Lockdown Interlude

The dawn chorus woke me just after 5am this morning and I thought I’d share the sound of the birds in this locked-down city with you, dear reader.

Whoever you are, I hope you’re getting through this situation in good health. And if you’re reading this in the future, this was a little moment of a past crisis that I hope we all get through together.

Leap Day

In the style of The Daily Mash

The leap day in February is the final fucking straw, scientists confirm

In a new study, scientists have confirmed that the entire country just wants February to fuck off and die – and the leap day is the final straw that will inevitably turn everyone into crazed homicidal maniacs.

Dr. Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies revealed: “we found that absolutely everyone is just hanging on until midnight on Friday 28th and won’t be able to take another second of this shit month. When we did trials involving human volunteers, every single one of them went into a deep and irreversible psychotic rage when we revealed that February has as extra day this year.”

The team’s leaked report recommends that the only possible way to avoid total social collapse is for everyone to get so totally hammered on the night of the 28th that they spend the whole of the leap day under a duvet with a plastic bucket and industrial strength painkillers.

An unnamed team member commented that “what makes it worse is that we get paid on last day of the month and I’m already too skint to afford any booze.”


Some wise words as we embark on the long winter journey:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.


The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.


The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

— Carl Sagan,  Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994