The Pandemic and I (10) – Question: can a cash reward help lift your spirits? Featuring: a rant, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and a sweet Bella ciao!


Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?

Answer – YES! …

… but only partially – I need a break from this madness pandemic. Just five days off work in a row would be nice – a week would be marvellous. However, at work we still can’t take time off and every shift is short staffed. I am somewhat…

  • Exhausted.
  • At the brim of feeling burnt out.
  • I don’t have time nor energy for any of my artistic endeavours: poems, short stories… my beautiful novel.
  • When I dream these days, I am always running, and I am wearing a surgical mask.
  • I just want things to stop for a bit… for five days… a week… a small break from this non-stop slog before I go bananas.

Okay, rant over 🙂 Going back to my question in the title of this blog post – “Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?”

It certainly can, I’m not ashamed to admit. The power of that green can give quite a lift in times of hardship; the prospect of spending, amassing goods, food, paying bills.

I’ve never had much money in life, but I’ve always felt wealthy when it comes to the art and mind – creativity, spiritualty, words and paint and music – that’s me – yet, the arts don’t always pay the bills nor fill up your stomach, do they?

So, when my employer announced, at about the same time as the French government announced the very same, that health care workers in the sector for nursing and retirement homes are to receive a bonus payment for our efforts during the pandemic (in line with hospitals), my spirits lifted in almost the same way as if I had written a stunning personal poem or short story, made a cool drawing or painting, or jammed with fellow musicians in a garage.

TVTA Animal Crossing New Leaf alt-reality Editor and Wooof get spiritually lifted! Yarr!

Sad, in a way, that I can equate the bliss of artistic endeavours with the gain of some hard cash. But honestly, right now I don’t care… fuck you Covid-19, I could really use a lift, as could my colleagues who are knackered too.

We want ze money, Lewbowski!

Ja, fed up of swimming with sharks and jellyfish – just give us ze money!

Honestly, I don’t even know how much these cash rewards will amount to in total … one of them is a thousand euros, I know that for sure. Cool. And what will I spend my riches on? I may upgrade my bicycle. I might buy extra pizza, beer. Treat family members to nice gifts once the lockdown starts to lift and shops and restos open. I certainly need a new pair of trainers. But what I need most of all is a week off work and not having to wear that mask!

Report – 10 May, 2020

Testing, testing…

I took my second Covid-19 test last week. Chose a different nostril than last time. Wished I’d stuck with the other, as it didn’t sting or make my eyes water last time. I’m assuming my test is negative as I haven’t heard the dreaded news to the contrary from my employer, and will wait for confirmation when I’m in tomorrow.

Tomorrow is 11 May!

11. May – the much-talked-about date in France when lockdown restrictions begin to slowly lift. Since 17 March we’ve pretty much been in as strict a lockdown as you could imagine. Now, some pre and elementary schools will reopen, some businesses too, with the return to some kind of normal made in staggered steps.

TV Series and gaming lockdown decompression

Talking of staggered steps… I finished watching The Walking Dead seasons which I missed seeing when they first came out. So interesting watching certain characters making their debut – as was the evolution of others.

Bella ciao! 

I’m now watching La Casa de Papel – season 3 – just awesome! Thanks to WordPress good buddy inSPIRAtion for pointing me in the right direction there, cheers mate 🙂

All being well, I might have a fun La Casa de Papel blog post coming soon:)

La Casa de Papel. Image credit: Netflix.

Turning over a New (old) Leaf …

And for any readers wondering what the low-res comical screen grabs are scattered about this blog post – I’ve been amusing myself with Animal Crossing New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS. Old school now I know. My youngest has New Horizons and it wipes the floor with New Leaf. But, I’m charmed by New Leaf. It’s the perfect and gentle distraction for pandemic times (no virus, no lockdown, and you can go shopping!).

That’s all for now, vintage mates! Stay safe and healthy everyone 🙂


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

The Pandemic and I (9) – Concert venue hospital, video games, and getting tested for Covid-19

In the British news I saw an article on the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Memories came back…


When I lived in England, I went to music shows and a WWE WrestleMania at the NEC. I always thought it was a good venue. Now, during the pandemic, the venue is to act as a temporary Covid-19 treatment hospital.

How the pandemic changes things… instead of entertainment fans, NEC visitors might now be emergency patients. Instead of artists and crew, NEC workers might be doctors, nurses, carers…

Bravo the NEC (if it’s possible to congratulate a building?). Let’s hope it doesn’t come to patients being admitted, and that the numbers – not just in the UK but everywhere – of those requiring hospital care fall instead of rise.

Britain’s Prince William speaks via videolink as he officially opens the NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham, built in the National Exhibition Centre on April 16, 2020. Photograph: Reuters. Image link: The Guardian International.

Testing, testing…

Luke Sywalker’s Headset. 1978.

For our team at work, last week was one of certain anxiety… our residents took the Covid-19 virus test, and we had to wait for the staggered results to come in. I’m very pleased to report that each one tested negative 🙂 Good. Considering most French residential and nursing homes are infected, we remain in excellent shape right now. Good protocols. Decent equipment. Diligent staff. Luck? The battle continues!

After the residents had been tested, it was the turn of the staff.

Let’s be honest, everyone at work was dreading having to take it. You had to fill in health forms. Then a nose swab taken by a nurse suited and booted up in full PPE. 30 seconds or so of swabbing. Not too uncomfortable, but it made your eyes water. And that was it. Then it was the wait… 3 days…

My result – negative. And the results of the rest of the team – negative!

A huge relief. If only temporary. And not to let our guard down in the slightest!

Chewbacca bandolier offer variation. 2000 AD Prog 337 1983. UK.

Question:

Anyone playing video games during lockdown? 

Grandstand Pocket Scramble and Pocket Pac-Man. 1983. UK.

Atari Centipede. 1983. UK.

Mario Tennis Aces. France. 2018.

The Simpsons Game. UK. 2007.

Death Star Battle video game. US. 1983.

Or how about Top Trumps!

Waddingtons Top Trumps. 1983. UK.

I found some time to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It’s actually a really nice distraction – world building in an environment that isn’t in lockdown and pandemic 🙂 My youngest has the New Horizons version, and it makes New Leaf already look like the vintage it’s slowly becoming.

Coming soon…

You may have noticed this post has a slight Star Wars theme running through it?

A clue? Next post is all about a collection I finally finished after starting it way back in 1996…

teaser pics


MTFBWY! Stay safe and healthy everyone 🙂


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

The Pandemic and I (8) – WTF! Sunbathing in the park, and life’s a peachy beach

“What the Fuck!” advert for Albert Learning dot com. 20Mins. 23 Oct 2015. France.

The French seem to have a love affair with the statement “What the fuck!” and say it often, at least the French people I know do. It always brings me a smile to hear them say this in certain situations of consternation. The advert above is a genuine ad found in a national free newspaper from 2015.

So it is with a smile that I dedicate this post to all “what the fuckery” everywhere during our current pandemic, and in honour of our dear Covid-19.

What the fuck, parks and beaches!

The selfish person’s pledge to social distancing rules:

  • I will go to the park or the beach whenever I like for my picnic and sunbathing needs. I will travel to my second home in the country for my holiday then return when my holiday is finished. I will do as I please because I have human rights and the sun is shining.

Depending on which part of the world you live in and what social distancing rules apply to you, the above pledge may resonate with the behaviours you are seeing from some fellow citizens.

An interesting article to read on multiple issues surrounding the morality of enjoying your park life during a pandemic can be found here: ‘Can I sunbathe in the park?’ is now a deep moral question.

What the fuck, super rich people!

You may have read the news story of the private jet holidaymakers forced by French police to fly back home after failing to claim their luxury spot in the sun in the south of France. What a waste of police time and jet fuel. It’s no real surprise to know that the super rich are still as eager to jump in their private jets and helicopters to seek out sunshine just as much as average family Joe Bloggs are in their cars zooming down the autoroute with suitcases packed. Some things never change on a Bank Holiday weekend in France – even in a pandemic…

But what the fuck! Please stay the fuck at home!

Lundby. Denmark. 1979.

There is no easy solution to the problem of people wanting to enjoy sunny parks and beaches during this pandemic other than please stay at home and be patient. Parks and beaches will still be there the next time around. I don’t have a garden, but do have a small terrace to catch some sun. Unfortunately, many don’t have even this small luxury. But you can still go out and feel the sun shining. Walk, jog, cycle. Just don’t gather and risk spreading the virus. It’s only a small sacrifice for hopefully only a short time. Lives are at stake.

For us, in France, choices regarding parks and beaches are made very easy… why? All our parks and beaches are closed. Good. Additionally, our 83 Département has recently introduced curfews. Good. And still, if you go out for essential needs you have to show papers. Well, good.

I’m no fan of these hard measures (what the fuck, what sane person ever would be?), but they’re put into place to help stop the spread of a virus we have no previous knowledge of, nor treatment for, nor vaccine against.

The reasons parks and beaches are closed in France are for the very same reasons sports stadiums, cinemas, restaurants and bars are closed – to stop people clustering together and spreading the virus… to prevent the collapse of health services… to help keep people alive… to help keep health professionals alive – the very people who are trying to keep everyone affected by this virus alive.

What the duck, holiday people!

Beach duck. Jouets Mont Blanc. 1969. France.

To the holiday makers and tourists who come to my heavily touristic region during this period of holiday sunshine in our current pandemic, I say to you:

  • are you aware you may bring Covid-19 with you and spread it here?
  • are you aware you may contract Covid-19 here and take it back home with you?
  • are you aware of the risk you are taking in creating extra burdens on a struggling health service?
  • are you aware that the already scarce food you are buying while on holiday is meant for the locals and workers?

I hope you reconsider your holiday for another time, like I will be doing. Or would be doing – as it stands, all my leave is cancelled until further notice. I don’t even have the luxury right now of planning a holiday, let alone taking one.

What the fuck, bread!

Wonder Bread Close Encounters of the Third Kind trading card and CE3K Skywatchers club offers. 1978. US.

The last two times I have been to the shops I didn’t find bread. Why? Are people still panic buying it? Hoarding it? Thousands of home freezers packed with the stuff? Is there trouble with truck deliveries? Are the recent holiday makers buying it all? It’s not just bread, but flour and burger buns and hotdog rolls are also scarce.

We managed to get in line for a supermarket home delivery (7 day wait). We ordered some bread. When the delivery came, there was no bread, it had run out, and we got refunded for that, plus other items that were no longer in stock when we first ordered.

I won’t complain too much. There are people in a million more times worse the trouble I’m in for lack of a sandwich.

Hovis Bread. Postcard. 1903. UK.

Reader's star letter:

“What the fuck TVTA! Where are all the new ads and pop culture goodies you usually publish at a decent rate? We want our vintage! Not flipping poems and pandemic mutterings all the while!”

A. Disgruntled. Gannow. West Midlands.

Dear A. Disgruntled. True, since lockdown, our regular places like flea markets and vintage shops where we source our paper works are temporarily closed. Additionally, our online sources are operating with longer delivery times, added to which our postal delivery service has been reduced by half. Vintage materials have never been so lacking at the offices of TVTA… not since 2013 when Wooof accidently sent our archives to the Arctic Circle in a time travel mishap involving an electric toothbrush and 150 kg of spaghetti. Wooof hates me telling anyone about this story, but it is largely the reason why we now have a polar bear in our fridge!

What the fuck! TVTA is 9!!!

Almost forgot, we just celebrated our 9th blogging birthday!!

Here is our digital birthday card from WP…

What the fuck! That’s all for now, folks!

Thank you for keeping your distance from us and staying out of parks !!


Some good questions answered by WHO:

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. 

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

We are aware of instances of animals and pets of COVID-19 patients being infected with the disease;

As the intergovernmental body responsible for improving animal health worldwide, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has been developing technical guidance on specialised topics related to animal health, dedicated to veterinary services and technical experts (including on testing and quarantine);

There is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans. Further evidence is needed to understand if animals and pets can spread the disease;

Based on current evidence, human to human transmission remains the main driver;

It is still too early to say whether cats could be the intermediate host in the transmission of the COVID-19.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

The pandemic and I. (6) fools, cake, roadblocks, a cold beer, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and a welcome lie in.

Report – Saturday 28 March

Due to staff shortages at work, I haven’t had the energy nor time this week to enjoy the wonderful world of WP blogging. I’ve just finished for a weekend off after completing four 10 hour shifts in a row. Prior to that I’d already done two 10 hour shifts with only a day off in between.

Imagic, Atari. 1983.

I’m not complaining here. Work is a rewarding (if risky) distraction, and it’s a good feeling knowing our team is doing all it can, and so far successfully, to keep our 74 elderly residents virus free. But to say that come Friday evening I wasn’t hallucinating a little, unable to think and speak correctly in either English or French, and had a yearning for a cold beer or two, followed by a sleep knowing a lie in was in store the following morning, would be an understatement so massive it could easily be seen from space.

So what’s been happening for TVTA this week during the pandemic? And, dear friends, how are you all coping and managing?

  • Safety in numbers? (a) Our units house 74 vulnerable elderly people presenting a range of medical conditions. To date, no one has died from Covid-19, nor have had, or are showing any symptoms. In France, where numbers of deaths and infections are rising in many retirement homes, we consider ourselves fortunate so far.
  • Safety in numbers? (b) Since last week, our residents remain in isolation in their rooms. Some are coping well – even loving it. Some are starting to get a little stir crazy. Some don’t understand the situation at all, and leave their rooms constantly. Staff do all we can with what small time we have free to take those who are suffering from isolation outside – individually, and under protocols – into the gardens for 10, 15 mins fresh air and exercise. It’s not much, but helps enormously to lift the spirits of some.

Roadblock!

Majorette police toys. France. 1986.

  • Holy crap! I got stopped for the first time during our lockdown by the police. I was cycling home from shift. There were eight of them blocking the entrances to a town roundabout. They asked to see my papers. Asked where I worked. As a health carer, I have to carry government papers validating the reasons why I am outdoors during the lockdown. I showed my papers (outstretched hands, 1 metre distance between me and the gruff officer). He looked my papers over, mumbled Merci, monsieur, and sent me on my way. It was a bit weird being stopped and questioned liked that, but I respect the police having to do so in trying to catch those breaking the strict social distancing rules.

I pity the fool!

Mr T. Eagle. 1983. UK.

  • I don’t want to judge. I don’t want to laugh. I certainly don’t want anyone to suffer from this horrible virus, nor would I wish it upon anyone. But I will state: some people are born fools…

United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson (right) and Rishi Sunak clap in appreciation of NHS workers. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images.

“I’m shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually some Coronavirus patients & I shook hands with everybody. People can make up their own mind but I think it’s very important to keep shaking hands.” Boris Johnson. 03 March 2020.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.” Boris Johnson. 27 March. 2020.

Cake, glorious cake!

Cover. The Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating 1982.

  • At work, the family of one of our residents sent in food parcels for the staff. The delivery contained delicious cakes, croissants, pain au chocolate, and fresh fruit. Not supermarket stuff, but expensive, top quality products. Did we feel treated? Did we feel strong as lions after eating such a feast? Oh yes 🙂

I love Michonne!

Image Source: Wikipedia

One of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ during the pandemic is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5.

I’ve always liked the character Michonne. She is fearless, fierce, cool, stubborn, deadly, moody, bold… seeing her introduced for real in season 3, armed with her katana, hooded, and dragging along two shackled walkers which she was using for protection and camouflage… I thought: just wow, and what the…!

Season 2 completed. I’m on season 3 now.

The Walking Dead season 3. Image courtesy of AMC.

Cat communications to help us!

We end with a message from our overlords, the cats:

“Meowl, miew, meow, mrahhh, purr, myawl!” translation: “Dear humans, be safe, isolate and rest, wash often. Like us!”

Cats. TVTA collection.



For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages