Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Healthy Dose of Scepticism?

These legs are rapidly losing their tan after
14 days of isolation living in a cave somewhere
in the wilds of East Lancashire (probably).
As that well known football chant goes - It's all gone quiet over there! 

Where have we been at El Real Thing over the last three weeks? No blogs. No tweets. It's almost as if we've given up on Spain. What on earth has been going on?
They didn't teach the art of being permanently offended when I was at school but in an age of political correctness, the old joke that Irish medical experts have invented a cure for which there is no known illness is obviously now racist, undoubtedly bigoted, probably offensive to cross-dressers and most definitely not funny. But it does provide an excellent metaphor for the current times we are living through as governments worldwide come up with new and ambiguous ways to control the spread of a supposedly deadly virus whilst simultaneously crashing the world economy. If an evil genius somewhere had been working on a plan to dismantle capitalism, control the population and encourage complete reliance on the state, then he would have been hard-pressed to come up with something more outrageous, devious and downright brilliant than Covid-19 as a means to carry out his fiendish plan.
So, I hear you ask, what's all this got to do with El Real Thing where we like to concentrate on real beer in Spain, real football in Spain and real Spain itself? Well, I'll tell you what it's got to do with El Real Thing. El Real Thing's plans for world domination have been completely scuppered by all this Covidiocy over the last three weeks and we're not happy. Okay, world domination might be pushing it a bit but popping back home to the UK for five weeks, to prepare for another several-week stint in Spain thereafter, was all part of the master plan. With the 14-day quarantine restrictions lifted for travellers returning to the UK from overseas our Ryanair flight back to Blighty was duly booked for 30 July. But by the time 30 July arrived, the UK government had decided to reimpose the 14-day quarantine restrictions for travellers returning to the UK........but only those returning from Spain. Bastards! And then, within four hours of actually arriving home, the UK government double-whammied us with the announcement that our home town was to face additional restrictions of individual liberties because of an Islamic holiday. Double bastards! 
I mean, we none of us advocate irresponsible behaviour in times of such (choose which applicable) crisis/ concern/ mess/ plight/ drama/ hardship/ scare-the-population-so-that-they-do-what-we-tell-them but ordering me (do they not know who I am?) to lock myself away for 14 days having travelled from the safest part of Spain to one of the (apparently) unsafest parts of England is the equivalent of telling me to wipe my feet as I leave the house. 
I confess that I am a mask-sceptic. The merits of a chocolate teapot comes to mind so I am not altogether chuffed with the Spanish government and their current edict on mask-wearing but as a guest in that country, I (reluctanty) accepted that I had to act the good guest. But honestly, it doesn't take a genius (evil or otherwise) to see that many people in Spain and the UK have been scared witless by a constant bombardment from both government and a slavering media intent on over-stating all scare stories and under-stating any good Covid-related news. Did you know the recovery rate for Covid infections is actually 99.9%? Here at El Real Thing we don't pretend to know all the answers, we just fear that not enough of the decision makers actually know the right questions and it's almost certainly not their fault. We reckon that if you laid all the so-called medical experts, head to foot, in a straight line they still wouldn't reach a conclusion. So the situation calls for a bit more common sense in dealing with a virus which is producing fewer fatalities per infection than previous outbreaks of seasonal flu. We can't protect ourselves from everything and we don't want to live in glass cases. Chocolate teapots, restrictions on the liberty of healthy people and a broken world economy do not add up to a common sense approach. As a well known President of the USA has said, "we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem". 

Forty eight cans of Brewdog helped keep us
sane during isolation. Our cave hideaway
enjoyed some nice views of Burnley. The town
hall can just be seen in the image background.

Unsurprisingly, we are still as fit as the proverbial fiddles and we could have spent the last 14 days saving the UK economy by supporting the hostelry sector and utilising the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme (we're very public spirited in that way) but instead we've spent this time rotting away in solitary confinement with only a mail-order 48-can Brewdog pack  to keep us company. And now that we have been released back in to society, is our early September return to Spain in jeopardy? Our 3-night research trip to Palma vulnerable? Our whole El Real Thing raison d'etre in peril? Mrs C is a tad concerned I can tell you.
Now, whilst it is feasible that a sliver of tongue-in-cheek has infiltrated some of the above, we fear that much of what we are currently seeing in terms of restrictions on individual liberties, including rights and freedoms to travel, could become norms if we are not careful, sacrificed on the altar of public health and nanny state knows best. Within reason and common sense, free spirits need to remain free spirits. We look to you our fellow travellers to keep the free spirit flame flickering. Bon voyage (very soon we hope).

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