled by stealth

Thirteen beware the devil himself

Stay Alert Stay Alive

Stay Alert -Stay Alive

This is not an article written for the government or for the opposition. I write this for my friends, family and the people of the UK.

Stay Alert may not be the best message and there may be better ones. It is the one being used and we have to take the maximum benefit we can from it. For context I would just like to give a small amount of information about me. I am a 51 year old male with Parkinson’s. I have an 87 year old mother who lives on her own with no internet facilities. I follow the government guidance that with Parkinson’s I should strictly social distance but as I am not high risk I still take walks to exercise. I have not been inside a shop for over 7 weeks.

I have noticed whilst I am out that some people are very aware of people around them. There is a minority who seem not to be paying attention. I cross roads to avoid others. I turn away as someone passes me if they get close. Not everyone does this so they need to maintain their awareness of social distancing. To put that another way, stay alert.

Everyone of us is a marvel of engineering. Our brains can process an amount of data that our technology can’t get close to. Every second there is a huge influx of new information from our senses. To cope with this our brains prioritise what to process. It makes instant judgements many based on past learning. We would never cope with giving every piece of information our full attention so we don’t. We use an automatic pilot that I am going to call Captain Habit to cope with many situations. Captain habit does things by the book unless specifically ordered not to.In times like these where we are being asked to fundamentally change our social interactions and behaviours, Captain Habit will always aim for the Status Quo.

What does all this have to do with the governments staying alert message?

The government are being advised not just by medical experts but also behavioural ones. They are asking us to change fundamental behaviours and social interactions. When we meet a loved one who we have a tactile relationship it is very natural to hug them. I drop food for my Mum in her porch but on one occasion she needed to tell me about a financial issue and came outside. We retained the 2m separation but we both found it hard to do so. We had to use conscious thought to control our instincts.

This is the reason I believe the government has taken the path it has chosen. If we meet loved ones in a public place it is easier to control our instincts with conscious thought and control our habits. If we meet on home territory even outside, it is more like normality and instinct and habit are more likely to kick in. If we can control our behaviour in a manufactured public situation we are going to start to rewire our instincts on interacting in a way that makes it easier when we return to more normal situations either personal or at work.


In a one off interaction of comparing whether it is safer to perhaps visit your sister in her garden rather than a park, it would seem nonsense to suggest the park could be a better option. Looking at the context of behaviours I can understand their reasoning. The government are not responsible for that one interaction but all of them. Each interaction will be different and they could not possibly provide instructions for every scenario.

I am not saying the governments message is the best it could be or that they cannot provide more clarity. I am saying that as we move away from complete lockdown if we look at the context of behaviour it has validity. Stay Alert is what we have been given and we need to use it to understand what happens around us and control our behaviours.

In simple terms Stay Alert to Stay Alive.