EXTRACT: Town was so busy it felt like being locked down at Cheltenham… Barely anyone around here believes the official version of events and I’m noticing a cultural divide: You can tell who people identify with by their Covid beliefs.

Editor’s note: Harry rang this evening and, while we were discussing his diary, his emergency bleeper went off. And he was gone! No doubt, we’ll get an update tomorrow. He wrote the following earlier today. 

Warning from Harry: This post may offend you. Turn back now!

It has been a month since I started writing this. It hasn’t unfolded like I thought it would. Which is good. I thought we would be in the tens of thousands by now and the fire service would be stretched to breaking point alongside our brothers and sisters in the ambulance service, but out here in the west, at least, we are sitting this one out. Which is good for all concerned.

I went for my usual morning stroll. The river is getting really low, which bodes well – from a fireman’s point of view – for gorse fires. What is bad for one is good for another. Just ask the fish. They are easy prey for the otters now. You can see their desperation as they make astounding three-feet-high leaps out of the water, in a life or death bid to escape their predators. A cormorant has joined the hunters, adding to their woes. The heron has a new pretender to the throne.

I’d back heron in a fight though, or at least I thought I would. I strolled the half kilometre or so towards home and turned to see the cormorant had silently followed me all the way. I wasn’t sure if it was coincidence, or I was his new prey. I startled him and he took off showing off a wingspan a lot wider than it looked in his streamlined fish-hunting pose. Nature is amazing, unless you’re a trout. I hurried back to the main-street in town in case the birds were planning a coup.

Town was so busy it felt like being locked down at Cheltenham. It makes a mockery of the whole 2km radius thing; surely it would be better if I made myself scarce, reducing population density for a bit? Barely anyone around here believes the official version of events. I’m noticing a cultural divide: You can tell who people identify with by their Covid beliefs.

The working class believe it was the Chinese and that they have won World War 3. The farmers agree with them, but they are not bothered because it kept Sinn Fein out of office. They stand on the footpaths chatting freely like 1940s Londoners defying the Luftwaffe.

The hippy type, attracted by the local Steiner school, believes there is no virus – it’s just the body expelling toxins brought about by 5g, while oxygen is the secret to purifying oneself. They don’t “spend” money, they “energy exchange” it for imported organic rarities in defiance of capitalism. And they are outside forcefully exhaling the Covid toxins into the universe. Namaste!

There are the builders, they will agree with anyone if they think they’ll get the ride. They are naturally immune to the virus. When your diet consists of breakfast rolls, Marlboro’s, concrete dust and scaffolding bars, you’re really too bloody hard to catch anything. They too are outside, making it pay. I miss the building sites.

The super spreaders, I would imagine, are not the children – who hope this goes on so long that exams are cancelled forever – but the over 65’s. It is for them that life has ground to a halt, so they must be feeling really important right now as they carry on like nothing has happened. I can understand though that cocooning for an indeterminate length is something of a high risk strategy. If it goes on too long, old age could take you. It’s a bit like 21 Pontoon – do you stay put and lose, or gamble and lose?

My favourite people are those who stay locked down, like the religious types who are having a reasonable old time of it. The Evangelicals, of course, are delighted. This is a sign of the times: “The Lord is surely returning”.

The Catholics are taking it in their stride too. A local priest told me, “This Covid thing is all bulls***.” Fortunately, Jesus has taught them to respect authority so they mostly do what they are told. Allelujah!

Also behaving themselves are the social-justice-types who are at home making face-masks for the community out of recycled toilet paper. Normally they would be marching for civil liberties, but have politely given up their rights because the unelected patriarchy – strangely, the only source of information that isn’t a conspiracy – commanded them to do so. Bless their cotton socks.

Anyway, I might go for a stroll, around and around and around the town. The circumference of a 2 kilometres radius is 12.56 kilometres which is a rather long hike. I will update later in the unlikely event of anything interesting happening, or if I find a hitherto undiscovered tribe to offend.