Thursday 16th April. The Coronet Diaries. ‘Nothing will come of nothing’.

I went to bed convinced there was nothing I wanted to write about today. I could rant about what is going on in ‘the care homes’ and the fact that Matt Hancock is becoming more eristic by the hour. Such an unspeakable thought that our ‘care homes’ are becoming new sites of/for memento mori. I want to believe the Government but anyone who has access to doctors working on the ‘Front Line’ will know most of their reassurances are false. And with tragic consequences.

How come that it is only in Government – unlike almost any other profession – but perhaps I am wrong – that anyone can be elected into Cabinet at the whim of an incoming prime minister without significant former experiences of the most senior government procedures? While it is Civil Service policy for its employees to change positions every few years within an umbrella department, it is less usual for civil servants to move across disciplines willy nilly. Until July 2018 Hancock was Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In eighteen months what body of experience has qualified him to assume the mantel of an ‘elder’? (I am not referring to age but relevant experience and knowledge.) Society refers to highly qualified doctors as ‘Junior Doctors’ who have often been qualified for more than ten years. Commonly, it is ten years before they are promoted to Consultant. For many others it is longer. In the Inns of Court it takes yonks for a pupil barrister to morph into a junior barrister and it is rare for anyone to accomplish Silk until they are fifty. My own training took over 7 years, post being a postulant, novice and analysand (someone who is in psychoanalysis several times a week for an unspeakable amount of years.) Surely in these ‘unprecedented’ times as the Government likes to chant, it would be more appropriate for Senior Ministers, at the least, to work in alliance with their shadow cabinet doubles… and why is Johnson so uncharacteristically silent about his convalescence …I don’t think there has been a tweet since he arrived at Chequers

My other observations for the day:

  1. We woke up to find we had no Broadband service. It felt apposite to my state of mind that I had nothing to say . Worse, the fear that writer’s block had returned. Habitually, not being able to get ‘on line’ would send me into frenzy. Today, when there is little left to surprise me/us it felt like another deprivation about which there was no point raising my blood pressure. So be it. I can, I thought, always speak to my ‘patients’ via FT. But, there was no alternative other than to search out the Virgin password. After half an hour of pressing different buttons and following different diagnostic videos – which did not identify anything at all – and recorded A.I operators trying to soothe me: ‘We see you have already dialled this number three time this morning and carried out your own diagnostic testing as prescribed. Please now be patient and hold on as we are very busy this morning.’ While I was holding on it seemed that Virgin’s A.I had enough information about our modem to restore normal services.
  2. Around the third day of my lockdown diary I may have mentioned a large filling deposited into my mouth. I cannot remember whether I wrote about my call to the dentist or not. Nor, whether I have said that I am dental phobic. Anyway without going into either of those boring details I wonder how many people in the country know that since my initial call to my dentist ALL dentists in England, whether NHS or private have been ordered by the NHS during lockdown to shut down. They are now no longer allowed to continue to offer the restricted emergency service that had been operational. Instead we are advised to call 111. ADDISON PLACE DENTAL PRACTICE NOW DISPLAYS THIS NOTE ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER ONE IN THE COUNTRY.


As COVID-19 continues to develop, we hope you and your family are keeping well.

Addison Place Dental Practice is currently closed in accordance with the government restrictions. Unfortunately this means we are currently unable to see and treat patients.
Our telephone and email will be monitored as usual during this time.

Perhaps the NHS would be well reminded that until the 20th Century tooth infections leading to sepsis were responsible for frequent mortalities. Like Samuel Pepys, soon we will be resorting to barber surgeons to have ‘the tooth pulled’.

Wednesday 2nd December 1663 The Diaries of Samuel Pepys.

Up, and to St. James’s and other places, and then to the office, where all the morning. At noon home and dined in my wife’s chamber, she being much troubled with the tooth-ake, and I staid till a surgeon of hers come, one Leeson, who hath formerly drawn her mouth, and he advised her to draw it: so I to the Office, and by and by word is come that she hath drawn it, which pleased me, it being well done. So I home, to comfort her, and so back to the office till night, busy, and so home to supper and to bed.

3. Yesterday one of my ‘patients’ told me that Zoom was no longer regarded as being adequately encrypted. She kindly sent me this article from the Financial Times. Zoom admits user dater ‘mistakenly’ routed through China:

Apart from the fact that only last weekend I abandoned Skype and became Zoom-accomplished and I will now have to do more research. (It strikes me that perhaps we shouldn’t have such high expectations of a platform that for small group usage comes free. Maybe, as a professional I should be paying for a water tight service.) I have now done my research kindly provided by another ‘patient’s’ relative who works as senior consultant geek to one of the major technology companies. His opinion is that neither company is watertight and he does not suggest any paid for alternative. He considers that Zoom is acceptable if individual passwords are provided and screen sharing is switched off. Any guest must be queued in. Skype it seems has issues other than security but as I had already taken all the prescribed precautions I shall continue to Zoom.

This morning I was Zooming with someone who is a cookery writer and cook and she told me that next Monday she was organising through her company, ‘Building Feasts’ an online ‘Let’s Bake Together’ event in her virtual kitchen when everyone bakes a cake for themselves and donates another to a first responder, an isolated neighbour or friend, the local delivery person or anyone out there working to keep us safe and well.

Monday 20th April at 7pm GMT (8am SYD, 11am LA, 2pm NYC, 9pm TLV) where I will share as many kitchen tips as I can in a short period of time while making my go-to simple, one bowl, pantry staple: Lemon Yoghurt Cake.
Hanna Geller’s Building Feasts online event ‘Lets Bake Together’ next Monday


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