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01st Apr 2020

Diary of John Burns in Lockdown (inst. 2)

by Burns Team Writer

Coronavirus 31st March 2020

I am in isolation but I’m better off than most.  I’ve got my rowing machine for company.  Every time I pass it on the landing it seems like an adversary that needs to be challenged and defeated rather than a source of enjoyment.  The first time I tried a rowing machine I said to my son Ciaran, “This is no exercise at all.”  Two minutes later I almost had to be helped off it.  And that was years ago.

You may have had a chance to see me trying out a few dances.  My daughter Amy says I’m showing signs of insanity.

Listening to Radio 2 yesterday I couldn’t believe my ears.  Did I hear right? I checked up and it was correct.  Lyrics of the Divine Comedy song, “National Express”.

“But it’s hard to get by when your arse is the size
Of a small country”


Here’s a clever headline from the Pembrokeshire Western Telegraph.

“Loos to reopen after gripes”


The paper reported that Fishguard Town Council has decided to re-open public toilets.  So what?  I didn’t get it at first.  Gripe has more than one meaning.  It means to keep on complaining but it also means to suffer intestinal or abdominal pain.  Hats off to reporter Becky Hotchin.

Coronavirus 1st April.

Spoiler: No silly April Fools jokes.

Out on my bike on two separate occasions I passed a large building site.  Each time, the workmen were all grouped together with no attempt to maintain a gap between each other. So much for social distancing.  Where was the site manager?  I phoned the company HQ to tell them and got the Health and Safety Officer.  Am I being a sneak?

Two articles from The Observer Sunday 29th March:

Phillip Inman writes about the threat to the High street.  A total of 143,100 jobs were lost in 2019, up a fifth from the 117,000 in 2018.  [That’s over 260,000 jobs in two years. Ed.]  Another article by Stephen Moss about helping wildlife in our gardens recommends “reputable mail order companies selling feeders and food”.  No wonder the high street is in decline.  Let’s hear it for the High street traders where you can actually see and touch what you are thinking of buying.

I have bird feeders in my garden. I get lots of goldfinch and chaffinch plus a few blue tit, great tit, wood pigeon and sparrows.  Also plenty of corvids (jackdaw, rooks and magpie).  Today I saw a wren for the first time in my garden. There are at least two green birds which I thought were greenfinches, which I haven’t seen in a long time.  As you may know, they have been devastated in recent years by Trichomonosis, an infection caught from bird feeders.  Out on the country lane, I met walkers who were bird watching.  From them I concluded the green birds were actually siskin.

Stay safe,