Author Archives: Jon Garvey
I only realized today what celandines are for. Now, primroses I get. They’re the traditional harbingers of spring, their soft lemon yellow in a bed of pale green velvet leaves announcing fresh growth in the watery March sunlight. They cover banks in the woods and in numerous folk-songs, and contrast with the spectrally complementary dog-violets that are scattered amongst them. But celandines, glossy and chrome yellow, always seem just a bit too yellow, like the paint on warning signs rather than a dose of spring.
There is a tiny bit of good news on COVID in the last few days, in the advice given by the MHRA to avoid the Astra-Zeneca vaccine in younger patients because of the possible risk of blood clots. The good news is not that the vaccine has taken a hit, but that the decision shows there is still someone in authority, at least, with the nous and courage to buck the party-line propaganda narrative and do their job on principles of reason.
There was a rather unfortunate, though amusing, slip of the tongue on yesterday’s Antiques Roadshow. It was on the lips of the seasoned expert Paul Atterbury (also famed as the model for Andy Pandy in his infancy, his mother being the puppeteer), who was examining two sea-rescue medals.
Have you experienced an odd feeling over the last year? You get involved in some ordinary activity – family events, a work project or whatever – and life seems to be getting back to some kind of normality, until you suddenly realize with a start that what with COVID, the Social Justice Revolution, and international politics, the whole world is a lunatic asylum, and it’s the normality that is the illusion.
There is still a prevalent idea that witchcraft was predominantly a mediaeval thing, representing the remnants of pagan religion amongst the peasantry. In fact, the wave of superstitious belief in witches, pacts with the devil and so on was an early modern phenomenon beginning in the sixteenth century, and was at its height of “witchfinders general,” show trials and so on in the following century. Witchcraft was actually very rare in mediaeval times.
OK. The positive test rate for COVID in the UK has been flat all month, at around 6,400 daily. The rapid increase in test numbers has also more or less flattened off at around 1.8m daily, and COVID deaths are zero in many areas.
A BBC nature programme a couple of weeks ago showed the remarkable nest of Britain’s smallest bird (if you don’t count the tail) – the long-tailed tit. It’s a beautifully made globular structure (though still heavily predated) of lichen and feathers, designed to expand as the brood grows because it’s woven from spider’s silk.
I’ve no idea why YouTube started assailing me with psychologists’ guides to narcissism some months ago. They do that sometimes, the algorithms suddenly deciding to deluge you with clips on “carpentry tips” maybe, or some obscure Australian band. But it has become very apposite, since a possibly narcissitic relationship at the very top of society has been in the headlines for the last week or two, suspected as such by many lay people as well as pundits.
“Better get a move on Paul – we’ll be late for church.” “Uhh… if you don’t mind, Dad, I’d rather stay home.” “Hmmm – hold on a second, Son… Grace! I’ve got an issue here – you go on with the girls and we’ll catch you up! Now, what’s the problem, Paul? You’ve never missed church before.”
Looking at historical instances of mass-closure of churches, one thing is clear: it was taken very much more seriously by our brethren in the past.