Tag Archives: virus

2381. Something in the eye

What will the Chinese come up with next? The raw meat market in Wuhan saw a mutation in toad flesh. An edict went out: Do not eat raw toad flesh unless you are planning to travel overseas. Too late! Too late! The virus spread.

Here was a highly contagious virus that attacked the tear ducts in the eyes. The Government issued a decree: All supermarket shoppers must wear a bandana over their eyes. This not only protects the wearer from air-floating globules, but also slows down the transmission of the disease. Who would want to go blind? It is much healthier to feel your way around the supermarket.

When shopping, the meat section was particularly hazardous. Chicken breasts feel remarkably like pork schnitzels if one is not used to it – much to the feigned chagrin of Ms Maisie Cornblatt who happened to be in the meat department at the time Mr. Cranville Picklesen was feeling his selection.

The fruit department was another challenge for Mr. Cranville Picklesen. All he wanted were two apples, but he wasn’t sure if what he was feeling were apples or pomegranates. Ms Maisie Cornblatt, who by now had also come to the fruit and vegetable section, was pretty sure she knew what was what, but she couldn’t help out as she was having too much trouble trying to locate a cucumber.

Next, Mr. Cranville Picklesen went to the aisle with spreads. So did Ms Maisie Cornblatt. Clearly they had similar tastes. “It’s very difficult to know if one is picking up a jar of honey, of peanut butter, or of strawberry jam,” said Mr. Cranville Picklesen to Mrs. Lily Brown. “Oops! Yoo-hoo! I’m over here,” called out Ms Maisie Cornblatt. “I’m in the pink dress with the matching bandana. Not that anyone can notice.”

Cranville groped his way towards Maisie’s voice. “Honey!” said Ms Maisie Cornblatt.

“Is that a honey pot you have found or a term of endearment?” asked Mr. Cranville Picklesen. “The only way to test what you’re buying is to take the lids off the jars and use your fingers.”

Maisie accidentally put her fingers into a jar of vegemite thinking it could be orange marmalade. Yuk! That was when their bandanas accidentally fell off.

Mr. Cranville Picklesen and Ms Maisie Cornblatt laid eyes on one another.

2244. Virulent virology

(Thanks to all who read/joined in the last 15 days of the vignettes of my past 20 years. Today we return to the stories, etc. There is a link at the top of the page to a pdf of those chapters. Just click on “My Neck of the Woods”.)

It was hard to believe. Antonio had a breakthrough in the laboratory. For almost forty years he had laboured as a virologist developing vaccinations for relatively rare and not very mutagenic viruses. What is more, they weren’t particularly contagious. In fact they spread from pet hamster to human but not human to human. These viruses might be uncommon but they still affected millions of people on the planet. At last a cure! At last!

And here it was: a universal, one time only, antidote. One for all. It had not been tested on more well-known viruses such as the common cold, but Antonio was convinced it would work there too. Of course it didn’t kill any of the millions of harmless viruses; only the bad ones. At present he had two beakers of the serum but it was so easy to make! And so obvious! He jotted down the formula – in fact, it was more a recipe than a formula. It was something, as it turned out, that people could make in their kitchens. He phoned his friend and mentor, Professor Przemysław Gerszewski , and told of the breakthrough. “I have made two beakers of the stuff but won’t tell you how it’s done until I see you.” He took the sheet with the recipe and drove to the professor’s house.

On the way Antonio ran off the road, hit a tree, and his vehicle burst into flames incinerating everything including Antonio. Scientists couldn’t work out what the formula was to create the content of the two beakers so they gave it to Wuhan scientists who have a reputation for such things.

“We already know,” said the Wuhan scientists not batting an eyelid and tipping the content of the two beakers down the plughole. “Working with bats is only a cover-up. We’ve been hacking Antonio’s computer for years. And we’re not going to tell you how it’s made.”

1844. Boarding the train

Here I am quietly awaiting the arrival of my train and minding my own business. People keep getting too close to me. Don’t they understand that we have been asked to distance ourselves for several meters away from each person? Some people have no regard for public safety or the well-being of others. It’s typical of the modern society in which we live.

It’ll be the same when the train arrives. Everyone will push and shove, and the carriage will be like a can of sardines with as many people as possible stuffed into a confined space. I’ve a good mind to scream out “FIRE! FIRE!” That should set the people running in all directions and I would get the whole train carriage to myself. In fact, I will.



Everyone just looked at me like I was a nut case. It didn’t have the slightest effect.

And now I’ve missed my train.

1824. Lockdown and the end of the golden weather

Miles ago, in fact last October 16, 2019, I posted a little piece about how I was digging up my front lawn for a garden. I promised progress reports, and one appeared on November 19 and another on February 12. With winter fast approaching in the southern hemisphere it’s time for a final report. So this report covers the lockdown and the end of the golden weather.

A Lombardy poplar tree blew over on the property in a summer storm, so I was able to use it to make little twig fences around the four garden patches. It looked semi-medieval (kind of rustic I thought). In fact it was to stop the dog from walking on the gardens and peeing on the peas. The dog was well trained and never once ventured across the twigs onto the gardens. High fences for climbing peas, beans, and blackberries were also constructed.

Before long there were poppies and petunias, dahlias and gladioli, cosmos and sweet peas. You’ll notice from the pictures that I have mainly white flowers and red flowers. This is a phase I’m passing through. Don’t worry, I’ve been passing through it for twenty years and will once day get over it. Anyway, red and white look very lovely, so for the time being I’m sticking with them. At least people know what colour flower seeds to get me for my birthday!

I wasn’t expecting much from the newly planted thornless blackberries, but we got several desserts from them including one big blackberry pie! Roll on next year!

There was a bumper crop of peas, beans, shallots, tomatoes, turnips, leeks, zucchinis, and capsicums (bell peppers). The photos show just a small portion – the freezer is full! It wasn’t a good year for potatoes and cucumbers. There’s never telling why. The silver beet (chard) kept going to seed.

The sunflowers provided cheer and enough seeds to hopefully feed the wild birds through winter. I’ve just got to make an artistic bird feeder.

I wasn’t greatly affected by the lockdown because there was so much to do and so much space. I am at that age where my nanny-state government wouldn’t let me go anywhere lest I die. What a consolation that they cared! Fortunately the landlord’s daughter-in-law was the pharmacist and sent prescribed life-prolonging pills via the landlord, and the farming neighbours on all sides plied the house with eggs and meat while we provided them with vegetables. You had to check the mailbox daily because you never knew if someone had stuffed a leg of lamb in there! All was a blessing because there was no money coming in for two months!

The dog walk was a regular fixture – demanded by the dog in sunshine or rain. He likes a daily swim in a nearby lake – he thinks it’s his duty to clear the lake of geese and ducks.

For 8 weeks on these walks we gathered enough wild mushrooms for a decent side dish each day. (Eight weeks is enough!) I also made pickles and chutneys and soups for canning and freezing with stuff out of the garden.

I’ve been going to a local farmer’s sheep-shearing shed with spade and buckets. By going underneath the slats in the shearing-shed floorboards, I can fill the buckets up for the garden with sheep manure that had dropped through the gaps in the floor over the years.

The landlord/farmer asked if we would like two dying trees (lawsoniana) for firewood. So a good deal of several weeks was spent cutting them down, chopping them up, and stacking them. Still haven’t quite finished.

The landlord also asked us if we would mind knocking down an old house on the property and smashing it to bits. It’s quite fun! I go there nearly every day to wreck away. The problem is the old house is plagued with fleas. So don’t come driving past while I’m standing in the open-doored garage throwing all my clothes in the washing machine before coming into the house! Your mind undoubtedly boggles!

These days the garden is looking tired.

I have scattered thousands of poppy seeds along the sides of the road outside my gate. If luck would have it the roadside next spring will look like Flanders Field. I’ve also sown nitrogen-fixing lupins in the gardens. They look quite pretty so it seems a shame to cut them down and dig them in, but that is a job to be done this week.

Here’s a picture of the sad and lonely last dahlia of the season.

Thus ends the closing days of autumn; the end of the golden weather. This final photo is taken today through my office window! I’m feeling rather pleased!

1785. Waiting. Knitting.

Bethany and Lawrence stayed at home to avoid catching (or spreading) the rampant virus. They had enough to survive on. Would one of them suddenly take ill? Had they already picked up the virus and as yet it hadn’t showed? Were they in fact virus-free? Was a virus-filled droplet sitting on the store-bought egg carton awaiting a victim?

The fear was in the waiting. Waiting. Waiting for something that may or may not happen.

And then Lawrence felt a slight tickle in the throat. Was this the virus? Would it get worse?

Bethany began to knit her fourth scarf in a week. She couldn’t concentrate for long enough to knit anything more complicated.

The wait continued.

1761. Off the phone

Peter reckoned he picked up the coronavirus from the telephone while he was speaking to his grandmother. She had the coronavirus and he talked to her on the landline. She always phoned on the landline even though he had his own phone.

And now he had caught the virus off the phone. His mother had said, “Don’t be silly. You can’t catch the virus by talking to grandma on the phone. Look at me! I phone grandma every morning and I’m perfectly well. Although I’ve had a slightly sore throat these last few days.”

At grandma’s funeral, Peter’s mother gave the coronavirus to every mourner she kissed – whether she had put droplets into their telephone receiver or not.

1682. Computer troubles

Ernie was having trouble with his computer. Half the programs had stopped working. Adverts would pop up uninvited. Anti-virus programs would find and delete important files that weren’t viruses or worms or Trojans or anything other than important files.

Ernie was at the end of his tether. One fine early summer’s day he picked up his PC and threw it out the window. Unbeknownst to him the CEOs of every computer company in the world were sitting outside under the window chatting during a break from an important meeting about what was the best bank in which to store all their greedy money. Ernie’s computer landed on top of them and killed the lot.

Ernie was arrested and tried for murder. When the evidence was presented the judge was heard to exclaim “Good on you, Ernie”.

The judge stood and applauded.
The jury stood and applauded.
Lawyers and stenographers stood and applauded.
The whole court room exploded into three hearty cheers for Ernie.

Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!