I suppose our children, grandchildren and great children will be asking “what did you do during the great epidemic.” A bit like ‘where were you when the Cuban missile strike was about to happen, or Kennedy got assassinated or Mandela was released?’
I remember all of these but probably most memorable because I was older was when Nelson Mandela was released. I had been an avid anti-apartheid campaigner for many years, boycotting various products and trying to persuade my father to stop banking with Barclays, unsuccessfully.
We were at home with Zak our youngest and sitting together on the couch and waiting with incredible anticipation for Mandela to emerge. I remember thinking what will he look like, because nobody had seen an image of him for so long. It was very exciting and a momentous event. Years later I was employed to do the PR for a huge Nelson Mandela worldwide benefit concert in Cape Town.
It was on 29 November 2003 called The 46664 (Mandela’s prison number) Concert and it was held at Green Point Stadium, Cape Town. It was hosted by Mandela and its goal was to raise awareness of the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Among the artists appearing were Beyoncé, Bob Geldof, Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Dave Stewart, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, Yusuf Islam (previously known as Cat Stevens), Peter Gabriel Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Eurythmics, Bono and The Edge from U2 and many more.
Should I run low with cash I still have an autograph from Beyonce who wrote to Zak, Jake and Toby with much love from Beyonce.
As I have no grandchildren as yet hint hint – I doubt that my grandchildren will be asking me the epidemic question.
I am in good company with the blog though for William Shakespeare wrote a daily blog during the Great Plague. On Day 13 he wrote that he had been ‘wearing the same doublet and hose for two weeks.’ Another reluctant clothes changer.
And while The Grove Theatre in London was closed Shakespeare used his time efficiently and wrote some of his darkest plays; Macbeth, King Lear and Othello – all whilst isolating. It will be interesting to see what our current writers produce from this period.
I will have this blog. Not great literature but as I hadn’t written anything in fifteen years, I think quite an achievement. I do know though fellow readers that some days the blog can be rather bland.
I have never been a great writer. Good journalist/reporter/interviewer yes. I loved the research, the chase, nosing out a good story and finding great interviewees but flowing wonderful prose has always eluded me. And now when words are also eluding me, I am happy that I can just put word to paper or screen.
The mundanity of my daily life continues, and I am pleased to report – for those who have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment of the demolishment – that the first load of rubbish has gone. I had 4 different rubbish companies competing for my business and managed to negotiate a very good cash price. I was always a good haggler although I am not proud of this attribute.
Tomorrow I need to bake a cake with no eggs. We are having a street party, music cakes etc all from the safety of our front garden. We have such a wonderful community on our road. That’s another thing I will miss when lock down eases. But I don’t have any eggs and just a little bit of flour so need to be creative.
When my brother had pancreatic cancer and he was in his last weeks, he decided to get married to his long-term partner Tamatha. They got married in London and I tried to make a cake with no butter, no flour, no eggs no sugar and no chocolate. He was on a special diet. Lot of good that did!!! It’s all very well these alternative cancer diets but if you have to spend the last few months of your life eating nothing that you like, well is it worth it? I gave up keeping Tod on a special diet and in the end just let him eat what he liked. Who am I to play God?
Back to the cake – I used a lot of coconut and nuts and it was quite awful. Sadly, he died a few weeks later. Nothing to do with the cake. I made a wedding and a funeral all within 6 weeks.
That’s much too sad to end this blog on and I will try to refrain from ranting on about how on earth the UK can have the highest death rate equal only to that other illustrious country governed by another great blonde leader. Not going to talk about it because it caused me a sleepless night last night. I made the mistake of watching the midnight news and then became so angry that I spent 20 mins tweeting and posting on Facebook. So, I said earlier I am not going to mention this!
Instead let’s celebrate Fray Fraynelin Cuevas Mendez who is 102
“Lets be careful out there”
2 thoughts on “What did you do in the great epidemic?”
Hi I came across your blog whilst looking for others like me who were fans of the word ‘serendipity’ 😊 this is a lovely article, and such an interesting thought as this pandemic would probably be the most significant human story of this century.
I love the word serendipity but it was not available so I used serendipidy instead
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