My Virtual School – masks

21 April 2020. Much discussion in the news about whether we should all wear masks when we leave the house. Husband believes they will be very useful when we have to rob a bank or Post Office: easier get-aways if everyone is wearing a mask, not just the villains.

No idea where we would get them. Ordering via Amazon seems irresponsible – danger to delivery drivers, unnecessary travel, non-essential purchasing etc. Plus, surely medical-quality masks should be reserved for those who actually need them – not made available for every Tom, Dick and Harriet to gobble up the limited world supply just to go to the supermarket? Also some doubt about how useful they would be. Certainly when I’ve been in the queue at Waitrose it is the people in masks who shuffle up too close, believing themselves protected. It does need a new message: wear a mask to prevent yourself infecting others, rather than wear a mask to prevent others infecting you.

Brother in France is worried about how to make his own when they become mandatory there. In the complete absence of needles, thread and old rags he is hoping he can achieve something passable with kitchen roll and duct tape. I’ve been sent several DIY youtube vids – the handkerchief (pure cotton, white) + rubber band method, the pristine, white cotton sports sock + aloe-coated tissue method – both of which seemed to involve a lot of shopping. Not sure whether any old holey sock destined for the bin will do. And a lot of debate about washing them, re-using them, changing them etc. General agreement is they must survive a 60 degree wash (so no hope for bro). I just wish cyclists (I guess it’s them) would stop dropping them in the gutter for the dog to think he should bring them home.

The price of US oil has gone negative. Ambivalent news. On the one hand, very glad for the climate change issue. On the other hand, keeping a close eye on the economy. The price of Brent Crude in Europe not so bad. And Admiral is offering £25 refund on car insurance because no one is driving or making claims. Pity I’m not with Admiral.

I found the first reference to innoculations at Radley Hall in the accounts of Sir William Stonhouse in the 1770s. News today that a research unit in Oxford may be close to finding a vaccine. College Oak has witnessed all this in its 400+ year history. Today all its leaves were unfurled, palest green-gold, ready for another summer.

This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community,  to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

© Clare Sargent